When they were in the fourth grade, Graceann Gavigan and Griffin Braun had crushes on each other. As those puppy love feelings faded, the two continued their friendship but weren’t super close. Following high school graduation, Gavigan attended Ball State University to study nursing, and Braun went to Ohio University to study civil engineering. After the first year of college, the two came back home. When they reconnected, those fourth-grade feelings resurfaced.
“Something just clicked,” says Gavigan. “We had grown so much, and yet it was so easy and comfortable being ourselves.”
They began dating during their sophomore year of college, and it wasn’t long before matrimony entered the conversation. Three years later, in May 2021, the pair went to California to visit Braun’s sister and hike at Yosemite National Park. On an overcast day, the pair took off on a short hike to Taft Point. Though rain was in the forecast, the clouds began to part by the time they reached the mountaintop. As the couple locked hands and stood in awe of the breathtaking scenery, Braun declared his love for his girl. Only he didn’t stop there.
“I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” he said as he dropped to one knee and reached into his pocket.
Gavigan’s mouth dropped open when she realized what was happening.
“You’re kidding!” she said as tears began to flow.
Adjacent tourists noticed what was happening, and when he slipped the ring on her finger, they cheered.
“Even though I knew a proposal was coming at some point, I was in complete shock when it happened that day — on top of a mountain!” says Gavigan.
She chuckles at the fact that the hike almost didn’t happen because the day before, they had endured a 19-mile trek, leaving Gavigan sore and tired with blisters covering her feet.
“I didn’t want to set out on another hike in that condition, but his sister was like, ‘Nope! We’re getting you Band-Aids, and we’re going!” says Gavigan.
As she gazed at the sparkler on her hand, it now made sense why her soon-to-be sister-in-law was so insistent.
The couple is planning a May 13, 2022, wedding at St. Julie Billiart in Hamilton. (Yes, it’s Friday the 13th, but it’s also 513 Day, so that’s good mojo.) The reception will take place at the recently-built Hanover Reserve.
“It’ll be a big wedding since we both have large, loving families,” says Gavigan, a pediatric nurse. “It was either keep it very small or go big or go home. So we are going with a big, fun wedding!”
Braun, who is in the Air Force ROTC at Ohio University, will graduate from college two weeks before the nuptials. He will then have a bit of time off before he leaves for pilot training. (That location is still to be determined, since he could be stationed anywhere in the U.S.) Until then, the couple plans to live in the Cincinnati area.
Though COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on weddings for the past 18 months, the couple is hoping that come spring, the pandemic will be over. Though the future is uncertain, their relationship is rock solid, much like the mountain where they pledged their devotion. So should wedding plans change, they’ll roll with it.
“With him being in the Air Force, I’m learning how to go with the flow,” says Gavigan. “Honestly, as long as we’re able to get married and be together, that’s all that matters.”