Courtney and Jeff

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How We Met

Jeff and I met online three years ago in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I still can’t believe it. I’m a TV news anchor and at the time, Jeff traveled a lot for territory sales management. I had only lived in Sioux Falls for about two years once I landed a job in news right out of college.

Never in a million years did I think I’d find ‘the one’ on a dating website. Summer of 2013, I was in the dating game and that became the trend among a few close friends. I wasn’t about to judge until I tried it myself. A quick e-mail sign-up, a REALLY extensive profile set-up and, a few hours later, there I was. Based on certain “compatibility” criteria, they’ll feature a guy as your ‘Top Match’ each week. Jeff was my very first Match at 93%. In my eyes, it was game over.

About a week later on June 20th we met for the first time in-person, in public, at a local bar/restaurant. I remained skeptical about meeting someone from the internet. That said, I was equal parts hopeful and cautious — pepper spray in tow. It was 7:30 on a Thursday night. We sat there talking, laughing, getting to know each other until almost 11:00 p.m.

We both knew it was the start of something really, really good.

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I grew up in bigger cities (Scottsdale and St. Louis) and Jeff is Sioux Falls born and bred. He has taught me so much about the South Dakota outdoors from summer lake fishing to winter ice fishing and hunting. Things I never thought I would do! My family and friends thought I was nuts. I’ve taken him to my favorite places including Napa Valley, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, St. Louis, Arizona and more.

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It didn’t take long for me to realize we were better together.

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How He Asked

I wasn’t working on Labor Day so I suggested we leave town for the weekend… somewhere close, either Minneapolis or Omaha.

(What I didn’t know was Jeff had a ring hidden at home for about a month, at that point. He was waiting for the perfect weekend. Unbeknownst to me, this was it.)

He asked what I thought about making it a “double date” trip to Minneapolis with his sister Alicia and her husband, Chris. I loved the idea! Found a downtown hotel, booked a table for 4 at our favorite restaurant Butcher and The Boar and got us some tickets to Valleyfair. I thought I was in control of the plans…

Following our day at the amusement park, we went to the hotel to get cleaned up for our 8:30 dinner reservation. We had some time so we decided to grab an Uber to the beautiful Stone Arch Bridge (a pedestrian-only bridge) nearby for some quick sunset photos. This was also Alicia and Chris’ weekend away from their two little boys; they wanted to go somewhere ‘romantic’ and take photos. She said the bridge would be a perfect spot. Beautiful, scenic photos at sunset? You don’t have to convince me!

I ordered an Uber and we arrive at the bridge. I take some photos of them with a picturesque sky and background. All the while, Jeff is pulling a ring box out of Alicia’s purse behind me. Knowing he isn’t a big fan of picture-taking, I hoped we’d be able to squeeze in one or two of our own.

Alicia takes my phone, starts snapping a few before I say, ‘I think we’re good! I’ll get us an Uber to the restaurant’.

Then… that moment came. Jeff turns toward me and with a nervous voice, he says, “umm, there will be more pictures”…

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(…pause for a few seconds of what the heck is happening right now…) He followed that with some incredibly adorable things about our lives together since we met… I can’t remember any of it.

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Then, he drops to one knee and pulls out a stunning solitaire diamond ring.

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I’m in utter shock.

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Saying ‘yes!’ was about the only thing I remember. The rest of the moment was captured on film by his sister and a young girl with a nice Cannon who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

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This part of the trip was completely unexpected and made for a night I’ll never forget.

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