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Our Engagement Story

Five years ago this week, Ryan proposed. WHAT?! How was it that long ago? It’s a day and moment that I’ll never forget – even though I’m pretty sure that I blacked out while it was happening. So, I thought it would be fun today to share our engagement story!

Our Engagement Story fall engagement photos
First off, let me preface this with a little background. Ryan and I had been dating for four years at this point, and we also were living together. I graduated college in 2011, and Ryan was getting ready to enter his last year of pharmacy school (six total years). Talk of marriage was not a new conversation, and we knew that we were going to be together. But, I had ZERO clue that it was coming when it did.

It was a Friday, and I had put in for a half day of PTO from work. Ryan was getting ready to take his finals, and shortly thereafter he’d be leaving to go on his year of rotations. So, we wanted to spend a little extra time together before things changed for a while.

For whatever reason, Ryan drove me to work that morning so he also was going to pick me up. I stood at the curb waiting and waiting, until I realized that Ryan had been sitting there in the car for a few minutes. Except, it wasn’t his car. It was a Mustang. Huh? Once the confusion wore off, Ryan explained that one of his professors let him borrow the car since he drove her home from their pharmacy bar crawl/party the previous week. I’m pretty sure my response was, “good thing because I wasn’t going to be too happy if you bought a car before you bought me a ring!” Haha. I’m such a brat.

So, our day began. It really was like any other day. We ran a couple errands, and we caught an afternoon movie. Want to know what we saw? Disney Earth’s Chimpanzee. That’s right – the day I got engaged, I spent part of it learning about a group of wild monkeys. This still cracks me up. Come to find out, Ryan was pretty adamant that we go see a movie because he was anxious and didn’t want to end up spoiling his surprise. A movie was a safe way to occupy the time for a few hours.

fall engagement photos
We had dinner reservations that night at our favorite restaurant, Centro in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. This is where we had our first date, and Ryan officially asked me to be his girlfriend on the sidewalk right outside. We also celebrated numerous other special occasions there over the years, so it was a natural choice to head there for this last hoorah.

So, we headed to dinner and when we parked, Ryan said he would get my door for me. Being the lady that I am, I was like “what? I can do it myself! You never open the door for me!” I’m seriously laughing as I type this. I was so clueless. Ryan also grabbed his coat from the backseat and put it on before getting out of the car. Um, it was nearly 80 degrees outside. So, my first statement after he helped me out of the car was, “Are you cold? It’s hot outside! Maybe you’re getting sick.” I seriously don’t know how Ryan kept a straight face, but I guess he was used to me and my ways. Good thing. 😉

This is where things get a little hazy for me. Ryan said some sweet things – what they were, who knows – and next thing I know he’s down on one knee holding a ring box up to me. I’m not even sure if I heard him say, “will you marry me?” but I assume that he did. I just kept saying, “oh my god!” over and over again. Obviously, you all know the answer that I gave! It was a few of the sweetest moments of my life that ended in me yelling, “WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!” to the entire street. Oh, did I mention this all happened right in the exact spot where Ryan asked me to be his girlfriend four years prior? The entire front of the restaurant is windows, so everyone in the bar area was clapping for us.

fall engagement photos Madison County, Iowa
As special as the whole moment was, I couldn’t believe that we had to sit through dinner before I could call my parents! In true Ryan and Karly fashion, we ordered pizza and I grilled Ryan on all the details of how he kept this a secret from me (we’re not good at doing that with each other). Our waiter also was sweet enough to surprise us with dessert since at that time, he was the only person that knew! Ha!

When we got back to our place, I told my mom that we had to FaceTime. I’ll never forget telling her, “so, guess what?” and holding up my ring finger. She started crying immediately! She went and got my dad, but little did I know that dad knew the entire time that this was happening. Ryan had met with him in person back in March to ask for my hand. Honestly, the whole story and planning behind it just kept getting sweeter!

The rest of the night was spent calling family and friends, and we even went to go visit a couple of our close friends in person to share the news. Again, they all knew so it wasn’t much of a surprise! I guess Ryan wasn’t shy about letting everyone know what he was about to do. It’s a miracle that it didn’t make it’s way to me! We also decided to drive home that weekend to share the news with Ryan’s grandma and some of his extended family, as well as my sister and parents. A deer ran into my car on that drive that resulted in extensive damage, but that’s a story for another time. Between the deer and chimpanzee documentary, I guess nature just wanted to be a part of our special time! Ha!

Our Engagement Story_Stacie Behrens Photography
This was so fun for me today. Thanks for hanging in there and letting me get all nostalgic. Our engagement story, even five years later, is still a fun one to talk about and remember. It was personal, low key and simple – exactly the way that Ryan and I like things!

I love to hear about engagement stories, so please share yours in the comments!

photos by Stacie Behrens Photography