PROPOSALS: so much fun and SO nerve wracking!!! I typically try to blend into the crowd wherever the future groom decides to propose, and this was no different. I walked outside, took a seat with my camera concealed in my large purse, and waited for Ben to “take a walk” with Conor. My heart was beating out of my chest and I was trying my best to play it cool. By the time I needed to take photos, I was happy to have a really fast camera because I was shaking!! As soon as I started clicking away, it drew interest from the crowd at Cedar Ridge and they all started “oohhing and aahhhing”. It was difficult to hold back my happy tears as Ben got down on one knee and asked Conor to be his forever.
Ben’s side of the story:
How the met:
We both attended the university of Iowa for undergrad and met through an organization called dance marathon which raises money for children and their families with pediatric cancer. I was a senior and she was a junior. In the beginning that was our only interaction. We only saw each other at a meeting every couple months. Then after we had our big event for the organization in February of 2014 we had no more meetings. However, we ran into each other the weekend afterwards when we were both downtown. When we ran into each other I had had a couple drinks giving me some extra courage. It was our first conversation outside of dance marathon and we hit it off. The same thing happened the next two weekends without either of us having each other’s number. After that we exchanged numbers and I asked her out on a date. We went to Blackstone and we stayed so late talking that they had to ask us to leave because they were closing. I graduated in May and was set to start physician Assistant school that August at the university of Iowa while she had another year left of undergrad. That summer we spent a lot of time together and we both still regard it as one of the best we’ve had. We spent the next year both in school in Iowa City. I started rotations for school in January of 2016 which meant I’d be moving somewhere new every month. We had a strong relationship and knew we could handle the distance not to say it wouldn’t challenge us. She then moved to Chicago after she graduated making the distance a bit further. I then went to Tanzania and we spent 6 weeks with minimal communication. This is when i knew i wanted to spend he rest of my life with her. I told her when i got back we were never going to travel apart again. After I graduated in December of 2016 I took a job in Iowa. This was difficult as we would continue our long distance. I knew I would be making the move to Chicago and eventually got the opportunity to do so in October of 2017. After nearly two years of long distance we would be living in the same city again. At this time I started to think about proposing and looked into getting a ring. I had actually already asked both her parents who assured me I didn’t need to ask but appreciated it and gave me their blessing.
Plan A was to propose on our trip to Argentina in January of 2018. I didn’t have the ring in time for his to happen, which may have been a good thing because all our luggage was lost and we didn’t get it back for 6 days. So after that I had to come up with another idea. We had spent some time in wine country in Argentina and I had planned to do it at a winery so I figured I’d do it at one back in the states. There is a small winery near Iowa City where our relationship started so I decided to do it there. I bought the ring from a local jewler in Iowa City and left it at my parents house which is only 10 min outside of town so I wouldn’t have to worry about hiding it at my apt. I had planned to have all her close friends from Chicago and elsewhere to surprise her at a brewery in Iowa city after I proposed. I also had a surprise dinner with both our families at Blackstone (where we had our first date) set up for before that. Our reasoning for going back to Iowa was for my cousins wedding Reception which was actually not for another month. On Saturday we went to the winery which was supposedly on the way to the reception. We got a drink and Stephanie our photographer was hiding in plain site for when I proposed. After having a glass of wine, which was much needed to calm my nerves, we walked down one of the rows of grapes. I had her stop about halfway down and got down on one knee. You could hear Stephanie snapping pictures. I had a speech planned out but in the moment i couldn’t get out anything other than “I love you, I will love you forever, will you marry me.” She responded with “yes, of course yes.” We then had a mini engagement shoot with Stephanie who did an incredible job. I could not have asked for a better photographer and better weather. At this point she was suspicious of the dinner and ended up seeing both our parents cars in the parking lot. The dinner was great and was actually our first time back since our first date. During this time she tried to face time all of her closest friends causing my stress level to go up as all of them were waiting for us at the brewery for the surprise party. A couple answered but did a great job of acting surprised and not giving anything away. We finally got to the brewery and she was totally shocked to see all her friends. She couldn’t believe it, and I could finally breath as the surprises were over.
Conor’s side of the story: