Renée and Danny

Where to Propose in Williamete National Forest

How We Met

Danny and I met in Oklahoma City in August 2013. It was the summer before my senior year of college and I was working at a wine bar with my best friend, April, when Danny walked in and took a seat at the bar. At first, I didn’t even notice him. It was April that told me that she was serving a guy that she thought I would “hit it off” with. Like any single girl, I rolled my eyes and told her to stop trying to set me up! But, of course, I made my way over to him. We started exchanging small talk when he made a smart comment about our seafood in Oklahoma compared to the seafood in New England, where he was from. Little did he know I was also from New England, so I made a sassy comment in return. He was so surprised! Not only were we both from New England, but we were also both from New Hampshire, specifically! Two small town New Hampshire kids meeting halfway across the country in Oklahoma. What are the odds?? I moved to Oklahoma and found myself a home town boy, and I’m so glad I did.

Renée's Proposal in Williamete National Forest

How He Asked

Danny and I now call Portland, Oregon our home. We are lucky to live in such vibrant and lush part of the U.S. There are countless waterfalls to discover, hikes to explore, and endless amounts nature to take in. So it wasn’t out of the norm for us to plan our Christmas weekend exploring around Eugene, Oregon. We decided to make the drive south two days before Christmas and Danny suggested we get dressed up for a day date once we arrive there. He had our day planned to get brunch in downtown Eugene and then check out a waterfall hike right outside the city. When we arrive at the access road to the waterfall, we find it closed off because of snowy conditions. Danny, still acting cool as a cucumber, insists we hike the rest of the way in the snow. I’m game for an adventure so I agree! We get about a mile into the hike and there is still no sign of the waterfall. It’s getting late and we are in the middle of the forest with no cell service and no other people on the trail. I’m getting tired from hiking in 6 inches of snow, but Danny keeps pushing for us to get there. This is when another hiking emerges on the trail. I didn’t recognize her until she was 5ft from me that it was my colleague and photographer friend, Maddie. Maddie is from Eugene and it was such a beautiful day that I thought nothing of her coming out there to take pictures for her portfolio. This is when it gets good. Maddie starts telling us that the hike to the waterfall is too dangerous and the snow is too deep. Catching the hint, Danny pulls off the backpack he had been carrying and begins rummaging around for some “water” while I continue making small talk with Maddie and laughing about our fate meeting her all the way out here. Suddenly she starts backing away from me like a mountain lion is approaching and I start getting the sense that something is off (finally! Queen Oblivious over here!). When I turn around Danny is on one knee with the ring in his hand. Maddie starts clicking away and I (finally!) understand that this whole “happenstance” was planned all along! There is laughter and tears and surprise and overwhelming amounts of love and joy. After I said yes, Danny pulls out a bottle of champagne for what just might be the coolest photo ever. He planned this whole thing so well and my favorite part is that he had Maddie there to take pictures. I don’t think I could ever forget this moment as long as I live, but the photos captured will be cherished forever.

Special Thanks

Maddie Collet
Photographer