Kristen and Ben

Image 1 of Kristen and Ben

How We Met

Ben and I live in a small-ish Houston suburb with two high schools and about 80,000 people. When I started high school, I went in with the same group of friends I had been with since middle school. In our sophomore year, one of my friends started dating Ben. He and I immediately became very close friends and once I transferred schools the second semester of that same year, we stayed close for a while. He and that girl dated for about 3 years, during which I was also in a long-term relationship. Ben and I went a while without talking, as our significant others didn’t like that he and I were so close. One day in 2012 a few months after we had both started at the same community college and run into each other a few times, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw that Ben had changed his relationship status to ‘single’. Shocked, I texted him and asked if he was okay. We started texting back and forth and mad plans to hang out that next day to talk about it. We wore the matching shoes that we had both bought in high school, even though, admittedly, I had only gotten them because I saw that he had them and I thought they were cool. We spent most of our time together after that day and a few days later, he confessed to me that he wasn’t ready for a relationship. I was kind of upset about this because I had really enjoyed picking our relationship up where we left off and growing closer to him in a new way.

Image 2 of Kristen and Ben

We continued to spend time together and I guess he just couldn’t resist my charms because maybe a week after that, he told me he loved me. From that day on, we were inseparable, except for when I transferred schools and moved to Waco to attend Baylor. We had a long-distance relationship for a semester, filled with surprise visits and nightly Skype sessions. After that, we were both accepted to transfer to Texas State University in San Marcos, where we both moved to and studied for two years. I just recently graduated in May 2015 and Ben has started pursuing his passion in cars at Universal Technical Institute (and is doing incredible). We moved back to Kingwood and it’s been hard having completely different schedules since I work 5 days a week at a bridal store in downtown Houston, sometimes until 8 or 9 at night and Ben is at school from 6 A.M. until noon, so he is in bed by 9 at the latest. Our schedules don’t overlap too much, so it’s frustrating not being able to have him by my side as much as I did during college, but I know that planning our wedding together will bring our schedules closer together (hopefully). No matter the conflicts, Ben will always be my travel buddy, my best friend, my soulmate, my fiancé and my future husband.

how they asked

My family had been planning a trip to Disney World in Florida for Christmas for a couple months, so I was kind of bummed to find out that I wouldn’t be able to spend Christmas with Ben and his family. Once it got closer to the time I was supposed to leave, Ben suggested that we host a Christmas party for our friends that we don’t get to see very often since they’re all off at school. I loved the idea and he got to planning. The day before the party, he told me to dress up in something Christmas-y, so red or green or generally festive. I opted for a burgundy velvet mini-dress. My mom had been insisting for a few weeks that I get my hair done and we had gotten manicures a few days before, so I figured I should try to dress up a little. When my family and I showed up to Ben’s house, I was completely oblivious to the fact that all the food were my favorite foods from my favorite restaurants. There was also a beautiful bouquet of peonies on the piano (my favorite flower).

Image 3 of Kristen and Ben

I honestly had no idea that all of these things were carefully selected just for me. Once our guests started arriving, everything seemed normal and fun and we had a good time just socializing with the people we don’t typically get to see as Ben’s dad ran around with his camera taking pictures of everyone. Then, we had a surprise guest arrive. My little (my “little sister” from my college sorority) was there all the way from Plano! She had been texting me most of the day so I was completely surprised to see her there.

Image 4 of Kristen and Ben

While I was talking with everyone and resting my feet, Ben went upstairs kind of randomly. I figured he had needed to use the bathroom, so I jokingly texted him about it but he soon came back down with a sweater on. I assumed he was just getting cold. After that and once everyone had arrived and was fed, my mom and Ben’s dad suggested that we take some pictures in front of the Christmas tree. We squeezed everyone into the shot, and once we got all of our group pictures, they suggested that we take some of just Ben and I (I thought it was because it was our third Christmas together and we were in something other than pajamas).

Image 5 of Kristen and Ben

Ben turned to me and said “Let’s do two poses. We can do a normal one and then we can do a funny one” and I told him that there was no other way to do pictures. So once we had the ‘serious’ picture down, he turns and asks me what pose I want to do for the silly pose. I asked “Can we do, like, duck face and peace sign?” while demonstrating, and he replied with “How about this instead?” and reached into the pocket of his cardigan, pulled out a white box, and looked me in the eye and asked “Kristen, will you marry me?” As soon as I had realized what was happening, I started bawling into my hands. It felt like he and I had frozen in time. I (of course) nodded furiously and said yes and as everyone we love started clapping and cheering, we were jolted out of our bubble and back to reality.

Image 6 of Kristen and Ben

It was an incredible, meaningful and perfect night that I will never forget.

Image 7 of Kristen and Ben

However, n my typical manner, after all was said and done, I asked “can we still do duck face and peace sign?”, so we did.

Image 8 of Kristen and Ben

I even kept asking him “Is this for real? Is this real?” because for probably the entire time we’ve been dating, Ben has joked about us getting engaged and I wanted to make absolutely sure that this was completely real.

Image 9 of Kristen and Ben

Special Thanks

Cynthia Smith (My mom)
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