Ashley Vandeberghe and Arturo Matamoros wanted an engagement shoot that captured them in their element. Says Ashley, “We are happiest at home relaxing with our dog Lincoln with a cocktail in hand.” So they asked photographer Shipra Panosian to visit their Orlando home and capture what they love the most: their dog, their home, the outdoors, music, margaritas and each other.
Ashley and Arturo met through Ashley’s sister Allison and her brother-in-law John. Arturo and John are great friends, so for years Ashley knew him vaguely as “John and Allison’s friend.”
“There was never any romantic interest there, partially because he and I were in other long-term relationships,” says Ashley, who had been attending grad school in Nashville, Tenn. for a few years. When she decided to return home to Orlando to spend more time with her family, she reconnected with Arturo by default through her sister and John.
“As they say, ‘timing is everything!’ Arturo and I became great friends, and that friendship turned into the best relationship of my life. He is my best friend and the best partner that I could ever hope for in life. I cannot wait to become Mrs. Matamoros!”
Ashley also states that Arturo planned the most surprising proposal ever. They had talked about marriage and their future many times and even shopped for engagement rings. For four months, every family outing, trip or special date night had Ashley expecting a proposal, but Arturo promised that it would happen when she least expected it.
Ashley is a third-grade teacher, and one morning Arturo called to ask if it was okay for him to come meet her new class, as he had done every year prior. Ashley didn’t think anything of it, not even when her friend and co-worker who was in on the surprise came to take a picture of the two of them with the students. Then, in front of her entire class, Arturo got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. “As I said, “YES!” my students were going crazy and my co-workers all ran in the room to congratulate us. It was the best moment–and best surprise–of my life!”