"To be honest, I never really wanted to get married... until I met Lewis," Manzer tells PEOPLE

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Lewis Brice Engagement
Denelle Manzer and Lewis Brice
| Credit: Courtesy Lewis Brice

The love is reeled in!

During a fishing trip to Alaska, country singer/songwriter Lewis Brice proposed to his girlfriend Denelle Manzer, PEOPLE confirms exclusively.

"I've had the ring for a minute, just waiting for the right time. Then I started thinking Alaska would be a cool place — a really memorable spot. So I booked a trip and a gig to Alaska. I knew Denelle had never been and would be excited to go," Brice, 38, recounts to PEOPLE. "It worked out well, I had a gig and a fishing trip planned at this awesome place I had been before, Lake Creek Lodge. I proposed on the second day of fishing, I don't think she had a clue!"

Brice (who's the brother of country star Lee Brice) adds that he knew of a "spot up the river" with cool rock beds and decided to pop the question there.

Lewis Brice Engagement
Denelle Manzer and Lewis Brice
| Credit: Courtesy Lewis Brice
Lewis Brice Engagement
Denelle Manzer
| Credit: Courtesy Lewis Brice

"That morning I went out with our guide Paul and let him know what I was going to do," Brice says. "I told him about the spot I had in mind and he knew exactly where I was talking about. We headed there after fishing and get out of the boat to take a picture. Paul helped me out by recording the whole thing."

"While standing together on a cool rock bed right beside a running river with beautiful Alaska as the backdrop I proposed, and she said yes!" he adds. "Biggest catch of my life I'd say."

The moment came at a total surprise to the bride-to-be, 32, who — before meeting Brice — didn't have any plans to tie the knot. (The couple met in 2017 at Tin Roof in Nashville, where she worked as a bartender at the time.)

"To be honest, I never really wanted to get married... until I met Lewis," Manzer, now a real estate agent and artist, confesses. "I knew after about a year that he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with."

"Just being around him makes me feel safe, like I'm home," she adds. "He caught me completely off guard! I was so shocked — the man of my dreams asked me to marry him. Best day of my life!"

Lewis Brice Engagement
Denelle Manzer and Lewis Brice
| Credit: Courtesy Lewis Brice
Lewis Brice Engagement
Lewis Brice
| Credit: Courtesy Lewis Brice

Back in February, Brice released his song "It's You" and featured his now-fiancée in its video.

"It was so great having my girl in the video," Brice told PEOPLE at the time. "It was a really cool, full-circle moment since our relationship inspired the song. I loved having her on set and watching her film."

"She was a pro for sure and a stunningly gorgeous one at that," he added. "The whole experience was really comfortable and natural for us."

When the two first crossed paths at Tin Roof four years ago, Brice knew he had met someone special.

"I walked up and asked to buy her a shot, thinking she'd make something fruity like a royal flush or something with cranberry in it," Brice explained in February. "To my surprise, she promptly let me know she was going to shoot Jack Daniel's and, I quote, 'to saddle up.' I honestly believe I knew in that moment that she was my 'It's You' in life. She got me good with the whiskey talk and I haven't turned back since."