It was Memorial Day Weekend 2013. Ben had recently moved to Tampa to pursue a master's degree at USF while Meredith had moved back to the area after college. The holiday weekend events landed Ben and Meredith at the same bar in a popular area of Tampa called SoHo.
The first official date took place a few days later over lunch at The Pub. Ben thought things were going so well that he decided to invite Meredith to go see the new Star Trek movie after. Meredith wasn't sure about Ben (he was a little too shy for her!) but agreed to join him for the movie. Ben likes to say he "won Meredith over" that night while Meredith calls the date mediocre. In fact, she wasn't sure she wanted to go on another date. Luckily, she eventually agreed to a second (and third!) date and the rest is history!
Their relationship continued as Ben moved to Bradenton to begin medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine one year later. Now, after two years apart and countless drives across the Skyway Bridge, they both live in St. Petersburg, where Ben is a Third Year Medical Student and Meredith works in advertising.
Proposal Story (from Ben's perspective):
I knew very early that Meredith was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I started doing investigational research on a ring in the summer of 2015. I had never experienced heart palpitations until I walked into the first jewelry store. Soon thereafter, I custom-designed the the perfect ring for her. After getting her parents' approval over the most nerve-wracking FaceTime call of my life, I moved forward with the jeweler.
I picked Eddie V's in Tampa as the location of our engagement that November, a few weeks before Meredith, her family, and I traveled to Green Bay for Thanksgiving. A friend of mine hooked me up with the perfect set-up and offered to videotape the proposal. Once I saw him walk out of the hallway with my phone recording, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. After dinner, we spent the evening with friends and Meredith's family at Jackson's in Tampa. The celebrations continued the next week in Green Bay. That Thanksgiving at home with my fiance and both our families is something I will cherish forever.
Proposal Story (from Meredith's perspective):
As you can tell from our "Love Story," Ben was head-over-heels from the first date, so it should come as no surprised that Ben began talking marriage less than six months into our relationship. I quickly laid down the law and said we needed to be together for a least a year before I would seriously consider an engagement, which led to our first fight. You see, Ben was CONVINCED he couldn't wait that long. Looking back from this end of things, I find his persistence to be sweet.
During the summer of 2015, Ben asked me to go ring shopping with him. While I was now on-board with the engagement, I did not want to go to the jeweler with Ben because I wanted things to be a surprise. This was all out of my type-A nature, which really threw Ben off. After continued pleading for assistance, I gave Ben some inspiration photos that gave him very little room error ;). From there, I was cut out of the process completely (as I wanted to be!). Knowing an engagement was coming eventually, I found myself looking for the moment. After the Reimers invited my entire family up to Green Bay for Thanksgiving, I fully convinced myself that it was going to happen during that trip. To add to it, Ben planned for a tour of Lambeau Field on our first day in town, which struck me as "the moment" since I knew if the tables were turned, that would be Ben's "Dream Proposal." Because I was so preoccupied with our Thanksgiving proposal, I didn't realize what was to happen the night of November 14th.
Looking back, everything should have been more obvious. Ben had planned for a nice dinner at Eddie V's and told me I should dress up. Wanting to get dressed up and go to a nice steak dinner was not out of character for Ben, and after a tough fall semester in school, it seemed like a nice date night idea. I did find the flowers at our table to be a bit fishy, but quickly put any thoughts out of my mind because I "knew" our engagement was happening a week later. In the middle of deciding which wine we should order, I noticed a bright light out of the corner of my eye and one of our friends (who works for the restaurant) was clearly filming something. All of the sudden, Ben gets out of the booth and say, "I have something to ask you." And I totally blacked out from there. I just started bawling hysterically and remember absolutely nothing. Next thing I knew, there was a beautiful ring on my hand and the entire place was cheering. In fact, the moment went by so quickly that I was certain Ben didn't get down on one knee...but we have video evidence to show that he did. Ben did a phenomenal job with everything and the amount of thought and care he put into showing his love for me only makes me even more excited for our marriage.
All photos by Ailyn La Torre Photography