Mackenzie and Alexander Ferdinand Engagement Announcement

Mackenzie Kenney, daughter of Kimberly & Russell Kenney of Cincinnati, OH, has become engaged to Alexander Ferdinand, son of Theresa & Paul Ferdinand of Rapid City, SD.

Wedding Date

Saturday, July 7, 2018


On March 24th, 2017 at 9pm, Alex asked me if I wanted to go on a sunrise hike the next morning. I thought this was so weird since I am the one that typically drags him out for sunrise hikes. At first, I said no because we were going to have to wake up at 4:30am to get packed and ready in time. But he kept pushing, so I told myself that I should take advantage of this opportunity since he wanted to hike. We chose to go on the Sunday Gulch Hike at Sylvan Lake.

After getting up painfully early and getting packed, I noticed Alex was being weird and would not let me grab stuff out of my own backpack (the ring was in there). He loaded up the car with it on, ran back inside with it on because he "forgot something" (which was him grabbing the ring from our roommates safe), and then he would not even let me get my own gloves out of the backpack. I thought this was all strange but I was too tired to think much about it. When we arrived at the lake it was cold and we were tired. Lily immediately chased some geese in the water and got wet. It was only 35 degrees out that morning so it was inconvenient that she got wet in the first 5 minutes of our hike. Neither one of us had been on this hike, so in the dark it was a struggle to get started. When we hit the start of the trail head we noticed a sign that said CLOSED FOR WINTER, in nice big bold red letters. Despite the blaring warning sign, we proceeded on what would turn out to be a death-defying hike!

We now had about half an hour until sunrise to get to the peak summit. When we arrived, the sun was just coming up over Black Elk Peak and was absolutely gorgeous—it was one of the best sunrises I have ever seen. I stopped and took a picture and then suddenly Alex was on one knee with a little black box. Neither one of us remembers what he said, and I had chills going through my body and he was incredibly nervous. I immediately responded with "This is why you were being so weird! This is why you wanted to go on a sunrise hike! Everything makes sense now. That is why you wouldn't take my backpack off!" I then realized he was still on his knee smiling and waiting for a response in which I said, "Oh yes of course!" We were alone but I still managed to get some pretty cool pictures thanks to my beautiful and unique ring—Lily of course managed to photo bomb them all!

We continued the hike and we both could not stop smiling which helped distract us since we were both cold. We talked about our wedding and who to call first. We got lost once but managed our way back to the trail. And then the intensity of the hike escalated... We had a half hour left in the hike before we finally realized why this trail was closed. A stream runs through the trail, but since it was winter, the stream was frozen with about 2 to 3 feet of thick ice. Since we were trying to scuffle back up the side of the needles, the ice sheet made it extremely challenging. The normal steps that are there were completely frozen over. At one point we contemplated going back the way we had come, but we proceeded onward. A bit later, we were stuck and Lily's paws were frozen and she was whining (I still feel bad about this). Alex was able to pull himself up on a tall rock which had a drop off on the other side, and the side I was on was a frozen slope. We hooked Lily's leash on her and he pulled the leash while I pushed her up. I had no traction on my side, and he was trying not to fall over the ledge on the other side. I was pretty impressed with our teamwork and ability to figure out how we were going to get out of that mess. He lifted me up and the rest of the hike consisted of slipping and crawling across sheets of ice. We eventually made it out, and the ring only suffered a few scratches on the band from our dangerous hike.

This day is one I will never forget for a few reasons, but it was a good representation of the teamwork and adventurous spirit that is the key to our strong relationship. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my

How They Met

Oh gosh... where to begin. We met in the summer of 2013 at a house gathering—it may or may not have been Paul and Theresa's (Alex's parents') home. My friend, Sam Jensen (one of my bridesmaids) and Zach Bedard (one of the groomsmen and Alex's high school/my college friend) can be given credit for first setting Alex and I up. That night, he was wearing a hoodie with the material to the sleeves and under the rib cage removed. I asked my friend Zach if this kid thought he was Happy Gilmore or something; but despite his questionable attire, we proceeded to talk and flirt all night long. The next night we met up again at a friend's house, where we chatted again all night. At the end of the night he asked for my number and got it!

A couple days later he asked me out for an ice cream date. I was like, well heck yes!! I freaking love ice cream! (For those of you who know us well, you know Alex and I were both obsessed with ice cream even before we met. We both had a really healthy diet in high school consisting of even the occasional ice cream for breakfast). We go on this ice cream date to our favorite place, Armadillos, and folks I was not ready for what happened next. The date went well and as we were leaving and saying our goodbyes, I expected a hug and got something else. He gave me a handshake. Yeah, a handshake. I was so confused and was just thinking, well what is this a business meeting?! I thought this date went really well and then this kid gives me a handshake!! He claims to this day he had to stand out somehow but we all know he is just that awkward sometimes.

Obviously though, in the end his technique worked. I kept talking to him all summer and we were inseparable. From hiking, to lake days, to him taking me down to Chadron to get Austen and Ashley's approval, we spent almost every day together that summer. On July 16th he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend and to this day we still joke that I was just so surprised that I did not know what else to say but yes. Alex left for Chadron in early August for fall football camp, thus beginning our "distant" relationship for the next 3 years. We don't call it long distance because we were only 100 miles apart plus we were constantly skipping Friday classes to go see each other (sorry Coach Larson).

Alex and I quickly fell for each other, which all of our friends can attest to. We seemed to have everything in common, but we were also so different in the sense that I am very outgoing and talkative and he was, and still is, more shy than me. At some point the L word was dropped, and this is still up for discussion as to who said it first. Regardless, from that moment on, I knew he was the man I was supposed to spend my life with.