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(Image: Jamie Brinkman Photography / http://www.jamiebphotography.com/)

Documenting Love: Maria & Ryan's Story

Welcome to our Documenting Love series where we capture people's love stories through photos and the written word. This may be one of our favorite weekly series! Check out the gallery and read the couples love story below. Keep in mind that we ask the couples to answer the questions separately so we can draw parallels between their experiences and, you know, say a collective, "Ahhhhhhh!"

Maria
My first memory of Ryan was when he walked around the corner and said “Hi, I’m Ryan. You must be my plus one." His smile absolutely melted my heart! Just 30 minutes prior I had parked my car in Seattle at my friend’ s house after driving cross country to Seattle from Baltimore, Maryland for work. I only knew three people in Seattle and one of them was letting me stay with them until I found a place of my own. It turns out that my friend worked for Amazon and the night I arrived in Seattle was also the night of the Amazon Post-Holiday Party and one of their friends needed a plus one, so they invited me to join.

Ryan
We met through a mutual friend whose roommate she knew through youth group. Maria was driving cross country from Maryland out to Seattle and was going to crash on the roommate’s couch. Once she got to Seattle, she was quickly greeted by him and told about a company holiday party they were heading to. She quickly put herself together and got in a Lyft to downtown Seattle. Well - they were actually in a Lyft to my place where we were meeting up before the holiday party and Maria was my plus one.

Maria
I am most proud of Ryan's loyalty and authenticity. Whether it’s to me, his family, friends or USC, he is always there, through thick and thin.

Ryan
Maria is the most caring person I know. She’s gotten involved in Junior League in Seattle and put in 100 percent commitment to each of her assigned groups which recently helped low income kids learn how to cook. She always wants to give back in whatever way possible and it makes me strive to be a better version of myself.

Maria
I don’t remember the exact moment when I knew I loved him, but I very vividly remember telling him I loved him for the first time. We had just left our favorite dive bar on Cap Hill - Linda’s – on a chilly fall night. I turned to Ryan and I told him that I loved him. I was just so incredibly happy and bursting with joy (which I like to exhibit through tears haha!). We spent that Thanksgiving with his family and I had a feeling he was the guy that I would be spending the rest of my life with when I saw how much love he had for his family.

Ryan
I knew I really loved Maria when she came down with me to visit my family in southern California for Thanksgiving. She got along great with everyone in my family and we just felt so right together.

Maria
Our lines of communication are always open with each other and we always work to be as vulnerable and real with each other as possible.

Ryan
I think our story of how we met and our different upbringings make us different from the other couples we’ve seen. It gives us two different perspectives on things which helps us make decisions and keep us staying more open minded.

Maria
We had talked about getting married and gone ring shopping, but I really had no idea when we would be getting engaged. Ryan said anytime in the next 1-5 years. All I could think to myself was “5 years?! That’s a long time!!” We had a trip planned to San Diego in early December, but since we had been traveling so much that fall, I asked Ryan if we could just cancel the trip and stay home. He said “No – I think it’ll be great for us to just get away and spend time together”. So I agreed and we went to San Diego as planned!

The night before Ryan proposed, we were at a Greek tpas restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter and Ryan was getting anxious about what he was wearing. I had no idea why he was so worried about wearing a Seahawks jersey because everyone else in the restaurant was wearing sports attire, too! Little did I know what trick he had up his sleeve! That next morning we woke up and went to Coronado Beach. Ryan had never been before, but it was actually the first place on the West Coast I ever visited on my first trip out West in college. Ryan didn’t know this until that day!

Anyways, we walked through the Hotel del Coronado and looked at all of the beautiful Christmas decorations and then went onto the beach. We walked far enough down the beach that it was just us and two other couples. One couple looked like they just got engaged (the guy was in a full suit in 70 degree weather…) and the other couple was just out swimming in the ocean. I remember thinking “Wow, maybe one day Ryan will propose and we can celebrate here on this beach”. It was lunchtime so I turned around to say “How about we go get some lunch” and Ryan gets down on one knee, says three very profound things that neither one of us remember, and says “I wasn’t kidding when I said I want to spend forever with you” and asked me to marry him! It was the most amazing , beautiful and exciting moment of my life (until our wedding day!) We both were so happy and excited and called our families to share the great news. I took a picture of the spot we got engaged so I would never forget. The craziest part was that after we got back to Seattle, I was going through my pictures and realized I took the SAME exact picture four years prior on my first trip to San Diego! It’s crazy to think I may have been standing in the same spot that Ryan proposed, four years before!

Ryan
I had thought about proposing to Maria almost 6 months before I actually did because we were back in Cape May, NJ with her family for vacation. I knew it would mean the world to Maria if I asked her dad for her hand in marriage and I felt it would mean so much more to him if I was able to ask him in person. I ended up asking him if I could marry Maria about 4 months before I actually proposed. I knew I wanted to propose on the beach since it meant so much to both of us and realized I had a work trip to San Diego that would work perfectly. I ended up proposing on Coronado Beach which turned out to be the perfect setting!

Maria
The thing I love the most about Ryan are his eyes. They are so comforting and literally remind me of the ocean everytime I look into them. Ryan's passion for travel and trying new things– whether it’s running his first 5k or trying a new healthy dish, he’s always open to an adventure!

Ryan
Maria is always willing to try new things and push herself outside of her own comfort zone. She is caring, adventurous, and funny.

Maria
The sexiest thing about Ryan is that he has the best dance moves and unrivaled love for USC.

Ryan
The sexiest thing about Maria is her smile.

Maria
Here in Seattle, we love to go to Cupcake Royale or Hello Robin to get dessert once a month. Whenever we visit his parents in Laguna, we always make a point to visit our favorite beach – Salt Creek – and stick our toes in the Pacific Ocean. Walking on the beach is one of our favorite things to do.

Ryan
We love to try new recipes together in the kitchen. It’s always a new adventure for each one since I like to measure everything precisely while she is happy winging it. We make a great team now in the kitchen and try at least 2 new recipes a week!












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