How We Met
Brett and Sage met at a bar in college on a Wednesday night in January. It was not a serendipitous, romantic moment. They were having drink specials, though Brett may have had one too many by that point. He laid it on thick and asked for Sage’s number at the end of the night. Sage called her mom the next day to tell her she met a boy at the bar the night before and he asked her on a date but she was going to say no because he just was not what she was looking for.
It wasn’t that easy. Brett pursued and reached out to Sage like she never thought he would, and he did in fact get that first date. Sage was terrified of how badly it might go, so she suggested they eat lunch on campus at Auburn University, where they both attended college, using the extra money on her dining card. On on their first date, Sage explained to Brett that her mom was very sick with breast cancer. She was giving him the option, and half expecting him to finish lunch and never talk to her again. What twenty some thing year old in the prime of their life would want to deal with a girl whose mother was dying of a terminal disease?
To Sage’s surprise, she did hear from him again and they were together almost every single day after that date. Brett was far from perfect. He rarely washed his clothes, stayed up way too late, lived off of pizza and beer, and he cussed like a sailor. He was far from what Sage thought she wanted but everything that she exactly needed. The couple didn’t have an easy go at it, but that “college boy” stood at the front of Sage’s mother’s funeral only two months into their relationship and hasn’t looked back since.
how they asked
Brett and Sage had a winter trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada planned with Brett’s mother as a way to “get in the Christmas spirit” by surrounding themselves in frigid temperatures and several feet of snow. Brett and Sage travel as much as possible, this wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but they were especially hyped for Canada because it has been high on their bucket list.
They left on December 7th at the crack of dawn from Chattanooga. After one flight to Chicago and another to Calgary, Sage noticed Brett wasn’t being his normal “get up & go” self. He was moving at a snail’s pace, suggesting they go to a grocery store and sit down for lunch. On every trip Sage had ever been on with him, he has NEVER been one to waste a second of daylight and she was starting to become agitated as to why he decided to on this one. He stalled for as long as he could, stopping at gas stations and driving under the speed limit. His mom, in the back seat, was quiet as a mouse the entire way, in fear she would give something away.
As they approached the snow capped mountain ranges heading towards to Banff, Brett pulled off into what looked to be a portion of the national park, with lakes and peaks that reached towards the stars. This also wasn’t out of the ordinary, as he usually looks up places he wants to see before a trip. In a portion of Banff National Park, they drove down a secluded road lined with snow dusted pines and endless views. The first spot we came to, Two Jack Lake, had a lone ice skater on the newly frozen water. The mountains peaking behind the lake made for a picturesque moment, and Sage insisted on capturing it. Brett suggested she hurry and not waste my photos, because there was a better, more beautiful lake just up ahead. They parked in a desolate parking lot that was mostly covered in ice– Lake Minnewanka, a huge lake plastered against the snow capped mountains that embraced it from nearly every side. Sage immediately asked to take some pictures, Brett complied and then walked ahead of her while she stayed back and absorbed the view.
Eventually, Sage walked over to Brett who was out on some rocks that jutted into the lake. She asked him to stand there and let me take his picture. She was snapping away when she began to notice Brett’s eyes constantly darting to things behind her. It freaked Sage out so she turned around and asked him what he was looking at. He never really answered, but posed for the photos and started to walk behind her.
Sage was about to ask him to take her photo when she turned around and saw that Brett was on one knee with a small box in his hand and he says, “Let’s do this” with a half smile, half smirk. Sage instantly fell to her knees. It was a feeling that could only be described as taking a baseball to the stomach and all the wind was knocked out of her lungs. She asked him over and over if he was serious, hysterically crying and laughing at the same time, and after what seemed like five minutes his sweet, soft eyes saying “will you marry me? Are you going to leave me hanging?”.
She instantly wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him as tight as she could, sobbing into his shoulder. In the blissful haze of their newly upgraded relationship, Sage noticed a photographer had a camera in front of their faces snapping hundreds of photos. Sage gave her a puzzled look, but soon realized Brett had set the whole thing up. He had been communicating with Dana, the greatest photographer of all time, all the way in Calgary for months about how this moment would go down. He found her on Instagram and Brett could not have picked anyone better. Dana was hysterical and sarcastic and fit right in with our bunch. Just as Sage was absorbing the engagement, Dana positioned the couple and told them to kiss, and that’s when Sage heard it. The voice that she would know and could recognize a mile away. Little did she know she would be recognizing that voice 1,862 miles away in Banff, Alberta, Canada. “You didn’t think I would miss out on this trip, did you?” Sage froze. Out of the woods comes Michele Hughes, Sage’s best friend from back home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Brett had flown Michele out to witness the whole thing. It was a dream. Brett Baker, the guy who doesn’t even plan what he’s going to wear each day, planned the most extravagant, perfect proposal that Pinterest could not even recreate. And as for Sage’s mom, we have no doubt she was there. The sun set among the snow capped mountains and reflected onto the lake the most surreal bright pink to purple explosion that most certainly had to be the joy bursting from her mother’s heart. It was no ordinary sunset. As Sage looked out onto the lake, she covered her cold hand over her mouth with tears rolling down her cheeks in a strange mixture of sadness and joy, knowing that her mother was fully present in that moment.
Dana, the photographer, toured the couple around the entire next day and photographed every moment. She had Brett and Sage getting out on the side of the road in -3 degree weather, breaking through frozen lakes, and standing up to their ankles in snow, but engagement photos to come from it will be totally worth it!