Ashley and I used to get confused for one another in high school all the time. We went to a big public school and ran in different circles of friends. We both had crunchy blonde hair gelled in curls, wore Converses along with studded belts and Hollister shirts, and we both listened to Less Than Jake. People would constantly call me Ashley and, at the same time, they would also be asking her why we weren't friends. It became such a running joke that, when we finally met, it seemed like we already knew each other.
It wasn't until around senior year that we became fast friends. Ashley invited me to her Sweet Sixteen pink-themed party and we began a very 90s kid, AIM friendship. After chatting via our ska/alt-music themed screen names, we would constantly hang out in our neighborhoods and at school-- in spite the fact that we had no classes together. Eventually, she would convince me to take dance class so we could walk around school with a hall pass dipping in and out of our favorite teachers' rooms. We became so close that we went to two proms together and became virtually inseparable the summer before college.
We stayed in touch all through college; she visited me at Duke and I surprised her at UF. We saw each other through birthdays, boyfriends and changing majors. Ashley has been one of my most supportive friends and is one of those people who you can call and feel like no time has passed, even if you haven't chatted in months. This past year, Ashley told me that she discovered her bisexuality while living out in California.
I think when Ashley told me she identified as sexually fluid, I laughed.. mostly because of how unsurprising it was. I don't consider sexuality as something that defines a character or moral fiber of a person. Truthfully, I was thrilled that someone I hold so dear was introspective enough to consider what truly makes her happy. Being honest with yourself and allowing yourself to love those closest to you, regardless of gender, is inspiring.
When meeting Ashley's first girlfriend, I was nervous. I am always anxious to meet a significant other of my best friends. What if we don't click? What if they don't like me or find our friendship limiting in some way? What if they're with each other for the wrong reasons? All these questions dissipated within the first 10 minutes, really within the first beer, of meeting Madeline. She was witty, kind and above all, was perfect for Ashley. Who knew this pint sized brewery lover in our hometown would be exactly what my BFF was missing in her life halfway across the country.
Ashley and Madeline were naturals in front of the camera. Although Madeline was a little shy at first, this made for adorable blushing shots! I barely had to suggest poses as the two were super cuddley and comfortable with our semi-private tour of the lighthouse property. We got super lucky with a guide letting us walk around after hours! A huge thanks to our parks guide Darby, wherever you are, for letting us walk through.
Our whole day was filled with laughter, ukulele music and walks around the Jupiter Lighthouse. Photographing these two on this gorgeous, sunny Florida day was a dream. I can't wait to see what more is to come for this adorable couple. Here are some more of my favorite shots from the day: