Our Engagement Story
It’s been two whole weeks since I officially became a fiancé. Which means it’s also been two weeks since Ryan pulled off the most epic, thoughtful, amazing proposal EVER. I wanted to write this all down while the details are still fresh in my mind, because there is nothing about this day that I want to forget.
Here’s how it all went down:
About two months ago, Ryan’s parents told us to save July 20th on our calendars for their 35th anniversary party. His mom was so excited about it and always talked about getting dinner at a fancy restaurant near home and taking family photos afterwards.
A few weeks after that, my sister Katie texted Ryan and I begging us to go to the Hootie and the Blowfish concert with her and my brother-in-law on the 19th. I was about to text Ryan saying that he shouldn’t feel like we have to go (money doesn’t grow on trees when you’re a grad student) when he texted me saying that he had gone ahead and bought us two tickets. I thought that was a pretty quick reaction time for him, but we would already be home for the anniversary party Saturday, so a concert Friday would be fun.
Turns out, the concert was also the perfect plan to get Katie in town from Minneapolis without me thinking twice about it. Clearly, it worked.
The same week Ryan purchased our tickets, we attended a wedding and I realized I had worn the same dang dress to 4 weddings now. I accepted the fact that I should probably buy some new clothes for summer. It could not have been better timing, considering the cute white romper I wore for the “anniversary party” turned out to be the outfit I would get engaged in.
Fast forward to July 19th, and it’s time for the Hootie concert. We have a blast in the front row, I drink my way through severe back pain, Ryan and I speak in only New Jersey accents for 30 minutes and we meet up with my girlfriends afterwards. My friends and I make what I thought were drunk plans to grab lunch together the next day at one of our favorite local spots. Ryan buys me a corn dog, I go to bed happy.
We crashed that night at Ryan’s parents house, a 15 minute drive from my parents. We had left our dog Murphy with my mom and dad the night before, so Ryan woke up early to “go get Murphy”. He came back 3 hours later with our pup but I was still asleep. In those three hours, he had done a lot of work. With a LOT of help from our families.
I was planning on wearing sweats to lunch with my friends, but was told that the weather was possibly going to get bad later (which was true) and we might need to leave earlier for pictures. So, I showed up to lunch all dressed and ready to go for the “pictures” we were taking later.
Since we had driven in from Des Moines, we only had one vehicle between the two of us, which meant Ryan had to pick me up when I was done at the restaurant. Once we had made it all the way back to his parents house, he realized he “left his wallet” at my parents this morning. He’s honestly done that several times before, so this was nothing out of the ordinary. We turned the car around and headed to the Gallagher house. It was all totally normal; I scrolled through Instagram. We sang off key to the radio. I talked about how bad I had to pee. And then we pulled into my parents driveway and I saw THIS.
Immediately my heart started racing and I couldn’t even form words. Tears were already welling up in my eyes and I finally picked up on what was about to happen.
“So….” Ryan said.
I was stuck to the seat of his G6 and didn’t know what to do with my hands, or any limb of my body for that matter.
“I haven’t actually been working till 5 every night,” he continued. “I’ve actually been working on something else…” He began to tell me that the extra patient he had tagged on a few nights didn’t actually exist and he had instead been making trips to the craft store (God bless him, because I can NEVER get him to go to the craft store) and his sister’s house to plan for this moment.
He took my hand, and we started walking down my gravel driveway towards the amazing set up. Lined along the edges was a printed photo of every picture we have ever taken together, right there in black and white. Apparently, it had been Ryan’s plan to stop and look at all of them, but he was so nervous he forgot. What a cutie.
As we got closer, my sister Katie (a professional videographer) stepped out from behind a tree with her camera. A few steps more and another person popped out with a camera - my sister Colleen, who had flown all the way in from Nashville. At this point, things got very, very real.
We reached the rug and I was so caught up in everything that I didn’t even notice the beautiful bouquet of flowers, the bottle of bubbly on ice or the pair of champagne glasses, ready for us to cheers after the big moment.
Ryan wrapped me in his arms, whispered something sweet that I can’t remember because I literally blacked out, reached for the ring box on the table, stepped back and got down on one knee.
He popped the question, and it was all I could do to blubber out a very eloquent, “DUH!”.
We laughed, we hugged, I cried, we made out a lot and I finally got to give my sisters a hug (see photo below).
From there, we popped champagne and our families came out of hiding to celebrate with us! We looked around at all the photos and I finally got to take in all the beautiful details that had been included.
At this point, I thought the day could not possibly get any better.
And then it did.
There would be no anniversary dinner after all, instead, we were heading to the nearby winery to celebrate with our families. I had tried Facetiming the girlfriends I had gotten lunch with (which I found out was just a giant distraction) but none of them answered. That made a little more sense when I walked onto the balcony of the winery and they were there, ready to celebrate! Ryan had organized a little surprise party for us at the winery, and someone must have ordered extra onions on their wood fired pizza because my eyes started watering all over again. A half hour later, two of my friends - who live 3 hours away and had moved into a new apartment together that morning - came walking up the parking lot.
More friends and family came pouring in, and I still can’t get over how much love we had around us that day. From Ryan’s thoughtfulness behind all of it, the work our families put in and our friends who traveled near and far to celebrate with us, I don’t think I’ll ever feel more loved. On second though, we do have a wedding coming up.
When the winery closed at 8, I couldn’t believe that the party still wasn’t over. We headed to Ryan’s parents, blaring the Lion King’s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and I think a few Beyonce tracks.
BeYonCe cUz I gOt A ~FeYoNce~ (sorry)
There, we drank a few too many White Claws and I excitedly showed anyone who asked (and probably some who didn’t) photos of the beautiful setup and how it all went down. Then our dad’s (who were toasted themselves) toasted glasses of Jameson to our engagement - and “lots of grandbabies.”
Slow your roll, Dad. I’ve got one hell of a wedding to plan first.
Ryan Hermsen, I can’t believe I get to marry you.