Michelle and Ben

How We Met

It was 2015, and I walked into a Venice Beach house party with my best friend Kate. Almost immediately, a guy came up to me, introduced himself, and asked if I wanted a drink. I declined, and walked over to my boyfriend. If I had known then what I know now, maybe I would have remembered the name of this random Venice guy who had come up to me.

Flash forward to two months later— I’m now single, happy living with my two best friends and fully prepared to live the rest of my life with my girlfriends. Enter, the stranger with the forgotten name. It was thanksgiving I think— I walked into a house my girlfriends were at, and a guy came up to me, introduced himself, and asked if I wanted a drink. He looked familiar this time, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. But this time I wouldn’t forget Ben, because he searched high and low to find me a drink. Little did I know, he had already been putting the gears in motion. But that was the last time I saw him until a couple months later when I get a call from a girlfriend of mine who I was working on a project with — “Hey, Ben wants us to come into the office to give us some advice.” I didn’t know who she was talking about until I showed up at the office and there he was. The three of us sat at the conference table, and he literally didn’t look at me once — I thought he was into my friend. But now he had my number — and he could (and did) text me a couple times a week to hang out with him and his friends. I said no each time, I didn’t get those hints.

A couple weeks of his failed attempts go by, when Kate and I are walking down the street, hungover as two girls can be. As we’re walking to get the coveted acai bowl, we bump into Ben. My first public bump in with this distant human who had more weekly activities to invite me to than anyone I had ever met. Kate and Ben establish that they had been in a bar together last night (she didn’t remember) and then tells us that he’s having a party and we should stop by— sure, why not. (I later found out this entire house party was completely construed after he found out I would come.) As we walked away from Ben, I turned to Kate and said “wow he’s attractive”. Kate stopped and burst out laughing — “Oh jesus, what?” I said. A little scared of what her response would be. She had just remembered a conversation from the bar last night with Ben’s best friend Dave (also a close friend of Kate’s) about how Ben had been in love with me for some time. I got a little excited… (but only a little.) ;)

That night, Kate and I showed up to the tail-end of Ben’s party for a grand total of 1 hour. That’s all the time I needed to talk to Ben and realize he was the best person I’ve met in a long time, if not ever. Leaving that night, I wanted to spend more time with him later, but I refused to text him (that’s my old-school southern roots talking). I was at dinner, and looked down and saw a text from Ben— ‘are you hungry?’. Perfect. Invited him to dinner with my friends, he came back to our house and watched a show, and I actually can’t remember a day that we were apart after that.

how they asked

Moab, UT was always on our bucket list, so when I got invited to speak in Moab, I knew this was where I would propose. I found an incredible photographer who knew Moab well (Logan Davidson) and he sent me a few places to consider proposing and Delicate Arch stood out. I thought it would be symbolic to propose under a giant arch. Logan said we would have to do it at sunrise because it would be less crowded and I agreed. The plan was for Logan and his brother would go up to the arch at 7am to get set undercover and we would arrive at 7:30am. Then came a hitch in the plan. Michelle and I arrived late the night before the proposal and when we went to pick up the car I rented, they said they were out of cars. It was an 1.5 hrs drive to Moab, and we had to get up at 6am to drive for an hour to hike to the arch to meet the photographers! No rental car companies had cars, I was in a spot of trouble.

We managed to convince an Uber driver to drive us 1.5 hrs to our hotel and I texted the photographers the audible plan: pick us up at the hotel at 6:30am. I told them to pretend I had hired them to film my speaking engagement in Moab and they were hiking Delicate Arch today to take photos. I told Michelle the new plan, and she didn’t bat an eye. We were still on course!!

We woke up at 6am (I didn’t really sleep from excitement) and I slid the ring in a pair of socks in my backpack. At 6:30a Logan and his brother Chandler picked us up and we met them for the first time. The three of us stuck to our story and when we got to the Delicate Arch hike an hour later, the sun was starting to rise. We hiked for 45 minutes and came to the arch which was absolutely breathtaking. Picture a natural stone amphitheater at the top of a mountain, and where the stage of the amphitheater would be, there is a massive stone arch. There were about 30 people sitting looking at the arch and Michelle b-lined it for the arch. The photographers nodded, letting me know they were ready. I followed her down and as she walked to the centre of the arch. There were two guys sitting about 50 ft from the arch and as I walked by I whispered, “Proposal is going down, don’t let anyone by you!”. They smiled and said “Congratulations… good luck!!” Now I was nervous.

I checked to make sure the ring was still in my shorts waist band, took a deep breath and walked towards the looming arch. Michelle had her hair in a ponytail but I thought a bun would be better for the photos so I told her to put her hair in a bun. She looked at me confused, “Why?” Now I was in trouble, I couldn’t think of one logical reason why I would ask her to put her hair in a bun so I just blurted out, “Because it looks better with the rocks!” Hahaha. “It looks better with the rocks”!?!? What the hell does that mean? She looked at me like I was out of my mind, but, she put her hair up in a bun. At this point, I’m just thinking, “I better do this stat before I completely blow it”.

We reached the middle of the arch and stood together taking in the stunning vista behind us, and then I dropped to one knee. I don’t remember much after this point, neither does she, but I do know that I said, “My love. From the moment I saw you, I knew I wanted to be with you forever. I knew you were my person. I want to have your babies, I want to grow old with you. You make me a better version of myself..” I talked for a while because I knew this would be the only time I would propose, so I wanted it to last. Michelle dropped down to me in tears and held my face. We’re both not sure if she said the word ‘yes’, but it doesn’t matter, her tears were enough.

Special Thanks