There are boys.
And there are men.
And then there are gentlemen like Scotty McCreery.
The country star more than showed off those gentlemanly traits on Sept. 26, when he asked longtime girlfriend Gabi Dugal for her hand in marriage amid the picturesque mountains of his native North Carolina. So the first question we had to ask — what took you so long, Scotty?
“I just had to wait till the time was right,” Scotty tells Rare Country, just a couple days after the big proposal. “It was definitely more me than anything. I’ve known for a long time that she was the one.”
We all have, Scotty.
But what we didn’t know was that Scotty had, in fact, had Gabi’s engagement ring in his possession for a while.
“We went ring shopping at the beginning of the summer,” Scotty says. “She was getting her car fixed and I mentioned that we should go get a bite to eat and maybe look at wedding rings. [Laughs.] She showed me her favorite stuff and I dropped her off at her car, and [in] the next week or two, I went back and ordered the ring.”
Two weeks ago, Scotty did the gentlemanly thing and asked Gabi’s parents for permission to marry their daughter. “It was nerve-racking,” Scotty laughs. “I think I looped around the cul de sac in front of her parents’ house for a good five minutes before I got the courage to walk in. They didn’t grill me too bad, but they certainly talked to me about all of their hopes for us and for our marriage.”
Once he had Gabi’s parents’ approval, there were just two more questions to be answered — when and where would he pop the question?
“I was pretty set on the spot,” Scotty tells Rare Country of the rock outcropping where he took a knee. “We both have always loved going there. Every time we would hike those mountains during the last few months I think she was definitely on high alert. We would pack snacks and water, and I always would notice her peeking to see what I was pulling out of the bag.”
Finally, on Sept. 26, Scotty knew the time was right. He packed his GoPro camera, the ring and his trusty iPhone and got Gabi to join him on the hike that would change their lives.
“It probably takes 20 minutes to hike up to the top of those mountains, but that day, I was hustling,” Scotty says, laughing at the memory. “It probably took me 10 minutes.”
And yes, she said yes. And yes, there were tears. But there were more tears once the newly-engaged couple got back to the cabin, where Scotty had a very special surprise for his bride-to-be.
“She had no idea that our family would be waiting there when we returned,” Scotty says. “It was my parents, and her parents and her sister, and that’s when she really lost it.”
And yes, there were more surprises in store. As the celebratory group got ready for dinner at a local golf club overlooking a picture perfect North Carolina sunset, Scotty asked Gabi to take a listen to something.
Prepare to swoon, McCreerians.
“I ended up playing her the song I had written for her,” Scotty recalls. “I had thought that maybe I would wait for our wedding day, but I just felt the time was right. It was a very sweet moment.”