Emma and Ryan

Emma and Ryan's Engagement in Walt Disney World - Animal Kingdom

How We Met

I believe how Ryan and I met really came down to fate.

We met at a dress up 21st birthday party that neither of us were originally going to be at.

I had to work the next day and wasn’t really feeling in the mood to dress up and go out and party with friends but I figured considering it was a 21st birthday party that I needed to at least make an appearance so I pushed myself to go and be apart of the celebration. I got dressed up into my Sailor moon costume (the 21st was cartoon theme) and got ready and was on my way to a night that would change my life forever. Ryan on the other hand, had been out all day partying and drinking with his cousins for one of their birthdays and was dragged (literally – as he didn’t want to go) to the 21st birthday party.

We had both been at the party for awhile and crossed paths when Ryan decided to sit next to me and talk to some of my other girlfriends. He mentioned to one of my friends that he thought I was ‘pretty cute’ in which my friend passed onto me straight away but I didn’t want anything to do with him. So I decided to ignore him for at least the next 45 minutes in which he patiently waited for me to turn around and talk to him.

I however, figured he had enough courage and determination to sit next to me as I cold shouldered him that at the very least I could do was talk to him. I mean what guy sits around for 45 minutes waiting for a girl to turn around and talk to them – any other guy would have gotten up and walked away! So I turned around and laid eyes on the most handsome man I had ever seen. We started talking and very quickly found out that both of us had a lot in common from family, values, work ethic, ambitions etc. I knew pretty quickly that this guy was special but didn’t know that I was laying eyes on my future husband in that moment.

We ended up chatting for over 2 hours and before I knew it he was leaving as his ride home was going. We said our good-byes with a hug and ‘nice to meet you’ and that was it – so I thought. He walked away without either of us exchanging numbers and from what I thought, I would never see him again. When he had left, I walked over to my group of girlfriends and started chatting to them for awhile and as I was saying my goodbyes (as I had to go home and sleep for work the next day) he re-appeared behind me and asked me for my phone number.

And they say the rest is history….

how they asked

Ryan and I had been dating for over two and a half years before he asked me to be his wife.

We had planned this big massive holiday over to America where we would go to the Coachella festival, Walt Disney World in Florida and then a cruise in the Bahamas. Little did I know that it would also be the holiday where all my dreams came true.

So a little back story for all of this to make sense – I am a HUGE Disney fan. My whole life I have grown up loving every Disney movie ever made from the old classics to the new Pixar animated films. Everyone who knows me, knows how much I adore anything Disney and when friends and family found out we were going to Disney World on this holiday we got the response of ‘you are so getting engaged there’. I honestly didn’t believe we were going to get engaged as Ryan and I had recently purchased land to build our new home and really didn’t have the money for a ring let alone a wedding so it was completely off my radar to think we were going to get engaged (even though I secretly hoped it would)!

We had planned this whole holiday with Ryan’s sister and her boyfriend and had just finished up at the festival and flew over to the east coast to meet up with Ryan’s parents as they were tagging along for Disney World and the cruise. We had a very tight schedule and had to squeeze Disney World into 2 days (crazy right)!

On the first day we wondered around the park and when we stumbled up to the iconic castle – I thought ‘if he’s going to propose, he going to do it here’. We stood in front of the castle to get the standard picture and then – nothing. Nothing happened. We had our photo and walked away. In which I thought – ‘ok no proposal, it’s not happening’. From there on out, getting engaged completely fell off my mind in which I was more than ok with because I knew (well I thought I knew) that we just didn’t have the money for this big moment in our lives just yet.

Proposal Ideas Walt Disney World - Animal Kingdom

On the second day we had to fit 2 parks into our day – Epcott and Animal Kingdom. We started in Epcott where we wondered around the different countries in the park and when we stopped for lunch Ryan was acting a little differently and kept asking if I was “ok” and making sure I was having a good day (only in hindsight do I understand and know how odd he was acting but in the moment and on the day, I picked up on nothing). Ryan was also sweating a lot but I put that down to the weather and how much walking we were doing but now afterwards, I know what he was really sweating over….

When we reached Animal Kingdom we were all a little tired and sort of getting over the crowds but knew we had to persevere to see the magic that this park is known for. We had just walked through the gates and made our way along the path to what has to be the most breath taking and spectacular hand carved tree that stood so high and is a main feature of the park. Naturally, I took off ahead of Ryan and his parents to take photos which gave Ryan the perfect opportunity to get the ring out of his dads bag (which was literally zip tied closed) and stash it in his back pocket ready for the big moment – with me none the wiser.

Where to Propose in Walt Disney World - Animal Kingdom

Ryan eventually caught up to me as I was taking photos of his sister and her boyfriend. Of course, I wanted the same and dragged Ryan in front of the tree for your standard “hand-on-hip-big-smiles-photo” and once when we captured the moment I tried to walk away (as there was a growing crowd to get in the same photo opportunity spot).

Ryan however, pulled me back and draped his arm around my waist and turned me to face the tree in which I thought ‘oh he wants a more candid photo of us staring at the tree’ (I mean so silly to think cause Ryan gets over having his photo taken but in the moment you justify anything)! I even remember looking back over our shoulders and could see Ryan’s mum and his sister Alicia with their phones up taking photos. The next thing I know he is talking to me about all different things from us, to our future, to how this is the place where dreams come true and how it would be his dream come true if I would be his wife and then all of a sudden he is on one knee asking me to spend forever with him. I was in complete shock and could’t comprehend what was actually happening as I seriously wasn’t expecting him to ask me to be his wife – considering I thought it would have happened the day prior in-front of the castle. I just remember him looking at me and me realising I hadn’t actually answered him and before I said “yes” I asked in my very high pitched voice (from the crying) “are you sure” to which he laughed and nodded his head. I eventually managed to get the word ‘yes’ out through all the crying and hugged and kissed my husband-to-be on the most perfect day in the most perfect spot. The crowd around us all cheered and whistled which reminded us that we were really in the ‘happiest place on earth’.

Afterwards, I found out that Ryan had his mum video the whole proposal and had his sister and dad photograph the moment so that we could always look back and remember how special the big milestone was.

Of course, when I could – I rang my parents back at home in Sydney and told them all about the exciting news. The conversation was quick and short (which seemed odd at the time) because little did I know that the surprises weren’t over yet.

The next day, while having lunch back at the resort we were staying at – in walks my parents who flew across the globe to celebrate the special occasion. Both Ryan and I both couldn’t believe our eyes. Needless to say – I bawled my eyes out again and was so excited to have my parents with us to celebrate.

The reason for the short phone call with my parents the day before was due to the fact that they were moments away from boarding the plane to come and surprise us! Ryan didn’t orchestrate this surprise as he had no idea they were coming over but when he asked for their blessing he insisted they fly over and be apart of the celebrations. To which my parents declined due to the timing and promised to celebrate when we got back. Little did we know while we were at the festival (the first part of our trip) my parents came to the conclusion that it’s not everyday that their little girl gets engaged and booked flights to come and surprise it. The only person who knew they were coming was Ryan’s mum and managed to pull off the second big surprise of the trip!

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