How did you two meet, and how long did you two date?
Mary Elaine: "We both think it's pretty crazy that we met. Ben went to grad school at the University of Alabama. His godparents knew someone from their church in Knoxville (Reed) that was also going to Alabama too and told Ben they should meet each other. Reed happened to be one of my best friends from Birmingham-Southern. Ben and I met at his birthday dinner and enjoyed getting to know each other before dating. We dated for almost 4 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 hindsight 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 proposed at Lake Martin in September of 2015. We had a long weekend and were excited to spend the weekend together at my family's lake house. Ben proposed the Friday night we got there. (He was just excited he didn't drop the ring in the lake!) The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying this special time and telling our family and friends the big news!"
Ben- what's one of the things you admire most about Mary Elaine?
Ben: "I admire so many things about Mary Elaine--her awesome accents and impressions are top notch. But seriously, her personality and beliefs were something that immediately attracted me to her and caused me to instantly fall in love with her. She comes from a Christian family that raised her to continually grow stronger in her faith and to love unconditionally, and I see it everyday. She is extremely kind, caring and continuously thinking about what she can do to help people and how to make them feel loved and cared for. From doing whatever she can for her friends and family to working so hard teaching to just ordinary interactions with strangers, I get to see her big heart, and know I am so lucky to be able to spend my life with her."
Mary Elaine-- what's one of the things you admire most about Ben?
Mary Elaine: "There are so many things I admire about Ben, so it's hard to try and pick one thing! Ben is such a gentleman. This is one trait that stuck out to me when we first met. He has a natural ability to make everyone he meets feel special, whether it's striking up a conversation with a stranger or making time for his friends and family. I also admire the fact that Ben is always interested in learning more and challenging himself to become a better person. He is driven and talented in so many ways. I know God has big things in store for Ben, and I am so blessed that I get to join him through this journey."
What are some things y'all like to do together?
Ben: "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 and try to mix those all together as much as possible."
Mary Elaine: "We love traveling to visit our family and spending time with our friends. Running and working out is also something we enjoy doing together - We trained for our first half marathon in Baton Rouge and our first marathon in Savannah. We both love 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), the Atlanta Braves and soccer."
What was each yall's favorite part of the big day?
Mary Elaine: "I loved being able to say our vows in front of friends and family, but some of the moments that really stick out were on the dance floor at the reception! Ben and I have enjoyed dancing together since we met, so our first dance as husband and wife was extra special. And who knew our friends and family could break it down with a shaker?! Our guests and the band and venue made the reception extra fun, and we didn't want the night to end."
Ben: "Dancing. It seemed like everyone had such a great time, and I am so glad that the air conditioning going out didn't slow everyone down too much."
What's next for you two?
Mary Elaine: "We are living in Atlanta for a few months and working on checking off our 'Atlanta bucket list.' After that, we have no idea and we wouldn't want it any other way - its pretty exciting. Our next move is dictated by where Ben's next project is going to be and there is continuous talk of different new projects that could happen across the whole southeast. We aren't sure what the Lord has in store for us, but we're excited for the adventures ahead."
Ceremony: Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
Reception Venue and Catering: Iron City
Hair and Makeup: Lynsey Richardson (Hair and Makeup by Lynsey)
Bride's Dress: The Something Blue Shoppe
Bridesmaid's Dresses: Bridesmaids, Inc.
Wedding Map: Kim Arrington with LittleHouseShop
Band: The Big Baby Band
Lights: AG Lighting
Linens: Décor To Adore
Florist: Flower Art Designs, LLC
Cake: Louise's Cakes N Things