Erica and Ryan
How We Met
Rewind to January 8, 2015. After a night of dinner and cocktails, my friend Lauren convinced me to go out for one more drink at the pub where I used to bartend. “Come on,” she said, “You can’t say no to free drinks!” She knew she had me there, so off we went to Anna Liffey’s for said free drinks. Upon entering, I secured her in a booth and made my way to the bar alone. I made a quick order, grabbed our wine and headed back only to find Lauren already had company. As I took my seat in the booth, she introduced me to the young man sitting across from her as Bruce. He seemed nice enough, but was clearly more interested in continuing their conversation than getting to know me. Just as I was thinking I would be sitting this one out, my eyes locked with the tall, handsome man who was approaching our table. As it turned out, this tall fellow was a friend of Bruce, and he introduced himself as Ryan. He joined our little party, and made it very clear he was there to talk to me. The more we talked, the more we learned we had in common. From our love of Queen, to each having multiple first names (his being Kenneth Ryan and mine being Erica Shannon), the conversation flowed effortlessly. So effortlessly in fact that before we knew it, it was last call. Ryan mentioned he was having some friends come over, and gave me his address with a confident, “You should come by too.” And go I did, only to discover that I was the only person to have been invited over. We continued to talk all night long, and the rest (as they say) is history.
How He Asked
Unbeknownst to me, I actually planned my engagement party. The thing is, I thought I was planning my 25th birthday party. Like any young girl does, I wanted a exciting night out with my very best friends. I found this amazing restaurant in Manhattan, made the reservations, and invited the girls who are now my bridesmaids. The weekend before my birthday, Ryan and I were down in North Carolina visiting my parents. While we were there, a few huge things happened. 1) I was offered my Nana’s wedding ring which is from 1947, 2) I accepted it, and 3) Ryan asked my parents for permission to marry me. Now, I was extremely unaware of that last event. I was 24, he was 29, and so I did not think a wedding was in the near future. As it turns out, Ryan had been playing me for months, pretending he wanted to wait another year or two before getting engaged. In reality, he waited all of five days to ask me to be his best friend forever. While I had done all the formal planning, Ryan had also called the restaurant himself. He had set up for a photographer to be there and pose as the restaurant’s Instagram photographer. I noticed him snapping photos of other tables, before finally coming to our table and asking if we minded having our picture taken. “Of course not!” I exclaimed, happy to have a photo with all my favorite people. After a few snaps, Ryan then asked him if he would mind taking a picture of just the two of us as it was my birthday. We stand, he snaps two pictures, and the next thing I know Ryan is down on bended knee with a grin from ear to ear. I was so shocked that I completely thought he was kidding, and asked “Are you ******* kidding me?!” He slowly shook his head no, and pulled out my Nana’s ring. Time stopped, my friends were screaming, the restaurant was full of applause. Before Ryan could actually ask me that magical question, I screamed “Of course, you idiot!”
The rest of the night was truly a dream come true. We called our families, and then partied the night away. He may not have planned the whole thing, but Ryan truly did give me the best night of my life. I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to spend forever with my best friend.