Ryan and Karley

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How We Met: The day after my college graduation, I received a call from my best friend since kindergarten, Karisa, inviting me to her birthday party the next Saturday. I went to the party and reunited with a whole bunch of high school friends and familiar faces. While I was swimming in the pool, this total cutie patootie I did not know walked through the door. I immediately looked over at Scott, Karisa’s fiancé, and asked, “Who is that guy?!” He laughed and explained that he was Karisa’s cousin, Ryan. “Does he have a girlfriend?” “No.” “Okay, I’m going inside.” Nothing else had to be said. I rushed out of the pool, wiped off my drippy mascara, and threw a towel around me. I walked right up to him and introduced myself.

Now, I know my first impression came off pretty rough. I decided that I would try to overcompensate by trying to appear as intelligent as possible. I have no idea why in that moment I thought that this would be a good idea. I probably came off as a total pretentious jerk! Regardless of my atrocious behavior, I was completely taken by Ryan’s adorable smile, bright eyes, and dark hair. I felt so compelled to attempt to make a slight impression on him, while he had unknowingly altered my heart forever. Whatever God was trying to tell me, I heard it loud and clear. He was going to be my husband one day, and I was ready to jump on board for the long haul, no matter how resistant he may have been. Soon after our first meeting, I had to leave to respond to an issue going on at work. Right after I finished at work, I decided I should find a reason to go back to the party. Coincidentally, the moment I walked back in, he was just about to leave. I asked him where he lived, he responded Irvine, and I smiled and said, so do I! I thought this was going to spark a conversation that would eventually lead to a date… nope… it just led to him walking out the door.

That night, I went home and had a dream that I married Ryan—a complete stranger! I woke up kind of alarmed because I had had tons of dreams about my wedding but never had seen my husband’s face! I texted Karisa and told her it looks like I am marrying her cousin. She laughed but didn’t seem amused! Something in my gut felt like this could actually happen. I was completely taken by him. All I knew is that I wanted to see him again. I texted Scott and told him how I felt about the whole situation. He was a little more receptive and agreed that he would set up a dinner for Ryan and I to see if we hit it off.

After ten days of thinking about this guy non-stop, we finally went to dinner with Scott and Josh, Ryan’s brother. I walked up and saw Ryan sitting on a bench outside the restaurant. I waved excitedly, if you know me, you know the signature two- handed Karley wave. Both hands waving and a huge smile across my face, I approached him. He had no idea who I was. Are you kidding me!? I reintroduced myself, “I’m Karley, we met a couple weekends ago at Karisa’s pool party…” He hadn’t realized I was going to be there and apologized. We sat down at dinner with his brother, Scott, him and me. I tried to make myself appear as single as possible and as the best catch possible. Again, why did I think this would be a good idea?! Poor Ryan thought I was trying to get his brother, Josh, to ask me on a date. Ryan, Josh had a girlfriend—I was clearly interested in you. As if I wasn’t clear enough I decided that as we were leaving I’d try to set Ryan up to ask me to hang out. I directly told him, “Hey, this was fun, we should hang out again!” He kind of just waved me off and walked to his car. He later told me he didn’t hear me, but come on! Desperation at its finest!

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You’d think I’d give up after that, but after a ton of prayer, I knew God placed Ryan so strongly on my heart because he was the absolute guy for me. I texted Scott and begged him to give me his phone number. To my surprise he gave it to me! I couldn’t even wait to get home to call him! While I was sitting in my car, I nervously called him. I was about to hang up when I heard his voice! “Hello.” “Hi, this is Karley!” “Who?” I just thought, oh…my… gosh. You still don’t know who I am?! I was so close to just saying never mind and calling this whole thing quits! But I reminded him who I was. He then responded that he was at dinner with his family and couldn’t talk. Great, this was the end. He wasn’t interested. I get it. After venting to my friend for a while, my phone rang. I ran outside to answer. It was Ryan! He was on his way back to Irvine. I decided to just ask if he had plans that night. I had no idea what time it was, nor did I care. He told me he was free and he’d come pick me up! I said great and gave him my address and hung up. Um… I just gave my address to a complete stranger and it was 9pm on a work night! It was almost my bedtime, but who cares, this could be my future husband!

Finally that night on October 1st, we were going to go on our first “date.” He picked me up and we went to the District with the idea that we would grab some ice cream or coffee. Well, that didn’t work out. Everything was closed by the time we got there. Instead we sat at a table and talked about every topic you should not cover on your first date—past relationships, politics, religion, you name it, we talked about it. After over three hours of nonstop flirting, we realized it was approaching 2am and decided we should get going. We walked out to the parking lot and I looked over to him with butterflies fluttering so strong in my stomach. He told me I gave him the “kiss me eyes.” I mean I was totally giving him the eyes because I wanted him to kiss me, but I wasn’t expecting him to kiss me like that! As I stood there in a deserted parking lot, I knew that this was my happily ever after… and with a kiss like that, I knew he was falling for me too!

How He Asked: Luckily I knew I wanted to marry Ryan all along—unluckily, I had to wait until he caught up with my feelings! I tried to remind myself that it would all happen in God’s timing, but I may not be as patient as I thought! After about a year and a half of dating, I caught onto clues that he was ready! He would ask me about rings, or when I wanted to get married, or how long would I like to be engaged… I knew it would happen soon!

His family was going on an African safari in April 2014 and he knew it was going to be hard for me to have him away for almost a month. I started preparing myself pretty early on. In December I was venting to him about how I was going to miss him while he was away—he assured me that I would have something pretty on my ring finger to keep me busy! I almost squealed with excitement! I would be engaged to my dream man before I knew it!

I had a good feeling it would happen in February or March, but didn’t know details. Everyone thought he would ask me on Valentine’s Day! A few weeks before Valentine’s Day, my mom sent a group text to me, my sister, and my cousin. She explained that Ryan had asked my dad for his blessing and that he was not going to propose on Valentine’s Day but he was going to propose soon after. I knew immediately that this text was not supposed to include me. My mom quickly realized too! She texted me telling me to ignore it, but there was no way! I debated if I wanted to tell Ryan about it, but I thought it was too funny to keep to myself. We all got a good laugh!

After Valentine’s Day, each date I thought it could happen! A few manicures and new outfits later we rolled into March and there was no proposal. Ryan knew I expected it to happen at any moment, so he had to throw me off the scent. My sister, Kennah, texted me and asked me when I thought Ryan would propose. I said probably March 8th or March 15th. She told me she had an extra credit assignment to go see a play on the 8th and none of her friends could make it. She suggested that I ask Ryan if I am free so that I didn’t ruin any secret proposal plans. He told me we were free, but the following weekend free. A little bummed, I told Kennah I could go.

On March 8th, I got all dolled up for the play because Kennah told me her professor set her strict guidelines on the dress code. We drove down to San Clemente to Casa Romantica. I had a pretty good idea that we weren’t going to a play anymore. I saw an adorable blue table with R & K initials, flowers, signs, photos… it was adorable. My sister looked at me with a big smile and said, “Surprise! Are you ready?” I was, jumped out of the car filled with giddy excitement for the moment that was about to come.

On the blue table there was an iPad with the sweetest message from Ryan. It was so romantic that I wanted to cry, but so silly that all I could do was laugh. He asked me to “follow my heart” which translated into following signs with his initials to meet him. The signs were filled with messages, inside jokes, and cute little things we say to each other.

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I was so overwhelmed, I just wanted to run to the end and find him. When I turned the corner, I saw Ryan standing there, handsome as ever, in the middle of a ton of life size photos of us on a private patio overlooking the San Clemente Pier! I laughed hysterically! It was so Ryan and so thoughtful. I walked down the stairs to him, preparing for the moment I have always dreamt about.

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As he spoke to me, I heard every single word so clearly. I felt so much love and compassion in his voice. By the time he finally asked me to marry him, I was so ready to say yes, that I didn’t even look at the ring!

It was right out of a fairy tale! He planned a proposal, celebratory dinner with his family and mine! I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to the rest of my life with Ryan!

Proposal Planning: The Yes Girls // Videography: Boffo Video // Photography: Chard Photo // Venue: Casa Romantica / San Clemente, CA // Ring: Rock For Her // Florals and Decor: The Yes Girls