- Andrew Philibeck recruited his girlfriend’s younger sister, Therese Merkel, to dress like a bush and secretly record a video of his surprise proposal.
- Philibeck bought Merkel a camouflage suit and had her hide in the brush at Picnic Point, a lakeside natural preserve in Madison, Wisconsin, where he got down on one knee.
- Merkel told Insider that she had a perfect view of the big moment, and made her sister Rachel crack up once she revealed herself.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Pulling off a surprise proposal is hard. Doing so while capturing the special moment on camera is nearly impossible.
But Andrew Philibeck thought of everything before proposing to his girlfriend Rachel Merkel on September 21.
Philibeck, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, teamed up with Rachel’s younger sister, Therese Merkel, to plan the perfect way to pop the question.
And, naturally, that plan involved Merkel dressing up as a bush and hiding in the wilderness.
After much consulting with Merkel, Philibeck decided to propose at Picnic Point, a lakeside natural preserve in Madison, Wisconsin. He obtained special permission to decorate a particularly picturesque overlook with lanterns and sunflowers, Rachel’s favourite.
“Andrew and I started devising about a month prior,” Merkel told Insider. “We tossed some ideas back and forth and had the basics down like location and that I had to somehow be there videotaping it.”
When it came to the logistics of how that could be possible, Merkel said she and Philibeck came up with some “re-donk-u-lous ideas.”
“Eventually I was like ‘LOL what if I was a bush?'” Merkel added. “We geeked out and Andrew is the one who really ran with it. I got this text from him later that night, and it was then real.”
When the big day finally arrived, Merkel suited up and situated herself in the brush well in advance of the couple’s arrival. She had a perfect view of the area where Philibeck got down on one knee, and managed to take a video of the sweet proposal while going completely unnoticed.
“Andrew knew I was hiding and wasn’t even sure I was there when he walked down – that’s how baller this suit was,” Merkel said. “He wrote her a loving poem and then got down on one knee. I had the perfect view to the whole thing.”
After roughly 15 minutes in the bushes, Merkel revealed herself to the newly-engaged couple. Rachel doubled over laughing at the sight of her sister’s costume.
“I revealed my organic-looking self by chanting ‘She said yes, she said yes,'” Merkel said. “Rachel was very confused and I was legitimately crying tears of joy because of how special the whole event was.”
Merkel really took a liking to the suit, and even decided to wear it for the entire mile-long hike back from the site of the proposal.
Even though it was her shrub-style antics that went viral, Merkel said she doesn’t want anyone to lose sight of the most important part of this story.
“The bush was one of 4,932 things Andrew did to make the day super awesome and family-oriented,” she added. “Everyone involved in that day was there to shower love on these two and thank God for bringing them together.”
“Maybe it’s not even the fact that I was a bush that went viral. It may just be the warmth people feel when they know how far a sista sista duo will go for each other.”
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