Real Love

By Denise DePaolo // Photography by Elizabeth Lucille Photography 

In the movies, the wedding is often the end of the story. The couple overcomes arbitrary obstacles to get to the altar and pledge their eternal love to one another, and that’s it. In real life, however, deep, abiding love often grows after the wedding. It’s easy to feel enamored when times are good, but when things get hard, that’s when you know whether you’ve found a keeper. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we visited with two South Dakota couples who have been through hell, and came out the other side hand-in-hand. Now that is true love.

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Tim and Ashley Plucker

It’s the great American love story: young couple flirts at beer pong tournament, falls in love, and lives happily ever after. That’s the way it was working out for Ashley and Tim Plucker of Sioux Falls. They liked each other right away. Less than a year after their first encounter in May 2009, they were engaged. Their Halloween wedding was one for the record books, with Zombie Walk photos and a reception full of costumes and candy.

Halloween remains the couple’s favorite holiday, although now, like everything else, it’s all about their three children, Max, Alex, and Sydney. So when Ashley Plucker woke up with a sore neck on November 6, 2016, she saw no reason for alarm. Any busy mother of three deals with her daily share of aches and pains. Later that day, though, the likely cause of that pain, a blood clot, would prove life-changing…

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For the full cover story and to read Jessica and Adam’s story, click here