A spectacular engagement


English teacher Rachel Smith with fiancee Brandon Quezada

Sky Barratt, Staff Writer

It was on a small bridge in Estes Park that Brandon Quezada got on one knee and asked English teacher Rachel Smith to marry him. Smith had been shocked to silence and Quezada’s heart pounded, filling the quiet after the momentous question had passed his lips.

Quezada, who is a Californian native, is a quiet but, according to Smith, surprisingly funny man.

“He’s a really soft-spoken, quiet type of person, but also really goofy,” Smith said. “He hides it really well–his goofiness. He’s really into pipes and wool coats and hats and he likes things that are like old-timey, so it makes him seem more serious than he is.”

Quezada attended Bellicose church and Smith attended Redeemer. They had been introduced by mutual friends who knew each other because the churches are just down the road from one another. They had dated in 2016, broken up for a year, and resumed their relationship in October of 2017.

It was because they began dating again just a few months prior that Quezada’s proposal surprised Smith.

“I thought it would be fall when we got engaged, but actually by this summer we’ll be married,” Smith said. “We’ve only been dating for four and a half months this go around, so it’s a quick timeline. But it’s exciting.”

It all started when Smith invited Quezada along on a family vacation to Colorado. One of her sister’s husbands wasn’t able to join the family, leaving an empty bed. Smith offered it up to Quezada.

“We were planning on doing a lot of family hiking and so I had been really adamant with Brandon [Quezada] that I was planning on having family time and not Brandon-and-I-only time,” Smith said. “He was planning on proposing the whole time and so he was really trying to figure out a way.”

Smith’s adamance to spend all of their time in Denver with family threw Quezada’s plan for a spin and he desperately sought some time alone with her so he count enact his plan.

“I tried probing her with suggestions that maybe we could get up early and go get coffee before everyone else arose or perhaps go for a walk and enjoy the beautiful surroundings in the morning,” Quezada said. “My suggestions, however, did not impress and I they were all met with repeated ‘no’s’.”

Smith’s insistence left Quezada anxious.

“I realized I was in over my head and would need to enlist the help of the family,” Quezada said.

So enlist he did. The family all decided to give him a helping hand.

“[They] helped him by each having individual plans on Thursday morning,” Smith said. “When I saw they were doing that, I was like ‘oh! Well now we can go get coffee because we can’t have family time right now’ and so we went to go get coffee.”

The couple hopped in Quezada’s truck and wound up at a small shop called Coffee on the Rocks that had a half-frozen pond full of geese and ducks. After sitting down with their black coffee’s, Smith suggested he read a passage from the Bible.

“I thought about reading the popularly quotes verse on love from 1st Corinthians but decided that would’ve been to obvious,” Quezada said. “Instead I chose to read the first chapter of John. This is one of my favorite chapters about who Christ is. This scene next to the pond with the mountains beside us and the snow capped Rockies in the distance seemed to me like it might be the perfect spot to propose.”

Unfortunately, others had been attracted to the view and their small spot had become more public than private, an environment Quezada knew he didn’t want to propose in.

“We went next door to a really cool shop that sold fur and leather goods along with a whole host of other mountain wears and goods,” Quezada said. “I became mesmerized by the store and wanted to look at everything. After a little while in the shop Rachel [Smith] reminded me that we did not have all day and would need to get back before long; that we could either stay in the shop and look around or go walk along the creek, but did not have time for both.”

The time spent shopping left only a short amount of time for the actual proposal.

“I found out later that he was really anxious because the whole date was like two or three hours and it wasn’t until the last ten minutes [that he asked],” Smith said.

After Quezada tore himself away from the merchandise, the pair drove down the road to a river. Together they walked alongside it, pebbles and boulders offering a clumsy path. They decided to hike to a small bridge just a little ways ahead, talking as they walked.

“With my heart pounding in my chest and the crowning moment of so many aspirations nearly upon us I could barely keep up with whatever it was Rachel and I were speaking about,” Quezada said.

They eventually found their way to the bridge where Smith noticed that they were visible from the cabin they were occupying. Her sisters faces were pressed against the glass watching them.

After crossing the bridge, Smith was quick to suggest they head back so as not to keep her family waiting, but Quezada suggested they stay and admire the scenery a bit longer.

“She quickly agreed though and suggested we take a selfie,” Quezada said. “She is probably a little embarrassed [that] I’m sharing that, but it is true.”

Quezada suggested Smith post it to her Instagram, but she said there were other things she might want to post and she didn’t want to flood people’s feeds.

“‘Speaking of things we want,’” Quezada transitioned, “‘there is something I’ve been wanting to ask you,’” Quezada said to Smith. “As I turned to her and looked her in the eye I could see the moment she started putting two and two together.”

Smith was stunned for a moment.

“I was surprised, I was like ‘You aren’t asking that now, are you?’” Smith said. “He was like ‘Yes. I am.’ I just was really really quiet. He did the whole get-down-on-one-knee thing and asked ‘Will you marry me?’”

Smith stopped and thought for a moment.

“Rachel was was visibly in shock and disbelief,” Quezada said. “I waited what seemed like forever for her response but in reality it was only mere seconds. She just stood there still and shocked with an open jaw. She eventually, barely more than a whisper, said yes. I said ‘You will marry me?’. She, with more confidence and volume this time, said ‘Yes, I will marry you.’”

The couple hugged, kissed, and had their moment before heading back up to the cabin. SMith realized why her siblings had been watching them from the window. When they arrived at the house, the family were all waiting with a cake.

“I’m not sure what they would’ve done with the cake if things did not go according to plan,” Quezada said. “Luckily for me, they did.”

The wedding will take plane on June 24th where the couple are planning on inviting around 250  people to their ceremony at Lamborn Farm in Leavenworth, Kansas.

“It’s kind of funny, Smith said. “It’s a farm slash pumpkin-patch so the parts that are for weddings are really pretty, but then there’s other aspects that are functioning farm stuff and paintings of pumpkins. I’m hoping those aren’t highly visible, but it’ll be really pretty.”

The reception will include a coffee bar, pie contest, as well as, of course, dancing.

“I’m excited,” math teacher Kelsey Moore said. “I don’t think there’s anyone that fits Rachel [Smith] better than Brandon [Quezada]. We’re really excited and excited to be a part of the wedding.”