Tara and Jay’s Engagement Session!


I have been so fortunate knowing who I know in my life.

I know people who love with the deepest sincerity and passion. I know people whose love and conviction is so strong that they are willing to beat the odds and accept any challenge to be together.

This is a story about that couple.



Anyone remember this? ‘Shhh…it’s a secret.’

Keeping their relationship behind a veil has not been easy for this couple. It is not my story to tell, as it is a personal one filled with all the ingredients needed to write the perfect shakespearian love story. A bit of turmoil, a slice of comedy, a pinch of mischief, a dash of star-crossed romance, and a big ol’ chunk of beauty and brilliance that will make for an amazing story to tell the grandkids one day!




Yet that is not the story I am going to tell here. No, the story I will tell you is the one about how it all started. In a seemingly average coffee shop, in a tiny town that three people from other places all decided to move to and get thrown into each other’s lives haphazardly and by what would seem a total accident.

I know better. Sometimes, in the simplest of places, on the most normal of all days, in the sleepiest cities, extraordinary things happen.




I was managing a Dunkin’ Donuts at the time, trying to save money so I could start my dream business as a photographer. I lived in a small community not far from work, which was about two blocks away from a little gas station on the corner. I went there every day for gas and such, and as things go in small towns I got to know the owners and their children.

One day, after a particularly annoying incident had taken place and I had to let someone go. I was leaving in a sour mood when I saw this boy in the corner who was staring at me. He looked SO familiar. He told me he was Jay, the store owner’s son, and asked me for a job. Just for the summer, he said, to earn money before college.

Something about him made me like the idea of him as an employee. He had a long history of working for his parents, he was always hard at work when I saw him at the shop, and he always had such a sweet disposition. So we skipped all the formalities and he was hired within a week!



I realized very quickly what terrific foresight this was on my part, as Jay was a star employee, and since I haven’t worked there in a long time now, I think it is safe to broadcast he was my favorite!

Then there was this girl.



There was an application with a note on it that she seemed like a nice person. No, wait, maybe I saw her turn it in. Perhaps someone suggested they knew someone who needed a job. I honestly don’t remember, what is important is that at the interview, I could just tell that much like Jay she would be a stellar worker and a great asset to the business.

She looked me in the eyes when she spoke to me. She spoke clearly, she was articulate and had intention in her voice, I could tell she meant what she said. She was a college student, and wanted a job to get her through the summer, something she could go back to part time with when classes started back up.

She was totally hired.

Then….after a few weeks had gone by…I get this phone call from an employee saying she has seen something happening with my two star employees.



“So and so was having breaks with so and so and meeting you know who for lunch and holding whatsherface’s hand.”

‘Good. I hope they are.’ I thought to myself. What I actually said was something along the lines of “Oh dear! How unacceptable! I will speak to them when I see them next…”
You see, They had already mastered the art of discretion for a bigger reason. It just so happened someone had seen what they interpreted as ‘canoodling’.

Sometimes it is not easy being a ‘mixed’ couple. Sometimes people tend to be much less than accepting.
Occasionally those people are very close to home. 

Tara and I were becoming fast friends at this point. She was hanging out with me on the weekends and taking my little brothers to the mall and going swimming with us. She was modeling for my portfolio and listening to my dreams and empathizing with my fears.

Slowly, she was becoming the most important person, next to my dear husband of course, in my life.

So you can imagine how trilled I was to hear the rumor was true, and that she and Jay were, in fact, ‘canoodling’.


Which, I imagined, looked a little like this.  

I was so happy for my friends. I wanted all the best for the both of them, and I was willing to turn my mouth into the Swiss Vault if I had to, just to protect their innocent love and genuine romance.

It wasn’t long before Jay was calling me asking if I could take one of the most important photo of their lives so far:


The actual moment his dream woman said ‘YES!’


As much as I wanted to shout this from the rooftops, squeal with joy, and print a huge billboard for everyone in town to dance around and celebrate their future union; I had to stay quiet. Back into Swiss Vault mode. It killed me to do it, but for the two most amazing people I know, I was happy to.


Just look at these two! I am in love with their love, and I know it will last for the rest of forever.

Tara was raised Christian and has been to South America and India on mission trips. Her goal is to travel the world, help those in need, and spread the word of the power of Christ. She is a bright, honest young woman who is a self-professed coffee snob. She is a real cut up, and she is always making crazy faces, breaking into ridiculous accents, and telling hilarious stories.

Jay was raised Hindi and His family is from India. Jay has been to India a few times as well. His favorite place is California, and he loves the beach! He is a thoughtful and sensitive soul, intelligent and kind. He also loves coffee which will be a sort of theme at the wedding in June. He enjoys laughing, learning new things, and being peaceful. He also wants to travel the world with Tara and make a difference in people’s lives.



So there we are. Sorry I cannot give the whole story, but as I said before that is for someone else to tell. In the mean time, I have a second job making sure my best friend’s wedding is absolutely perfect in every way, right down to the photography that I am providing as a wedding gift to the happy future Mr. & Mrs. Amazing.

I love you guys. All the best

xoxo-Ashley Lodge




5 thoughts on “Tara and Jay’s Engagement Session!

  1. I happen to know one of these amazing folks, and am so glad she waited for true love 🙂 I don’t even need to meet him to know he is special, as well. Beautiful story, and you are a wonderful friend, Ashley, for honoring this relationship in such a way as you have.

    Liked by 1 person

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