Tina and Ryan

How We Met: Summer of 2012, I moved out to San Diego on a whim. I was single, had no job, no place to live and other than my college roommate’s ex-boyfriend, I knew no one. As luck would have it, I flew out for one interview, and was offered the teaching job on the spot. I packed my car and my dog and drove across the country in three days. My only friend in San Diego, John, flies helicopters for the Navy, and allowed me to crash on his couch until I found my own place. The second weekend I was in San Diego, John invited me to grab beers and burgers with him and some of his helicopter buddies. Ryan, my fiance, was one of his friends. Ryan also flies helicopters for the Navy and ironically enough, grew up 20 minutes from where my mom now lives in Maryland. We flirted all night and bantered back and forth about who was the better swimmer. He had trained at the Naval Academy to be a SEAL and I had swam competitively through high school. We went back to his place to settle the argument. He lived right on Mission Bay, so we put on our suits and raced across the bay…at 3am. I let him win. We stayed up the rest of the night chatting and bantering some more. Neither of us were wanting a relationship, but as everyone always says, it’s when you least expect it, the right person walks into your life. The next morning, while sipping a cup of coffee on Ryan’s balcony, I sent my best friends from home a picture and said “Is it too soon to ask him to marry me?” I guess I knew the first day I met Ryan what I know now – he is my other half, the one who completes me and the one who I want to banter with each and every day for the rest of my life.

Image 2 of Tina and Ryan

how they asked: Ryan and I had been together for a little over two and half years when he popped the question. Ryan had been planning the proposal for months and with the help of our friends and family, pulled off the ultimate surprise. We were supposed to be going to a birthday brunch for a few of our friends, followed by going up to Del Mar Racetrack to watch the Kentucky Derby. But Ryan had a different plan.

We got all decked out in our derby gear and headed to the beach for brunch. When we got to the restaurant, our friend “got the reservation time wrong” so we had an hour before everyone else arrived. Ryan suggested we take a walk on the boardwalk to kill some time, to which I agreed.

Partway down, Ryan steered us onto the beach and before I knew what was going on, Ryan was telling me how he knew he loved me the first night we met. He led me down to the water and asked me to marry him. I barely let him get down on one knee before I said yes! Full of tears and joy, we walked up the stairs to the restaurant where we had our first date.

Image 1 of Tina and Ryan

Inside were 30 of our close friends there to celebrate! The surprises were far from over when a large bus pulled out in front of the restaurant and Ryan said he was taking everyone wine tasting for the day! We all piled on the bus, but little did I know, he had saved the best surprise for last. Instead of heading north, we started heading south and stopped at the airport. Before I realized where we were, my family walked onto the bus! Ryan had flown them in from the east coast to help us celebrate. It was by far, the best day of my entire life. Not only did my best friend ask me the spend the rest of my life with him, but we got to celebrate with our friends and family. I could not have imagined a more perfect proposal and am beyond lucky to call this man my future husband.

Image 3 of Tina and Ryan