Brooke and Brandon

How We Met

I met Brandon just over 4 years ago in February in Atlanta, GA at a regional work meeting. I was working as a General Manager at a restaurant company and he had just joined as our new Regional Marketing Manager based in Boston, MA (a job I secretly wanted..lol). During our work dinner that evening, Brandon told me about his life in Boston and I told him about my love for animals, wine and being a workaholic that had trouble sleeping. That night I decided to email Brandon and let him know if his flight got delayed due to snow in the Northeast, he was more than welcome to come spend the day at my restaurant and enjoy the warmer winter days in Atlanta. His flight took off the next day and so did our friendship. Between work trips, conference calls, emails and meetings Brandon and I saw each other often and learned we had a lot in common. We both went to school for marketing, enjoyed cheesy 80’s movies, Eminem, Italian food, travel adventures and obsessing over proofreading emails and texts before we sent them. We started out as friends that finished each other’s sentences and soon became best friends that talked everyday. I moved to Boston for work and to be closer to Brandon and here we are. We both travel for work weekly, but we make up for it with travel adventures: from winter cabins and sleigh rides in Vermont to cottages on the lake in New Hampshire to riding ATVs in Aruba to sunset sails in Nantucket. We refer to these memories as #theadventuresofbrookeandbrandon. Basically, our life is hectic, crazy and we are constantly on the go, but we couldn’t imagine it any other way!

how they asked

Brandon and I planned a summer vacation to disconnect from work and enjoy a week together. This adventure found us “down the Cape (as locals would say), then heading off to Nantucket for a few days and finishing out the week in Martha’s Vineyard. Last summer, we planned a similar vacation and it was one of our all-time favorite adventures so we could not wait to go back. After an amazing week, we were ready to spend our last few days in Martha’s Vineyard. We took the ferry over from Falmouth early in the morning and when we got to the island, we immediately headed to the local car rental spot to secure a Jeep so we could take the top off and cruise around the island and enjoy some fun in the sun. Brandon told me that I needed to be ready for the evening by 4:30pm and we could not be late. He said he had something planned before dinner, which did not surprise me. Brandon has surprised me with sleigh rides, horseback riding, massages and ski lessons over the years so the fact that he had something planned that I didn’t know about was not out of the norm.

After we got our Jeep, Brandon recommended that we head to the hotel to drop off our bags and see if we can get an early check-in. Little did I know that Brandon had been in cahoots with the concierge for weeks and already had something up his sleeve. When we arrived to our hotel, the beautiful Kelley House in Edgartown, Brandon asked that I wait in the Jeep while he ran in to check on the room. Although Brandon was calm on the outside, he was very nervous about the room because of our tight time crunch and knowing that we needed to be ready and at our mysterious destination by exactly 4:30pm. Brandon had been working with the concierge to try and secure an early check-in knowing that it takes me a few hours to get ready and up until that morning he still did not know if the early check-in was a definite. Well, not only did the Kelley House come through by allowing us to check in early, but they also upgraded our room to an amazing suite overlooking Edgartown Bay. Not only was the room breathtaking, but it was much needed after we had been traveling all week with a lot of luggage in tiny hotel rooms and I was just thrilled to have lots of space to do my hair and makeup.

After an early lunch and a little bit of site-seeing it was time to head back to the room and start getting ready for the night. I didn’t know what I wanted to wear and could not decide between 10 different dresses (maybe more, lol). While I did my hair and makeup, Brandon took the time to iron every dress and helped me pick out the perfect outfit for the evening (we always rely on each other’s opinions and make sure our outfits look good together). Once we were both ready, it was time for us to head out. As we left the hotel room and headed downstairs Brandon called an Uber to bring us to our destination. While we waited outside, Brandon told me he forgot something upstairs and ran back in the hotel. Little did I know, that he had to grab the engagement ring that he had been hiding and also set up a little surprise for later (more to come on that). No more than a few minutes after Brandon came back downstairs did our Uber arrive and we were off.

The ride was quick, only about 5 minutes from our hotel, but it was much too far to walk (and too hot!). The driver dropped us off at the Edgartown Lighthouse Beach and I still was not sure what the surprise was, but I had some guesses. My best guess was a sunset cruise or some sort of sailing adventure. As we walked down the pathway and towards the beach, there was a beautiful and majestic lighthouse in the background (lighthouses have been a big part of our adventures, especially living in New England). As we walked to the left of the lighthouse, I looked up to see a crowd of people gathered and Brandon said there’s your surprise. When my eyes finally adjusted I realized that there were two alpacas on the beach named Leo and Hot Shot Hugo, with their handlers from Island Alpaca Farm. You see last year, on our very first trip to Martha’s Vineyard the only thing I wanted to do was visit the alpaca farm, but we were only on the island for the day and we ran out of time before we had to catch our ferry home. And the moment we booked this year’s trip all I had been talking about was how I had to see the alpacas this trip! Needless to say, I was so surprised to see the alpacas on the beach. We spent about 30 minutes learning about them, taking pictures and walking them along the beach. I was smiling like crazy and everyone on the beach could not believe that there were alpacas there.

We walked the alpacas over towards the lighthouse because Brandon thought it would be a nice backdrop for the pictures and like I said, I love lighthouses and we visit them during our New England travel adventures. When we got to the lighthouse Brandon said he had another surprise for me and I looked up to see a sign that says “Reserved – Brooke and Brandon (aka Mom and Dad) Love, Presley”. Presley is our dog. A 13 year old Pomeranian that is such a joy and we love him to pieces. Presley travels with us often, but was not with us on this trip and Brandon wanted to incorporate him into the proposal so he said Presley must have reserved the lighthouse for us. The lighthouse closes to the public at 4pm, but Brandon had arranged for it to be opened for us and a chance to be alone and away from the crowds on the beach. We walked inside the lighthouse and climbed to the top to enjoy the view of the beautiful harbor (even though Brandon is afraid of heights).

At the top, the view of the beach and the marina was breathtaking, not to mention the alpacas were still hanging out on the beach! Brandon led me around to the other side of the balcony, where he arranged to have a table set up with a picture of us with Presley, a rose, champagne and some twinkle lights (my other favorite thing!). There was also an envelope on the table with my name on it. Inside the envelope was a smaller version of a sign Brandon had made for me that said “Live the Life You Love.” We had seen this sign in a store window on one of our first adventures together in Portsmouth, NH and although we didn’t purchase the sign, Brandon took a picture of it on his phone and later recreated it and had it printed and framed and gave it to me as a gift. When I opened the envelope and read the sign, he told me that this sign meant so much to him because we saw it on one of our first adventures together and that he never wanted to experience another adventure without me. He then got on one knee and said Brooke you always say, “Live the life you love and the only life I love living is with you. Will you marry me?” He was crying and I was crying and I think it took me a while to get a YES out through the tears and surprise.

I looked up to see a drone hovering on the beach that was capturing pictures of this precious moment that Brandon had also arranged. After a glass of champagne to calm the nerves, Brandon said we still had a photo shoot with my alpaca friends on the beach! I still do not know how he managed to incorporate a surprise proposal with all of my favorite things: The beach, a lighthouse, twinkle lights, animals and our dog Presley. He had the ring engraved with “Our Next Adventure.”

After leaving the beach and taking a much needed walk back to our hotel to take in the moment, Brandon arranged for a wonderful dinner at one of the most romantic restaurants on the island, L’etoile. We had a private table on their covered patio with so many twinkle lights, it felt like we were under the stars. Because I’m a vegetarian, I always struggle to find things on the menu that I can actually eat, but Brandon with the help of our concierge had a special vegetarian dish prepared for me and it was so delicious. The entire restaurant knew about the engagement and everyone stopped by our table to congratulate us and offer us some celebratory champagne. After strolling around Edgartown the rest of the night and just enjoying some alone time, we headed back to our hotel where there was one last surprise (this is the part I said I would mention later). We walked into our kitchen in our gigantic hotel room suite and there was a card from Brandon and pictures laid out on the bar top from our favorite adventures together. The card was all hand-written and it was Brandon just telling me how much he loved me and what I meant to him. After some more tears, we finished off a bottle of red wine and went to bed, our fairy-tale night had come to a close. When we woke up the next morning, engaged, it was time for the rest of our life to begin and I couldn’t be more excited to be marrying my best friend.

Special Thanks

David Welch
 | Photographer
Barbara Ronchetti
 | Planning