Renee and Ryan

how we met

We are high school sweethearts! We met our Freshman year of high school, but did not start dating until our Junior year, when we reconnected at a friend’s Christmas party. We have been together for eight years! We both attended UNC Chapel Hill and graduated together as Tarheels. After graduation, Ryan moved to Tampa to attend graduate school, and Renee got a job in Raleigh working as a nurse. Needless to say, those two years of long distance were not easy, but we beat the odds! Once Ryan graduated, we moved to be together in Charlotte where we currently live with our two fur babies (cats). Ryan took a job with a sports marketing agency and Renee started nurse practitioner school and works as a pediatric critical care nurse. We are so happy to start the next phase of our lives!

how they asked

(From Ryan’s perspective)We had been planning a trip to Puerto Rico for vacation for a few months. I knew that Renee would be suspecting a proposal on the trip, and wanted to surprise her ahead of time. Two months prior, I began planning with our closest friends and families to propose to her the evening before the trip. I knew that Renee wanted to have family and close friends around her to celebrate after the proposal, so I arranged for them to drive to Charlotte to be there for the special day. I even created a Facebook group called “Ryan Bends the Knee” to communicate details of the day secretly.About a week before the trip, I had two of Renee’s best friends organize a “girls day” with her. They planned to get their nails done, shop, and enjoy a happy hour at the Duke Mansion. Little did Renee know, that would be where I and our loved ones would be waiting.The morning of the proposal, I left Renee and her girlfriends champagne and OJ to make mimosas to kick off the festivities. While Renee was getting her nails done, I met our loved ones at the Duke Mansion for the surprise. When Renee and her friends arrived at the mansion, our family and friends hid in a room overlooking the garden where I would soon propose. Renee’s two girlfriends guided her through the mansion and outside to the garden, where she then saw me waiting with a huge grin. We shared a special moment before I bent the knee and asked Renee to marry me. After she said YES!! (whew) I told her that I had another surprise waiting. At the same moment, our loved ones burst through the door and ran over to embrace us both. We celebrated the rest of the night!

Special Thanks

Aly Barnett Photography
 | Photography
The Duke Mansion
 | Location