Ali Courtney’s first impression of Robert Wilder when they met at a University of South Carolina football game in 2013? “I thought he was the best looking thing I had ever seen!” she recalls. Though the then-Columbia residents went their separate ways after chatting throughout the game, fate soon intervened in a surprising way. While Ali was at the dentist a few weeks later, her doc said he knew of a guy who would be perfect for her. When he mentioned his name, Ali realized it was the same fellow she’d met at the Gamecocks game earlier that fall. When Robert visited the dentist a few weeks after that, the doc suggested he take Ali on a date—an idea that he happily followed through on. That first date led to a year and a half of dating, during which the couple moved to Mount Pleasant, where Robert works as a real estate developer and Ali is a model and real estate agent. On June 6, 2015, Ali arrived to Lowndes Grove Plantation for what she thought was a photo shoot for Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant. “As I walked onto the grounds, I thought to myself, ‘what a beautiful way to spend a Saturday!’” says Ali. “The setting reminded me of a fairytale—from the picnic spread with champagne and fruit to the backdrop of the Ashley River and the 200-year-old oak trees.” The “shoot” began per usual, with the photographer snapping shots of Ali in the picturesque setting, but after a few minutes Ali heard Robert’s voice behind her. Confused, she turned around to find him proposing on bended knee. The happy pair will exchange vows on June 18, 2016, at the very same venue where they got engaged.
Image by Ashley James Photography