Ashley Solesbee and Wesley Spires are ready to put the past behind them, and they say they’ve found the perfect way to do so.
They’ll get married May 3, exactly one year after they were attacked on Riverwalk Augusta while on their first date.
“The way Wesley put it, ‘It turns a bad day into something wonderful,’ ” Solesbee said.
Spires said he decided to pop the question Jan. 4 while the couple vacationed with friends in Gatlinburg, Tenn. He proposed as they rode a sky lift to the top of a mountain.
“All that I could think about is, ‘Don’t drop the ring,’ ” she said.
For Spires, the decision came easy. He said Solesbee stuck by his side while he remained hospitalized after they were attacked, and he knew then there was something special about her.
Solesbee took almost every opportunity in the weeks after the attack to help raise money to cover Spires’ hospital bills, including selling T-shirts that read “Support Wesley Spires” at area events.
“I can look back and smile when I think it,” Spires said.
The news of their engagement traveled fast, Solesbee said, which came as a shock to the couple.
Just more than a week later, Solesbee said she already has a wedding dress lined up for the big day. The couple have also been set up with a wedding planner, who donated her services, and been contacted by several people offering to host or cater the wedding.
The couple scouted out possible venues Saturday.
“Of course we wanted everyone to know, but neither one of us expected any sort of community outpouring,” Solesbee said. “It means a lot for the community to continue to reach out to us.”
After the wedding, Solesbee expects to move into Spires’ Edgefield home. The recent USC Aiken graduate – in sports science – said she then hopes to find a job with an area school system. She currently teaches autistic children.
Spires, a landscaper who volunteered as a firefighter at the West Side Fire Department before the attack, said he plans to continue in landscaping while he saves up money.
Until then, the couple has bigger issues to tackle.
“We need to get the house in order,” Solesbee said with a laugh.