Ryan and Nicholas' Same-Sex Marriage Proposal in Florida

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How We Met: Nicholas and I met for the first time in high school; however, we did not connect until a few years later over summer break from college. It must have been fate telling us something the first night that we realized this was going to be the relationship of a lifetime. Most nights we would make plans with friends to meet up after our summer jobs, have a few drinks and see where the night took us. This night started the same way but ended very differently. I invited some friends over to my parents house, where I was living at the time. More than a few
people were planning on coming by… until a big storm hit the island and only Nicholas was able to make it by.
At the time, he was only a friend of a friend, so we made small talk, which led to hours of chatting about life, school and how we saw the future. After a few drinks together and realizing that no one else was joining, we spent countless hours hanging out in the kitchen getting to know each other. From that day forward, we were in separable.

How He Asked: Fast-forward to almost seven years later, we both had gone off to college, spent a few years in a long distance relationship, and now live in Tampa in a house we call home together. I went for a surprise proposal because after eight years, I wanted to make it a special occasion for the both of us. I actually didn’t tell any friends, family or colleagues. It took two months of planning and setting the back-story. In January Florida passed
its Same-Sex Marriage law and Ashlee had asked for us to help with a photo shoot to help, “Build her portfolio.”

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Shortly after, I reached out and said that I wanted to make this a real proposal. This gave the perfect cover up story so Nicholas would have no idea. About a week leading up to the evening, we were planning the last details. I was finalizing a dinner menu and picking up some tequila (our favorite) and champagne to celebrate.

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The ring was burning a hole in my desk all week and I was so excited to finally give it to him. Like most days, work was a bit hectic which was good because it distracted me from feeling nervous. I skipped out early and called Nicholas to pretend I was going to late.

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It’s typical for me to be late since my business is growing and there is always something to do. I arrived at Cass Contemporary about an hour before the proposal took place, changed into my outfit and confirmed with Nicholas that I was going to be late. He rushed to the venue so that he could compensate for me running late. The gallery is only about five minutes from our house so when he said he was on his way, that’s when it became real. I remember thinking, “This is happening.” I got really excited but then realized I didn’t know what I was going to say… then Nicholas pulled up into his parking spot and headed towards the front door. Jennifer from Oh Hello Events met him at the door to take his change of clothes and accessories so he could be hand free walking into the gallery. When he turned the corner and saw me, I could tell he was utterly confused.

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I was supposed to be late, he was rushing into meet Ashlee and there I was, dressed and ready to go.

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Then he glanced at the wall of photos that Jennifer helped put together. It was filled with some of the best photos from our eight years of experiences together. I explained to him that we were not actually here for a photo shoot, in fact, there was something that I wanted to ask him after eight amazing years together.

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“Will you spend the rest of your life with me,” I said as I knelt down and held the box with the ring up to him.

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There wasn’t much to be said because we both knew this day would come. We held a long hug and then spent a moment to take it all in, before busting out the tequila for a shot!

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Tequila is our drink of choice so I knew I wanted to have some on site. Shortly following, an acoustic guitar player from Breezin Entertainment joined us to sing some of Nicholas’ favorite long songs while we dined, called our parents and enjoyed each others company.

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Salt Block Catering Co provided on site catering service for us, and it was delicious. Not a typical menu but something that I knew we would enjoy.

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Before dessert, we took a break to write each other notes that we would then nail shut in a wood box with the intention to open on our wedding day.

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These notes were to capture the emotion that we were feeling so that we could relive some of the excitement on our wedding.

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Photographer:  Ashlee Hamon Photography, INC. //DJ: Breezin’ Entertainment //Event Venue:CASS Contemporary Gallery //Floral Designer: Florist Fire //Event Planner: Oh Hello Events //Caterer: Salt Block Catering  //Equipment Rentals: Tufted//Design and Decor: West Elm Tampa