Erica and Ben | Cumberland Island Proposal

How We Met:

Our “How We Met” story requires a little background information, and a whole lot of fate. I am originally from Georgia, but moved to Raleigh, North Carolina after graduating from college to live with my older sister and try out a new city. I had landed my first job ever and so we decided to go out and celebrate at a local sushi restaurant. When we got to the restaurant, there was a 20 minute wait to be seated, and being impatient and HUNGRY, I suggested we go across the street to a newer place called Tobacco Road. “They have the BEST mac and cheese!” I told my sister.

When we were seated at our table, we were greeted by our server. As soon as he left, I turn to my sister and said, “He’s cute, right?!” As the meal went on, the server and I struck up conversations about Raleigh, things to do, etc. I’m not sure if he was just trying to get a good tip or what, but I was smitten. As cheesy as it is to say, I felt a connection to this stranger I had never met before! I kept asking my sister, “He’s really cute, right? I’m not crazy, right?!?”

By the end of the dinner, my sister suggested a crazy idea: “LEAVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER ON THE RECEIPT!” I immediately declined, as this was something that I had never done. But after two little words came out of her mouth, “WHY NOT?” I decided to go for it.

Three days later, I got a call from “Ben from Tobacco Road.” We went on our first date on March 4, 2009 and the rest, as they say, is history.

how they asked:

Ben and I were spending the weekend in Georgia visiting my family. Nothing was really out of the ordinary, we were just having a great time and enjoying our trip. A couple of weeks before we left North Carolina, we thought it’d be fun to go to Cumberland Island, since neither of us had ever been (which is sad since I lived just a ferry ride away my whole life).

We made our way over to the island on Sunday. When we got there, I did think it was strange that my mom didn’t want to go walking with us, but I was oblivious so I just shrugged it off! We starting walking to the Dungeness Ruins, then eventually we made it to the beach. We walked quite a ways before Ben said, “Get some pictures of the horizon!” So I turned around and started snapping some photos. When I turned back to start walking again, my foot hit something on the beach. I looked down and saw a small bottle. “How did that get here?” I thought. Still oblivious, I picked it up and looked inside. It was only after I saw an actual message wrapped up inside did I start to think, “Holy crap.” The message read:


I turned around to see Ben down on one knee presenting me with a gorgeous ring! After I said “yes” (obviously) and got over the shock of what just happened, we headed back to the dock where my mom was waiting for us with a picnic! Turns out, he and my mom were in cahoots the entire time!

Engagement Photos by Robyn Van Dyke Photography
The Ring:

The setting of the ring is from Bailey’s in Raleigh, NC and the diamond from Brilliant Earth. Brilliant Earth is a San Francisco-based diamond jeweler committed to providing only the highest quality luxury products without sacrificing social and environmental responsibility. They also dedicate 5% of their profits to benefit local communities harmed by the diamond industry. HowTheyAsked is a big fan of their mission!
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