Some guys pop the question on the spur of the moment, others take a few months to stage an elaborate proposal.

Dean Smith could’ve easily gone either of those routes, because he had no doubt Jennifer Kessel was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But it took a little more time for him to propose — like, an entire year — because he had 365 things to do first.

He put the next calendar year to use by secretly filming a countdown video, which Jennifer didn’t get to see until family members sent her on a treasure hunt while they were in Aruba celebrating her birthday. As twilight set on January 8, 2015, her sister arrived at her hotel room door with a white board instructing her to go down to the lobby.

hotel room

There, her brother held up another white board, instructing her to go to the hotel bar. Then she was sent to the beach, where she was handed a tablet and told to hit “Play.” Dean, version 2014, looks steadily out from the camera:

Jennifer, I love you more than anything in the world. I know that you’re the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, but I want the timing to be perfect and make this moment special. For the next year, I’ll show you how much I love you and that you’re in my thoughts every day. I want to marry you…

jennifer on beach

We’re guessing the tears started right around here and didn’t stop for the next 14 minutes, which is how long it takes for the countdown to bring them to this exact day. Set to “Marry Me” by Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams’s “Happy,” and “Best Thing” by Anthem Lights, Dean’s video shows how much a part of his life she’s become and how he’s thinking about her every minute of every day, whether he’s just doing mundane things like brushing his teeth or washing dishes…

Getting in a quick workout? Just chilling at home? Hard at work at the office? It really doesn’t matter what he’s doing, she’s never far from his mind.

dean workout

Interspersed between these countdown shots are short clips of Jennifer herself, pulling something out of the oven, cuddling with one of the couple’s pets, even going down a water slide. You know, just living her life and doing her thing, completely oblivious to the big production that’s been in the works all this time. And that it’s all leading up to this:

dean and jennifer

And, later, this!

dean jennifer wedding

And, most recently, this:

dean jennifer and baby

But it all started with this video, shot with a painstaking tediousness that only the most dedicated partner would be able to muster.


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