How We Met
While we may have gotten to know one another thanks to the fate of swiping right five days earlier, our first in-person meeting was pure chance. My friend Sandy (hi, Maid of Honor!) and I were on a bar crawl in downtown Madison, WI one cold December night in 2015, when I decided to text Ryan to see if he was out too. We were in the process of leaving one bar and heading towards another with the rest of the bar crawl crew.
Moments before they arrived at Paul’s Club, I received a text from Ryan that said he was out…at the same bar I was about to walk into. WHAT?! Instead of acting normal, I grabbed Sandy’s hand and fled to the back of the bar, not making eye contact with a single soul on the way in. I went up to the bar to ask for a glass of water and tried to calm down. Why did this guy make me so nervous? I’d never met him and barely knew anything about him. He seemed pretty harmless, and yet I had absolutely lost my cool.
As I hid, we exchanged a series of texts. I admitted that I was nervous and Ryan said everything would be fine. Eventually, I decided that it was time to face my fears and meet this guy. I positioned myself under the lit-up tree in the bar waiting for Ryan to come over. Then it happened — I saw Ryan approaching, but he wasn’t looking at me. I got nervous again, thinking that he wouldn’t like what he saw. Impulse took over and I reached out my hand to tap him on the arm as he was about to walk past me. All the while, poor Sandy is third-wheeling on this awkward first meeting.
We talked for almost 30 minutes straight. At one point, Ryan’s friends left the bar to head down the street (oh yeah, did I mention ALL of his coworkers were sitting a few feet away from us? And also that I apparently met one of the roommates previously? Weird.), but he chose to stay behind. Eventually, my friend and I decided that it was time to request rideshare and head home. Like a gentleman, Ryan walked us out and waited with us at the corner until our ride showed up. Once it did, he extended his hand for a handshake. Awesome. At this point, I think that I’ve been friend-zoned, so I went in for a hug to try and turn things around. After I got in the car, I sent him a text and we proceeded to text all night until I fell asleep.
From that day forward, we spent almost every day together for eight months. An exciting job opportunity moved Ryan to the East Coast in summer 2016, but we didn’t flinch. Instead, we conquered long distances like champs for 3.5 years. When you know, you know. :)
How They Asked
For years, Ryan made a point of saying the two ways he would NEVER be caught dead proposing: 1) at a sporting event on the jumbotron and 2) on a holiday. (The irony here is that there was a proposal during his hockey game on the jumbotron mere hours before he popped the question.) Because of Ryan’s strong opinions on this matter, I had absolutely no idea what was coming that night.
Ryan, his ringleaders (literally) Mike and Matt, and I arrived at Xfinity Live in Philadelphia, PA for what I thought would just be a fun night out celebrating the New Year. Upon arrival, I wanted to get food, because I hadn’t had dinner yet, but Ryan was insistent on heading over to 1100 Social for the much-anticipated silent disco. I pushed back a little bit because I knew that I needed to eat something (it was already 9:00 p.m.), but lost the battle, and we walked over to get in line. It took about 20 minutes to get in, but we did get the coveted headphones, grabbed some drinks, and staked out a spot for dancing as we waited for 2020 to arrive.
About an hour passed and Ryan mentioned needing to go to the bathroom. We’d been drinking for a while, so this didn’t seem weird. A few minutes later, Mike also left to use the bathroom and Ryan hadn’t come back yet. It still wasn’t weird. What WAS weird was that Matt kept looking around the room (somewhat anxiously) and kept asking me when the guys would be back. Eventually, they returned and all was well.
At 11:00 p.m. the song “Stolen” by Dashboard Confessional came onto the station I was listening to and I let out an audible gasp (spoiler alert: this is our song). What were the chances that this song would play at an event with remixes and top 40 hits? (This should have been my first clue that something was up.) Seconds before this happened, I told Matt that there was a photographer standing near him and he refused to look at the said photographer. (This should have been my second clue.) I look over to Ryan, who is now motioning for me to walk over to where he’s standing in front of the silent disco DJs. I approach him with open arms expecting that he’d want to dance to “our song,” to which he replied, “take your headphones off.” I was confused because I wanted to listen to the song. (This should have been the third clue.)
I obliged, and Ryan moved in closer and started talking. Before everyone at 1100 Social knew it, Ryan was down on one knee, saying, “Will you marry me?” I was in complete shock — in fact, I’m fairly certain I blacked out can only remember about 10% of what he said leading up to the question — and doubled over filled with emotion. I nodded my head and said, “Yes.” Suddenly, applause erupts in the room, the aforementioned photographer is circling us taking lots of pictures, and a DJ announces to the room that we just got engaged. Talk about a whirlwind 45 seconds!
Afterward, people start coming up to us with congratulations and cheers. The venue brought us a bottle of champagne and a card (which we later found out was from our Best Man – thanks, Kevin!).
We toasted with champagne for pictures and then escaped outside to FaceTime our families and friends in the minutes leading up to the New Year.
Happy New Year! :)