“The first time I met her family I knew she was the one,” Derek said. “Beforehand I obviously had feelings for her and could picture myself spending the rest of my life with her. I loved her personality and her stubbornness and her passion. But once I met her family every piece of the picture fell together. She was someone who I needed to be with forever.”
They met at Iowa State University’s Livestock Judging Team. “He transferred to ISU junior year, while I had gone to ISU since freshman year. When Derek transferred to ISU, I honestly thought he was the cockiest guy I had ever met! I seriously remember calling my mom and saying, ‘I really love the judging team…but there is this guy on my team who REALLY pushes my buttons.’ We both are very competitive people and only 5 people out of 14 got to mark at the contests so it is safe to say we definitely challenged each other in ways we were not used to.”
McKenna described the way to she slowly fell for Derek. “I think it was just honestly a bunch of tiny moments that added up to me knowing. There was one time when we had just started dating that I got so sunburned and he bought me aloe, Tylenol, and all the goods to get over a sunburn! I remember just thinking how cute and thoughtful that was. I had a big heartbreak and all throughout undergrad I was really good at pushing people away. Derek didn’t let me push him away like everyone else did. He has always been here when I need him in the good moments and the bad, knows how to calm me down when I get stressed with vet school, and is a constant who also challenges me everyday.”
Derek described McKenna as being “determined, brutally honest, and an animal lover.” She described him as “thoughtful, intelligent, and driven.” They both dream of owning land in rural Iowa. “Think white farmhouse. Raise livestock. Have kids and teach them all of the values we both learned growing up on a farm. Once we settle down on our farmstead, I never want to leave that place and definitely want to grow old together there.”
I had so much fun meeting McKenna and Derek last Friday. They are completely filled with happiness that overflows and we laughed and explored throughout their entire session. I am so excited to celebrate with them at their New Year’s Eve wedding this winter!