Ryan Soo and Nancy

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How We Met

With Nancy being from Chicago, and myself from Los Angeles, the stars aligned when we met during my first and her second year of pharmacy school in St. Louis. Unlike other universities, our entire campus seemed to fit into a single square block, making our entire pharmacy school experience a rather unique one to say the least. So when I continuously noticed Nancy everywhere – in the stairways, in the cafeteria, in the hallways between classes – I just assumed it was because it was a small school. Everyone was bound to meet everyone eventually… right? Later I would find out that these occurrences weren’t “coincidences” at all, but part of Nancy’s “Master Plan” to get my attention. Once we officially met, small exchanges during passing periods evolved into late night study sessions, and eventually to me surprising her with a flight to Los Angeles for our first official date.

How They Asked

After just two weeks into our relationship, I knew wholeheartedly that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Nancy. There was always this indescribable feeling that came about when I was near her… Some of you might disagree with me, but maybe it was constantly laughing at all of the “Nancy humor” that we’ve all hopefully experienced by now.

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Step 1: The Ring

As days turned into months, and months turned into one full year, my feelings for Nancy continued to grow. For our first anniversary, I decided to buy her a Promise Ring. At that point in our relationship, details like ring size were facts that I still hadn’t figured out yet. But with the help of some of her friends, I was able to estimate her ring size when they managed to have her try on a ring-sizer. Luckily, the Promise Ring fit and I kept that size in the back of my head for when I would propose 8 years later. Throughout our relationship, Nancy CLEARLY expressed her indifference for all things weddings, including the engagement ring itself, so choosing a ring was definitely an easy process. I decided to go with something timeless and chose a round cut ring.

Step 2: The Family Blessing

During a trip to Chicago, I officially asked Nancy’s parents for their blessing. As much as the Quan’s had already made me feel like I was a part of their family, I will always cherish seeing their excitement when it was actually going to be made official. Like with the rest of the world, the pandemic definitely put things into a standstill. As things began to gain some semblance of normalcy in 2021, I knew it was time to continue the plan.

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Step 3: The Dress

For anyone that knows Nancy (or even just sees pictures of her), you could probably tell that her favorite color is light blue. With that in mind, it was only fitting to propose to her while she was wearing a dress in that same classic “Nancy blue” shade. She already had several dresses in that color, but I wanted her engagement dress to be truly special. So… I decided to make it myself. After researching different dress ideas and taking the measurements off of her other dresses, I started the process. With my grandma coaching me on how to use the sewing machine, we began making the dress late at night after Nancy fell asleep. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a professional at dress making – the measurements ended up being slightly off in some areas – but luckily it fit during the actual proposal.

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Step 4: The Location

With so many options in California to choose from, I wanted the proposal location to be a truly memorable one. I remembered seeing a unique venue in Malibu with a small mountain-like backdrop that would be perfect for the occasion. Several months beforehand, I was able to book the venue and secure a time right during sunset.

Step 5: The Proposal

In preparation for the actual day, I collaborated with some of our friends to help me with the proposal. I definitely didn’t want their arrivals to make Nancy suspicious and my plans obvious… So several weeks before the actual day, they each pretended to come to Los Angeles for their own “personal” reasons – a friend’s trip and a professional photo shoot. Like with most cases when our friends come into town, Nancy took some vacation days so we could all spend time together and visit different spots in Southern California. As busy as the weekend already was, the final spot on the list was just a “vineyard in Malibu.”

Once at the vineyard, one of our friends immediately brought Nancy to the front of the property, while another friend and I went the opposite direction, giving me a chance to change and set up the actual spot with bundles of flowers on the ground. With the green light, our other friend then brought Nancy inside the venue to a private room, where she found a wrapped box and an iPad, queued with a video highlighting all our memories and a clip of Grandma and I working on the dress. After the video was finished, Nancy was instructed to open the box, and discovered the handmade dress and a pair of heels.

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With everything now in place, Nancy found me in the back of the venue on the helicopter pad. Watching Nancy walk down the steps towards me was surreal. As soon as she was within arms-reach, we immediately hugged each other, and began to slow dance to our “song.” After a few minutes of slow dancing in the middle of the helicopter pad, I took her up to the small mountain that I had initially envisioned. At that moment, I expressed how I felt, got on one knee, and proposed. I guess no matter how many times I practiced going down on one knee, I ended up still being nervous and started visibly shaking (you can even see in the video…). As I looked at her with the sunset in the background, she said yes!

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Afterwards, we went back to the helicopter pad and danced to some more of our favorite songs, with the Malibu sunset slowly fading behind us. It was an amazing day that I wish I could relive over and over again. I’m definitely grateful our friends Shaun and Kim were able to capture every single moment in the video below!

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Shaun Baluyot
 | Photographer