Jennifer and Ryan

Image 1 of Jennifer and Ryan

How We Met

When asked how Ryan and I met, its easily described by one word: fate. We unknowingly grew up 20 mins apart from each other, but with our paths never crossing in 19 years. However, that all changed when Ryan began to work with my mother at a summer position following his freshman year of college. I was a recent high school graduate looking forward to college and beginning a new chapter of my life. My mother had kept mentioning this guy named Ryan Drees. Always asking me if I knew him and if we had ever met. When the topic of conversation was brought up I always brushed it off, announcing to my mother that I was not interested in meeting anyone at this point in my life. Before leaving for a night out with friends, my mom forced me to look up Ryan on Facebook, just to see if I actually knew him. To silence my mom, I did as she asked. Following the “Facebook stalking” I protested sating: “I wasn’t interested.” As I left that night, I never knew my life would unexpectedly change and I would meet my forever best friend. As I arrived to my destination with friends in hand, I would have never guessed Ryan would be in the same room that night.

As time passed with friends, I can remember the moment clear as day. I felt a tap on my shoulder, turning around to see Ryan; the same guy I stalked on Facebook hours prior! In my head I kept telling myself: “Play it cool Jennifer. Just act like you have no idea who he is.” I went into our first conversation with that mind set, with Ryan introducing himself and explaining how he knew me and his relationship with my mom. It wasn’t until months later that Ryan admitted he spotted me across the room immediately after I walked in, knowing who I was from a picture that was hanging in my mom’s work station. He said it took him over an hour to gain the courage to approach me, but knew if he didn’t that night, our paths may never cross again. Following that night, Ryan and I became inseparable for the summer, going on multiple dates. We knew with college approaching and us attending different universities, that the fall would decide where our relationship would lead. Thankfully, we both knew that the feelings we had for each other were more than either of us had ever felt, helping us grow our relationship in strength, surviving 3+ years of college and leading to our future engagement!

how they asked

Ryan and I were never ones to make unexpected and rash decisions. Together, we’re very methodical, thinking about the pros and cons of every financial decision affecting our relationship. We both knew we wanted to spend our lives together, but didn’t know when an engagement would take place. Back in March we were approached with an opportunity that was a bit out of the status quo. One that was a permanent decision defining the rest of our lives, but with no ring involved. We bought our first home together on a whim. It was the fastest two weeks of our lives filled with house showings, contractors, home inspections and more! Yet, we knew from the moment we walked through this house, we knew it would be molded into our future home. The charm it bestowed was overwhelming. The 1920s wood work, the glass door knobs, the finished fire place with soot still sitting from the last time it was burned. I immediately envisioned ourselves at Christmas time. Our tree sitting in the corner, the fire place burning and our favorite movie on the television. I saw our children running in our room, jumping into bed as we embraced a new morning. From the moment I walked through the front door I knew this is where our lives would lead.

Image 2 of Jennifer and Ryan

The months following the purchase of our house was filled with hard work, sweat and dirty hands. Behind all of the vintage charm was a lot of work and many home renovations to take place; yet, Ryan and I looked forward to the challenge with Ryan constantly stating: “We get to make this house into our own. Trust the process.” I trusted him every step, praying that this decision was the right one for us, as our pocket books began to plummet. Buying this house was not in the immediate plans, with use both deciding that an engagement would have to wait due to the financial burdens of house renovations. Inside, my heart ached because I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man, but I knew that this home would bring so many glorious memories and moments in our lives. As we continued on, building up the outside charm of our fixer upper, I had briefly mentioned to Ryan a swing would look beautiful on our blocked front porch. We had looked at a few, but no swing was appealing or appeared it would withstand the withering years ahead. One night in May, Ryan asked if I wanted to get dinner at one of my favorite wineries.

Image 3 of Jennifer and Ryan

Of course I said yes, since our love for food and good drinks is a defining part of our relationship! Yet, before we could go Ryan wanted to stop at our house and check the mail, with us currently not living at the house due to renovations. Like every other night, we parked in the drive way, entering through the back door. Ryan called out from behind, asking me to check the mail. As I walked out onto our front porch, I looked around in awe. To my left I saw this beautiful, white swing hanging from above and blue pots over flowing with pink flowers. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and asked Ryan if this was part of my birthday gift, since I turned 23 a couple weeks prior. As he grabbed my hand, he asked me sit down next to him on the swing. Without my knowing, he had pulled out pictures of our relationship spanning the past 4 years. He began to go through each picture, talking about the moment and where we were when the photo was taken.

As he continued to go through the images, I began to realize the photos were in chronological order from the most recent to the first photo we ever took; the night we first met. When he got to the last photo, Ryan looked at me and said, “I knew my life would forever be changed the moment I saw you walk through that door.” As I was engulfed in tears, Ryan got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The moment couldn’t have been more magical! The love of my life asked me to marry him at the home where we would begin the rest of our lives. Following minutes of tears and hugs, Ryan told me he had built the porch swing from hand and with a diagram he found off the internet. He had spent many nights, working on the swing until early mornings, making sure it was completed in time. I couldn’t believe the thought and time that went into this moment, with my heart continuing to burst from joy. The swing now hangs from our porch, prepared to take on the many moments of joy, laughter and sorrow. The love I feel for Ryan is overwhelming and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with the most selfless and loving man.

Image 4 of Jennifer and Ryan