Dineen and Ryan
How We Met
Dineen: We met for the first time in the most non-romantic setting of a college party, surrounded by tacky furniture and decorations. Clearly not a place I ever expected to find love – and now it will forever be known as the start of our story. So tacky college party it is. Ryan is rather tall and easily spotted in crowds, while I am slightly shorter and easily lost. How he and I even met eyes is a miracle. A casual glance between us and a goofy grin spreads across his face. It was that genuine smile, kind and happy-hearted, which cracked a returned smile from me. And the next thing I know he is by my side declaring how we’ll be together one day. Smitten? Not quite. Annoyed? A little bit. I rolled my eyes at his cheesy pickup line and we parted ways.
Over the next year, we saw each other in passing around campus and at events. Sometime later, by sheer luck, we both ended up in the same city for a week-long vacation from school. Our groups of friends instantly made plans together as we were all out-of-towners. Unsurprisingly, Ryan and I were drawn towards each other and ended up spending a great deal of time together. We quickly bonded and when we returned to Seattle, there was no doubt we had to keep hanging out. All my friends will tell you that I was stubborn in college, especially when it came time to admitting my feelings and emotions. Ryan broke through that façade and softened some of my many rough edges. He has that effect on people and I admire that the most about him: his heart is so happy and he has such an amazing loyalty to his friends and family. And how could I not fall so in love with someone like that?
Ryan: Dineen and I met during my Freshman year of College at the University of Washington. Our first meeting occurred after I had just finished my first “Finals Week”; as such, my Fraternity was celebrating accordingly. Dineen had many friends in my Fraternity at the time, was a Sophomore, and was obviously invited over for every event we held. It didn’t matter that she showed up with 10 other girls because I was completely transfixed on how stunning she was. After an ample amount of liquid courage, I believed it necessary to share this with her while introducing myself. It did not go as I had rehearsed in my head and I was appropriately brushed away. I knew I had blown my chance. We met again at a later function and had an amazing time. This time things clicked and from that moment I was absolutely infatuated with her. We started to hang out more and more. Things were going so well until she retreated, citing that I was still “just a freshman” and she knew I needed some time to grow up and experience college. At the time I was pretty upset and didn’t have the emotional intelligence or mental capacity to think critically about the reasoning behind her decision. A year went by where we dated other people and saw each other only in passing. Until spring break 2012 when her group of friends and my group of friends unknowingly scheduled a trip to the city for vacation. It was the first time where we were able to step away from the influences of school, social circle politics, and be ourselves with each other. We knew that we wanted to be together after that trip, and have been since.
How He Asked
I had just finished an intensive UW course while working full time, the week before the proposal. My brain was mush. Our friends, Rachel and Matt, invite us to a spur of the moment trip to a lake cabin in Wenatchee. [Reality: Ryan rents lake cabin, uses our friends as pawns. They pass off the idea as solely Rachel and Matt’s]
Pre-Proposal Plans: Rachel and Matt suggest we hike Beckler Peak on our way to the cabin. Ryan excitedly accepts. I should have been skeptical considering Ryan hates hiking, but again, post-finals brain. I wrote this off as general excitement for the weekend.
[Reality: Ryan planned to propose at the top of the mountain.]
The week before the Hike: I very rarely go to nail salons, but I had sudden desire to treat my mangled nails and get a manicure as I had neglected self-care while in school.
[Reality: This created an internal PANIC amongst my friends as they assumed I knew something about the proposal. I can assure everyone now that I 100% did not suspect anything.]
Morning of Hike: Ryan is super happy about packing the car for the trip. It would usually freak me out because no one likes packing a car up, but it’s too early in the morning to care. I begin making myself breakfast. Ryan is anxious and I’m doing all these things slowing us down.
[Reality: Photographer and Ryan agree on time and location to be at the proposal spot, so everyone is in position for the big finale]
Hiking: I am so excited to be on the beautiful hike with the love of my life, my good friends, the sun is shining etc. etc.
[Reality: Everyone is super on edge, nervous, struggling to keep their cool the closer we get to the top.]
Hiking Stick: I find a sturdy stick on the ground. I attempt to chip the bark off with my newly manicured nails. Ryan quickly grabs the stick from my hands and removes the bark for me.
[Reality: Newly. Manicured. Nails. The proposal is about 20 minutes away]
Top of Mountain: the Best part of a hike is the view from the top! And of course, all the snacks you brought to eat. Everyone must not be that hungry because I’m the only one eating.
[Reality: Everyone is too nervous to eat. I the only one eating, I typically eat the most, and I’m taking my sweet time.]
Top of Mountain: Everyone begins to pack up, which rushes my snack eating. Ryan asks to get a picture. I oblige, and we get into position. The rock we’re standing on is uneven and I’m looking down at my feet trying to find the right footing.
The Proposal: Ryan gently tugs at my hand, refocusing my attention. As I turn, he drops down to one knee, and as the realization hits me, I become instantly overwhelmed with emotion. I was not mentally present after that. When I recall the moment, it comes back as slow motion: I’m focused only on Ryan and I notice his mouth moving, but my ears are ringing and I cannot hear what he’s saying. He’s smiling and laughing and staring at me with his big brown eyes. I know I must be crying because I can feel myself trembling. Random memories of him and I keep flying into my head as I try to focus on the present. His proposal plans were so perfect. Everything was perfect.
Everyone was floating on air. After all this excitement I was itching to get to the cabin and enjoy the weekend with my now fiancé. When we arrived at the cabin I was happily chattering away and did not notice a shared secrecy still lingering amongst the group. Upon entering the cabin, I was met by a crowd of people whose faces I quickly recognized. Congratulations were happily shouted, and Ryan’s last surprise had been unveiled. He had planned the entire weekend, complete with a house full of our closest friends. It was the best weekend of my life.
Ryan: Dineen loves to hike, and being out in the Pacific Northwest we are in an amazing location to do so. I always knew I wanted to propose when she would least expect it, we weren’t dressed up for something fancy, and that we’d celebrate with those closest to us after. So, with the help of some friends, I picked the hike up Beckler Peak. The hike was moderately difficult, making it feel a bit more accomplishing and it presented a perfect backdrop for my big plan. To remain inconspicuous, I had our friend Rachel suggest a weekend trip a few weeks in advance under the cover that family friends had a cabin we could stay in for the trip. I also did the hike the weekend prior with a friend of mine to make sure I knew how to get to the peak, and could describe it to Tina, our photographer.
Everyone played a secret role: Tina would begin the hike 30 minutes ahead of us to get into position and would pose as a random hiker taking nature photos, Matt was in charge of carrying the ring in his bag (even more fitting since he’s the jeweler I purchased it from) so Dineen wouldn’t accidentally find it, and Rachel was tasked with keeping Dineen distracted and on schedule. I was in charge of not getting sick from nerves. When it was proposal time, we were ready. My knee hit the ground, I pulled out the ring and began my speech.
A speech I had planned and practiced for weeks – that I most likely butchered. She said “yes” through tears and champagne bottles were popped in celebration. We made the hike down and left for the little cabin Dineen thought we were staying at. Little did she know I had rented out a huge house right on Lake Wenatchee. She walked into a surprise engagement party full of our closest friends waiting to celebrate with us.