Lauren and Ryan

How We Met: It started in second period art class in 2006. We both sat on opposite sides of the room and never spoke until one day in December. Ryan walked up to me, while I was working intently on my artwork, and asked where the scissors were. Confused as to why he was asking me, I simply pointed and said, “Over there.” He still says to this day he wasn’t going to talk to me again after that. However, on January 16 in 2007 Ryan asked me to be his girlfriend in the middle of the high school courtyard. After years of dating, the two were inseparable and ready for the next step in life!

high school

How He Asked: After seven and a half years of dating, I had graduated college and moved up to Wilmington, North Carolina to start my career. We had previous conversations about moving in together when Ryan was finished with school in Gainesville, Florida. Little did I know, Ryan had already talked to my father and asked for his blessing to pop the big question!

Ryan came to visit me in August of 2014 and he decided we were going to on a morning beach walk, a typical activity for us. On a rainy Monday, we drove to Wrightsville Beach for a stroll before breakfast. We walked up to the beautiful Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and underneath was an old-looking, weathered glass bottle tucked in the sand.

“Laur, it’s a message in a bottle! Let’s open it!” Ryan said. I thought there was no way I was going to open someone’s love letter in this ancient-looking wine bottle! “Let’s throw it back to sea,” I said.

Obviously, that wasn’t Ryan’s plan but it just goes to show how completely clueless I was! Ryan picked up the bottle and pulled out a note. As he began reading the letter, he dropped to one knee. I couldn’t believe it! Ryan was asking me to marry him!

Waiting patiently, Ryan let me soak all of this in and I finally cheered “YES!” He placed the gorgeous ring on my finger and I hugged him for as long as he’d let me.

After a few seconds, Ryan couldn’t help but point out in the distance to the surprise photographer who caught everything on camera. I’m so grateful to have this amazing memory captured in pictures. I’ll never forget the incredible feelings of excitement and pure bliss!

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