How We Met
The Very Beginning
The date was August 23, 2010. It was the first day of school at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. We both had a long day full of classes when we finally made it to the last class of the day: “COMS 101”. The class had around 200 students and was broken into smaller groups called “break-out sessions”. Well, little did we know seated amongst our small group of about 10 students was our future spouse. Brandon, a home-schooled hockey player living away from his family and his homeland for the first time, and Courtney, a wide-eyed small town girl from right down the road, were placed in the same small group. Throughout the semester, they would have candid exchanges, but nothing more than friends. Unfortunately, Courtney’s attempts at flirting were mistaken by Brandon to be teasing, or as he would say, she was a “bully”. This hilarious miscommunication meant the two would not be more than friends throughout the remainder of their time at University. After COMS 101, they went their separate ways. Sometimes, their paths would cross but for a moment. He would invite her to a game, she was always too busy studying or practicing, they’d catch up and go about their lives. In 2014, Courtney graduated and left Liberty to pursue her next chapter, while Brandon completed his degree and continued to finish out a fifth season of playing hockey for the Men’s Division III Hockey Team.
Fast forward five years. As Brandon finished his final season of hockey while broadcasting for the Liberty Flames Sports Network, Courtney was crowned Miss Virginia and went on to place 1st runner-up at Miss America 2015. The story of a former Liberty student nearly winning Miss America traveled back home and Brandon’s crew caught wind of the story. After five years of walking separate paths, Brandon reached out to have Courtney do an interview on their show. On September 23, 2014, Courtney traveled back to her alma mater and headed for the LaHaye Ice Center for the interview. Though Brandon ended up not being the actual interviewer that day, the two did see each other and caught up briefly. It was interesting to see where God had taken them both and where their paths had lead. Even still, both continued living their lives and went their separate way–at least until April 2015. After much coaching and encouragement from fellow teammate Pat, Brandon invited Courtney (whom he had not spoken to since the interview that day in September) to his fifth and final hockey banquet.
Long story short, God worked an incredible miracle and while Courtney and Brandon went five years unaware of His plan, He worked so preciously to weave their paths back together. Though they got lost a time or two, they kept pushing through knowing it was part of a grander plan that was coming true. God saw the beauty of what would unfold one day. He knew when they walked into COMS 101 in August 2010, completely unaware, that two best friends, partners and future husband and wife were seated in that same room together. He in His infinite wisdom and grace brought these two, from the big-city of Mississauga, Ontario and small-town Pamplin, Virginia, together to make a union that would seek to always bring glory to Him!
After their first date at Robin Alexander’s, both Brandon and Courtney knew they’d found something special. They both never wanted to leave and kept prolonging their good-bye’s. Their next date, they talked for 10 hours straight, sharing childhood stories, future dreams and testimonies. They knew God had blessed them with something special. Unbeknownst to Brandon, Courtney had always dreamt of having a lock created with her significant other to be locked forever on a bridge, just like the Pont des Arts or the Passerelle des Arts bridge in Paris, France. This bridge has been filled with padlocks or “love locks” with couples writing their names on the locks and throwing the key in the water to symbolize their loving commitment to one another. Aware of the Parisian tradition himself, Brandon set up a creative and fun scavenger hunt which would lead Courtney to find red roses and a love lock of their very own. Strategically taking place on July 1, “Canada Day”, Courtney and Brandon began this very special journey by locking their padlock on the Percival’s Island bridge in downtown Lynchburg and throwing away the key. You’ll find that the lock and key theme will carry throughout the wedding to represent how the couple started their commitment to each other and how that commitment will carry through to the covenant of marriage they are making to one another!
how they asked
While thousands of miles away playing hockey in Hagfors, Sweden, Brandon worked endlessly making plans to pop the big question! Brandon watched numerous videos and ads to build up ‘calling credits’ in order to call back to the United States and Canada. He used these credits to make the integral calls to (1) the ring lady and (2) Courtney’s father. Nervous but confident, Brandon first made the long-anticipated call to Courtney’s father. Steve gave his blessing and shared the family’s excitement for the couple! Next was to designed the ring. Brandon worked endlessly through email and calls with a ring designer from Toronto, Canada. After what seemed like millions of messages and photos, they finally settled on the perfect diamond and he helped design Courtney’s perfect custom ring! Throughout all the planning, Brandon secretly filmed each stage of the process in hopes of creating this film of his relationship with Courtney and how he would ask her to be his wife! The footage began the morning of his trip back to Canada to prepare for the big day…
After pulling together the final details, the day finally arrived when Courtney was flying up to Canada for Christmas! The couple had been apart for nearly four months by the time they were finally seeing each other. Brandon reserved private ice time (which is a hot commodity in Ontario, Canada) at the rink where he played as a kid: Port Credit Arena. He planned to have his entire family present at the rink. Then, he also arranged to have Courtney’s entire immediate family present too! (The first time any of the Garrett’s had an opportunity to get a passport and travel internationally!) With the help of Matthew (the groom’s brother and best man) and Nicole (Matthew’s wife), Brandon spent the entire day distracting Courtney, taking her to watch a movie and buy ice skates, while anxiously awaiting the evening’s events.
Once they arrived at the rink, Brandon and his brother went to ‘set up’ the ice for the Christmas-time “photoshoot” that Courtney was expecting. While they were out all day, the entire family was preparing a surprise engagement party back at the house, traveling to the rink and hiding everyone in the box seats above the rink. Brandon and Courtney skated onto the ice and began skating around while romantic music played in the background. Still completely unaware, Brandon skated her to the center of the ice. (Quick side note) The couple had been counting down the days until they would see each other again. However, THIS time Brandon said he had a new “countdown” for the couple, “Counting down the days until I make you my wife.” Then, as he got down on one knee, he opened his hand-made ring box: a stack of hockey pucks (so fitting) with a camera secretly fitted inside to capture Courtney’s reaction. While on one knee Brandon asked, “Would you do me the honor of being my wife? Courtney Paige Garrett, will you please marry me?” Through happy tears she cried, “Yes!” Then, she turned and to her surprise their friends and family were watching with excitement the entire time! The couple was elated and the family celebrated the rest of the evening.
The final and most-anticipated part of the story arrived: the wedding day. It was everything the couple hoped and prayed it would be! The weather was beautiful, the vows for emotional and the celebration was full of family and friends! To Courtney’s surprise, she finally was able to see all of the secret footage Brandon had been filming and editing for nearly a year! During the reception, Brandon played their engagement video for all to see and enjoy—it was a hit! The video was such a special display of Brandon’s love for her and how each piece of their story was seen through is eyes. The moment was unforgettable and now he has memorialized the proposal in a way the couple will be able to enjoy for years to come! They hope you are blessed by their story and enjoy it too!