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brittany & dylan: the proposal story

Hint: if you’re viewing the video on an iPhone, turn your phone sideways to view the pictures big and pretty!

I thought about telling Brittany and Dylan’s story throughout the video, but it’s the kind of story that needs to be told all at once for full impact. SO, I will start from the very beginning đŸ˜‰

I’ve known Brittany and Dylan for what seems like FOREVER. The three of us went to the Eastman School of Music together from 2008-2010, and they’ve both been in front of my camera before (once for Dylan’s headshots, once for Brittany’s headshots, and twice for Brittany’s bassoon quartet). We’ve shared a lot of fun memories…for example, the time that Dylan locked his keys in his car during his first photo session and we hung out at a park on our lunch break. đŸ˜‰ I’ve always admired them as a supercouple, and so I was ecstatic to find out that the three of us would all be together again for the summer as students at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

One day in the first week of the festival, I ran into the two of them at a coffee shop downtown. Brittany left to go to the restroom, and Dylan told me he might have a “secret photo job” for me. In my stupidity, it took me until Dylan started walking out the door for me to realize what he was talking about. PROPOSAL PICTURES!! He hadn’t set a date yet, but I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I was SUCH a good secret keeper, guys. I even had a one-on-one talk with Brittany about the possibility of Dylan popping the question…but she told me she thought they would wait awhile before getting engaged. She honestly had no idea, and I kept a great poker face.

Shortly after, Dylan contacted me again to tell me that the ring had arrived ahead of schedule and he was ready to go. The three of us happened to be free on the same day, and the weather forecast showed a 0% chance of rain (both of those things are super rare occurrences in Aspen). So, Dylan and I met and started to hatch a plan for how he would propose.

When we brainstormed photogenic locations, Maroon Bells was one of the first places to come to mind. Since neither of them had been to Aspen before, they hadn’t yet visited. In my last summer here, visiting Maroon Bells was one of my favorite activities (it’s basically heaven on earth). Getting there is a little complicated, but Dylan’s friend happened to have a car pass that he could use.

Dylan and I decided to take a first visit on our own to plan. So, while Dylan was “at rehearsal,” he took the bus with me all the way out, and we figured out how the proposal would work. There’s no cell service in Maroon Bells, so all the plans had to be solidified before Brittany arrived. Dylan decided that he would tell Brittany they were going to a nice restaurant for dinner so that she would dress up. Then they would “check out” the Bells (a valid excuse because she had never been before, and it’s a popular tourist destination). I knew that the second Brittany saw me there, she would realize what was happening, so I came prepared in a hoodie and hiking pants to blend in with the other people at the park.

I was facing away from the entrance so that I wouldn’t give myself away, but that meant I couldn’t see when they arrived. Because of that, we set a time that Dylan would arrive with Brittany. Well, I was so nervous/excited for them that I couldn’t do anything but sit there. At first they didn’t show and I figured they were just running late…but 45 minutes later, still nothing. I started to worry that something had gone wrong and I couldn’t communicate with them.

Finally, Dylan came down the path yelling my name. I was so confused as to why he was there without Brittany! As it turned out, nothing was wrong– Brittany was just cold and Dylan couldn’t give her his jacket because the ring was in the pocket! It had gotten pretty chilly when the sun started going down, and she didn’t want to be the only visitor wearing fancy clothes when everyone else was there to hike. Dylan didn’t know what to do, so he had come down to ask me what our Plan B was.

“There is no Plan B,” I told him. đŸ˜‰ “Use your manpower!” So he told her that he had something really special to show her down by the lake, and in a few minutes Brittany was finally there, and Dylan dropped to one knee.

When he proposed, Brittany was SO surprised!! Her reaction was so funny and special all at the same time. I kept clicking the shutter in between my own laughter and tears…everything worked out so perfectly in the end! A group of nearby hikers cheered when Brittany said yes, and they even came over to share some wine they had brought.

After the proposal, we drove down-valley to catch some of the great sunshine at the end of the evening. Brittany loved hearing the whole story of how many secrets Dylan had kept, and how many people had helped him in his proposal. She was so cute– she kept saying, “Are you SURE you want to marry me?!”

They ended the night at a cozy restaurant in Aspen, complete with two glasses of champagne. I’ve never seen either of them more happy (or relieved, in Dylan’s case!) I so enjoyed being a part of their special day, and I cannot WAIT for their wedding next year!


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