Taylor and Ryan

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How We Met

Despite both being Jersey kids born and raised, our story began five years ago in Baltimore MD, at a bar in Federal Hill. I am not sure if it was the team kickball shirt I was wearing that Thursday night or the buckets of beer and “bombs” I was enjoying with friends, that first sparked Ryan’s interest, but the rest was history. I knew he was serious when for date #2 – yes number 2- he asked me to go to dinner and to a Bruce Springsteen concert. While Bruce is an absolute legend, I remember that night that we were so engrossed in conversation (and flirtation) with one another that a man in front of us turned around and asked us to stop taking – multiple times. Ryan was new to the city, but having lived in Baltimore since I was 18 (I went to John’s Hopkins for college and stayed down after graduation to work), I suggested a few local spots for our next few dates. Since we were both New York Yankees fans, one of those dates was spent watching the Yankees beat the Orioles from the outfield at Camden Yards.

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Ironically enough, two of my friends from college went to high school with Ryan, so I was thankful to be able to “get the inside scoop” on him from people I trusted. Thankfully there were no red flags (he passed with flying colors), and a few weeks later I went home with him to celebrate his 26th birthday and Memorial Day Weekend at the Jersey Shore, and officially became his girlfriend. That weekend was the start of the rest of our lives, and I am even happier now than I was when it all started.

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How They Asked

Anyone that knows me knows that my happy place is the beach, so it was very fitting that Ryan chose Sandy Hook to pop the question. This particular beach is a special place for both of us. It’s where we share coffee and bagels on weekends during the off-season, even when it’s freezing. It’s where we came to escape the city during covid and got our first breath of fresh air without a mask on in public. It’s where we celebrated our fourth anniversary together. And from the shoreline, it’s where you get the clearest view of New York City, and Jersey City, where we live together.

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That Sunday morning the plan was to get coffee and go to the beach, before meeting two of our friends for brunch. I actually woke up that morning with an awful headache (almost foiling the big plan), but nothing a few Advil, water, and an iced coffee could not fix. Thankfully, my nails were painted (very unlike me) as Ryan’s brother got married a few days before, and I wore normal clothes since I thought we were going out to eat. Other than Ryan dressing a little nicer than usual, it seemed like a standard Sunday morning. We drove out to the beach, walked on and put our stuff down, and as I thought we were about to head off on a walk, Ryan pulled me in close, got down on one knee, and asked me to be his forever partner in this crazy thing called life.

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Pictures say a thousand words, and I think the ones of that moment exude the surprise, raw emotion, and utter bliss I felt in those 30 seconds. At the moment, I could not tell you what he said word for word, but I knew that I was lucky enough to spend the rest of my life with the man I love the most in this world, my best friend, and that’s all that mattered.

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After the initial shock wore off, I looked up and saw that Ryan had a photographer hidden in plain sight, who took some amazing photos of us. My Grandma was the first person I FaceTimed after the proposal, as I knew I was not going to get to see her in person. But to my surprise, Ryan had organized a secret gathering with our families back at his parents, so we were greeted with hugs, kisses, and (shocker) more photos, and then we celebrated with champagne, bagels, and cake. It was an absolutely perfect day, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Paul Hester
 | Photographer