Ellie + Ryan
a stormy & beautiful wedding day fairytale
Many years ago, I met Ryan for the first time as he and my brother lived together and became very close friends. It’s mostly been in passing over the years but if there’s one thing you need to know about him is that he is A. Incredibly kind and B. Incredibly hilarious. I met Ellie when they were still dating and the best way to describe her is that she exudes joy and happiness. You can’t help but feel good when you’re around these two people not only separately, but together it’s like this explosion of #feelgood.
When they got engaged and asked me to be their wedding photographer, I was over the moon. Before I heard any of the plans or other details, I just knew it would be one for the books.
Ryan and Ellie met in college at The University of Washington at a social event.
At the time, neither were looking for something serious. It’s a good thing that didn’t last very long. Ryan says the first thing that attracted him to Ellie was her vibrant smile and her easy laugh. For Ellie, it was his ability to make her feel immediately comfortable and at home. Not long after they met, they went on their first date. After Thai food, frozen yogurt, and perusing a used book store, Ryan and Ellie found a kindred soul in each other and their love story official began. They dated throughout college, enjoying face-painting Saturday football games (go Dawgs), late night library study sessions, weekend getaways in the pacific northwest, and some good ‘ole college fun. Ryan graduated in 2013 and worked in Seattle until Ellie graduated the following year and the next chapter of their story began.
They saw each other as often as they could, and it was apparent to all their closest friends and family that they were both falling head over heels. Obviously, there was physical attraction and when asked, Ryan will tell you how much he loves her pearly white smile and bright blue eyes. Ellie will tell you how much she loves the wrinkles around his eyes when he smiles.
Ellie agreed to move with Ryan down to Portland as he started medical school at OHSU in 2015, and even survived living a year together with Ryan’s parents Alex and Ruby. Ellie started her Master of Social Work program at Portland State University in 2016 (while working full time at multiple jobs), and the two eventually moved to their first tiny, wonderful, 595 square foot apartment together. T
heir family grew by one member in May of 2017 when they brought home a fuzzy, uncoordinated, energetic mini-husky named Balto (go Dawgs). This was a very busy time for both of them, but facing the stresses and struggles of young adulthood together as a team ultimately strengthened the deep love they had for one another.
After months of planning and asking Ellie’s parents Mike and Maizie for their blessing, Ryan proposed to Ellie on the rooftop of their apartment overlooking the Portland skyline last spring. Ellie said yes (well actually, she said “I think so”, but close enough!), and celebrated their engagement at dinner where Ellie’s family had come down to Portland to surprise her.
Ellie and Ryan have a profound, and deep love for one another, which seeped through every moment on their wedding day in Portland, Oregon.
My brother officiated the wedding and he did a wonderful job in telling Ryan and Ellie’s story. One thing he asked them in advance was to reflect on what has continued to make them fall in love with each other. For Ryan, it is Ellie’s selflessness.
He described how she stays late to play with kids on the oncology ward, how she offers to babysit for coworkers so they can have a date night, or the time she ran to the pharmacy to pick up her neighbor’s medication who desperately needed it.
Quite simply, Ellie is a relentless giver to anyone who needs a helping hand.
For Ellie, she continues to fall for Ryan’s heart. Not just in how he cares for her, but in how he cares for everyone. In her words, “he is always making sure that those around him are happy before he even thinks of meeting his own needs.” She describes Ryan in three words: compassionate, loving and kind.
Like I said before, I knew that their wedding would be a blast. I didn’t, however, quite realize the impact it would have on my emotions! Let’s just say there weren’t many dry eyes in the house. And it wasn’t the kind of watery eyes that take me at every wedding, it was the deep connection I felt between these two and their tribe all day long.
The flow of their wedding in Portland was easy. Both Ellie and Ryan were nervous, but in the best way possible. They couldn’t wait to see each other and their first look was truly beautiful. The day truly went off without a hitch and there are so many highlights from their day from the crazy thunderstorm, hail, the guys and the umbrellas, watching my brother officiate, hearing their incredible vows, all the laughter, all the happy tears, delicious food and the epic helicopter exit.
When I asked Ellie what advice she has for brides planning their own wedding, she said this:
It feels like this is going to be the biggest day of your life and that everyone will (and probably already has) an opinion about what you are doing and planning for the wedding. In reality, the biggest day does not have to be this one. It is every day that you get to wake up next to the love of your life. Each week that you spend working towards a better future for you both. The wedding is an incredibly special time and the day will be magical, but also remember that it is not the defining factor of your relationship, or your life. So my best advice would be, remember why you are doing this! To spend the rest of your life with the love of your life :).
Ellie and Ryan, you are an incredible couple. Your love for one another and for other people was shining so brightly throughout your entire wedding day. I couldn’t love you more and I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to be the one to save the memories of your big day! Enjoy!
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