Ilyse and Devin

How We Met

How do I even begin?? When Devin and I met (a little unconventionally) in November of 2013, I had no idea he would become the absolute love of my life and best friend. I was living in Atlanta, Georgia and in school at Kennesaw State University studying Art History & Museum Studies. I had recently transferred to the school and my life mainly revolved around school, work and the occasional weekend trip home.

Then one day while at work I get a notification that a ‘devinweek’ started following me on Instagram. Not recognizing the name, I clicked over to his feed and started scrolling through his photos. I was impressed! He had photos of beautiful and unique custom furniture pieces he built, sketches he drew while at coffee shops, playing the guitar, lesson plans for a design class he taught at his Alma Mater (like, what doesn’t he do??) cute little dogs that seemed to belong to his parents. Being a creative myself, I completely appreciated his creativity and talent (and cute dogs never hurt either). So I thought, “Sure, why not? I’ll follow back.” After I hit ‘Follow,’ I continued to scroll through his photos and I quickly realized that this devinweek lived in Los Angeles. I didn’t know anyone from LA and I wasn’t big on hashtags, so I couldn’t help but wonder how he found me of all people on Instagram.

But I quickly was distracted by the first selfie of this devinweek character that was amid all the photos of wood work and sketches. He was so incredibly handsome! I felt my heart leap…and then fall when I reminded myself that this guy lived in LA and I Atlanta. But, I thought to myself, he’d still be a great feed to follow for his talent alone. And that’s when I noticed a photo featuring a ceramics project (which I love ceramics), so I ‘liked’ it and made a simple comment about how cool it was. Fast forward many long comments back and forth under this ceramics photo, and I knew this guy was…something special. I wasn’t expecting romance because of the literal country between us, but we just hit it off so well from the start, so naturally, I thought maybe I just made a great new friend. I remember feeling excited and nervous about how to ask for his number to stay in touch…but he commented back with his number first! Yes! I sent him a text immediately so he would have mine too.

From the moment on, we were in contact constantly. For the first few days we would be texting each other all day, everyday about anything and everything, learning about each other, until one of us fell asleep. Then, we had our first phone call. I was so excited to hear his voice! We were on the phone easily for about 2 hours until he realized he was late for band practice. But even so, he texted me in between songs and once practice was over. Then our days were spent texting all day until we were both off work (I was 3 hours ahead) and then we’d talk on the phone for literally 4, 5 hours every. single. night. Then we quickly graduated from phone calls to FaceTime.There were many mornings I’d go to work with 1 hour of sleep or none at all, but absolutely delirious from happiness. I had never felt anything like what I was feeling for Devin in my entire life! I knew I was falling for him.

Thankfully he felt the same. One month later in December, almost to the day of first meeting each other, Devin hopped on a plane and flew to Georgia to spend a week with me. Needless to say it was one of the best weeks of our lives. We toured the city, drove to the coast and Devin got to spend time with my family (where he was immediately and happily accepted). The night before he left, we knew this was something serious and he asked me to be his girlfriend. We didn’t have it all figured out, how this would work in such a long distance but we knew some way, somehow we’d make it work. He ended up flying back out two weeks later between semesters for another week because we missed each other so much. After he left the second time, I knew. I just knew this was the one. And I knew I wanted to be with him. In Los Angeles. For the next month and a half, I squared away everything I could and neatly packed my things into 2 suitcases and bought a one way plane ticket to LA (I had never even flown before!).

How He Asked

Fast forward four years, and I have never been as happy in my life as I have with Devin. He is simply amazing in every way. We start and end our days laughing with each other. I literally get to start and end my days with a smile, I am so blessed! I had known for a while he was The One and I was so excited for the day he’d ask. I would day dream about it all the time. I even talked to his mom about it so should the time come, she could help give him ideas if he needed them, ha!

Our 4 year anniversary, December 17, was coming up but we still hadn’t planned anything. With it being so close to the holidays and other gift shopping, I thought maybe we should keep it small this year. During a quick trip home to see one of my besties graduate, I get a text from Devin saying he’s planned a surprise over night trip for us for our anniversary weekend. I immediately got excited and hoped this was it! He wouldn’t tell me much about where or what we’d be doing, but he did tell me the day would continue to unfold with surprises.

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Saturday morning we woke up early, packed an overnight bag, and got into the car where he asked me to blindfold myself! Laughing, I did just that as he drove us to the first surprise: the harbor in San Pedro to take the ferry to Catalina Island (one of our favorite places). The boat ride over was beautiful – we even saw dolphins! Once we made it to the island, we had a tasty brunch by the water and did some window shopping. Then it was time for the next surprise: a zip line tour! There were 5 zip lines with incredible views of the hills and ocean, and our guides were hilarious! It was such a fun adventure to have with Devin. The next surprise came after zip lining: a beautiful room in a Victorian style Bed and Breakfast, complete with it’s own private ocean view balcony! He had told me he hadn’t booked a room and that we’d just figure it out, that sly devil! Once we settled into our room we noticed the sun was just starting to set and decided to grab a drink and appetizer before taking a golf cart ride around the island for sunset. Well, after our drinks we found out the golf cart rental had closed for the evening. Devin was pretty bummed but decided that we could take a walk at sunset instead.

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As we walked along the coast, he started looking for somewhere to snap a picture of us. Once he found the spot he liked in front of the Casino that had these beautiful tall archways, he set up his tripod. He asked me to stand in front of him so he could gauge the light and then set a timer to take our photo. When he went to view, the picture he said it was too dark and we’d have to take it again. Little did I know he had actually hit record.

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When he came back beside me, I started to pose for the next photo and I had placed my hand on his chest. I could feel his heart beating so fast through his shirt which made my heart start to race. Is this the moment?? Devin kissed me and said, “So you know I said there was one more surprise?” and he told me how much he loved me and my family. I could see his eyes filled with emotion as he reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out a beautiful walnut ring box, and dropped to one knee. “Marry me?” he asked. My felt my knees go weak as I dropped down in front of him, reaching for him. All I could do was hug him, I couldn’t believe this was really happening! My best friend and love of my life asked me to be his–forever! Devin pulled away from me and jokingly asked, “So that’s a yes, right?” and slipped the most beautiful pear cut solitaire onto my finger. The rest is a blur, I just remember being so filled with happiness I thought I’d float away into the night sky!

I started calling my family to tell the good news, but they already knew. Devin had called everyone in my immediate family, my gram, my mom, my brother, my sister, to ask for their blessing because he knew how much I loved each and everyone one of them. Hearing that touched my heart in the deepest way, to have someone care for me and my family that much. We spent the night celebrating this exciting new step in our journey together. I can’t wait to marry my best friend!