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Adrienne & Ryan – Playing Pacman and Proposing

Adrienne & Ryan – Playing Pacman and Proposing

Adrienne and Ryan met on a fated Ultimate frisbee trip, assigned to be co-coaches of a college B-team. They were instant friends and went on their first date a little less than a week later.

A: We have the growth of American University’s Women’s Ultimate Frisbee program to thank for our meeting. The program had outgrown one team and formed a new B-team and asked the grad student who theoretically already knew the women’s names and a program alumna to travel with them to their first tournament.

That weekend I was over enthusiastically woken by my new co-coach to see a fantastic sunrise. We also discovered that the two of us had similar thoughts on what is important in teaching foundational frisbee. Together we shouted every word to Bowling for Soup’s “1985” in the car ride home to the bewilderment of the first-year college students in the back seat. Overall, a super successful first ‘Dirty Bees’ tournament weekend!

Long story short, before the weekend was over, we made plans to hang out again in a few days at a grad school happy hour and never looked back. 

How’d you plan the proposal?

A: I kept it a secret!! It was not the most fun thing I’ve ever done. Ring shopping was during the time of Covid. So it entailed chitchatting on the phone with the jeweler and sending my brother, who lived in the area, to make sure I wasn’t making a huge mistake ring-wise. It all worked out, and I was able to design a beautiful custom ring for Ryan with the help of Fox and Beau in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Any stories from the lead-up to the proposal stressful or funny? 

I wanted this proposal to be on-brand for us. Extravagant helicopter rides or mile-long hikes to see sunrises, isn’t it. My plan A was inspired by an article about bars and restaurants in the DC area changing up their business models to try and keep patrons coming in 2020. One such bar was a new dive bar, Last Call, around the corner from us that was so new that we hadn’t had a chance to try it before things shut down. The article talked about Last Call opening a new annex, and the only table in the original bar was a Pacman flat top. Wellllll, that is right up our alley. 

So I went to scope it out approximately two days before the day I wanted to do it. And it was closed because the power was out. Taking it as a sign, I spotted a restaurant across the street and, upon further research, discovered that it was a Michelin Star restaurant. I called and made reservations for their outdoor patio the following day. 

The day arrives, and it’s raining. And they cancel my reservations. So I’m hours away, with no plan. Ryan does know that we’re going on a secret date, which isn’t out of the ordinary, so she wasn’t suspicious of greater intentions. I leave the house and tell her to get ready, my plan has been rained out, but I’m going to try and make a new one. I head back to the bar, fingers crossed that the electric company has sorted itself out, because the final option for getting this ring out of my sock drawer tonight is running to Trader Joes for a two buck chuck and cheese and proposing on the futon with the dog (sounds terrible, but actually a pretty solid plan).

The bar is open! And the Pacman machine is sitting lonely in a corner with no other tables just as promised. I tell the bartenders what I would like to happen, and they promise me the table for the night (there was no one else in the establishment, so it wasn’t a hard sell). And just like that, I’d essentially rented out an entire bar to ourselves for the evening. I had a loose plan with the bartender to have him start playing a specific song for the moment, and I summoned Ryan. 

We had grilled cheeses, rail G&Ts, spent a ton of money in quarters (because we’re not actually good at Pacman), and when I gave the signal, the bartender changed the music, and she said, yes! 

Pro tip: if you’re going to get help from the bartender, make sure you’ve got more than just a loose plan because the two of us were unable to look at each other all night until after the proposal, which obviously was pretty weird and awkward. But after he came over tearing up with poor quality photos and video of our engagement and whiskey shots. The rest is a mystery due to said whiskey shots and follow-up celebration drinks, but I know it was the best night ever. 

How is wedding planning going? What do you hope for your wedding to be?

R: Good! I’ve been an event planner for over ten years. I keep joking to people it’s like another day at work, only this time no client can override my suggestions. For both of us, we wanted to throw a huge party for our friends, but keep the ceremony very private. The only thing we’re keeping from a traditional wedding reception is the first dance. Instead, I want to just spend a day creating memories with my friends and stories that we look back on forever. So there’s a lot that may not fit most people’s idea of a “wedding” but won’t surprise anyone who’s ever been subject to my shenanigans.

We’re getting married RIGHT after Adrienne’s busiest season at work so I’m mostly planning for her not to be helpful in the last few months before the wedding. 

How are you going about choosing your key vendors?

The photographer was easy- Josie is engaged to one of Adrienne’s college best friends! We’ve seen her work a ton. She did an impromptu shoot of us in the mountains at someone else’s wedding a few years ago. She was so easy to work with then that it was a no-brainer. Note: because we want Josie to have fun as well, she’ll be doing our ceremony and photos. And for the candids of the party, we’ve hired another photographer.

I’ve worked with our DJ at a wedding I was the coordinator for, and the caterer is from referrals within the area. Because we’re not local to where our wedding is, we’re relying on friends and family for references. 

Where do you find inspiration for your wedding planning?

Most of it comes from other weddings we’ve been to, and we’ve been to a LOT. At almost everyone, we turn to each other with a “let’s do this/let’s NEVER do this.” The goal is just to throw a party that feels like us. So we talked about the most important things for us to have and went from there.


Photography by Josie V Photography

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