April and Brooke

Image 1 of April and Brooke

How We Met

Brooke and I have known each other since 2004, when we were 12. We met in 7th grade at our middle school. We became best friends. She knew I was gay all along, but didn’t care. When high school rolled around, after freshmen year I moved back to Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was originally from. We lost contact, but after a year we reconnected. We talked every day, and one day, Brooke revealed that she had strong feelings for me. On August 9, 2009, we started dating. I moved back to Florida in the summer of 2010 to be with her.

Image 2 of April and Brooke

We graduated high school in the summer of 2011, and moved into our first apartment together as a couple years later. Now, we live in a house with our good friend Natalie. Brooke has graduated from Stetson University with her Bachelor’s in Psychology and we both currently work with children with Autism. We are also raising a service dog in training, Versace.

Image 3 of April and Brooke

How They Asked

I wanted it to be special because we were coming up on 8 years of dating. Our best friend Kenzi and I planned everything for about two months. First though, I had to get the ring! Once I was able to get her the perfect ring from Kay’s, that’s when things really started moving. I knew I wanted our special friends and family there to help us celebrate for sure. We have a friend Rachel who’s family is very involved with the Athens Theatre in Downtown DeLand, where we live, so I thought it would be perfect to have the marquee spell it out. Her grandma, Rene, got approval for us, so that was done! Brooke’s favorite flowers are sunflowers, so I decided to have each family member and friend give her a flower as she walked down the sidewalk. Along the sidewalk are lampposts, so I got teal balloons (Brooke’s favorite color), taped pictures of us over the years to the strings, and had them tied to the posts for her to see as she walked.

Image 4 of April and Brooke

I also booked a local photographer to capture everything. And to top it all off, Kenzi’s brother Nathan would film everything for us using his drone, so we would have an engagement video too! The morning of the proposal, I was so nervous. Luckily, our friends took over and set up the balloons for me, and distributed the flowers. Kenzi had taken Brooke to brunch for me so we could set up, and was texting me updates. Once I got the word that they had paid and were leaving, everyone took their places. As Brooke walked down the sidewalk, you could tell she was so confused. She kept asking each set of family/friends “What is going on??” As she got to the end, where her mother, brother, and grandmother were, she saw the marquee.

Image 5 of April and Brooke

Image 6 of April and Brooke

I came out with Versace from the side and handed her the last flower, then led her over to under the marquee, where I popped the question. And, as you can see, she said yes!

Image 7 of April and Brooke

Special Thanks

Kimberly Escudero
 | Photographer
Nathan Moir
 | Videographer
Rene Sands
 | Planning