Brandy and Gabriel

How We Met: Gabe and I met in 8th grade in our church’s youth group. I don’t actually remember meeting him until the summer going into freshman year of high school, because I noticed that he was playing soccer with a little boy and I thought that was sweet. Unfortunate for both of us, though, we were both pretty shy, which meant that the time between when we met and when we actually started to date was long.

I remember our sophomore year of high school we went on a mission trip and one night on the trip Gabe went on a run with me outside. I was pretty sure he liked me, but then I heard he “liked” another girl and I was crushed. Little did I know, that girl was me.

I continued to go to his house a lot to hang out with his sister, and I remember one time asking Gabe (who was on the computer playing video games like he usually did back then), why he always played video games.  I told him he should instead hang out with us. And even though he took my advice and stopped playing video games so much, he never got the hint that the reason I was wanted him to was so he could hang out with me. 

Our senior year of high school finally rolled around and Gabe and I both went to the “goodbye ceremony” at our church for the high school seniors. We all passed around a big card to everyone that was there, and when I got my card back there was a notecard placed inside it that was written by Gabe. It said something along the lines of, “you’re really great, and I hope life gives you everything you deserve, because you deserve a lot. I think you’re one of the nicest people I know.” (and a few more nice things. I felt bad that I had only written something like, “It’s been really fun getting to know you. Good luck in college, hopefully we’ll stay in touch,” so I wrote him another notecard and gave it to him before he left.

After the notecard exchange, we both realized we had liked each other, but the problem was Gabe was dating someone and I was leaving for college, so it wasn’t until our sophomore year in college that we reconnected again. I just got through dating a jerk, and he had just broken up with his girlfriend at the time, so we weren’t ready to date yet but we started to talk pretty often, and whenever I would come back home to Madison we would hang out.

Then the second semester of our sophomore of college, Gabe came to Minnesota to surprise me on Valentine’s Day, and I think that’s when we both realized we wanted to be more than friends.

So the summer after our sophomore year we began dating, and the rest is history!

How He Proposed: Because Gabe and I lived four hours away from each other we weren’t able to see each other as often as we would’ve liked. During our sophomore year of college, we began sending a journal back and forth to each other when we reconnected.  In the journal we wrote letters to each other. Some were funny, some serious, some deep, some talked about how much we liked each other in high school and never said anything about it, and some were simply recalling how much fun we had the last time we saw each other and how excited we were to hang out again.

The journal was mailed back and forth, and sometimes handed off before I left for college after a visit home. The last time I gave it to Gabe was our senior year of college when Gabe had to move to Texas for over four months for a co-op. It was going to be a torturous four months, but we were ready.

Gabe flew me to Texas for my birthday weekend in October. The day after my birthday, Gabe took me to a fancy restaurant in Houston, and then we came home to watch a terrible movie that eventually got turned off. But after the movie Gabe secretly went and got the journal that we passed back and forth. He began to read the latest entry he wrote, and I thought it was a little strange that he was reading it aloud, as we never had done that before.

The journal entry started out pretty normal. There was some humor, some writing about how much living in Texas sucked without me, and other miscellaneous things. But then as he read on, he started recapping different memories we had had, and telling me how much he loved me. He also wrote me a very sweet poem, and when I started to understand what was happening, he flipped to a page that read, “will you marry me?” and after I said, “yes!” he flipped up two rose petals cut in the shape of hearts to reveal a beautiful ring! Gabe had cut a square hole down into the rest of the pages of the journal just big enough to fit my ring, used needles to suspend the ring in place so it didn’t fall out, and covered the hole with the rose petals. It was perfect.

Photos by Amy Rae Photography.