Our Badlands Engagement At Night

Jailyn and me, minutes after she accepted my proposal.

To be honest, we had made proposing to each other a casual, fun, daily activity for several months leading up to the real thing.

However, it seems all the practice in the world can’t stay the nerves involved in that moment. It was the single-most important piece of one-on-one communication I’ve ever experienced. You have to be clear. You have to be honest. This isn’t “I guess I’m ready to get married now and, well, you’re here.” You have to mean it. This is it.

I knew she was the one just a few months into our relationship. Our partnership isn’t great because “we never fight about anything!” It’s great because we respect and appreciate each other enough to fight fair and with shared goals in mind.

So when our biggest fight happened the week I planned to pop the question, I looked at myself in the mirror and said “man, I ain’t shook.”

Here’s how I did it.

Anyone who knows me knows of my passion for night sky photography. A few years ago, I bought a Pixelstick, which is a 5-foot-long, 200-LED light stick that can essentially paint or print graphics in mid-air. All you have to do is snap a long exposure photo and walk in front of the camera letting the Pixelstick do the rest of the work. Jailyn has operated the Pixelstick for me a number of times, so I knew she wouldn’t think anything was strange if I incorporated the device into the proposal.

I brought a Bitmoji graphic of me proposing to Jailyn into Photoshop and prepared it so it would work properly with the Pixelstick.

This is what Jailyn saw through the camera right before I asked her for real!

Shortly after I figured out how I would propose, we got a group text from Jailyn’s childhood best friend from Minnesota suggesting we meet her (Laura) and her person (Luke) in Badlands National Park for a camping weekend! I was so pleased that the trip wasn’t my idea as I wanted Jailyn to be surprised.

We stopped at the visitor’s center as soon as we got to Badlands and I encouraged Jailyn to buy all the stickers and patches they had!

Our plan that first night was to get some night sky photos with the Pixelstick, but Jailyn didn’t know what graphic she would be painting.

I think the rest can be explained in the video below.

This was the spot during the day, a few hours before the proposal.
Ring fist bump!
Luke and Laura!
Thanks for reading.