Brook and Danny

Image 1 of Brook and Danny

How We Met

We met on a mission trip to Mexico–actually, our first conversation included him trying to set me up with another boy on the trip. We spent the entire week working side by side, laughing and giving each other a hard time. He came across as a smooth talking ladies man, so when he said he would have to get my phone number before the end of the trip, I laughed it off, assuming he would forget, just like the few guys who had shown interest in my before I met him.

Image 2 of Brook and Danny

On our flight home, however, he managed to switch seats so that he could sit by me. We laughed the entire flight, talking about everything from our families to why we were single. I assured him that I wasn’t interested in dating anyone at the moment (I was 17 and had never even allowed myself to get close to having a relationship) so he pretended to by my “therapist” and questioned me on what I would look for in a guy when I was ready to date and if there was anyone in my life that had dating potential. When we landed, he immediately asked for my phone number and texted me before I even had a chance to leave the terminal.

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The rest is history :)

how they asked

I tend to be a nosy person, so no one should have been surprised when I went through my mom’s phone back in July and saw messages between her and my boyfriend about him buying a ring. After being reprimanded (by both of them) about my snooping tendencies, I assumed Danny would propose when he came with my family on vacation over New Year’s, if not after (based on a series of conversations that took place in that six-month period).

Flash forward to December 10, 2016.

My parents own a Christmas Tree Farm, and Danny and I had spent the past week debating if I should get a real Christmas tree for my new house, as I had just moved and have a very high-energy dog. We finally agreed that it would be fun to have a real tree instead of my 3-foot-Dollar-Store-artificial one and made plans to go hang out with my family for a few hours on the upcoming Saturday before picking out a tree.

Saturday morning rolled around, and Danny told me we would be attending his boss’s Christmas party later that afternoon and that I needed to dress nice–I told him to pick an outfit for me.

I had been planning to make an appointment in my hometown, but had put off calling and was feeling lazy as we drove towards my parents’ house, but Danny convinced me to schedule the appointment since we needed to pick up my mom’s car from the mechanic’s anyway, and that I could go to my appointment and he could just go to my parents’ ahead of me (I later learned that he used this short window of time to supply my younger sister and her boyfriend with all they would need to set the scene).

After decorating Christmas cookies with my four younger siblings, we headed to the tree farm. My mom piled my siblings in the car, saying she would come help us find the “pretty trees” (it’s a bit of a literal forest) and my dad, jumping at any opportunity to drive his antique John Deere tractor, offered to come and give us a hayrack ride into the field. As we drove, Danny and I joked that we finally had an opportunity to take a few pictures together, since we’re bad about remembering to do so and were already dressed up for the Christmas party.

We parked, and Danny told me I should leave my bulky winter coat in the car since we planned to take pictures. I reasoned that I could leave it on, be warm (I mean, it’s December in Nebraska, for crying out loud), and just take it off when we got ready to take the picture, but he was persistent, and I finally left my coat simply to avoid a dumb argument.

We all jumped on the trailer, and the tractor chugged its way into the forest of trees. When we reached the section that my mom deemed “worthy,” we hopped off and started scouting out Douglas firs. I was a few steps ahead of the group, and as I rounded a corner, I saw a tree decked with ornaments and a bow.

“Aww, that’s cute mom, did you decorate a tree for the customers that were out here last weekend?”

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I suddenly felt Danny grab my arm and drag me closer to the tree. “What does it say, Brook?”

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My shivering body forgot about the cold as I watched my boyfriend drop to one knee in front of me and a string of ornaments reading, “Marry me?”

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“Brook Nicole Rakow, just like you wanted it, in front of your family and friends, will you marry me?” (at this point I looked up to see one of our closer friends behind a tree, capturing the moment, as well as my sister, her boyfriend, two of my brothers and my sister-in-law crawling out from a covering of trees, all clad in camouflage).

Image 8 of Brook and Danny

And you better believe I said yes!

P.S. Even though he’s had a ring since July (that he picked out entirely on his own!), he didn’t actually decide he was proposing until three days before it happened…and he didn’t even know how he was going to do it! :)

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Special Thanks

Taylor Schulz
 | Photographer
Brook Rakow
 | Bride-to-be