We all know wedding planning is chaotic and a little stressful. But what about if you are a wedding photographer, florist, or planner? Is the planning experience any less stressful if you work in the wedding business? Short answer, NO! Today’s couple, Ryan and Jen of Ryan Devoll Photography have the inside scoop on planning their own wedding as vendors who’ve seen it all!
Our story started over 10 years ago. Jenn and I met back in high school and quickly became friends. Although we never had any classes together, we had a good group of mutual friends that sat together at lunch almost every other day during Freshman and Sophomore year. Our interests came together over music, art, and video games! Though we were close friends in high school, we actually never dated. Although Jenn apparently had a huge crush on me and never told me. Meanwhile, I was at lunch every day talking to her about a new girl I liked, what a guy, right?
At the beginning of Junior year, I found out Jenn moved to Texas with her family. Her dad was a shrimper and the business was better in the south, so it made sense for the family to move. We continued to stay in touch over social media over the next few years, chatting every now and then and playing video games together (thank you internet). However, I was in a relationship for most of the time. After I graduated college in 2012, I went through a very tough time. I broke up with a relationship that was very toxic and ongoing for 4 years, I had some issues at home that were less than ideal and to top it all off it was my first few years in business and I was struggling to find work. Unfortunately, I pushed some of my best friends away during the past 4 years and didn’t have many people to talk too. But Jenn was always there. We had just recently seen each other at a friend’s get together a couple of weeks back and caught up. I remember pretty vividly one night after that, I either tweeted or posted on Facebook that I wish I had someone to talk too about everything that was going on. Almost immediately Jenn messaged me and said she’d be more than happy to listen to me vent. That night we talked on the phone for hours. I’m pretty sure I even fell asleep on her. It was then that I thought “Wow. She’s incredible”. Ya see, that night she didn’t just listen to me vent about how depressing my life was at the moment but, she gave me advice on how to deal with it, made me laugh harder than I did in a while and made me feel so much better about myself in just a couple of hours. How did I miss this amazing woman all those years ago? She was right in front of my eyes and I had no clue.
Months go by and we talked on the phone daily. Every night we’d call each other, Facetime or Skype. One day she told me she wanted to come up and visit again for my birthday. I told her she was nuts since she was JUST here a couple months ago. But she was persistent and didn’t take no for an answer. By this time I was living on my own in my first “real” apartment. How could I say no to a woman who wants to come to visit me for a week who I realllllly like? By this time we haven’t even gone out on a date yet. Although some of our phone chats felt even better than dates. We talked for hours on end about some pretty personal things. It never felt weird. It didn’t even cross my mind that it was a long distance relationship (which still wasn’t official yet). I felt like I was talking to my best friend, who I happen to really really like. She ended up coming up for the week and we had the best time. Months of talking made us feel so comfortable in front of one another. It felt like we were already going out even though we technically weren’t.
Jenn visited me almost every 3 months for almost a year. She’d fly up from Houston and stay a week with me in Massachusetts/RI. Still – We weren’t officially a thing. It was almost around the 1-year mark from us “really talking” that SHE finally asked me out. She clearly got sick of waiting for me. I had some commitment issues from my last relationship that I needed to work though. Most of which she helped me with. It took me a whole year but I knew then that this woman would be someone I’d like to spend the rest of my life with. We were talking and staying committed together for a whole year of long distance, which wasn’t easy. But that showed me that we were both passionate about each other to really move forward and become something “official”
In most relationships, you become an “official” thing after a couple of months, which moves into the next stage of a relationship which most likely involves some sort of moving in or getting to know each other on a deeper level stage. For us, we already knew each other from high school, have been talking for the past year, and pretty much knew everything there is to know about one another. However, we did want to move forward and end the whole “long distance thing” but it wasn’t that easy. Jenn was still in school and had a year and a half to go. We thought it would be best if she just waited until graduation in order to move up here but we had no idea what would happen next.
Just months before us moving in together I got the most horrific call. I was with my uncle, getting some materials at Lowels for Jenn & I’s new apartment when she called crying her eyes out. Jenn just got a phone call from her sister saying that her dad just unexpectedly passed away on the shrimping boat. Our plans of moving in together came to a halt. Jenn was strong, and still to this day is one of the strongest women I know. But nobody can process something that devastating so quickly. She called me first and I too was so upset. I hadn’t even had the chance to meet her family yet and I would’ve loved to meet her father after I lost mine when I was 5 years old. Jenn and I were supposed to move in just 1 month later but that plan had to be adjusted. She needed time with her family to grieve. A couple of months later it was time for us to move in together and finally end this long-distance relationship. She booked the flight, packed up all her clothes and belongings and arrived at Providence airport.
I was ecstatic. So excited to show her the place I worked on getting us, and so excited for us to finally be together.
Flash forward to January 2018. We’ve been living together for about a year now, and together for about 5 years. The pressure was on from family and friends to finally ask Jenn to marry me. Living together presented itself with a new set of hurdles that we didn’t experience since we were long distance for so long. We had our fair share of ups and downs but nothing was ever too serious. Everything was almost too perfect. I was nervous to propose. Not because I thought she wouldn’t say yes, but because it was such a huge step. We’d only lived together for a year, and yes it was the best year ever but it was still such a scary thing to think of…Marriage. I think the idea is really understated in the wedding community. For me, I was scared. I’m sure a bunch of guys thought this at first. In January I finally grew a pair and said that this is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. I gathered my friends together and we went ring shopping. After stopping by several big-box jewelers, we actually settled at Baxters Jewelers in Warwick. Joe there took the vision that I had for Jenn’s ring and suggested making a custom ring. Just about a month later, the ring was ready to pick up. I picked it up and immediately wanted to go home and propose that same day, I was so excited. However, I thought it might be cute to wait for our vacation we had coming up to Barcelona & Paris. My friends agreed and then the engagement planning began….
Photos by Lena Karelova
Stay tuned for part 2 where this wedding vendor couple finds out what it’s really like to plan a wedding!