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Oxford and Beyond

Couple’s dog, Ivy, at heart of marriage proposal for future Miami Mergers

But how would Brandon Storey ’19 get Ivy to the Rockies without spoiling the surprise?

Dog Ivy enjoys a moment with the happy couple after the wedding proposal
Miami University alumni Brandon Storey '19 and Kimmi Morakis '19 enjoy a special moment together with their dog, Ivy, after the proposal (submitted photos).
Oxford and Beyond

Couple’s dog, Ivy, at heart of marriage proposal for future Miami Mergers

Miami University alumni Brandon Storey '19 and Kimmi Morakis '19 enjoy a special moment together with their dog, Ivy, after the proposal (submitted photos).

When it came to proposing to his longtime girlfriend, Miami University alumnus Brandon Storey ’19 wanted to involve the couple’s mini golden retriever, Ivy.

She was at the center of their lives, so it was only right she should be at the heart of their proposal, too. But how would Storey get the adorable 26-pound dog to the Rocky Mountains without spoiling the surprise for his sweetheart, Kimmi Morakis ’19?

The solution? Storey’s brother, Scott ’21.

It all went off without a hitch, mostly, and in October, the couple will officially become Miami Mergers — the latest in a long line of mergers on Storey’s side of the family. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s back up to find out more about the couple and Ivy, and how she was named after that other Ivy, the popular golden retriever owned by Miami University President Gregory Crawford and University Ambassador Dr. Renate Crawford.

Brandon Storey proposes to Kimmi Morakis with the help of Ivy.
Brandon Storey proposes to Kimmi Morakis with the help of Ivy.

The Chicago couple met as first-year students at Miami, where he majored in Finance with an Analytics minor and she in Gerontology with a Marketing minor. 

They were drawn to each other at an off-campus party, where both showed up wearing the same Cincinnati Bengals jersey, No. 85, which is what led Brandon to strike up a conversation with her.

They became good friends but didn’t start dating until their senior year. “By the time we got engaged, we had been together for over five years,” she said.

Ivy entered the picture a year before the July 2023 proposal in Colorado.

“When we got Ivy, she instantly became a huge part of our lives, and I knew I wanted her to be part of the proposal,” Storey said. “I love traveling and have loved bringing her to different cities but had always driven her with Kimmi.”

The happy trio after the proposal
Storey, Morakis, and Ivy enjoy a moment together after the proposal.

He purchased the ring but still needed to work out the details of how he would ask her to marry him. Then he got an idea.

“Kimmi and I had bought tickets to Caamp, a folk band (from Ohio) that was playing at Red Rocks in Denver in July, and I knew this was the right chance,” he recalled. “The Rockies are a beautiful part of the world and have exquisite views that can often be private. The perfect place for a proposal.

“Plus,” he added, “Kimmi wouldn't think much of it since she was the one who bought the concert tickets!”

But there was still the issue of how to sneak Ivy to Colorado from Chicago.

Enter Scott Storey.

The night before the proposal, Brandon's younger brother would fly from Dallas to Chicago, pick up Ivy, then fly with her to Denver. 

The couple had arrived in Denver earlier that day for the concert that night. They were excited for the show, but Storey had something else on his mind.

“I was receiving texts from Scott that the travel plans were not going smoothly. Delayed flights, traffic, etc.,” he said. “Right before the show starts, I get a text from Scott saying he and Ivy had boarded. As the band entered the stage, I took a sigh of relief knowing my wild plan might actually work out!”

And it did.

Scott and Ivy were in place at the set time near Lake Isabelle outside Boulder, when after a hike, Brandon called out, “Ivy, come!” 

Ivy came, sporting a bandana that read, “Will you marry my dad?” Brandon got down on his knee and popped the question.

Her reaction?

“CONFUSED! It took me a solid minute to put together why Ivy was in Colorado — or how she got there for that matter! Poor Brandon was on his knee for at least a minute before I could formally say ‘Yes!’ Once the confusion wore off, I was over the moon.” 

Brandon Storey, Scott Storey (center), and Kimmi Morakis stand together with Ivy.

They will be married on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in late October. Ten Miami alumni will be part of the 17-member wedding party, including Scott as best man.

Ivy won’t be there because the ceremony is in a church and they will be leaving for their honeymoon afterward, but she will be included in some personal touches.

Morakis said that while she never had a chance to meet the Crawfords’ Ivy when at Miami, they follow Miami’s Instagram page and love whenever Ivy is featured. Originally they wanted a boy dog, she noted, but “once we fell in love with a girl puppy, we knew we had to pivot, and the name Ivy fits her perfectly.”

It’s just another connection to their beloved alma mater, where so many family, friends, and even neighbors have attended.

“Becoming a Merger was never anything I had planned on my roadmap of life but is something I can be proud of and something I can be extremely thankful for," Storey said. "I think I am really just thankful for Miami fostering the type of setting for me to bump into a Southern girl from Georgia in the same Bengals jersey that I happened to be wearing."

As for Morakis, she grew up in Atlanta, 499 miles from Oxford, Ohio, but ironically her neighbors, Jeff and Jen Hammill, are Miami Mergers, too.

“I spent many years babysitting their kids, and they became like family to me. Throughout the years of knowing them, I remember them receiving a Valentine each year from Miami and seeing it proudly displayed in their home,” she said. “When I made the decision to attend Miami, they were some of the first people I told.

“I remember Jeff explicitly saying, ‘Watch out, you may meet your future husband!’ As an 18-year-old, I brushed off that comment … Guess I can finally admit he was right!”

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