How did you two meet? Childhood friends and college sweethearts. Ryan and I met in elementary school in Orange Park, Florida. We were in the 6th grade and we both lived in the same neighborhood at that time. My dad’s job moved us from Upstate New York to Florida the year before, so I was still the “new girl”: quiet and reserved. Ryan, on the other hand, was more outspoken than I and endeavored to be the class-clown. His humor is what turns my bad day into good. He was my first kiss due to a game of truth-or-dare the summer before my family moved to Tampa and ever since I have been a true believer that we cross paths in life with others for a reason.
What date did you start dating? We lost contact for several years after I moved to Tampa; high school flew by and I was currently in college. We began to rekindle our friendship while he was deployed in Iraq in 2010 through social media, plenty of emails and Skype dates. Even though we don’t count the year of his tour as dating, I believe that year was the foundation of our relationship; we got to know each other on a much deeper level than a few dates over dinner. When he returned home in March of 2011 from overseas, everything just fell into place. He was stationed at Ft. Riley, KS and I was finishing school while maintaining a great job with a private physician in St. Petersburg, FL. Long distance was one of the most challenging things we dealt with, but it made the time we did have together that much more special. My mom always told me “distance makes the heart fonder”. A year later he graduated from Green Platoon (160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment) in Ft. Campbell, KY and I knew that I needed to move closer to see whether our relationship could or would go to the next step. I applied for a position at the VA Hospital in Nashville shortly after. I got the job, moved in with Ryan and the rest is history!
When did you realize you wanted to spend the rest of your life together? Ryan will admit that he isn’t the romantic type, so I don’t have a fairytale proposal story to tell, but I do know that he is the best thing to have ever happen to me. I couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone else; he’s my best friend and my true counterpart. For me, I knew that I wanted to marry Ryan shortly after moving in together. You quickly find out one’s bad habits, daily routines and pet peeves. I don’t think I could live with/or put up with someone else nor do I think anyone else would put up with me! We started talking about marriage a few months in and I knew he was sincere the moment I found out he asked my parents for their blessing.
When and where are you getting married? Ryan and I are getting married July 5th, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Florida! We knew we were having our wedding somewhere back home, but with family scattered, it took some time to find our location. After visiting several venues this past summer with my sister and best friend, I knew there was only one he would like, as he was deployed at that time. Our reception will be held at Nova 535 and the ceremony will be at North Straub Park overlooking the water on Beach Drive. We are beyond excited to celebrate the love we have for each other with our family and closest friends!
So far what is your favorite memory together? We both agree that our trip to Key West is our favorite memory together. The weather was actually horrible, as there was a hurricane going through the Gulf that week, which led to all of our reserved excursions being cancelled due to high winds. But still, there is something about being on a relaxing vacation with your significant other, doing anything or nothing at all. We rented a scooter for a part of our stay to sightsee; Ryan called it ‘Barbara the Beast’. I vividly remember we went out one evening before dinner to see the Southernmost Point in Florida when it began to rain. We quickly turned around to head back to the hotel and we got caught at what seemed to be every red-light possible (there are a lot in Key West). We were soaked, yet the only thing we could do was laugh and make out the best of the situation!
Both of you, what are you looking forward to the most about being married? Calling each other husband and wife. We both love children; Ryan has three nephews and six nieces (plus, one on the way) and I grew up with my younger siblings with a bit of an age difference. We are definitely looking forward to sharing special moments and milestones together: finding a house to call home, having children of our own (maybe another fur baby friend for our Sophie) and just living life one day at time with whatever the future may hold for us.