Jennifer and Nathan

Image 1 of Jennifer and Nathan

How We Met

Nathan and I met officially in the final semester of our senior year of high school. It wasn’t anything more than 2 classmates talking and getting to know one another during class. After graduation (June 2008), we all said our goodbyes and off we went. Towards the end of our first year of college, we started talking over AOL and Skype and we reunited in our hometown and hit it off.

Image 2 of Jennifer and Nathan

Image 3 of Jennifer and Nathan

Long story short – we hung out a few times and eventually started dating during the summer of 2009. If you want to get technical – we were born in the same hospital nursery just 36 hours apart, our families are from the same small town in western Minnesota and we were in the same Kindergarten class too! We have been together since July 2009!!

Image 4 of Jennifer and Nathan

Image 9 of Jennifer and Nathan

Image 10 of Jennifer and Nathan

how they asked

Nathan works in the drag racing industry and I enjoy going to many races throughout the year. Our home track happens to be in Brainerd, MN and a good chunk of our family and friends attend that race with us every year. Saturday morning before qualifying laps, I received a text message from a mutual friend within the drag racing community asking if I wanted to take family photos on the starting line after the race on Sunday. I replied and said that I would need to discuss this with Nathan as he would have already had a long day of racing (depending on how many rounds they went, if they won, etc) and that I would let her know. I also said that Nathan is not a huge fan of taking pictures so it would depend on that too. Saturday came and went by quickly and I put the thought of family pictures in the back of my mind and figured I would worry about it after the race. Sunday morning arrived and our routine on race day is to meet at the pit before taking the car up to staging lanes to get a picture together and say good luck. After our Sunday routine, family, friends and myself proceeded to the stands to watch Nathan and his team hopefully head to the winners’ circle.

Image 5 of Jennifer and Nathan

Round win after round win ended in the Semi-finals when we lost. I received another text asking if I had decided on family pictures or not – so I decided to let Nathan cool off a little bit after the loss, finish servicing the car and help the team load to head back to Indiana the next day before asking him about pictures. Eventually, when I asked him, his response was, “yeah that sounds good.” WHAT?! Nathan is never excited about taking pictures! I should’ve known something was up! So we went back to our campsite and mentioned to everyone that at 6:45 we were ALL going to the starting line to take family/friends pictures and everyone had to go. A few people, including Nathan’s mom and my best friend Megan, were like “Nah, I’m not going” and were told by Nathan’s brother and sister-in-law that they had to. 6:45 came around and we made our way to the starting line and our photographer friend Nicole met us there. The sun was setting, we were on the race track, all together as family and friends – it was the perfect setting for a group picture!

Image 6 of Jennifer and Nathan

First our group picture – that was fun! Next, I took a picture with Nathan, myself and my family and next we took one together with his family. Everyone knows that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pictures and was not going to pass up an opportunity like this!! After we were done with family pictures, I said I wanted one with just Nathan and I but was interrupted by his brother and sister-in-law as they wanted to do their first. I didn’t think anything of it and figured it was better than we do ours last anyways – give Nathan a break from the camera! Now it was our turn! We stood and smiled and had our arms wrapped around each other and next thing you know – he was down on one knee and asking me to marry him. WHAT?!

Image 7 of Jennifer and Nathan

I honestly don’t remember details specifically after this other than the tears were flowing and the answer was, “YES!!!” Screams and tears and laughter came from all of our family and friends and then after Nathan and I had our moments together, we celebrated with everyone else. I kissed and hugged Nathan and then immediately turned and looked at Megan and said, “Did you know?!” She had no clue! She picked on Nathan during the photo session because he kept going to get a drink of his beer but now we know that the ring was actually hiding in a sweatshirt near his beer and he just needed that extra drink to calm the nerves!!

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After it was all said and done, I thought about all of the little things that happened throughout the day that should’ve hinted at something. Things like: his brother and sister-in-law were being sneaky and were more upset than anyone that we didn’t win the race. That Nathan wanted to change out of our racing clothes before we took pictures. That he was totally okay with taking these pictures. That his brother and sister-in-law insisted that EVERYONE come to take the picture. That Nicole, our photographer, was being so pushy to take these “family” pictures. All of the little things added up and made it so much more special. Nobody knew about this except for the photographer and his brother and sister-in-law who ended up recording the proposal and made it a surprise for everyone including both sets of parents! After 8 years together, we are finally engaged! It was such an incredible day!!

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Nicole Clark-Erickson
 | Photographer
Brian & Kim Hildahl
 | Planning