Mackenzie and Benjamin

How We Met: It was a Saturday during Fleet Week 2014 in Portland, OR. Some friends and I had planned to grab some drinks downtown that night, joking that “we might find a cute sailor” for me. We walked by the bar we had originally planned on going to, only to peek inside and decide the vibe wasn’t quite right. After wandering aimlessly for a few blocks, we decided to stick with what we knew and went to one of our usual spots. As we were walking in, we noticed a group of sailors gathered on the street corner, digging in to the classic, pink Voodoo Doughnut box, in their classic white uniforms, and thought “Yep. This is the right place!”

Fast forward to later in the night, after catching me dancing in my seat, our waiter was trying to convince me to head to the dance floor, when I said, “I don’t have anyone to dance with, though!” As if the universe had planned it, a sailor walked by at that exact moment, and just seeing the back of his head, I told the waiter, “I’ll dance with that guy…” The waiter tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Hey man, she wants to dance with you.” The sailor looked at him, then looked at me, and without even blinking, he simply held out his hand and led me to the dance floor.

I danced with Ben for a few songs, and when I was heading back to my friends, he said he was going to get another beer and that he’d come find me to dance some more. In my head, I was thinking, “Yeah, right.” But sure enough, he found me again and said, “Well Mackenzie, this sounds like a great song to dance to.”  Turns out he had ditched all of his sailor buddies to hang out with my friends and me, and at the end of the night, I obviously gave him my number. Later, as we got back to my car, I told my friends, “Who knows? Maybe he’s my soulmate.”

The next evening, Ben took me on a private tour of his Navy ship, then we walked around downtown a little bit before grabbing a drink. After sitting down and actually talking with each other more, it didn’t take long for both of us to realize that we knew this was something special.

Two (long) months later, after only communicating via text, email, phone, and FaceTime, I flew to San Diego, and he officially asked me to be his girlfriend — even though we both count our anniversary as the day we had our first date. :) 

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How He Asked: After a whirlwind (and relatively short) long-distance romance, I was in San Diego with Ben to celebrate our one year anniversary. We spent the day exploring more of the city, taking fun pictures, and enjoying our limited time together.

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Later, as we were getting ready for dinner, I asked him which top I should wear when I casually mentioned, “This is the one I was wearing the night we met!” He voted for that one, of course. (Now I know why!) Then he suggested that we leave a little bit early so we could “take a walk” since the restaurant was on the waterfront in Coronado. Walks by the water are a common thing for us, so I really thought nothing of it.

After we parked the car, we started sauntering by the marina, eventually coming across a cute little gazebo. We sat down under it and enjoyed looking at all of the nice boats, when he started telling me how much I meant to him. You’d think I would have caught on by now, but it was our anniversary and Ben is always saying “lovey-dovey” stuff, so again, I thought nothing of it.

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To clue you in a little bit, Ben and I had a running joke that, whenever he’d reference our future together, I’d always tell him, “That’s if I say ‘yes’ to a very important question!” So the only part of his “lovey-dovey” speech that I actually remember is the end, when he said, “That’s if you say ‘yes’ to an important question…”

It wasn’t until he stood up and I saw a little box in his hand that I realized what was happening. The next thing I know, he’s on one knee, asking me to marry him. With eyes full of tears and my hands still covering my face, I managed to say, “YES!” After he put the ring on my finger, and after I shockingly stared at it for a long second, he had to ask, “So… Do I get a kiss now?” It was the perfect, private moment on a perfect day with my perfect man!

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