Ryan and Ali's Proposal at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Ryan and Ali_6

how we met

Initially we met in 2004 as freshman at the same high school in the western suburbs of Chicago. We became friends through classes, parties, and other activities but never really fully connected and got to know each other. When it came time to head to college, I went to school in Missouri and Ryan in Wisconsin. Luckily, one of Ryan’s friends from high school ended up at the same college as I did. Ryan visited him a few times throughout college and it allowed us to keep in touch and see each other a few times in college. Neither of us ever thought anything would come from our continued friendship. Then one night during the summer after college, we ran into each other at a bar in our hometown. We reconnected and from there our friendship grew quickly into a serious relationship.

Ryan and Ali_1

how they asked

It was an absolutely perfect day in the middle of September in Chicago. The forecast had been calling for rain and storms all week, which I later found out Ryan was checking on an hourly basis for about a month, but it was quite the opposite. I was under the impression that we would be starting this beautiful fall day by meeting Ryan’s parents for an early lunch at Hotel Lincoln near Lincoln Park. Along the way, Ryan received a call from his mother letting him know that they were running late. I thought nothing of it, so when Ryan suggested we walk through the park to pass the time I figured he just wanted to enjoy one of the last nice days before a brutal Chicago winter!

Ryan and Ali_2

As we walked through the park, everything seemed normal (Although Ryan later told me that his heart was beating out of his chest and his hand checked his pocket for the ring too many times to count.) Just as we were about to exit the park and make our way towards Hotel Lincoln just a block away, Ryan took me out on a pier that juts out to a lake in the park. Before I knew it, Ryan was down on one knee.

Ryan and Ali_7

Ryan and Ali_3

I was so caught off guard my first reaction was to ask him if he was joking around with me! He assured me that he wasn’t and asked me to marry him. I said “YES!” and we shared a great moment together. Additionally, Ryan had planned for a photographer to hide out and capture the whole thing!

Ryan and Ali_9

Ryan and Ali_4

The photos turned out great and we reminisce over them and that perfect day often. Just when I thought the surprises were over for the day, we headed to Hotel Lincoln where I thought his parents were still meeting us for lunch. When we arrived, not only were his parents there, but also my parents, siblings (two from out of state), and a few of my best friends! It was the perfect group to share our perfect day with.

Special Thanks

Michelle Cox Photography