Natalie and Daniel
How We Met
It was late into the Spring term of my junior year of college at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. One day, I took my Great Dane to the veterinary teaching hospital to get his blood tested to become a blood donor. While I was waiting for our appointment, I saw a very handsome blonde hair and blue eyed veterinary student across the room. I couldn’t help but overhear his conversation and I heard him say his name was Daniel Jackson. I immediately texted my roommate and told her about this very hot veterinary student that was in front of me. She immediately told me to take a picture so she could see too! I laughed but told her I couldn’t because it would be creepy. I then texted one of my friends, Jake, who coincidentally was a third-year veterinary student. I asked him if he knew a student named Daniel Jackson who had blonde hair and blue eyes and was very attractive ;). He responded a short while later saying he thought he was a fourth-year veterinary student from Saint George’s University but he would be graduating in December. I knew Jake would be starting his fourth year of veterinary school in a few weeks and I half jokingly, not thinking anything would come of it, I told him to become friends with him and introduce me. A few weeks went by and it was almost my 21st birthday. Jake texted me and said he had to miss my birthday celebration because his first rotation was large animal overnights and he had to work the whole night of my birthday. I was bummed but he said he would make it up to me and take me out to the bars that weekend. A couple days later he texted me again and said he made a new friend on his rotation. He said his name was Dan Jackson and he had invited him out to the bars with us that weekend. I immediately got butterflies but I couldn’t wait to meet him.
When I met Dan at the bar that night, we had an instant connection. From that day forward, when we weren’t in school or studying, we spent all of our free time together, hiking, going to the river, camping, fishing, eating ice cream and getting to know each other. I knew that in 6 short months he would be graduating and leaving Pullman and I still had 12 months before I graduated. I thought it would just be fun to hang out while he was in Pullman but after a couple months, I knew he wasn’t just going to be a fling. Dan is a Canadian citizen so after graduating he would have to move back to Canada. Long distance is hard, but it’s even harder when you’re in two different countries. When the time came for him to move away, we decided to give long distance a shot. Dan was born and raised in Montreal, Canada and I was born and raised in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. After graduating, Dan decided to move to Calgary, Canada which was a 9-hour drive from Pullman. We visited each other on breaks and when the time came for me to graduate, I knew I didn’t want to go back to Hawaii. I decided to take a break after graduating from college before applying to veterinary school and decided I would follow my heart and see where it got me. I chose to move to Calgary, Canada. We lived in Canada for about a year and then decided to move back to the United States together, we picked Oregon.
How He Asked
Fast forward four years from meeting each other in a dark Irish pub in college, Dan and I had a trip planned to Las Vegas with a small group of friends. Dan told me he had something small planned for just the two us Friday morning before we left for Las Vegas. He told me that we had to leave at 4 AM. I thought he was joking…. At 3:30 am, he woke me up and drove me to a small private airport. I just remember thinking to myself “I better not be jumping out of an airplane this morning”. To my relief about 15 minutes later I saw the hot air balloons. I have always wanted to go on a hot air balloon and Dan knew this. I was so excited! We went inside the building to check in and the pilot told us they had overbooked the flight so we got our own small hot air balloon. I thought to myself that it was strange that out of all the people there, we get our own balloon. But I wasn’t about to question it, I was just excited to fly! About halfway into our flight, Dan asked me to marry him. He proceeded to “accidentally” drop the ring and pretend that he couldn’t find it anywhere. All I can remember saying is “I hope that is a fake ring you just lost”. To my relief, he started laughing and pulled out a new box with the real ring inside. Even after his jokes, I, of course, said yes! I was so excited to be marrying the man of my dreams. Now that we were engaged, it was time to celebrate in Las Vegas!
As if I thought the day couldn’t get any better, it did. We were at dinner with some of our close friends that we had traveled with and part way through dinner I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and I immediately started to cry. Standing in front of me were three of my best friends from my childhood. Tehani (best friends since 4th grade), Quitney (best friends since high school) and Tuscany (best friends since middle school). 15 minutes later, Dan’s brother, John, walks in. I immediately started to cry again, I was so happy to see him. A short while later, one of Dan’s best friends from vet school walks in and I was so happy to see her too! Not only did I get engaged, but we were surrounded in Las Vegas by some of our best friends. It was perfect.
After dinner, we decided to continue our celebration at a bar. After being there a short while later, my twin sister, June, and her fiancé walked in. I was so so happy to see them! Now it was a real celebration. The next morning, when we were getting ready for a pool party, Dan looked at me and said: “aren’t you happy all your best friends are here”! I told him “Yes, I am so happy except Erika is not here to celebrate with us”. Erika is my best friend from college. She visited me in Oregon a couple weeks before and I knew she was busy with her fourth year of veterinary school and she was on call that weekend for her rotation. Even though she wasn’t there, I was still surrounded by my best friends and we headed to the pool party to celebrate.
We were all drinking Mojito’s around the pool and enjoying the hot Las Vegas sun when I turned around and Erika was standing there. I, of course, cried some more because I was so happy that all my best friends were there to celebrate with us. Dan came up to me in the pool and said “OK, now all your best friends are here! Do you want to get married in Las Vegas?” I started laughing and said of course but only if we get married by Elvis! Our engagement celebration with all of our friends turned into an engagement/bachelorette/bachelor/wedding celebration weekend! My friends reserved a chapel for the wedding on Sunday. We got married at the Little Vegas Chapel surrounded by all of my best friends. It was perfect. It was ironic that my friends picked that chapel because a couple years ago, Dan and I were at a veterinary conference in Las Vegas; we were walking around and saw The Little Vegas Chapel. We were joking that we should get married there. Well a couple years later, we did!
The best part about the whole weekend was finding out that Dan had been planning all of this with my best friends for months! He knew how important all of my best friends were to me and he contacted each and every one and told them his plan in hopes they could join us in Las Vegas to celebrate. He told them that not only was he going to propose, but he was also going to ask if I wanted to get married that weekend in Las Vegas! Literally, all of my best friends knew for months what Dan had been planning. Dan told them that if I didn’t want to get married in Las Vegas that weekend, then it was just going to be an engagement celebration. But if I said yes, it was going to be an engagement/bachelorette/bachelor/wedding celebration. I, of course, couldn’t wait to marry the man of my dreams, so with the help of all of my closest friends, I married my best friend on June 24th, 2018!