Danielle and Tyler
How we met
Tyler and I met when we were both recruited out of high school to play softball and baseball at Grand Canyon University in 2010. Ironically, we were both assigned to the same dorm building (Hegel Hall). We first saw each other at mutual softball/baseball events during preseason, we never talked, although I thought he was so handsome and he always had a huge smile on his face. I called him “red hat” because I didn’t know his name (later I found out his teammates and friends called him TK), but my roommate and I saw him around campus and he was always wearing a Cincinnati Reds hat. We officially met on Halloween that year (I was a purple crayon and he was a Facebook page haha), and we just had casual conversation. Tyler was (and is) such a gentleman, we became fast friends.
Season came around and again, ironically, we were both assigned the number 15 on our teams. I’d be lying if I said I don’t believe in fate. Tyler asked me to be his girlfriend on 02/14/11 at the Phoenix zoo. We had so much fun our freshman year, we will never forget it.
We both left GCU after the first year, I came back home to Washington to finish my prerequisite courses in nursing and to finish my softball career at Bellevue college. Tyler went to the University of New Mexico to finish his communications degree and play baseball. We did long distance for a long three years. It was hard, but it’s also what has given us the strong, fun loving, light hearted, and trusting foundation that we have today. He is truly my best friend.
how they asked
Fast forward five years! We’ve been through a lot in the last five years, but we have always come through together. We celebrated our five year anniversary in February of 2016!! This year holds a lot of grace and blessings for us as it is our five year anniversary, the first year of living together, I graduate in December with my BSN, Tyler will turn 25 this year, and he will mark his first year anniversary at his first post-college job!
Well, little did I know 2016 also held our engagement. Tyler let my family and friends know of his plans. He, with the help of his dad Jeff, picked out my beautiful ring. My sister (Katie), my brother in law (Austin) and my niece (Lilah) planned their annual Arizona trip to see us in April. I was ecstatic. We had the butterfly wonderland in Scottsdale on our calendar, because I knew how much Lilah would love it (ok, I really love that place too…)!
I guess somewhere in the mix at my nieces third birthday in March, our family photographer and even better family friend (Rachel Howerton, owner of Rachel Hawthorne Photography) caught wind of the engagement plans and booked a ticket that night to be there! Lucky us.
So, the day (April 5th, 2016) started out with me going to the deer valley airport with my nursing school for a flight tour. I was a little miffed because my family was in town, and darn it, I wanted to be with them. But this was a requirement and it ended up being super awesome. The tour ended at noon and I raced back in time to go to go to lunch and butterfly wonderland with my family. This was a Tuesday afternoon. I got back and my sister was taking her sweet time getting ready, and we are very time conscious people by nature, so naturally this annoyed me! Then again at lunch, my sister was super slow eating her food, we sat there and hung out at the restaurant for what felt like hours. Later I learned that Rachel’s plane hadn’t landed yet and she was buying time!!!!
We finally made it to butterfly wonderland, and it starts with the 3D film about butterfly’s and their migration. Lilah thought it was awesome and was grabbing at the 3D butterfly’s, I sat on the floor with her in the theatre because she was so enthralled! Next was the part where all of the butterfly’s in their cocoons hatch, my favorite part. My sister didn’t seem super interested in this part, and wanted to move into the atrium quickly. I didn’t think much of it at the time. We walked through the dense humid environment of the atrium, admiring the butterflies. We came around to a platform in the middle of the atrium, and I notice my sister and Lilah kneeling down off to the side, so what do I do? I kneel with them and ask “what are we doing?”
And it was then that I looked up and noticed a photographer in the bushes. I didn’t recognize her and remember thinking “well that’s weird.” Then, *jaw drop* there was my handsome man standing alone in the middle with a silly grin on his face. All I remember was my sister saying “you should probably go over there,” because I was frozen!
I had dreamt of saying yes to Tyler and now I finally had. What an incredible feeling, knowing I get to spend the rest of my life side by side with this amazing man. The pictures usually don’t do these type of moments justice, but Rachel’s work sure does..