Katelin and Jeremy

Image 13 of Katelin and Jeremy

How We Met

Jeremy and I “met” the fall of 2009 in choir class as freshmen in high school. There was no formal introduction, as we managed the entire year without exchanging words to one another due to a large class size. We knew of each other, rather existing in the same space every day and acknowledging each other’s presence. We only really remember the songs that we sang as a class: Goodnight My Angel by Billy Joel, Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts, and With a Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles. Our choir teacher took pictures of our class during the spring of 2010, and we like to claim those as our first pictures “together.”

Image 1 of Katelin and Jeremy

The following spring of 2010, my family had made the decision to move to Kentucky. I started at a new school at Elizabethtown High School and Jeremy continued at Rockford High School. We both graduated in 2013 with the same goal of pursuing higher education for ourselves. I continued to live in Kentucky and Jeremy stayed local to the Grand Rapids area throughout our college years. I pursued Psychology at first, starting out at Morehead State University, and later graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work in December of 2017 from Eastern Kentucky University. Jeremy began to pursue animation at GRCC at first, and ultimately decided to switch to a career in video production. He graduated in May of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Television and Digital Media Production from Ferris State University.

Image 2 of Katelin and Jeremy

Image 3 of Katelin and Jeremy

The only commonality Jeremy and I had during this time in college was that my neighbor, Ryan, from our Rockford home was marrying Jeremy’s sister, Julia. I had been friends with Ryan on Facebook since 2008, reading their story of how they met, got engaged, and later married. I remember looking at their wedding on Facebook and seeing Jeremy in pictures.

Jeremy walked for graduation around the same time he had attained an internship within the IT department at GRCC. He had interviewed for his position in April of 2018, and begun the internship that July. By the time my graduation rolled around in December of 2017, I had the desire to move back to Michigan with the goal of attaining my Master’s degree. I moved in to my grandma’s house in March of 2018, started to work in the area, and spent majority of the summer fishing at Grandma’s lake.

Image 4 of Katelin and Jeremy

Image 5 of Katelin and Jeremy

In late July of 2018, Jeremy and I reconnected on Social Media. We bonded over beach trips, bike rides, and pizza dates, with my dog Gracie being a great help in scoring the guy! I told Jeremy I loved him first; our first kiss was in the Celebration Cinema North parking lot after seeing A Quiet Place.

Image 6 of Katelin and Jeremy

Image 7 of Katelin and Jeremy

Jeremy asked me to be his girlfriend on August 16th, 2018. Six months later, we moved in together. He worked full time while I continued with my Master’s in Public Administration, graduating in April 2020.

Image 8 of Katelin and Jeremy

Image 9 of Katelin and Jeremy

How They Asked

In June 2020, a year and ten months into our relationship, Jeremy approached his mother to let her know that he & I had connected on a deeper level during the COVID-19 pandemic; he was ready to start planning for our engagement. Since we live together, Jeremy knew he had to be creative in making sure that I didn’t know a thing!

In August 2020, we celebrated our 2 year anniversary as a couple at a campground I grew up going to every summer in Ludington. He has this way of sending my nostalgia through the roof – much like he did with our proposal.

Image 10 of Katelin and Jeremy

Image 11 of Katelin and Jeremy

On October 28th 2020, I told Jeremy that I was spending the night with my grandmother at her house before she left for Florida for the winter. He found this to be the perfect opportunity to go shopping for a ring with his mother and sister for support.

That following weekend, my parents were up for a visit and Jeremy finally had the time to ask both of my parents for their permission if he could take my hand in marriage.

As the holidays are approaching, I had predicted that Jeremy might have proposed on a holiday, since it’s about the only time we are able to be with family, I figured there would be a surprise of some sort coming my way. But of course, Jeremy had me suspecting absolutely nothing.

Thanksgiving passed; we had spent the day with each other and Gracie, and Zoomed with our families. However, the next day, my parents were coming up to visit and put more things in the storage unit we are filling since they are moving up to Michigan next year. Other than that, we had planned a relaxed weekend to avoid contact with others.

The day after Thanksgiving, November 27th 2020, was the day my parents were arriving, and I checked the mail before they had pulled in. There was a postcard from DeVries Jewelers, addressed to Jeremy that read: “Looking to getting engaged this holiday season?” I giggled and thought to myself “oh how cute, he’s been looking at rings!” I showed it to Jeremy and he looked at it with a glare and was shocked to see something like that in the mail! I passed it off as just another piece of junk mail.

Image 12 of Katelin and Jeremy

Mom and dad arrived shortly after and I showed them the postcard to have them giggle along with me. They thought it was funny of course, and Mom made it a point to assure that Jeremy had not asked for my hand in marriage, so I shouldn’t be thinking anything is coming.

That afternoon, we decided to go into downtown Rockford and walk around for the evening, and we wanted to see if the Christmas lights had been turned on yet. We arrived downtown Rockford and the lights weren’t on, so we decided to check out some stores – masks on!

After we had done some shopping, my Mom had said she & Dad needed to run over to a friend’s house in the area to drop something off. I thought nothing of this, I figured they wanted to stop and say hello really quick also. Jeremy and I decided to keep shopping and we would meet up with them at the Rockford Dam. I figured nothing of it because the dam is a halfway point from where we were at the time, and where my parents were going to be driving to.

Jeremy even brought his tripod and this is normal for him because he is a photographer/videographer, he always carries the thing! And I still assumed we were taking pictures with my family even though it was becoming suspiciously late.We had continued shopping and I had said to Jeremy that I wanted to buy something for myself, so I really took my time to look at everything in one store. After no success of finding anything, we headed out.

On the way to the Dam, Jeremy started taking video to keep a memory of the before-moments. Oftentimes when we walk through downtown Rockford, I think of my childhood and the memories that bring me the feeling of “home”. After recording a quick video of me, he had said that he could really picture us living in Rockford. I was shocked because he had never outright said that before, so I asked him why he was thinking that all of a sudden. And he said there are a lot of memories in this town and he believes it would be a good place to raise children.

We reach the edge of the Dam, Jeremy pulls out his camera to gauge the area, and I assume he just wanted to get long exposure pictures of the water. We waited for a little bit, for what I had not known at the time, to ensure he proposed with no one else around the pergola on the corner of the Dam.

We begin walking around the dam, toward the pergola. I still had no clue that he was proposing, so we were holding hands and he mentioned how pretty the pergola looked even without the lights. Once he said that, I said yea, it would be a nice proposal spot. We had reached the pergola and Jeremy began setting up his camera so we could take a few pictures.

He set up the tripod and we had posed for a couple of pictures. He goes back and forth from me to the camera a few times, working on getting the timer right and finding the remote, and the ring, in his backpack. He comes back to me after he starts a video recording of some of the best minutes of my entire life.

Jeremy takes my hands; I was confused why he grabbed both hands for a picture.

Much like in the proposal video, our words got lost in the sound of the dam and we don’t remember what was said after he grabbed my hands. We remember talking about how he had asked my parents if he could take my hand in marriage, and I had mentioned the mail from earlier this morning as a joke. There were many times I looked up into the light of the pergola, to check to see if I was dreaming. When he pulled the ring out of his pocket, a dog poop bag fell to the floor by his feet. I asked him if this was happening right now, because I still could not believe it; he pulled the ring out of his pocket and dropped to his knee. He opened the ring box upside down, which made me burst into laughter and told him to turn it the other way. Because of that, he asked me to marry him twice. I said yes! He didn’t know what he was supposed to do once he presented the ring so he just waited for me to help him up for an embrace. We kissed, we hugged, and we said I love you. Both of our mothers cheered in the distance, and our families walked out from the shadows behind the pergola. Hugs all around; we shared champagne and spent the final moments of the evening around a bon fire.

Image 14 of Katelin and Jeremy

Image 15 of Katelin and Jeremy

I am so grateful to have found a man who is intentional, thoughtful, and sweet. To involve our families, get it all on video, and make our proposal such a romantic surprise, I will never forget these moments. And I will never throw away that postcard from the mail.

Image 16 of Katelin and Jeremy

Image 17 of Katelin and Jeremy

Our Video

Special Thanks

Jeremy Hagedorn
 | Photographer
Jeremy Hagedorn
 | Videographer