Carli and Ryan

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How We Met

Ryan and I have been dating on and off since we were 12 and 13 years old. We fell in love at camp Tyler Hill, and Ryan swears that he knew he wanted to marry me since the age of 12. We dated at 12 & 13 as boyfriend and girlfriend until Ryan left for a teen tour, and I left for another camp. At 17 & 18, Ryan’s family had moved back to NJ, where I lived and he used to live and he called me to say he wanted to hang out. We dated again, and had such a special love until Ryan said, “I’m going to college and I don’t want to hurt you, so lets see where life leads us, and if it’s back together, so be it.” If any other person ever said this to me, I wouldn’t have believed a word, but the truth is, Ryan has a heart of gold, and I knew he never wanted to hurt me, so I let him let me go.

I was 23 years old, it was January 2012, and I was on a trip to California for my first master’s degree in Television. I saw Ryan on Facebook and learned that he was living in CA. He was handsome as well hell. I wanted to meet up with him, but due to his hours in culinary school, we couldn’t get together. But that day, we spoke for 2.5 hours on FaceTime, and he told his roommates, “I’m getting her back.” Ryan called every week from California to say hi while I was living in NY. In February, he called to say he was doing a dinner in NJ for his family and wanted me to come as his date. I was seeing someone else, but didn’t think it could hurt, so I went and that night the magic happened. Sparks were lit, and something in the way he looked at me made me think, “this is what respect, love and admiration is supposed to feel like” —  That night before we parted ways, Ryan planted a big kiss on my face and I remember feeling so special.

Ryan kept calling, every week, and in March he told me he was moving home to NJ. I thought, “I can’t get guys that I’m dating to call, and yet this nice guy keeps calling from California, something has to be wrong with him!” I told Ryan I really hoped this had nothing to do with me, and that I wasn’t ready for something serious. He assured me it had nothing to do with me, but what I didn’t know was that night at the dinner in NJ, he told his best friends he was going to marry me. My fiancé Ryan is persistent, he gets what he wants in life, he’s determined, focused and passionate, all qualities I love. From the moment Ryan moved home to NJ in May 2013 he asked me out on a date every week, and every week I said I was busy. In July 2013, some guy I was seeing hurt my feelings, and coincidentally that morning, Ryan texted me to check in and see how I was doing. Ryan tried one more time, he asked if I wanted to get together and I agreed to a date, I picked the place, and told him he could stay at my apartment since he was driving far to see me.

The afternoon he arrived, I remember his smile from ear to ear, his smell, the navy blue Lacoste shirt he wore with big muscles that picked me up as soon as he saw me and the backpack he carried with his change of clothes. That night I remember being myself, for the first time in years. I felt at home in the arms of someone I hadn’t seen in months. Ryan stayed over that night, and when he left the next morning; I got home from work I noticed there was a sticky note on my bed attached to photos of us as kids, that said, “I love you too, let’s do this again soon.” Ryan and I have been dating since that night, August 14, 2013 and I never looked back once. When you fall in love, its not a crazy feeling like lust, but rather, it’s a feeling of comfort and satisfaction in knowing you’re being appreciated for the core of your heart and nothing more.

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How He Asked

We had been talking about this engagement for a while, and after he didn’t do it on my birthday or Christmas, I thought it may happen on NYE, but wasn’t 100% sold. Ryan is a chef in NYC and as a #chefwife many important nights are spent in the kitchen. I went to the restaurant to wait for him to finish his shift, and my girl friend and her boyfriend came to sit with me. As we waited, Ryan was standing at the bar with all of the co-workers from the restaurant and I was still with my friend at the table, I began to think something was wrong. I got so upset that he didn’t want me next to him when the ball dropped. At 11:58 PM I got up to see what was going on and heard someone next to him say, “someone get Carli!” I grabbed my friend, who thankfully brought a camera, since the photographer Ryan hired was late and missed the proposal– we ran to the bar. I stood in front of him, with my back in his arms and as everyone began to scream 10! 9! Ryan grabbed by body, held me tightly as if the world were to end and said the sweetest of words quietly in my ear. When the clock struck midnight he said, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” In this moment, he let go of my body and I felt like I was floating. When I turned around he was down on one knee, and with a twinkle in his eye and a smile ear to ear he said, “will you marry me?”

15 years later, and I can genuinely say, I’m the luckiest girl in the world. I found my other half, the love of my life and we’re looking forward to sharing many memories of the future together. Thank you for being my prince, and for never letting me go.

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