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When we announced our first Free Wedding Photography Contest back in 2008, we had no idea what a joy it would be in our business. It’s one of the things we look forward most each year … and every time we have to narrow down the finalists … it quickly becomes one of the toughest.

This year was no different. We’ve spent the last week reading over every submission, and trying to decide between a bunch of worthy candidates. But sadly, our job is to narrow it down to three … and then pass those along to our friends and family for the final decision.

This year’s submissions were full of great stories. Long distance relationships, overcoming great emotional and physical tragedies, and stories of patience and perseverance. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy decision.

That said …. here are our three finalists:

ASHLEY AND EARL

CHRISTINE AND ROSS

ANSHWA AND STEPHEN

A big thanks to all of those who submitted their stories to this year’s contest! We’re sending along our three finalist couples to the judges, and make sure to check back next Saturday when we announce our winning couple! In the meantime, feel free to leave a note of support here on the blog for who you’d like to see win. It’s become somewhat of a tradition, and our finalists are always grateful for the kind words. :-)

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127 Responses

  1. Kia Ferguson Congrats to Earl and Ashley!!! I know you guys will win! I can't wait til the wedding in July! I love yall :)

  2. Larvell Congrat to Ashley and Earl great picture!

  3. Tan Jemison Congratulations! I am happy for the each of you! May God continue to bless and keep both of you!

  4. Rayford Jackson Blankenship Congrats to Earl and Ashley. HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Lindsey Allen Christine and Ross, I am so happy for you!! Seeing you together always makes me happy!

  6. Marian Lester Congradulations Earl & Ashley Lots of love from Auntie!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :)

  7. Melissa R wooohhhh CHRISTINE AND ROSS!!

  8. carl lester Yea buddy...congrats bruh n Ashley I can't wait 4 the wedding u all deserve this win n so much more:)

  9. Steezy Earl and Ashley #FTW couple of the year in my book

  10. Justin G Earl you are such hard worker and I know it came in handy to get Ashley but it paid off. Congrats

  11. Jake I am Team Earl and Ashley as well

  12. Eric B If I don't come home for anything. I will return home to see Ashley and Earl get married

  13. Gabby E Team Ashley and Earl

  14. Yasmine Ashley and Earl are such a blessing just to know. I hope they recieve this free wedding photography..I hope you get more than that ...I pray for no worries and a beautiful wedding

  15. Stenston Hey Big Little Sis, Ashley. You got yo man. Earl you got a good one.

  16. Kel Roberts I hope the Army give me leave so I can come see Ashley and Earl. This will be the wedding of the decade. Go Team Ashley and Earl

  17. Robert Lee You better marry Ashley. She is a great girl even better to put up with your mess :) Watch out for that ball and chain Earl !!!

  18. Micheal Ashley and Earl is a great plus I'm sure you wanna photograph the dance routine LOL

  19. Jenn R. Roomy... I remembered when you first dated Earl. wow it is great to see you still together. Have fun Ashley God bless

  20. Lyndon Newton AWWWWWWWWWWW my best friends are getting married I am so happy to see Earl and Ashley jump the broom. I been here to see love grow in the two of you and it is so strong nothing will tear it apart Luv ya guys

  21. Danika Hale the church is going to be so glad to see Ashley and Earl unite what a blessing

  22. Carmen You finally got him Ashley ..LOL go girl

  23. Bobby So excited for Earl and Ashley!!!!!!

  24. Adrian Wow Ashley and Earl god is doing big things for yall...glad to see it for myself ..i hope you when

  25. Allie Seagle Congrats, Christine and Ross! I wish you all the best! I hope that someday, I can find the kind of love that you two share!!

  26. Julie Garner Congratulations Christine and Ross! You both deserve all the best and I sincerely hope you win this contest! Best wishes for everything!

  27. Kristin Lowe Congrats Christine and Ross, you two are adorable. Good Luck!

  28. ashley I'm praying you win this Ashley! Congratulations!

  29. amy knox Earl and Ashley you deserve this! I can't wait until the wedding!

  30. amy Good Luck Ash and Earl.

  31. BJ Congrats Auntie Ashley and Uncle Earl. I Love You Both BJ

  32. B L Roberts Congrats Ashley and Earl! God Bless you both!

  33. Kristen Martin Congrats Christine! So excited for y'all!

  34. Carle "Hey Ashley and Earl I WANT TO BE THE FLOWER GIRL LOL!!! Congrats U 2!" Anyway good luck girly

  35. France Ashley & Earl, congratulations to you two...my God bless you always...

  36. Lauren Pruitt Congratulations Christine and Ross! I'm so happy for you!

  37. Kia Congrads Earl and Ashley glad to see my cuz finnaly taking that big step. Can't wait to come from Cleveland to see the wedding.

  38. Karamit Congradulations Earl and Ashley It's about time Go Detroit Lions!!!

  39. Rosie Congradulations Earl and Ashley I proud of you and I know your mom is proud of you. Can't wait to see you take the next step in life. You will be blessed.

  40. Zoe Congrads Ashley and Earl this couple truly deserve this gift. They have been through so much in the last few months and they will really love this gift.

  41. Rachel My T-mobile family doing good Congrads Ashley and Earl

  42. Flo Aww I remember when Ashley was so all about Earl when we stayed on campus at Troy University what a great couple. not many can last with long distance relationships but ya did and still going strong

  43. Drew Congrads to the Thompson High grad and Ohio native...north and south will merge lol ...again Congrads

  44. David Congrads Ashley and Earl hope ya win....

  45. Anthony L. Coles Ashley & Earl, The bond you have displayed has inspired me to believe there are some young couples who know what dedication means. Earl, you have become my brother from another mother, and Ashley, I admire your courage, support, and commitment during one of the greatest challenges Earl, or anyone could face. May the Lord bless & prosper you!

  46. Candace I am so glad to know Ashley and Earl and I know they have been together forever and have been through alot but this gift will really show them that faith is worth keeping

  47. Adam To my Big Sis and future brother in law I hope ya recieve this gift cause I can't wait to be in the pictures just kidding but I sure they will be nice pictures cause yall are good looking in side and out

  48. Andrea Congrads Ashley and Earl!!! I am sure the both of you will truly appreciate this gift. So I pray that you will recieve it cause I know this is the couple that deserve it. Love you both!!

  49. Megan K Congratulations Christine and Ross! I hope you get the wedding of your dreams, a perfect start to the beginning of your beautiful life together.

  50. Kaitlyn Neumann Congratulations Christine and Ross! I wish you guys the best of luck!

  51. Melita Congratulations Christine and Ross! I'm so excited for you both and wish you all the best!

  52. Raleigh Daniel Congrats Christine and Ross!

  53. Jennifer Bromfield Congratulations Christine and Ross! I'm so excited for you guys!

  54. Katie Lanza Congrats Christine and Ross!!!! I'm so happy for you both!!!! XO

  55. Weslie Clark Yay for Christine and Ross!!!! Congratulations!!!

  56. Casey Derrick Congratulations to Christine and Ross! I am so excited and happy for the both of you! I hope you have a wonderful start to your life together! :)

  57. Casey Munson So happy for Christine and Ross!!! Good luck!!!!

  58. Sammi Congratulations Christine and Ross! I really couldn't be happier for the both of you =)

  59. Kristin Vanest Congrats Christine and Ross! We are all so so so happy for you!!!! =)

  60. Jessica Whitaker Congrats to Christine and Ross! You two are so amazing and deserve all the best!

  61. Kate Coggins Congrats Christine and Ross! I cannot think of a more deserving bride-to-be! Your story is heartwarming and it's so exciting that y'all are finally getting your "happily ever after"

  62. ashley Christine and Ross are not only the cutest couple ever, but they might just be the sweetest people I know. Christine is an extremely hard worker and a wonderful people-person and manager as our KAO President. She goes out of her way to accommodate most anyone and is incredibly inspirational to all of her friends. She and Ross deserve the very best! Their wedding pictures will be so fun! So happy for you both..!

  63. Megan Hendrick Congratulations Ross and Christine! I'm so happy for both of you :)

  64. Melissa Horton I am so excited for Christine and Ross! Congratulations you two on this next chapter of yourives together!

  65. Sarah McCormick I'm so excited for Christine and Ross! Congratulations to you guys! Best of luck!

  66. Kylie Saunders I am so excited for Christine and Ross! Y'all are adorable and totally deserve the best!!!

  67. Lindsey Johnston Congratulations Christine and Ross! You guys are super cute.

  68. Ashley Kemp Christine and Ross congratulations on your engagement!!!! I'm so excited for the two of you!!

  69. Taylor Hall Christine, I'm so happy for you and Ross! Love always, your Theta sister

  70. Kate Biladeau Christine that's amazing!!! Congratulations!!! I wish you and Ross all the best!

  71. Katie Hart Congratulations, Ross and Christine! I'm so excited for you!

  72. Caitlin Croft I'm so happy for you Christine and Ross! Congrats! I'm sure your wedding will be amazing!

  73. Kim Arvidson Congrats to Christine and Ross! I am so happy for the both of you and wish you the best!! :)

  74. Courtney McElveen Congrats Christine and Ross!!! So happy for y'all!!! :)

  75. Elizabeth Humphries Congratulations Christina and Ross!

  76. Duane Horton July 21st you gon be the man Earl.

  77. Debbie Horton To Earl and Ash let love last forever.

  78. Amber Horton Eael nd Ash you guys look gorgeous im sending my best wishes.

  79. Amber Horton I love the pictuee you guys look beautiful !!!

  80. Bettina Elder Congratulations Christine & Ross! I'm so happy for ya'll!

  81. Kristie P. Congratulations Ashley and Earl!!!!!!!

  82. Adam aww earl and ashley look like the perfect couple

  83. Adrian L Culbertson Congrats ASHLEY AND EARL, May the lord bless you through the journey ya'll have chosen to embark upon not as individuals but as one. You to will always have my love and support. GOMAB

  84. Faith CONGRATULATIONS ASHLEY AND EARL

  85. Torian Salary Way to go Ashley and Earl! Congrats!

  86. Tanesha Congrats Ashley and Earl!! Apparently I'm late and I wish u both much happiness!! Love, Tanesha!!!

  87. Annie Stribling Congrats to Christine and Ross!!

  88. Kayla Cobb Congratulations! I'm so excited for y'all!

  89. Tyler Bennett Congrats Ross and Christine!

  90. Elizabeth Winslow So excited for you both, Ross and Christine! You both deserve this.

  91. Kayla Halchak Congrats Christine and Ross! I'm so happy for y'all!

  92. Caroline Congratulations Christine and Ross! I'm so excited for you!!!!

  93. Maggie Congrats Christine and Ross, y'all deserve only the best. You are an amazing person Christine and I am so excited for you and Ross to begin a wonderful future together! :)

  94. Jason Flowers and family Congrads Earl and Ashley!!! we cant wait for the wedding!!!

  95. Jennifer mccovey I just want to say congratulations to u guys.... ash I have known u a very long time since freshman year of college and I know that u have grown into a beautiful woman... I know that he is so lucky to have u because in Lucky to have u as my friend... I wish blessings upon blessings to u guys and I know that u two will make this work... I can not wait until I see my friends dream come true as she walks down the aisle and marries the person of her dreams!!!!!

  96. Denise lestef Congratulations Earl and Ash....lol

  97. mykael Congrats to earl and ashley for sticking together, and having each back no matter what was tossed their way.. keep up the work you guys and I know god will see to it that you get what you deserve.

  98. Shatwaina Congratulations Earl and Ashley I'm Beyond happy for you guys, i wish u all the best and can't wait for your BIG DAY!!! Love u guys, God Bless!

  99. tarea I would like to wish you nothing but blessings on your life together Ashley and Earl. I cant wait on the big day. Love you.

  100. Ashley Sanders Congratulations to my twin Ashley and Earl! You two are an AMAZING couple and you been through so much. But, with God on your side you guys made it! I wish you both the best of luck in everything you do. I must say you two are a big inspiration in my life. Ash you already know i look up to you as a little big sister and I'm truly blessed to have met you. (tears lol) Once again CONGRATS! :)

  101. Dominique Congratulations Ashley and Earl! Y'all have proven to be in it for the long haul and I can only hope that I can have a relationship like yours! Best wishes!

  102. Tracie CONGRATS! Ashley and Earl! I can't imagine a more perfect couple deserving of a beautiful wedding. I wish you two the best of luck, NOW and FOREVER!

  103. Tracie CONGRATS! Ashley and Earl! I can't imagine a more perfect couple desrving of a beautiful. I wish you two the best of luck!

  104. Adrienne Congrats Ashley and Earl I wish that you both will prosper and be more successful and have a long wonderful life together. You both deserve this gift and I hope you recieve it love you guys!!!!

  105. Shaneria Congrats Ashley and Earl! I wish you two nothing but the best in the years to come. Keep GOD first and the rest will follow...anything is possible with faith the of a mustard seed! Be blessed. Love yall ~Shaneria~

  106. Mike Congratulation to Earl and Ashley I hope your whole next leve experience is everything you dreamed and more. Congrats and enjoy, you guys deserve it!

  107. Adrian Congratulations Ashley and Earl on being finalists. When I see you two it warms my heart to see God working through you all. You two truly deserve one another and deserve to win this gift!! Good luck!! I love you guys!!! Adrian

  108. Sandra and Alex CHRISTINE AND ROSS - sending love your way! I know Robert is cheering for you along with the rest of us.

  109. Brandon Congrads Ashley and Earl!!!! I wish the two of you the best and a life full of love! It's great to see two people who try to live life right get recognized and have an opportunity like this. I wish you guys the best on this contest and in your relationship! May God continue blessing both of you!!

  110. mariana Congrats to all of them for their love and courage of wanting to make vows to each other and get married and share a life together, that's beautiful :) Without knowing you at all, and just from these pics, I would choose Anshwa and Stephen, no doubt! look at those SMILES! and pretty eyes! such expressive faces! I'd love to photograph them.

  111. Vera Congrats Earl n Ashley...it warms my heart to see young love in motion...may GOD bless and keep you...see you all at the wedding...can't wait...luv ya' your cuz, Vera

  112. Terica Miller Congratulation Ashley and Earl! I'm so happy for the two of you.You are a beautiful, god fearing couple. The two of you deserve this, plus much more. I wish you the best! What god has for you, is for you! Love, Brandon, Terica, and Bj

  113. Katie Long Congrats Christine and Ross!! Enjoy every minute of being engaged. It really is a fun time! Hoping you win this so you can have an easy wedding planning experience!!

  114. Milton I would like to congrelate Ashley and Earl. What a great lokking cuple.

  115. Holly Frierson Well..what can I say first I love Ashley and Earl they are full of fun and great to be around, they're goal driven, loving, and a couple who know what they wany out of life.... I wish them the best towards they future as one.:)

  116. Cheryl Congrads Ashley and Earl yall have been through alot and yall will truly deserve this gift. So I hope you get it. Things keep getting better and I know its because of your faith. Luv yall so much -Mom

  117. Peggy Congratulations Christine and Ross! A beautiful couple in every way.

  118. Amee Fansler Way to go Christine and Ross! Good luck!!

  119. Julia Anderson Congrats to Christine and Ross! You both deserve a beautiful wedding :)

  120. Lynn This day has been a long time coming! I am so happy for you both and wish you the very best!!

  121. Sara Foster Congrats Christine and Ross! I'm so happy for you both:)

  122. Maryann Fillingim Congrats Christine and Ross! I could not be happier about you two starting the rest of your lives together :)

  123. Lily Ross and Christine are the nicest most genuine couple ever!

  124. Jessica Congrats Ross and Christine! Best wishes!

  125. Kiki Ralph Congrats Christine and Ross! So happy for both of you. You deserve to have the wedding of your dreams. Winning this contest might allow you to exchange vows someplace other than Bethesda United Methodist Church :) Best of luck to you, and enjoy the excitement of engagement!

  126. Keegan Wallace Congrats Christine and Ross! You are a beautiful couple, and you deserve all the best! xo

  127. Shannon Pijanowski Congratulations Christine and Ross! I can't wait until your special day! Clemson wouldn't have been the same for me without Christine and Christine wouldn't have been the same without Ross in her heart, which he always was. A modern day love story finally getting a happily ever after! Congrats!