How did you two meet, and how long did you two date?
Ben: “September 9, 2011– got dem digits and haven’t left her alone since. We dated for almost four years.”
Mary Elaine: “We met at one of my friend’s birthday dinners. Reed was a good friend of mine from college, and he met Ben when they both ended up at the University of Alabama for grad school. Ben’s godparents go to the same church as Reed in Knoxville. It always seems crazy to us that our worlds crossed paths. We dated for almost four years, and during that time Ben lived in three different states!”
Do either of your remember what you thought the first time y’all saw/met each other?
Ben: “I traveled up to Birmingham for our mutual friend’s birthday dinner in Crestline Village. I saw her walking up and was taken away by how absolutely beautiful she was. During the meal, she sat across from me, and I had to consciously not look at her so often and try to include others into the conversation. I never once was nervous or second guessing myself around her. In hind sight, I know that I actually knew then that I was supposed to spend my life with her.”
Mary Elaine: “I thought Ben was handsome and really easy to talk to since we had some common connections. Ben was from South Carolina, and my sister had lived in Columbia for the past few years. I was just excited to get to know him better.”
How and when did Ben propose?
Mary Elaine: “Ben and I were going to Lake Martin for the weekend. My family has a house that we’ve enjoyed going to over the years. We both drove down after work Friday evening. Ben was excited to walk down to the dock after he got there. I was pretty clueless and was talking about completely random things (I remember talking about all of the spider webs that needed to be cleaned haha). After a few minutes, we walked back up to the house. It was on the way back that Ben turned towards me and got down on one knee. Even though it was dark outside and I could barely see Ben, it was the perfect time. We were thrilled and got to spend the rest of the weekend telling our family and friends and enjoying this special time.”
Ben: “I nailed it. Ya know da story.”
What are some things y’all like to do together?
Ben: “We like doing pretty much everything. We are apart so often that we enjoy doing almost anything because we’re so excited about doing it together. Most of all, we enjoy spending time with our family and friends, running, eating and seeing new places. We try to mix those all together as much as possible.”
Mary Elaine: “I agree with Ben. We love traveling to visit our family and spending time with our friends. Running is also something we do a lot together. We trained for our first half marathon in Baton Rouge and our first marathon in Savannah. We both enjoy eating Mexican food, reading and being outdoors. Ben and I are both big sports fans. We mostly love watching SEC football– we cheer for different teams which can be challenging at times– and the Atlanta Braves.”
What are you both most looking forward to about marriage?
Ben: We have been living apart from each other for most of the time that we have known each other, so I am just really excited to be with her every day. We have such a long list of things that we want to do with each other but have had a hard time budgeting time to do it all. I often joke that we have so much to do together in such little time even if we have the rest of our lives together.
Mary Elaine: While dating, we have been long distance the majority of the time. I am excited about seeing Ben every day and getting to do some simple things together more often! I think we’re both just ready to be husband and wife!