Erica and Ryan’s love story began in 2008. Ryan was a sophomore in high school and Erica was a freshman. At the time, they were at different high schools. They were in a youth organization together and he was Erica’s chapter’s beau. One year later in 2009, Ryan messaged Erica on Facebook when he found out she was planning to transfer to his high school the following year. His message read “Heyyyyyyyy!!!!! Why are you coming to Riverwood?? IM SO EXCITED” He’ll admit it now... but he always had a little bit of a crush on Erica.
Fast forward to March of 2016 when Erica was accepted Columbia University for her masters in Occupational Therapy. (Once again, Facebook messenger has been a great archive for their story). Erica messaged him on Facebook as someone from Atlanta that she knew was there for Dental school. He was extremely helpful and supportive and offered to give Erica and her mom a tour of the medical campus. To this day, they joke that “Tour Guide Ry” gave them a great tour and that’s why Erica ended up at Columbia (LOL)!
Erica moved to New York in August of 2016 to start her graduate program. She knew there were things that she had to do on campus before orientation the following week, so she reached out to Ryan to see if he had a break in his schedule and wanted to grab lunch. It was catching up at lunch where she realized he had all the qualities she was looking for in a future husband. But Erica’s mind said they were supposed to just be friends! Ryan had a different agenda. He texted her later that day asking her if she would go out with him to get drinks. She told him that she would love to meet him and his friends out and that her friend is available and can join as well! That’s when Ryan made his intentions VERY clear and indicated that he wasn’t bringing any friends.
Their first date was PERFECT! They had the best time at a Cuban bar in Hell’s Kitchen. They talked for hours and he ended up taking her to his rooftop which was extremely romantic. He played music, they had amazing conversations and then he kissed her. They have been together ever since! (We’re melting!!)
This past year Erica’s parents had opened up a restaurant in Murrel's Inlet, SC. Erica and Ryan had committed to attending the restaurant's Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening which took place on Friday, March 29. Ryan’s parents had also planned on being there (even before the proposal was planned). Erica wasn't expecting the proposal to happen that weekend as Ryan’s sister had just gotten engaged one month prior...
Friday started off as a typical day. Ryan stayed at the Bed and Breakfast to "Study" for a licensing exam he had scheduled for the following month. What Erica didn't know was that he wasn't really studying and there was a proposal to plan! So on Friday, after they ate lunch at the restaurant, everyone gathered outside for the speeches and ribbon cutting. Erica’s dad and his operating partner gave his speech which was central around the theme of opening restaurants with their "better halves." In addition, he presented large checks to organizations, as the restaurant's theme is "Good food, Great Value and Giving Back to the Community." Everything seemed like an "ordinary" ribbon cutting at that time. Until her dad invited Ryan up in front of the entire crowd to do the honors of cutting the ribbon. Erica was still aloof to the proposal. In her mind, she was humbled that her father was including Ryan in on the ceremony. Ryan whispered in her ear to come up with him because he didn't want to go up alone (which again seemed "normal"). Ryan reached for both of her hands, said her full name, and got down on one knee to ask her the one question she have been dreaming of since the beginning of their love story. It was perfect!!! She wouldn't have had it any other way.
After the proposal, they enjoyed a celebratory meal at American Steak and Oyster Bar with live music, delicious food, families and friends, champagne toasts, dancing, corn hole, and many celebratory drinks! They went back to the Bed and Breakfast (which had beautiful views) for the sunset, pictures and more celebrations! Ryan (with the help of both parents) pulled off the most amazing surprise and perfect proposal! Erica says she cannot wait to marry him!!!
Ryan proposed with Erica's mother’s engagement ring. It was the exact ring her father proposed to her mother with, 30 years prior. That ring was so special to Erica as it is a sentiment of forever, love and family.
Ryan asked for Erica's parents’ blessing the night before, where he was given the ring. Ryan knew how important that ring was to her, but he also knew that he wanted to take something special and turn it into something that is their's forever.
He booked an engagement trip to New York so they could relive their time in the city together in addition to having an appointment with Olivia at Clear Cut! He “re-proposed” one month later with the most perfect and special ring curated for them. Erica was jumping up and down with excitement as he played Ed Sheeran in the background! It truly was PERFECT! What could be better than taking a lovely diamond that Erica’s dad had bought for her mom when he was a young man that she wore for over 30 years and turning it into such a special ring re-set, designed by the love of her life?!
They will be getting married Memorial Day weekend of 2020 in Atlanta, GA where they both grew up. The venue they chose will be opening next year (just in time for the big day): Savanna Hall at Zoo Atlanta. Congrats Erica and Ryan -- we are so excited for you!!