Viral Video Newlyweds Credit God As Inspiration
“WILL YOU MARRY ME TODAY?”
Ryan’s brother was a worship pastor in Atlanta while Amanda was in a discipleship program there. When Ryan’s brother saw Amanda, he called Ryan. “I found your wife,” he said. Ryan laughed it off. When Ryan visited his brother a few weeks later and Amanda walked into the room, everything changed. They dated for four years and during that time, their relationship was tested in many ways. Amanda’s mother wanted her to marry someone of Puerto Rican descent because of their heritage. Due to cultural differences, Amanda and Ryan were forced to break up but they later got back together. (Amanda’s mom loves Ryan now.) Through their courtship, Ryan and Amanda had premarital counseling to deal with some of their issues while they were in their dating years.
One day, Amanda and her friend were hanging out at Ryan’s apartment while he was making dinner. He overheard Amanda tell her friend that she wanted to get engaged and married on the same day. Ryan thought, “What does that even mean and how could it possibly work?” As he stood in the kitchen, he realized in order to get engaged and married on the same day, he would have to plan the entire wedding in secret. “I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Amanda was the woman I wanted to marry,” says Ryan. “It was just a question of when, and I knew if I was going to be planning the entire wedding by myself, I’d better get started right away.”
It took Ryan almost a year of planning. He managed to get a list of everything Amanda wanted by telling her if and when they were going to get married, they would be the ones to pay for it. “Just write down exactly what you want so we know what we need to save,” he told her. So Amanda wrote down every detail and Ryan priced everything out. About three months before the wedding, he found out Amanda had a Pinterest account. “Pinterest makes it easy,” says Ryan. The social media site allows a user to “pin” things into different folders for inspiration, gift ideas, etc. Her account helped Ryan confirm everything he had done. “She planned her own wedding without planning her own wedding,” he says.
Ryan picked Miami as the destination spot to get engaged and married. That city was not on Amanda’s wish list, but a friend of Ryan’s convinced him it would be perfect. When Ryan announced that he would have to go to Miami for “work,” she immediately expressed her distaste for the city. “She would never expect Miami to be the place we got married or even engaged,” says Ryan. “It would be a real surprise.” Despite the fact that Amanda’s flight was cancelled the day she was supposed to fly to Miami (she thought she was flying to Miami to help friends move), Ryan pulled off what seemed to be an impossible task. Approximately 100 of Amanda and Ryan’s closest family and friends were in hiding in the hotel when Ryan proposed. They were holding signs that read, “Today.”
One night while sitting on the couch watching TV, Ryan and Amanda posted their wedding video. A friend tweeted them that night that their video had gotten 10,000 views! They couldn’t believe it. After a month, the number of views skyrocketed to over one million. They appeared on national television and were interviewed for global newspapers. They realized that their marriage was taking a new path; one they had never imagined. “God had written our love story,” says Ryan. “And He wanted to share it with the world.”
STARTING WITH YOU
Ryan believes getting engaged and married in the same day worked for them but may not work for others. “The hardest thing for a couple to understand is that they have to find their own pace,” he says. “It is important for individuals to look at the areas in their lives and measure their own health as a person.” Today they speak around the country to young people. “We challenge them as singles to live with a great sense of purpose,” says Ryan. “You have no idea how attractive purpose is. The amazing love story starts with you.”
Ryan, 28, grew up in a Christian home as a pastor’s kid. Amanda, 26, gave her life to the Lord as a teen.
For more information, please visit www.ryanleak.com