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Katie and Ryan engagement in Central Park

We technically met one weekend in college at Appalachian State, where he came up to visit his friend, who at the time was dating my friend/neighbor in our dorm. I wasn’t single at that point, but we ended up all going to a toga party together (oh, good old college days), and I thought he was absolutely hilarious. A few weeks later and me newly single, Ryan came to visit his friend another weekend, and we hit it off from there. He asked his friend if I was single, and from there we hung out almost all weekend and really connected. Fun fact, he went back to where he was attending college at the time (not the same place – although he’d later transfer to where I was), and told all his baseball buddies (and his aunt too over the phone) that he’d met the girl he was going to marry 🙂 but he forgot one crucial detail – he didn’t ask for my number! That was quickly fixed and it’s been history from there! It is so wonderful to think back on this moment and look at how far we’ve come. That was in the Fall of 2011, and after 8ish years of dating, we’ve reached a new step in our life – engaged!!

I turned 28 on February 28th of this year, and really wanted to make my ‘golden birthday’ something special – so I shared an idea that I wanted to go to NYC, one of my favorite places, for a long weekend to celebrate. Ryan was on board, and little did I know that he was already planning a proposal/had been working with Susie to get my ring designed. He didn’t act out of the ordinary all weekend, so thankfully I didn’t suspect this was going to happen. We’ve been together so long, of course we’ve talked about marriage and such, and I truly didn’t think he would propose to be before he graduates from dental school – in  May 2022. My birthday was on a Friday, and he really made sure the day was special, but little did I know that the day after would really be the day I’d feel on top of the world! Leading up to our trip, he told me he had something planned for me on Saturday afternoon, but wouldn’t tell me much about it. On Saturday morning, we had brunch with a friend, and I was worried about what to wear and all that, since the plan was to go straight to wherever he was taking me after brunch was over. I was definitely in a tizzy because I like to know all the details of things, and it was killing me not knowing what to dress for, both for the weather and the occasion/activity. Thankfully, though, I asked the right question – should I re-curl my hair, or pull it up halfway? He told me to re-curl it, and let me tell you, I’m so glad I did! So, after brunch, we thankfully had some time to kill before we went to the ‘surprise’, and we came back to the hotel where I changed clothes and freshened up. Ryan obviously cared to a certain degree what I was wearing, but didn’t know how to explain it to me, maybe without being suspicious at all. Once he got dressed and ready (nice pants, button up shirt, nice boots), I thankfully knew at least a little bit more info on how to dress based on what he was wearing. Only thing that was difficult to me was to dress nice/cute while it was 30 degrees out – almost impossible, but I did what I could! Finally, it’s time to leave and head to the ‘surprise’ he had planned for us. We get into the subway and hop on a train headed toward Columbus Circle – of course I knew this was near Central Park, but attempted to keep all ideas to myself to not let myself get carried away with what was going to happen. We get off the subway, and start walking in the direction of a location on maps named ‘City Bikes’. I was definitely thinking to myself, are we really about to ride bikes in the freezing cold… but turns out, he lead us to a street in Central Park where there were horse & carriage rides all lined up, and he showed us to our carriage ride through the park 🙂 Once we were on the ride, he asked me, ‘are you surprised?’ as in, this was the thing he’d planned for this whole time – which of course I answered that I was – who wouldn’t want a romantic carriage ride through Central Park?! I was over the moon and thought how sweet he was for putting this together for me. Then, we got off the carriage ride, and ended up having 45 minutes to kill before Vlad was meeting us for the proposal to take our photos. We walked around the park, had to go into a gift shop to thaw off for a few minutes, and then ended up walking towards Gapstow bridge, where he mentioned he’d like to see while we were there. Then, we went off the sidewalk into the grass, seemingly near a fence on the back end of the skating rink (little did I know the incredible view behind us), and he turns to me and says, ‘what do you think about leap years?’ (another fun fact: 1. I was born on a leap year (1992) at 11:06 PM – very close to the actual day and 2. we started dating on a leap year – he actually wrote this in my birthday card the day before, which I didn’t know, and was apparently a little clue to this year being special too). He then says, ‘I’m about to do the craziest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made’, and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him 🙂 I immediately started sobbing, as you can probably tell in the pictures, and truly thought I was living in a dream in that moment. I was so overcome with emotion I didn’t know what to do, but all I know is that I said yes, and that was the easiest question I’ve ever had to answer in my entire life 🙂

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