Michelle and Shane

Image 1 of Michelle and Shane

How We Met

A California Girl and a Michigan-born Boy: Shane and I met while I was visiting my best friend, Maddie, in Arizona. He was working in Phoenix at the time and was invited to Maddie’s house for a bonfire get-together. We bonded over hot chocolate and our mutual love of outdoor activities. Being the shy person I normally am, he did most of the talking. I knew this guy was different as we all stayed up most of the night talking (Maddie included!). My interest in him grew after he talked about his family and the love he has for his nephew. What a catch! A few days later I was grocery shopping with Maddie when Shane texted me. I was jumping up and down in the grocery store out of excitement because I finally had his number. Living in Southern California at the time, I had no idea if a relationship was in our future but I saw a friendship starting to blossom.

Image 2 of Michelle and Shane

After a few months of getting to know each other and growing our friendship, Shane planned a trip to California to visit. He had never been to California and wanted to check it out. Shane got more than he bargained for during his trip to the “Golden State.” A week before he was to fly out, my grandfather passed away and my family planned the memorial service for the weekend Shane was to fly into California. After I explained the situation to Shane, he was game to go to a funeral full of family of the girl he had met only once. What an adventurous, crazy guy! A few months later I went back to Arizona to attend a country music festival with Maddie…and to also visit Shane. During Jason Aldean’s performance he asked me to be his girlfriend. Of course I said yes! Over the next year we continued to date despite living in different states and in different countries.

Image 3 of Michelle and Shane

During that time I spent four months in South Africa in a study abroad program too. We finally were able to end the long distance when Shane found a job in Southern California, close to where I was attending nursing school. We spent the next year and a half hiking in the San Gabriel mountains and frequenting Huntington Beach. Though we enjoyed the Southern California lifestyle, we were ready for a new adventure. Most of Shane’s family lives in Montana. We had visited twice a year since dating and both felt a calling to pursue in the Big Sky Country. Shane moved to Montana while I finished school and passed my nursing licensing exam in Southern California. I planned a trip to visit him around my birthday in August. After dating long distance yet again and a month-long trip in Europe for me, it was such a relief to finally spend time with Shane!

Image 4 of Michelle and Shane

Image 5 of Michelle and Shane

how they asked

The day before my birthday, Shane planned a trail ride on horse back for us and his two co-worker friends. It was a hot and dusty ride to the top of the mountains in Big Sky but it was a gorgeous view from the top. We jumped off our horses as Shane’s friends took a few pictures of us. I turned around to admire the view as Shane grabbed my hand. I turned around to look at him and he was on one knee! I was so shocked and confused it took a minute to realize he was proposing! What a complete surprise! We were both so nervous that to this day, we both have no idea what he said!

Image 6 of Michelle and Shane

Shane had planned a beautiful setting for proposal and made sure his friends were there to take pictures and film it all. He really thought of everything! We took time together to let it all sink in as we looked out over the horizon of endless mountains. Spotting two elk in the distance was the icing on the cake! After almost 3 years of dating, we are both living in Montana and are planning a wedding for later this year. I feel so blessed to be experiencing that “jumping up and down in the grocery store kind of love.” We are so excited for this next step and I can’t wait to marry my best friend!

Image 7 of Michelle and Shane

Image 8 of Michelle and Shane