Jenna and Ryan

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How We Met

Ryan and I met in Vail, Colorado at a free Sublime concert in April 2013. The snow was lightly falling and I saw him before he saw me. Something drew me to him, and I walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around, smiled, and the rest was history.

Well, that happened AFTER we met on Tinder.

That’s right. Tinder was basically brand new when Ryan and I met on it, and for a while we didn’t know how to tell our friends and family that we met on a dating app! He was a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy and it was around the time when 3rd year cadets were seeking a date for Ring Dance – a formal occasion where cadets receive their class ring and celebrate one more year before graduation. We talked on the app for a bit and then I gave him my number. We bonded on our love for the mountains and skiing/snowboarding, so we planned to meet up in Vail to ride together. That night that we finally met in person, and we stayed up until 3AM talking. I attended Ring Dance with him a few weeks later and we officially started dating after that.

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We’ve been together 3.5 years now, and in those 3.5 years we did over a year of long distance, which made us stronger than ever, and we now live in Oregon where our engagements were taken (by India Earl Photography). After we get married in Breckenridge, CO in February, we head to our next assignment overseas where we get to live and travel different parts of the world. We realize now that we’re so thankful for modern day technology that brought us together in a place where we may not have met otherwise.

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How He Asked

If Ryan were to propose I had always assumed it would be in Colorado, where I grew up and where we both went to school. But he was in Pilot Training in Columbus, MS at the time and found out that his next phase in training wouldn’t allow him to take any leave to go visit Colorado any time soon. So, clueless as to when and where he would do it, I went down to the South for his assignment night, where we discovered he’d be flying the F-15C for the Air Force! We were stoked, and decided to rent a house at Lake Tuscaloosa, Alabama to celebrate along with a few other couples.

Me and 3 other pilot wives/girlfriend decided to head up to the house early to set up. They told me that the guys had a mandatory meeting on that Friday afternoon so they would be late, which wasn’t out of the ordinary. We drove up to the house, and one of my friends had insisted that I go in first to check it out. The house was gorgeous with a beautiful lake view. I stepped up and looked through the front door window and saw a bunch of candles lit down a hallway through the back door. I looked at my friends and told them we were at the wrong house – since we were supposed to be the first ones there.

Of course, since they were in on the surprise, the told me to go in the house. Meanwhile, they are snapping photos like crazy. I looked a little closer and saw there were photos of Ryan and I framed everywhere. At that point, it clicked.

I walked through the house to find Ryan, sweating bullets (both because it was 90 degrees out and because he was nervous), on a beautifully decorated gazebo. I was in shock!

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I thought it would be impossible for Ryan to surprise me, but here he was getting down on one knee to ask me to marry him. Shaking with happy tears, I said yes, and the 3 other pilots popped out from the room to congratulate us. They and their significant others had helped Ryan decorate and pull off the surprise and it could not have been any more beautiful.

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Our Video

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Special Thanks

India Earl
Photographer (engagements, not proposal)