These men have been two of the very best friends I could ever ask for. Del and I met in college where we sat next to each other in a public speaking class. I walked away with the first A+ ever given by that teacher, and he walked away with a gem of a BFF. ;) Ha! No, but seriously from the moment we spoke, we clicked, and began our journey as Besties. Road trips, deep conversations that ran into the night, shopping excursions and countless bottles of wine (shesh, there had to have been hundreds, thousands even)--we've been through it all. When I lived at Austin Woods. When I first started dating Marshall. When he moved to Charleston (and I showed up in the middle of the night). When he moved back to Charlotte, and started dating Ryan--again. When I got a massive flu and couldn't move, he took me to the Doctor. Then he got the massive flu. A cooler full of purple passion and my 21st birthday. Some of the most fun days we spent together were as neighbors at Alpha Mill. I remember literally screaming when Del told me he and Ryan had signed a lease there. Those days we all grew closer, and Ryan and I got to know each other better, morphing into amazing friends as well. So much, in fact, that he trusted my coaxing to try to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon. Key word: try. Opening their door for me when I shuffled over in a messy pony tail and fuzzy house slippers to watch Jersey Shore, these boys were a tremendous rock for me during Marshall's deployment. We cooked each other dinner, played wii, scarfed down fried oreo sundays, and Ryan cuddled in the corner of the sectional and lamented while Del and I sat in the window sill and analyzed our feelings and discussed God, Yoga, photography, and Christian Louboutin all. night. long. Through all they have been through with me, I owe them the most for the generosity they provided during our wedding. Opening their home to family remembers (and a frazzled Bride!), watching the pups, and agreeing to assist in a surprise "walk the dogs down the aisle" attempt that got Del a threat to have the cops called on him (lord have mercy--I woulda bailed you out, boo!). I love Del and Ryan with ALL of my heart, and almost eight years later, was elated to witness their ongoing commitment to each other when Ryan popped the question. In Hawai'i! 'BOUT TIME! Ryan knows Del's buttons and enjoys lovingly push them. Del likes to pretend Ryan isn't funny when in fact, we all know he is. Warm hearted and a caregiver by nature, Del loves taking care of Ryan, cooking his favorite meals and making sure his whole back is covered with sunscreen. Humorous and lighthearted, Ryan in turn emotionally takes care of Del, in a hushed whisper asking "are you okay?", always making sure his love is happy and comfortable. Ryan keeps Del grounded. Del encourages Ryan to always be himself. Together, they make one another better. Ryan has always known he wanted to be with Del for forever, it was just a matter of when to ask, and their vacation to Hawai'i was the perfect opportunity. Months before, Ryan purchased the David Yurman black diamond ring and awaited their trip.
All Ryan wanted was sunset on a beach in Hawai'i (their first night--he didn't want to spend the week battling nerves!), and he was ready to pop the question. I obliged, and after spending a day touring the island (and doing recon work so that the plan wasn't blown!) we headed to Ko'Olina, one of the best spots on the island for sunset, and waited.
And shesh Ryan, you are making me nervous over here! Watching two friends get engaged, I was trying to not scream at the top of my lungs again. Yes, that has happened before and I was mortified. And a little sauced. This time, I vowed, I would be as quiet as a church mouse. Luckily the camera was in between me and "the moment" so I wasn't a crying mess just yet.
Ryan suggested I ask the two of them to pose for a sunset photo, then he would turn to Del and ask him, but two sunset photos later and no ring. The last thing I wanted to do was be obvious, because Ryan and I were already on the verge of being weirdos, and I assumed Ryan was simply nervous, so during the last photo I played photographer and simply worked it. And snapped. And snapped. And I am not going to stop taking photos until he pulls that ring out....snapped.
And it happened. After a few short and meaningful words, Ryan turned Del towards him and pulled out the shiny engagement ring. Excited, shocked, elated, and equally nervous, Del accepted Ryan's proposal, and began calling family and friends to inform them of the good news.
Guys--I love you to pieces. I am forever grateful to have you both in my life, you're both winners. Absolute dearest and true friends. You have done so much for me that I haven't thanked you for and could never send enough gratitude to cover, but I hope these images are a teeny tiny start.
Congratulations, you guys are awesome. Thank you for letting me be apart! xo
Ryan spotted this heart design created by salt and said "Look, there's a heart!". My overexcitement nearly foiled the plan when I exclaimed "that's PERFFFFFECTTTTT!" and started snapping away. Shesh, Ashley! ;) Del said we were all acting weird because "Ryan would NEVER point out a heart", so he had a sneaking suspicion.
He's speechless. A rare moment. ;)