By Jennie Zeitler
Cory Defoe decided in early January 2012, that he wanted to marry Kari Roering, but carrying out his plan for the right moment to propose didn’t happen so easily.
“I always planned on doing it in the fall, and wanted to do it while bow hunting,” Defoe said.
Roering and Defoe knew of each other during their high school years, as she went to Upsala High School and he went to Swanville. But it wasn’t until Christmas 2009 that they met in Grey Eagle.
Roering worked at the Double R, and after getting off work one evening, she was hanging out with her brother Brandon and his girlfriend (now wife) Kristin. Defoe came in after fishing on Little Bass Lake, and they started spending time together.
Roering had never hunted before they met, but Defoe got her hooked on it. They enjoy bow hunting most.
“I was totally against hunting,” she said. “But he was determined to get me hunting, and bought me a bow the first year we were dating.”
They do more than hunting together, of course. “He fits in with my family really well,” Roering said. “He includes me in everything he does, even if it’s all guys.”
Defoe and Roering spend a lot of time with their families, and enjoy snowmobiling and fishing. “I like everything about her,” Defoe said.
The couple first looked at rings together in August 2011, which started some speculation among family members and friends. For Christmas 2011, Roering’s mom decorated a small tree with rings cut out of magazines.
Defoe asked Roering to look at rings again in January 2012. They were looking for something unique, a ring that didn’t resemble something they’d seen on anyone else’s finger.
“We decided on a few together, but I wanted him to pick it out,” Roering said. “After that I didn’t hear anything and thought he’d probably picked one out.”
For April Fools’ Day 2012, Roering took a photo of her left hand with a ring on her finger and sent it to her mom.
Defoe had the proposal all planned for the bow hunting opener. He had picked out a ring, and left it at the jeweler until a week before the season started.
But the plan didn’t work out the way he intended.
“I was meeting her at the stand and the ring was in the truck,” he said. “Just as I was pulling up to park, my brother called and I was halfway to the stand before I remembered that the ring was still in the truck. I didn’t want her to see me walk back to the truck.”
“I wondered if he would do it in the fall, and did actually think it might be during bow hunting opener,” Roering said. “After he didn’t, I didn’t guess what his plan was.”
“I removed some shells from a box of shotgun shells, hid the ring in the middle, and put shells back in to cover it,” said Defoe. “It was in the center console of the truck for a few days.”
The ring, hidden in the box, was in the pocket of Defoe’s jacket while he and Roering were riding their four-wheeler over to Defoe’s parents’ house a few days later. “Her hand was right on it,” he said.
As the firearm season wound down later in November, Defoe knew his time was running out for the year. The last Sunday of the season was very cold and Roering didn’t want to go sit in a deer stand.
“I kept asking her to go,” Defoe said. “It was so nerve-wracking; I didn’t think it would be that hard.”
They went out to the stand and as deer that weren’t right to shoot wandered by, Defoe waited for the right moment. As it was getting dark, Roering turned to close the window and Defoe took off his gloves, reached into his pocket for the ring, and was down on one knee by the time she turned around.
“I thought, ‘This is really happening,’” Roering said. “We stopped at his parents’ turkey farm first,” Roering said. “We wanted to tell our parents in person.”
Defoe had let his mom know that the proposal would be during hunting season, and Roering finally found out why his mom had continued to ask if they were going hunting every night. Roering had asked Defoe about it one time, and received an innocent “I don’t know,” for an answer.
The couple is making plans to be married Oct. 26 at St. Mary’s Church in Upsala, with their reception at the Sobieski Community Center. The date had to be planned around different hunting seasons.
“I like fall and really wanted to have a fall wedding,” Roering said. “Our attendants are picked out, and I found a dress.”
She is doing the flowers herself, putting together different silk bouquets to see what she likes best.
“I would really like to not have him see me until the church doors open and I walk down the aisle,” said Roering, “but it’s hard to work out with the photos.”
There will be a photo booth at the reception, where guests can have their photos taken and the couple is given a scrapbook of everyone’s photo strips. The guests have the opportunity to write a message for the couple.
“It’s something you dream about your whole life — a big day,” said Roering.