Family Life

Zach Roloff’s Engagement: From a Brother’s Perspective

posted: 09/23/14
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Zach and Tori's Engagement Photos
Courtesy of Jeremy Roloff

by Jeremy Roloff | @JeremyJRoloff | Instagram

The Day Before:

I was fortunate enough to be in Portland, Oregon, during the third week of April 2014 when my twin brother Zach asked, "Dude, do you have your camera up here with you?"

Curiously, I looked back at him, thinking to myself, "Of course I have my camera!" while also wondering why in the world he would want to know that. He looked around, which prompted me to take a knee so we could speak eye-to-eye, as my curiosity had now been aroused.

Looking back at me with a face that implied I should be able to answer my own question, I got the feeling that he wasn't so sure he wanted to reveal this secret. He seemed to be enjoying himself. This was when I first clued in as to what was going on because I was now looking back at a familiar expression. One that was familiar because I made that same face when I was going to tell someone about my own glorious plan to marry Auj. But this was Zach's turn, so he continued and told me he was planning to ask Tori to marry him on Thursday. I was stoked! I fired back, "Do you have a ring?!"

"Yep," he replied. "Do you have a location?!" "Yep," he replied again. "Do you know for sure?!" Yep, he replied a third time. "And have you asked her dad?!" "Nope... not yet," he replied.

Sure enough, no more than a microsecond later I was running for the FJ40 so we could go tech scout the location and devise a strategic plan. Because why be ordinary? And making things just a smidge more complicated than necessary is always fun. So we romped around viewing a few different locations that could work, but we both knew where it would take place. The other spots were more an excuse to wander around the farm and chat, which we haven't been able to do in a while.

The fire pit, or "gazebo" as it's become known, was the chosen spot for several reasons. One: It had cover. If you're going to film an engagement your lady friend CANNOT see the photographer. It would be a total bust. Ample coverage is imperative. We had a beautiful, vast Oregon countryside stretching far out to the fading coastal range. We would do it late in the evening, when the sun starts to diffuse and its beautiful light rakes long and shallow across the landscape. It was slightly backlit, as well, forcing all the bugs, leaves, grass, colors, and dust ("atmosphere" I like to call it) to come alive. And two: This spot is very dear to the Roloffs and many others. Perfect.

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Zach and Tori's Engagement Photos
Courtesy of Jeremy Roloff

The Day Of

Zach was at work so my younger brother Jacob and I went to do a test shoot. Basically, we just wanted to scope out where they would walk, make sure the camera angle is correct, test focus and make sure the foreground looks great. And I'm sure glad I did. Halfway through, I realized that I was shooting over a clover field. Growing up with little people, I have become aware of height issues. If Zach were to kneel down, I would only see him from his waist up! Jacob and I realized Zach was going to be arriving with Tori in an hour, jumped back in the FJ40 and raced toward the barn to see what else we could find. Circling the barnyard, we were searching for a platform of some kind that would be tall enough for Zach, big enough for them both, but shallow enough that you couldn't see it over the clover field. All of a sudden, as if it were placed there intentionally, we saw a 6'x5' pallet covered with plywood leaning up against the wood shed. Perfect! It was already built. We threw it on the FJ40, raced back to our location and placed it in the grass. It looked a little random, like Tori would question it, but after a few pieces of firewood and a quick text to Zach with a story for its validation - boom - it was good to go.

The Hour Of

Dressed in army green, Jacob and I huddled down in the blind we built. It's always wild in situations like these, how in-tune you get with your body. Right before something magnificent unfolds, altering the course of two people's lives. Your senses are on full alert, conscious of every peep and sound in the woods. You're nervous, blood is pumping and lungs seem to be just seeping air. It's exciting.

And that's how it is for us men. When we know we want to marry the girl we are dating, we make up our minds. And once our minds have been made, we have this little joyous nugget of information that will change the lives of several people forever, but only we know about it. Those of us who have been there will never forget the feeling.

And then we see Zach and he is just bee-lining it to the spot. No messing around, no dilly-dallying with small talk. He is a man on a mission. He reaches the platform and waits for Tori and her pup to catch up. I was expecting a little time, you know, to soak in the moment. But almost immediately he grabbed Tori's hand, bent down and asked her to marry him. Tori was stoked, and of course said yes, as they kissed.

It was truly an awesome experience. It was the first engagement I hid out to film, and I'm glad it was Zach's. We then took pictures and just sat in the moment. Time has a tendency to keep moving and moments seem to pass us by, especially in this generation of technology-obsessed stimulation. So we put the cameras down for a bit and they went on a walk to soak in the moment, letting it resonate just for a bit, in a place where time had stopped for them.

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