ELLEN + RYAN (VINALHAVEN, MAINE)

I met Ryan this past spring at my month-long, intensive wilderness EMT class in New Hampshire. We bonded quickly through mutual appreciation for music, sing-a-longs, late-night food, and all things hilarious. Ryan quickly earned the nickname “Thor” from my classmates and I because of his stature and long hair. When our class ended we hugged it out and said our goodbyes, both wanting to visit each other down the road.

Ryan has an awesome girlfriend (now fiancee) named Ellen and they both work as wilderness therapy instructors in North Carolina. During the summer I live on Vinalhaven, an island 10 miles off the coast of Maine, and work with a commercial lobsterman whose lived here for over 30 years. I said they should come visit when they had time off from work.

So Ryan called me up a week or so back and said he and Ellen were making their way up the coast and wanted to stop by the island for a few days. He said he was wanted to propose to Ellen out here. There’s a crazy story that involves another classmate of ours, Eric, who dates a famous jewelry, Camille, whom Ryan had wanted to have Ellen’s engagement and wedding rings made by years before they ever met at our wilderness EMT class. During their trip they stopped in Brooklyn, where Camille and Eric are based, and picked up the ring he had Camille create for Ellen.

They arrived on the island this past Saturday, Ryan set a night for when he wanted to propose to Ellen, and a night later we jumped into my boat and made our way out to Hurricane Island. “Okay Ryan, once we’re out there and the sun is setting, I’ll say I’m going to photograph the sunset. This is your cue to make your move. Take your time. Make sure Ellen’s facing the sun for good light.” That’s all I said. Taking off her sunglasses, he asked, “Ellen, will you marry me?” “Yes!” she replied, jumping into his arms. “Are you sure?” he asked back. “Of course!”

As they say, the rest is history.