Melissa and Ben

How We Met: Ben and I met at work. It was a classic girl thinks boy is cute, and boy is shy and walks away when girls asks him out. Luckily, I am persistent and eventually my casual flirting led to our first date where Ben proceeded to burn my apartment floor and his hand (nerves again, I think). To which, I gave him our first kiss to take his mind off the pain. He responded, “That was super cute, but this really hurts.” That was two years ago, and the adventures have continued ever since.

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How He Asked: For a few months Ben and I had been planning to spend a weekend at his family’s cabin in Lutsen, MN. Ben set us up with a snowshoe tour, and I even got us lift tickets; we were ready for an active weekend despite the 20 inch of snowfall the previous day and -4 temperature. On our way up, Ben got a call from his aunt saying the cabin’s heater was on the fritz, and they were working at fixing it but it would probably be too cold to stay for the night. He had previously told me this has happened before, including the last time he was up there. Luckily, Ben thought on his toes and got us a room at the hotel we stayed at our first time visiting Lutsen. I was pretty bummed because I was really looking forward to the budget friendly vacation (I had even packed a cooler with planned meals!), but eventually with some persuasion decided this hotel would be better for snowboarding the next day.

When we arrived at the hotel, Ben went to check-in and told me to just wait in the car and seeing that it was -4, there was no complaining on my end. He came back, and we grabbed our bags and headed inside. At this point we were starving and we decided to go to the hotel’s restaurant. Before leaving Ben said “Hey, grab your camera and let’s go take an arrival picture on the bridge.” I thought this was a brilliant idea because we missed taking this scenic picture last time we were in town. As we head down to the lobby, Ben summons a hotel employee to come take our picture and I thought even better– no “selfie-arm” in our pictures! We head to the bridge, and he took a few snapshots of us. After we were seemingly finished, Ben said those pictures will last forever, and I want us to too. Well of course, I agreed and said “Aww, Me too!” because at this point, I still had no clue I was getting proposed to. Ben pulls out his sunglasses case, opens it, and inside I see a ring. Then things started to click. I asked if this was the real deal, and I think said a lot of “Oh my God’s.” He did ask formally if I would marry him, but it is honestly all a blur. A wonderful blur.

Now if you remember, there is a third party on this bridge. A third party who happens to be married to a wedding photographer. A third party who captured the entire reaction and moment. Something I will forever be grateful for that Ben had previously planned with the hotel. After lots of hugs, and kisses. Ben says “Oh, and there is no cabin. This is where we are staying– except not that room, I have a private condo for us.” In fact, his family doesn’t even own a cabin, and he had faked the whole phone call earlier. Of course, I am still in shock that I am engaged. And now no cabin? I think I remember saying, so is there snow shoeing?

We did eventually get lunch, and immediately shared the news with our friends and family. Ben had already told me that no one knew it was this weekend — so to everyone it was a complete surprise. After, we had a perfect night especially since I did get to cook the food I had planned for the weekend! We lit a fire, drank champagne, and watched Crimson Tide on TV. Flash forward to the next morning, 9AM housekeeping knocks on our door. I get up to answer (in of course my adult onsie, I brought for the cold cabin) to say we didn’t need service. And I am again shocked to see my sister (future Maid of Honor) and her boyfriend (now a part of Ben’s groom’s men) holding a bottle of Champagne.

I then realized Ben’s weekend surprises weren’t finished quite yet. As it turns out, Ben and Molly had been planning this weekend for months together. Their collaboration especially took place on the ring; and what a gorgeous ring it is. Molly and Ben worked together at Max’s in St. Louis Park, MN (where she works) and directly with the designer Anne Sportun to create a custom ring that features his grandmother’s diamond.

After the shock that Molly had done such a great job acting when I called her yesterday, and after learning that the room we “checked-in to” was really theirs for the weekend. I was ready to kick off the celebration with our scheduled brunch. But, Ben still wasn’t done. “You are going to need seats for two more.” I hear. To my continued surprise, my good friend and now bridesmaid from Nebraska (ironically also named Molly) and her boyfriend (also now a part of Ben’s groom’s men) had driven 14 hours to come celebrate the weekend with us. And celebrate we did. There was no snowshoeing, there was no snowboarding, just a big party with my closest friends.

In the aftermath of the weekend, I was floored at what Ben had just pulled off. I had not one clue that this was going to happen (mostly since Ben built decoys to make me believe it was happening later that month). I mean seriously this man thought of everything– including to fake a “work” call to help give directions to my surprise guests the night of our engagement. The only thing he didn’t think of, telling me to pack makeup and something other than sports bras… but he didn’t want to give it away!

I am incredibly lucky to have a fiance who would go to such great lengths just to make my moment special and unforgettable. Not to mention friends and family (who turns out, all knew) keep the most important secret of my life.

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