*quotes and verbs may be slightly altered for dramatic effect*
Setting: A brisk spring day, Auburn, AL - The Grove apartment #142
Anna (age 21) entered the kitchen. Noticing her dishes all piled up in the sink, she ignored them with a shrug. Eliza (age 20), her fashionista roommate, noticed Anna's dirty dishes and realized that Anna seriously needed to get a boyfriend.
"Hey, you should meet the Ryans!" Eliza exclaimed.
"Whomst are the Ryans?" replied Anna.
"Some of Tommy's friends from work, and they are sooo fun! One of them is kinda a hippie though...you'd probably like that one," replied Eliza.
Setting: 1036 Greenwood Ave Unit C (pre-flood) - front porch, before the Inaugural home opener of the Atlanta Braves in SunTrust Park (RIP Turner Field)
Thomas (age 23) arrived at Ryan's bachelor pad after a very productive Friday of work. Ryan (age 23) and Thomas proceeded to enjoy some sudsy boys on the porch before the Braves game.
"Ha-ha, Anna's Snapchat story is so funny!" chuckled Tommy.
"Let me see" begged Ryan.
"No", asserted Tommy.
Desperate to see the story, Ryan proceeded to text Eliza asking for Anna's Snapchat information.
Eliza happily obliged and replied "annamarino95!"
Ryan immediately Snapchatted a picture of Tommy on the porch drinking an aforementioned sudsy boy, as he was nervous for Anna to see himself first. Anna and Ryan Snapchatted throughout the evening. Things soon escalated to text messaging.
Setting: Sweetwater 420 Festival, downtown ATL (Ryan) - Auburn, AL - The Grove apartment #142 (Anna)
As Ryan was patiently awaiting Widespread Panic to take the stage, he watched a small band called Twiddle. Hey, this band is pretty neat! he thought. He noticed that they were playing in Auburn, AL a few days later.
"We should go see this band, they jam!" he texted Anna.
"Sure! Just let me know how to buy tickets and I will," replied Anna.
"Don't worry, I'll take care of it. It's my treat!" said Ryan, reassuring her.
Setting: A cool spring evening, Auburn, AL - The Grove apartment #142, before a jam band concert
Anna nervously awaited meeting Ryan. She sat on the Grove couch, almost panicked. Ryan nervously awaited meeting Anna. He decided to bring his posse for moral support, Ryan "Mint" Montgomery (age 24) and Tommy (still age 23). Ryan's posse arrived at the apartment. Ryan approached Anna, a twinkle in his eye.
Anna sprung up and shouted, "Hi! I'm Anna!!!" She extended her sweaty hand.
Ryan was already moving in for the hug. Talk about awkward. Was this going to work? Ryan questioned.
Setting: Downtown Auburn, AL
At dinner, the two barely spoke. Is this going to work? Anna questioned. Luckily, the posse brought positivity to the atmosphere. Eventually, the two made it to the Twiddle show and began to loosen up as they both started to get to know each other. During the set break, Ryan asked Anna if she wanted to get some fresh air. As they walked, Anna talked and Ryan listened. Ryan talked and Anna listened. They eventually strolled up to Little Italy Pizzeria (Auburn, AL). There, he planted one on her. Anna swooned once again.
Setting: Atkins Park Tavern, Atlanta GA
Anna was on summer break. Her and Ryan had been going steady for a few weeks now, and things were starting to heat up. After spending a few hours with Matt from Atkins (age unknown), Anna's thoughts escaped through her lips and she shouted to Ryan, "WHAT ARE WE!?" Uh oh, it's time for the talk, thought Ryan
*Two wonderful years, multiple house floods, two apartments, one very successful school year as a teacher, and 21 Widespread Panic shows later*
Setting: Alpharetta, GA - Conference Room 100
Ryan was in deep thought about the relationship, when he probably should have been paying attention to the meeting he was in. He texted Anna's mother, Julie (age 30) about logistics to eventually procure an engagement ring (Exhibit A: as seen on Anna's hand today). Ryan knew that Julie would know exactly where to go and what style ring Anna wanted since it is all that Anna and Julie had talked about since Anna's birth. Ryan was ecstatic that he could be the person to fulfill this prophecy and incredibly grateful that Julie had already done her research. That evening, on his drive home, Ryan informed his parents Scott (age 30) and Sheila (age 30) of his master plan. They were over the moon and couldn't wait to participate in the festivities. A few days later, Ryan worked up the courage to ask Mark (also age 30) at the lake house. Mark was also ecstatic and couldn't wait to gain a new son!
Setting: Cathedral Grove, Muir Woods National Monument, Marin County California (spoiler alert: proposal day!)
Ryan was nervous. He had to ensure Anna did not know anything about his master plan, which had now been shared with both families. After a brief, albeit stressful random TSA search, Ryan was through security with the ring hidden in a sock, stuffed in the bottom of his carry-on backpack. Anna was clueless (about the master plan). She was taking pictures left and right, so excited to be in such a beautiful setting. And what a setting it was. They had awoken very early that morning since they were still used to the Eastern time zone. When they arrived at Muir Woods, there were barely any other cars in the parking lot.
As they entered the Cathedral Grove of ancient Redwood trees, with not another soul in sight, Ryan noticed the "please enter quietly" sign. That could be an issue, he thought. Regardless, he expressed his love for Anna, then got down on one knee and popped the question. He's kidding, she thought a million times over and over. Then she saw the ring, that twinkled. The twinkle of the ring was identical to the twinkle she saw in Ryan's eye before Twiddle 2017. With a tear (or a few) in her eye, she blissfully accepted Ryan's proposition. The tears kept coming for what seemed like days. Finally, Ryan asked "are ya gonna try it on or what!?!?!?". For a few perfect minutes, things were not quiet in the Cathedral Grove. We're sure the trees would understand.
Now we're getting married and that's probably why you're here. We welcome you, friends, family, loved ones, acquaintances, exes, random users of the internet that have stumbled on our page. Sit down, crack open a cold one, and enjoy some of our favorite moments as a couple. We're glad you've been a part of it.