Once a year thousands of REALTORS® from all over the country converge on Washington, DC to promote and protect property rights.
It is an annual journey that we all look forward to as it’s our time to make a positively impact for our clients while reconnecting with our REALTOR® colleagues.
#NARLegislative is one of the major events for the National Association of REALTORS®. Originally coined #Midyear, The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo happens every year around Mother’s Day in Washington, DC in and it creates some truely wonderful and long lasting friendships.
One such connection was quite remarkable and very unique. Ryan Swinney, a REALTOR® from Montana had been attending the conference a few years ago when he was introduced to Kisti Skaar a Minnesota REALTOR®. Although they barely knew each other, they found themselves in a photo taken with John Smaby and Axay Parekh. Fast forward to last spring at #NAR360 they ran into each other again, exchanged pleasentries and then later saw each other in the lobby bar at the Marriott Wardman hotel. It was one of those magical moments in life where time stood still. They knew something was different and their witty banter sounded more like old friends. Ironically, my husband was sitting next to them and even though at the time he didn’t know who they were, he was quite taken aback at their interaction. By the end of the hour they were joking about how they really enjoyed each other’s company and they should get married. Yes, it was an odd exchange but Chris Bornhoft didn’t really think twice about it until moments later for as they walked away into the lobby, the band next to the bar started playing “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. Chris honestly thougtht it was such an odd but special moment that he mentioned it to me later that night at dinner. I didn’t realize at the time that my friend Ryan was leading man in the story. As dinner was coming to an end, our friends suggested that we go to this little karaoke bar called Muzette.
As the evening progressed, we eventually ran into Ryan and Kisti who were in one of the tiny karaoke rooms singing their hearts out. We joked about how Chris had saw them earlier and then Ryan said “he had never met anyone like Kristi” he proceeded to get down on one knee and proposed again during the song “Africa” by Toto. Chris captured it all on his iPhone. We all had a good laugh and enjoyed the rest of the night. Again, Chris and I never gave it much thought to what happened, but Ryan had other plans. Instead of going home right after the conference, he changed his flight and flew to Minnesota to follow his heart. A few months later Ryan proposed again but this time it was in a planned and more formal setting. Fast forward to this week, which is exactly one year later to that moment of fate took hold, what better place to close the deal in the Marriott Wardman hotel lobby/hallway where they met the first time. It was a joining of their hearts and lives. A facebook invite was sent out. Hundreds of REALTORS® from all over the country met in the lobby to escort Ryan down the hall to meet Kisti for the most unique wedding I have ever been to. Right there in front of old and new friends they echanged wedding vows. The ceremony was short and sweet and filled with love and laughter.
“Kisti and I both being REALTORS®, meeting at NAR Midyear, felt it was so important to celebrate our vow exchange with our REALTOR® family. We both have so many REALTOR® friends that we have gotten to know very well from across the country that mean so much to us. We truly wouldn’t ever be here together, where we are in our personal lives and our professional lives. We truly owe so much thanks to our #REALTOR®family and just wanted to celebrate this special day with all of them!”
The reception was held later that night at none other than Muzette.
This is truly makes a testament of how the REALTOR® family changes lives.
Marianne Bornhoft is a Director for the National Association of REALTORS®, a Director for the Washington Association of REALTORS®, and the Washington Association of REALTORS® Social Media Chair. Marianne was the 2013 President of the Spokane Association of REALTORS®. Marianne has been a REALTOR® since 1995 and works for Windermere/Manito LLC.
Marianne won the 2014 REALTOR® of the Year Award from the Spokane Association of REALTORS®, and The Catalyst’s Top Women in Business Mover and Shaker Award. In 2012, she received the Spokane Association’s REALTOR® Achievement Award. She was also awarded the Spokane Association’s 2009 Excellence in Professionalism Award. In 2008, Marianne was voted the #2 REALTOR® in Spokane in the Inlander’s “Best Of” readers poll issue. In 2007, she received The Catalyst’s yearly award for Top 20 Under 40 Rising Stars in Business. Marianne won Rookie of the Year in 1995.