NEVIS, Minn. — There are any number of grooms-to-be across Minnesota who are cursing Gavin Becker today.

He has set the bar for proposals too high.

Becker, soon to graduate from the University of North Dakota with an aviation degree, recently proposed to his high school sweetheart, Olivia Toft, by taking her up in an airplane. In truth, it was his family that did the heavy lifting in this elaborate plan, carving a message in the snow on the surface of Eighth Crow Wing Lake just outside of Nevis. It read “Marry Me,” over a gigantic heart.

Ed Becker, Gavin’s father, says the idea came as the family sat around chatting about how he should propose. Ed recalled how his son asked Olivia to prom by painting rocks and spelling out his invite with a message that read “Olivia, you ROCK.” Gavin figured he needed to step up his game while asking his girlfriend to spend the rest of her life with him.

“He’s such a high achiever,” Ed Becker said. “Never asks for help. Kind of a do-it-yourself guy.”

But this time, the Becker family figured Gavin needed the help. Ed, wife Sara, daughter Katie and her boyfriend Austin paced out a design on the lake, fired up the snowblower, and let her rip.

Ed Becker said it took them about 4 1/2 hours to finish the message, whose letters were a whopping 25 feet tall.

Olivia was supposed to see the proposal from a plane Gavin had rented, with him at the controls. The plane Gavin rented was resistant to starting temperatures below zero. 

The Cessna finally started, the couple took to the sky — and Olivia said yes.

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