Nathan and Brighton's St. Patrick's Day Parade Proposal

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How We Met: Nathan and I met in 2008 when I was 17 (he was 19) when we were both cast in the local community theater’s production of Guys and Dolls. I was in high school at the time and Nathan was a firefighter for Boone County Fire District in Columbia, Missouri. We dated for about a year before I moved to Tempe, Arizona to attend college at Arizona State University. We realized very quickly that a long distance relationship was less than ideal, so after my freshman year, Nathan made the move to Tempe to be with me while I pursued my education in psychology. The first year that Nathan and I were dating over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday (in 2009), Nathan took me to St. Louis with him, as that was his tradition. We went to the parade that stretches across downtown St. Louis and then spent the evening at a local bar, Helen Fitzgerald’s, having a great time! Every year thereafter, we kept up the tradition of going to the parade, rain or shine, warm or cold (sometimes bitterly cold!) and partying it up at Helen’s that night. Even during our years of living in Tempe, we still made it a point to come home for this weekend, which quickly became one of our favorite holidays of the year!

How He Asked: This year was no different than any past St. Patrick’s Day parades (or so I thought!). We headed downtown to meet our friend Missy, who had been saving seats for us. What I didn’t know is that she had been saving them since 9am that morning to guarantee we got the spot Nathan had planned on us being at! About halfway through the parade, Nathan told me that he needed to use the restroom, but I had no idea, that in truth, he was walking down the parade route, getting on a vintage firetruck, and heading back up to our spot.

As the firetruck approached and I saw Nathan, I became quite confused about why he was suddenly in the parade instead of watching it like everyone else! The crowd began to grow louder with cheers, because undoubtedly, they saw the 8 ft. banner on the truck that said, “BRIGHTON, WILL YOU MARRY ME?” I actually did not see the banner until after Nathan had proposed! The cheering just confused me more, as I stood there still trying to figure out what was going on, while everyone around me was practically throwing me over the parade’s barrier fencing. I did find a way to climb over the rail and stood next to him, as he whispered some things in my ear, and then got down on one knee! At that point the crowd really erupted in cheering! In the moment, I just kept thinking back to the dozens of proposal videos I’ve watched and remembered that the bride-to-be always forgets to actually say “yes”, so all I could think to do was frantically say “YES!!”.

The vintage firetruck belonged to the Rosenkoetter family, of St. Louis, who Nathan connected with through a mutual friend, Shawn, of the St. Louis City Fire Department. The moments following the proposal felt like something out of a dream. Mrs. Rosenkoetter brought a wonderful “bride-to-be” sash, a veil, and everyone on the firetruck was throwing confetti on us! Mr. Rosenkoetter had told his good friend, who happens to be a professional photographer, that “there might be something exciting happening at 13th/Market”, so we were blessed to have some absolutely amazing pictures taken by Daniel Movitz! All in all, it was an incredibly magical day and one that neither of us will ever forget!

Nathan and I are currently in the midst of planning our April 16, 2016 wedding. Both of us are at the University of Missouri; I am a Master of Social Work student and Nathan is a Police Officer here.

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Photography by Movitz Photography