Monday, February 14, 2011

Giveaway Finalists

I had a hard time choosing my finalists. I wish everyone could win, but I don't have enough days in the summer to do all those weddings! But instead of picking three finalists I have picked five.

Holly and Akilah

Their Story:

I’m not one to write about my personal life, but my fiancé brought this contest to my attention. I guess you can say I am already learning to say yes to things my future wife wants. I played football at ISU on scholarship and Holly attended ISU on academic scholarship. I was fortunate to get to know my fiancé in a statistics class my junior year of college. I remember seeing her and also couldn’t help to hear her, because she would always ask questions in class. There are two places in which I have the confidence to talk to a girl that I am attracted to. Those places are in math class and on the dance floor. My dad was big on math and coming from California males had to dance well to grab a girl’s attention. Unfortunately, my initial attempt to hang out with her was out done by a game of basketball. I offered to help her study for our big test and she said she had to work. That evening I ran into her playing basketball in Reed Gym. I just played it off like no big deal, but I was a little sad that she really didn’t have to work. Like any other male, the thrill of the chase made it more worthwhile. I continued to text her and we ended up going on our first date in the summer of 2006.

Long story short, we hit it off immediately and learned we tied our shoes the same way, listen to the same music, share a love for children and Michael Jordan, will have always have to have a large closet to hold our piles of shoes. She is just as stubborn as I am and had very similar up bringing. We dated for about 4 years before I was lucky enough for her to say yes to becoming my wife.

Well, the last four years were not the easiest. We had a few break ups, epic battles, and disagreements. (I told you we were stubborn) But, that adversity is in all relationships. So what makes our relationship special? I mean I received a free college education and she graduated in 6 years with her Masters, so what’s our adversity… right? Well I had a dream to continue my football career on the professional level. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do just that. I was worked out by NFL teams and received phone calls before and after the draft. The only problem is I didn’t get the phone call to actually be part of a team. I was fortunate enough to get signed to a developmental league a few months later, but that league folded a week before I was supposed to report to the team in Texas. A year later I got signed to the Arena Football League and that league folded right before I was supposed to report to camp.

Now help me out and think of a child hood dream you have had growing up, it being placed in your hands, and then being ripped out of your grip not once… but twice. Mentally it was very tough to deal with because although I got my college degree, I always saw myself as a professional athlete. I felt like I let so many people down, including my fiancé. When I didn’t get signed, it took a toll on me mentally and in turn took a toll on our relationship. There were days I didn’t want to talk to anyone, days I would just want to be around the guys, and days I just wanted to stay in bed a sulk. Throughout it all, she stayed by my side and encouraged me to continue to chase my dream and to chase all life had to offer. She never once made me feel like I was a failure. She was able to turn every situation into a positive light and help me realize how blessed and lucky I was to have a successful life aside from sports. For that I am ever so grateful, without her I don’t think I would have won my internal battle. She was my rock during those months of hardship, and I know it took a toll on her as well as it did on me. But… we won that internal battle.

The social adversity that we have faced together is a battle that I hope is slowly dissolving in the world. I am black and my fiancé is white. In the small town of Pocatello there are times when you can tell it makes some people uncomfortable that we were dating and are now engaged, because of our races. I need to write a quick disclaimer: I firmly believe that most people do not care one bit and I love this city and that’s one of the reasons I have stayed and work in the field that I do. Anyway, early in our relationship my fiancé never really understood when I would describe to her different reactions I would receive around the small towns of Southeast Idaho because I am black. Sometimes I know the looks we get are just from curious people, but other looks are that of, “what are you doing here in our town” and looks of disgust. As a reader you may think like she did when we started dating… like, “well how do you know that’s what they are thinking”? I don’t know for sure, but without going into detail, sometimes comments have been made under people’s breath and it has been hard on our relationship. Now let us be fair, my fiancé has now also experienced this same sense of negativity when we visit where I grew up in a predominantly black area in LA.

I say all I did above, to show that my amazingly strong fiancé has taken it in stride and not ever looked back. She has never hesitated to take me to her small home town and introduce me as her boyfriend\fiancé. Her family and friends have been nothing but accepting of our relationship and together we have stood strong and overcome most internal and social adversity.

Again this adversity I have described in no way can compete with life changing illness, injury, or hardship. Instead, this just goes to show that normal everyday occurrences contain some type of adversity and I am fortunate enough to have some one I love in my life to conquer these adversities with and cannot wait to marry her this summer.

Wedding Date: July 9th, 2011
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho

Nichole and Brian

I met Brian in my Math class last year Spring Semester at BYU Idaho. I am not good at math and I was asked to go up to the board and figure out a problem. I walked up to the board and immediately began to struggle through the math problem. He noticed I was having a hard time with the problem, so he decided to help me. He came up to the board and simply helped me through the problem, I was impressed with his intelligence and good looks. I went up to him after class and asked if I could join his study group and I got his number, then he got mine. The first study group I went to was a horrible experience. He was in a horrible mood. We got on the topic of dating and marriage (of course only at BYU) and he said "There will never be a girl good enough for me". I got so mad I left the meeting early.

I stopped going to the meetings and he finally told me they were having another meeting and I should come. I decided to go because it was almost finals week and I needed his help. I went to the meeting and things went much better. That night he took me on our first date. I had to leave in a week because it was the end of the semester and we had a seven week break between Spring Semester and Fall Semester. I;m from California and he is from Idaho, so I had to go home to California. For seven weeks he called me almost every day and I missed him so much. I finally came back to school and we started dating seriously.

Brian and I have been through a lot together. We are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My family members are not active in the church; I am the only active member. His family is strong in the church. I am going to be an example to my family and get married in the Sacramento Temple. The church is so important to me and I can't wait to get sealed to the love of my life in the temple. We have a very short engagement. After we get sealed in the temple we will have a ring ceremony for members of my family who cannot go into the temple for my sealing. It is still hard for them to understand why they can't go into the temple and watch me get married. I wish I could explain in greater detail to them the sacredness of the temple.

My mom is a single mom and we have always struggled with money. My younger sister and brother are also attending college She is trying to plan my wedding while I am at school and she is coming up with ways to pay for the wedding. I have no money so I am dependent upon my mom to pay for everything. I am so happy and excited about this time in my life. I told my mom that I want a simple wedding, nothing extravagant because we can't afford a huge wedding. The one thing I want from this wedding is beautiful pictures. I want to be able to frame my pictures and be proud to show off my big wedding day. The day I got married in the temple to the love of my life. And if I win this contest, and have the chance to have you photograph my wedding, I may get the amazing pictures I have hoped for.

Wedding Date: ?
Location: Sacramento, Temple

Connie and Jason

Their story:

It goes back 7 yrs ago. I was married had been for 14 yrs had 3 wonderful children and after yrs of financial struggles we were on top we built a beautiful new home and moved in the week before Feb 4. That is the day my life changed forever. I have one brother he was my life he took care of me when my mom died when I was 16 and he was 21. He was perfect. He helped us move into our new home and my life was perfect. Then on Feb 4 2004 I received a phone call that changed my life. they had found him and his fiance murdered in Rigby Idaho he had been stabbed 33 times and her 12 times they both died. His ex wife broke into the house and murdered them. My life fell apart. My husband and I started having problems due to his death we were both so close to Gregg. In August of 2004 I received a phone call that my father had been in a very bad car accident and was in critical condition. i spent a full week in the hospital by my fathers side since it is just me and him. I went home to pay bills and found a strange number on the bill. i called it and a women answered she told me I needed to talk to my husband. Come to find out he had been seeing her for over 4 months and he left me they have been married 6 yrs now. Left me alone with 3 kids a 1500 a month house payment and at total loss from losing my brother and now my marriage. Being afraid of being alone and the trial and everything I feel into a bad bad bad relationship very quickly which became abusive I started to fear for my life. I packed up my kids and left my dream home and moved forward. But by the time I did that I was scared of my own shadow, had been made to quit my job, thought I was ugly, and was a afraid to speak or smile. i dated a little after that and finally decided it was okay to be alone. (i got my job back that I love so much) I was bored one night and was having a free weekend. So I looked and there was Jason. He is 5 yrs younger than me. I thought no way would he email me back but what the heck. so we started emailing back and forth. We are meant to be together. My belief in life everything happens for a reason. As hard as my brother's death has been i miss him so I believe god needed him more and I believe that he had to be in heaven to hand pick Jason and send him to me because he is my soul mate and my prayers were answered my big brother was always there for me. He is my everything I would do anything for this man.

Wedding Date: August 20th, 2011
Location: Freeman Park
Colors: Black and white with a touch of Burgandy

Kellie and Abel

Their story:

We have been up, down and all around! Where to even begin? Maybe in the 7th grade when Abel asked me out and I said no thanks to the funny kid who wore a white, sweater turtle neck in my craft class? Hmm… maybe not, but it was in junior high when we first met and were continued to be school friends up through high school. And by friends I mean teasing each other and Abel asking to copy my homework now and then. But it wasn’t until the end of senior year that out story really begins, when we saw each other almost every day and into the summer. That’s when everything really started to happen…

After a month I decided it wouldn’t work and unexpectedly called it quits I left him confused and broken. I didn’t know what to do and completely walked away. We went without talking for a year, and at the end of that year I realized I missed him, to the point it actually hurt. Eventually we got back together. Our families didn’t approve. We were at different schools but managed to make it work with weekend visits.Days I thought he’d never change. After struggles and worries he was finally converted and baptized.

I changed a 2 hour distance to miles apart in the middle of the pacific when I was accepted to school in Hawaii. We had breakdowns when we thought it wouldn’t work. Enjoying the summer but knowing at the end I was leaving. Pointless arguments that I don’t even remember what they were about, times where I almost walked away, long moments of angry silence and frustration, and learning how to trust.

The night before I left and we were so scared that all we did was spend the whole night crying. Another boy almost got in the way of us and I almost ruined things. A phone call full of tears and helplessness knowing it might end. Times when we didn’t know if we would make it or not. Nights when it was easier to call it quits but neither one of us wanted to let go. When I all I needed was him to hold me but he was miles away. When letting go of past mistakes was harder than moving on. Moments when it seemed like everything was against us but somehow we stayed together

We had fallouts but never out of love. We had breakdowns but they were always followed by turnarounds. Miles and months apart brought us closer together. Fights made our words softer. Tears made the laughter sweeter and louder. Heartache made our determination stronger. Over the years we went through a lot and a lot of it wasn’t easy. In fact a lot of it was hard and painful. But every part of it was real; real sadness, real anger, real worries, real heartache and real happiness. If it were easy the whole time we wouldn’t know what true happiness really was. Things didn’t happen the way either of us planned. We experienced things we didn’t expect, felt things we didn’t know we could, insecurities came to life and dreams were forced into reality. Some things changed and some were reassured. Whoever said things get worse before they can get better was right. And things continue to get better as we head towards a summer wedding that will not only end but begin with forever.

Wedding Date: August 5th, 2011
Location: Idaho Falls, Temple

Carli and Steven

Their Story:

We met one of the first nights our Freshman year at Bryan College. I made Steven wait a couple of months before I finally gave into my feelings for him and agreed to start dating him. Steven is a southern gentleman with the southern accent very strong in him. He had never traveled to the western part of the United States until he came out to visit me our first summer dating. I definitely broke him into the family of five girls. This was a big difference for him from being an only child. Over the last 2 years of dating we have grown very close and had some fun experiences traveling together and getting through college classes and college sports together. Both of us brought our own challenges. Steven came to Idaho Falls for my sisters wedding over Christmas break this year. He had kept the secret that he had my ring for seven months. He had to call and ask my sister for her permission to ask me before her wedding while our entire family was there. I admit this takes guts to want to ask me in front of my entire family. We went snomobiling and our plans changed because the road to Cave Falls was closed. Steven was planning on popping the question at the falls. Well plans changed. We dumped the snomobiles off in Ashton, ID. After we were done we went to take pictures on top of one of the big snow piles. Steven had never seen that much snow so I didn't suspect anything. We climbed to the top of one of the snow piles. When Steven knelt on one knee I thought he had fallen so I went to help him up and then I saw him pull out the ring box. My entire family was taking pictures and watching. We were minus one, Mel, for the day, but she was the first person we called after I said yes!! It takes a special man to want to join the crazy Milligan family, but I definitely think Steven has what it takes! He will fit in perfect! I can't wait to see what the future years together hold.

Wedding Date: June 10th, 2011
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho

There are three ways to vote for your favorite couple. The first way is to vote on the poll on the top right side of the blog. The second, go to facebook and become a fan of Ashley MacKay Photography. Then "like" the picture of the couple that you want to win. Three, send me an email to stating which couple you think should win and why.

Voting will end on Friday at noon. I will post the winner on Saturday! Good luck to all of the finalists!


Anonymous said...

ahh this is fun :) i doubt i'll get any work done this week haha

Spencer, Ariell and Crew said...

I vote for Holly and Akilah! Hope they win :)

Sus said...

I vote for Nichole and Brian. Cute, cute couple! ;)

Jennifer Rae said...

Brian and Nicole.

Anonymous said...

I vote for Carli & Steve they r the sweetest kids.

pavel said...

i vote for Carli and Steven

idahorhodes said...

I vote for Kelli and Abel!

Anonymous said...

you might want to check connie and Jason:s story out because more than half isn't true. so sad that a person will say anything to get something free.

Anonymous said...

Carli and Steven ALL THE WAY!!!

Anonymous said...

blog should not count the groups are obvisouly cheating

Rachelle said...

AKilah and HolLy and NumerO UNO!

Anonymous said...

the blog voting has gotten ridiculous. i agree it shouldnt count.

Anonymous said...

i feel like there is a lot of cheating going on

Anonymous said...

thats the problem with internet voting

Anonymous said...

every thing akilah says is true. he coaches my son and helps in the community more than you know.....

Anonymous said...

Honestly all this cheating for free photos makes you wonder what else they would cheat on

Lucretia said...

Akilah and Holly please!!

Anonymous said...

are blog votes really going to count? everyone is just voting for themselves.

Genavid said...

Holly and Akilah!!!!

Anonymous said...


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