Brooke and Garrett

Where to Propose in Ozark Mountains

How We Met

Garrett and I met our junior year of college at LSU. During a football game in November I was standing in our sorority section at Tiger Stadium and noticed this really attractive guy a few rows ahead. I remember telling my best friend, “who is that- i’ve never seen him before- and he’s really cute!” After the game was over a friend of mine wanted to stop and visit with friends at another tailgate. Once we got to the tailgate I noticed the same guy I picked out in the stadium. One of the parents went around asking if anyone would like a beer, Garrett said, “No thank you – I actually don’t drink beer.” I copped back and said, “Are you even in college?” One of my girlfriends said, “yes Brooke he’s our age!” Those were the first words we ever said to one another. Thinking back it totally explains our humor – always poking fun at one another. We ran into each other a few weeks later. Embarrassingly enough I actually made the first move – I worked up the courage to go up to him, start small talk, and towards the end of the conversation I reached into his pocket and pulled out his cellphone. Garrett was confused, “what are you doing?” I replied, “I am going to make it easy for you – i’m giving you my number.” Looking back i’m shocked at how bold I was to do that – it must have been the universe telling me to suck it up and go for it! Happy that I did – we haven’t been apart since then and it’s been almost five years now.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Ozark Mountains

How He Asked

This story is ironically pretty funny. I’m a portrait photographer and I film weddings (and proposals) with Garrett as my second shooter. We had a destination wedding booked in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas planned the weekend of Thanksgiving. When I found out the couple shooting the photography for this wedding would be going with us – we started to plan a trade shoot – I would take photos of Kirsten and her husband and she would take photos of Garrett and I in the mountains. Kirsten joked it would be a perfect time for Garrett to propose – but I laughed it off and told her that won’t happen because we talked about planning on getting engaged the following year – we were far to busy with weddings to even think about getting engaged right now.

About a month before we were to shoot the wedding in Arkansas – I found out we both had a full week off for Thanksgiving. So I began to tell Garrett that I was planning a trip for us to go to Nashville TN for a few days before we fly to Arkansas to shoot the wedding. But Garrett really wasn’t all that enthused about going to Nashville – I think it was more of something I wanted to do but he was still excited about a getaway in general. After some time I realized that I wanted us to go on a trip that we would both be equally excited about – and that’s when I started scheming. I called my sister Blair and asked her where we should go – and we both settled on New York. Garrett has always wanted to see the city around Christmas time. I booked our flights and hotel stay and told Garrett that we were still going to Nashville.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Ozark Mountains

The day has arrived that we are to head to “Nashville”. We check into our flights and send off our checked bags. Once we got our boarding passes I asked Garrett to pull out and read what his boarding pass says. At first he brushed it off but with some insisting he eventually pulls it out to take another look. He says, “what am I looking for?” I said, “Where does it say that we are going?”… “Newark? Where is that?” I said, “New Jersey?” He just looked at me with the most puzzled face. “We are going to New Jersey?” I said, “What’s close to New Jersey?” He replied, “Jersey Shore?” (lol) I said, “What else is close to New Jersey?” … “New York?” His face lit up. “Wait, really? We’re going there?” I said, “Yup! We land around noon!” And that’s when I (thought) I had pulled off the biggest surprise…

We enjoy our stay in New York and loved touring around the city, the colder weather, and you can’t really beat New York around Thanksgiving and Christmas time. On our last day we woke up and walked a block to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. After the parade we went back to our hotel and packed up for our flight to Arkansas. Thanksgiving night we arrived in Arkansas late and realized that we had yet to eat dinner. The closest thing to the airport was Waffle House. We had Thanksgiving dinner in our hotel room – with To -Go waffle house. And it was so perfect!

The following morning was our photoshoot with Kirsten and Josh. So we woke up early got ready and drove an hour to Petit Jean State Park. I took photos of Kirsten and Josh for the first hour or so around these really neat caves. Then Kirsten and Josh took our photos by the caves. After then we went to this other area of the park that has the most beautiful view with this large flat rocky area that you can look out to the mountains. It had been probably 2 hours that we had already been taking photos but this rocky area was what we were saving for last. I had a nicer outfit for us planned and put on this pretty long sleeved velvet dress and had Garrett in this nice tan wool blazer. We got up on top of the rock and Kirsten had us do a few poses before Garrett suggested us do a pose where I turn and look out the opposite way. Here I was thinking – Oh – Garrett is getting really good at this posing thing! So I turned around and then quickly realized I didn’t feel him behind me – so I turned around and he was on a KNEE!

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I said, “Garrett! What are you doing? Get up! That’s not funny – Is this a joke!?” And he just looked up at me and shook his head and said, “Nope – this isn’t a joke.” I IMMEDIATELY started bawling my eyes out. Sobbing uncontrollably – it was not cute. I don’t even remember most of what he said – he could have told me I was a handful and that I drive him crazy and I would still be crying and thinking it was the sweetest thing ever. But I’ll never forget him say “Brookie… Will you marry me?” Of course I said YES, as I continued to cry and cry.

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I felt so in shock and elated in that moment – I just wrapped my arms tight around his neck and kept saying over and over I love you SO much. Then I remembered the ring – oh my gosh – the ring. It’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s a Heidi Gibson design that Garrett found I had screen shot on my phone. After the proposal we got to drive three hours to our cabin in the mountains and I got to hear all the details of how he pulled this off without me even having an idea that it was going to happen.

Garrett told me that when I went out of town for a photography retreat in June for three nights – it was the longest we’d been apart. He picked up the phone and called my mom and told her, “Mrs. Kelly, I miss my Brookie – I’m ready to get engaged. Let’s do this.” So for 5-6 months he had been planning this proposal with my mom and my best friend. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Garrett and I shoot proposals for other couples and I coach the guys in the planning of their proposal so I thought for SURE I would know when it was coming. And the surprises didn’t stop there…

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We had so much fun filming the wedding for our client at the Thorncrown Chapel and the Crescent Hotel. But after all the traveling and working we were anxious to get back home to our family and friends! When we got home from the airport I walked into our house to find BOTH of our extended families yelling SURPRISE! We spent that night celebrating our engagement with our families and it was the best evening. The entire week was so perfect and ironic that what started with me trying to surprise him with a vacation – turned into him surprising me with the most important question – making it the most memorable weekend of my life. All I have to say is.. I’m really glad he decided to attend that football game in November all those years ago!

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