A future bride had an unexpected twist during her engagement. It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life.
When she was about to face her fiance, he turned to face her sister instead.
Sisters with a close bond
Ashley Schaus and Hannah Schaus are sisters from Indiana.
The two are very close, and despite their eight-year age difference, Ashley has always been there for her baby sister.
She’ll always be there for her little sister
Hannah was born with down-syndrome and also suffered from diabetes.
Unable to live a life of complete independence, Ashley knew that once their parents were too old to care for Hannah, she’d have to take over.
High school sweethearts
Ashley met Will Seaton at a car show in 2010 in Spencer County, Indiana when they were both 16 years old.
Even in the early stages of their relationship, they invited Hannah on their dates.
The sisters are a package deal
Ashley let Will know early on that he’d have to accept Hannah if he wanted to be with her for the long term.
Will accepted this wholeheartedly, and the three became best friends.
Love and friendship in the air
As time passed and Ashley and Will slowly fell more in love. Even Will and Hannah’s friendship became stronger, much to Ashley’s delight.
Seeing her favorite people get along made her happy!
A man who cares for her sister
Ashley was elated that she found someone who not only was her best friend, bu someone who loved her sister as much as she did.
She couldn’t have found a better man.
Dropping hints of marriage
Eventually, Ashley started to feel that she was ready for marriage and dropped hints to Will, sure that he was thinking and feeling the same way after several years together.
It was only a matter of time.
An innocent day out
One day, the trio visited a park outside their home in Indiana, which was just a casual hang-out as far as the sisters knew.
Everyone had a blast and enjoyed themselves, as best friends do.
He got down on one knee…
And finally, the time arrived.
Will got down on one knee and finally fulfilled Ashley’s wish and proposed. Her answer? Of course, she said yes. But Will had another thing in mind.
He proposed to her sister!
For a second time that day, Will got down on one knee, pulled out a box, and proposed again, this time to Hannah!
He didn’t propose to marry her but to be her best friend for the rest of their lives.
He gave them heirloom rings
As a bonus, the rings Will gave both women weren’t any ordinary rings; they were heirloom rings belonging to his family.
He went out of his way to give both women the best experience.
For Ashley, he gave her a diamond engagement ring belonging to his great-grandmother. To Hannah, he gave a ring that once belonged to his grandmother.
He wanted to show the ladies they were an integral part of his family, as he was theirs.
He even hired a photographer
Both sisters responded with tears of joy, and the trio took pictures together after Will had hired a photographer to capture the beautiful and momentous occasion.
The pictures and the story went viral.
Her sister would play a big role in her wedding
After this, the family began to plan the wedding, taking into account that Hannah, an integral part of Ashley’s life, would also play a significant role on the wedding day.
What did they have planned?
Someone else was wearing white
Ashley wore her gorgeous wedding gown while carrying marigolds and hydrangeas on the couple’s special day.
But there was another guest that day who was also wearing a long white dress — Hannah!
Her husband recited vows with another woman…
After the couple was done exchanging vows with one another, promising each other a lifetime of love and happiness, Will turned around and began reciting another set of vows.
This time, he wasn’t speaking to Ashley but to her sister, Hannah.
She didn’t want a material wedding
Ashley didn’t want to center her wedding day on material things like her dress, the venue, or the number of guests.
She wanted the wedding to focus on the themes of love and friendship, which defined her relationship.
The pastor asked the bride to step aside
So on that day, when Ashley and Will were to marry, it should have come as no surprise what Will was about to do.
The pastor asked Ashley to step aside, and Hannah took her place.
Vows of friendship
“Hannah, I’m thankful you’re my sister and best friend,” said Will.
“I promise to take you fishing, tell you plenty of funny jokes, and, most importantly, I promise to always look out for you.”
“I now pronounce you, best friends forever”
After Will and Ashley kissed and became man and wife, the pastor formally announced Will and Hannah as “best friends forever,” with everyone in attendance crying tears of joy.
Hannah was ecstatic!
Time to dance
Despite the rain on their special day, both sisters and Will fully celebrated their new family status.
Will and Ashley danced to Josh Turner’s song “Soulmate,” while Will and Hannah danced to Michael Bublé’s rendition of “You Got a Friend in Me.”
More than a bridesmaid
“She’s more than a bridesmaid, but not a bride. Will and I have a very good friendship, and that’s the foundation of our relationship — [Hannah] just makes the foundation stronger.”
Ashley said about her sister’s inclusion in her wedding.
A fun celebration
After the dances, Hannah smashed cake onto both Will and Ashley’s faces, the group sharing a laugh.
Since then, the family has grown, as Ashley has shared on her Instagram.
A new addition to the family
In December 2018, the couple welcomed baby girl Sadie into their family of three, now a family of four.
Hannah was ecstatic to become an aunt, sure to bring joy and laughter to her niece’s life.
Aunt to two girls
By November 2021, baby Riley was welcomed into the family, becoming Sadie’s baby sister and coinciding with Hannah’s 20th birthday.
The family tends to form strong sister bonds, as luck would have it.
Ashley is also an entrepreneur
When she’s not hanging out with her family, Ashley, a geologist focused on hydrology, is also an entrepreneur. She runs “Happy Camper Blankets” out of her home in Indiana, creating custom designs for her clientele.
She designs home decor and custom t-shirts as well.
Life after a viral story
Since the proposal back in 2017, the story went went viral.
It attracted people for its touching story; the family has enjoyed the outpouring of love and support from everyone as they share their message of positivity and happiness.
An inspirational family
Many families, also with special needs children, sent their outpourings to the family, admiring how Ashley looked after and included Hannah in her life.
They wished the same for their children.
A calm family life in Indiana
Both Will and Ashley live humble lives.
The couple lives together in their home built near Ashley’s childhood home in Santa Claus, Indiana, where Hannah is always close by to see her nieces.
An example of supportive family
Today, the family continues to live in Santa Claus, Indiana, awaiting the next adventure that will bring them closer together as a family and best friends.
All they wish to do is spread awareness about Down’s Syndrome and be an example of a supportive family.