Annie and Ryan

Annie's Proposal in At the Cincinnati Zoo in front of the Red Pandas exhibit (one of our favorite spots!)

How We Met

Ryan and I actually met on Tinder about 2.5 years ago. He said in his profile something about being a Disney movie fanatic, and I knew I just had to message him. We started texting back and forth, and our first date was actually at a Taco Bell by my college campus. I think both of us thought the other person would never call them back. However, it turned into a second date, and then a third, and then so much more. We’ve spent all our time together going on adventures and learning more about each other in the process.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in At the Cincinnati Zoo in front of the Red Pandas exhibit (one of our favorite spots!)

We’ve gone on family vacations together; explored the zoo countless times; probably have eaten our weight in Cold Stone and Graeter’s ice cream by now; we’ve done a couple of Breakout Rooms, which really tested how well we work together; and we’ve just sat around watching movies and playing video games together. After a long a stressful apartment hunt, we moved in together in early April, and it’s been one of the best and rewarding experiences of my life to get to live with my best friend.

How He Asked

On Monday, Ryan went to work, and I called a delivery company because we had just bought a couch for our apartment. I set up the delivery for Friday, and when he got home that night I told him what was going on. He got kind of upset with me, saying he wanted to go to the zoo on Friday after he got back from his golf trip that he left on Wednesday for. I told him I didn’t think we could change the delivery, but I would try, and, if I couldn’t, we could go to Kings Island instead since its open so much later. Ryan told me he really didn’t want to go to Kings Island, he would only go to the zoo. Rolling my eyes out of frustration, I called and had the delivery changed to the following Monday, so we could go to the zoo like he had requested. I thought nothing of it. Absolutely nothing! The zoo was one of our favorite places to go together, and when he sets his heart on something, he’s very stubborn about changing it, so the idea that I would be engaged by the end of Friday was not even in my head. We got to the zoo around 3pm just wandering around, following our normal route. I just started a job there, so I was giving Ryan a small little tour with fun facts I had learned. We got through my favorite exhibit, and then I got a call from the delivery company.

They were at our apartment and waiting for us because apparently the delivery date had never gotten changed! I was freaking out and feeling terrible about them waiting, I start pulling Ryan through the zoo trying to leave. He insists on seeing the red pandas, and he won’t leave until we do. I love the red pandas, too, they’re probably my second favorite animal, so I agree. The red pandas are on a loop inside the major ring that is the main route around the zoo, and we literally always get lost just to find them. We have never walked directly there and knew where we were going. That day though, Ryan knew. Ryan took us out of our way, so our families could hide and get people out of the way. When we finally got there, there was one little red panda sitting in a tree. I was grinning ear to ear, just so excited that they were out and looking adorable.

From behind me, I hear Ryan go, “So Annie…” and I spun around still smiling, thinking he’s going to show me something else. That’s when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I nodded and squeaked out “yes.” While he stood up and hugged me, our families erupting into cheers. His best friend, Tim, was our personal photographer and captured the moment. Ryan’s parents left a little sooner to go take care of the delivery guys for us once group photos were done (they later called me and congratulated us, which was super sweet). We finished the evening seeing Fiona the Hippo as an engaged couple, a few manatees, some gorillas, and Kendi the Black Rhino baby. Walking around our favorite place, holding hands, and wearing my gorgeous engagement ring, I couldn’t imagine a better end to the day.

Special Thanks

Tim Spanagel
Photographer