Erica and Ben are so sweet and I have literally been photographing this sweet couple since Ben surprised her with a proposal at a beautiful park under the gazebo! 🙂 I have loved photographing their journey to Mr. & Mrs. from proposal, engagement session, and now their wedding!!! Their wedding was absolutely gorgeous and they looked beautiful! The location was on an amazing farm, in the middle of the woods! There was a gorgeous pathway that they walked up to the ceremony site, and it made for a beautiful entrance. Their ceremony in the woods surrounded by towering trees and the natural elevation of moss and rocks where they said their I do’s amongst their closest friends and family was absolutely breathtaking! Erica and Ben are perfect for each other and once you read their answers to the questions below you will know it also and I guarantee you will have a huge smile on your face while reading! Congratulations Erica and Ben! I pray God blesses your life together!
How did you first meet and what were your first impressions of each other?
Erica: After a previous break up, I had no interest in getting into a relationship. I wanted to be single for a while. At the same time, my best friend had gone through a break up and was looking to meet someone new. She asked me to join a dating site with her. I refused and told her she was going to meet a crazy person if she joined. She joined and convinced me to join as well after a period of time. I joined but had no intention of using the site. One night she was at my apartment and showed me a guy she had met on the site. I became curious and finally logged on just to see who was on the site. Ben was the first person I saw. I instantly was attracted to his smile and what he had written on his profile. He had many qualities I was looking for. I decided to message him not sure if he would even respond. The next day I woke up to a message from him. We talked for a few days on the site and then exchanged numbers. We met about 2 weeks later in person for the first time.
Ben: Before I met Erica, I had dated girls who didn’t have exactly what I was looking for. I joined a dating site in hopes to meet someone with the qualities I had been searching for. I was on the site for a while with no results. I was going to delete my account the day Erica messaged me. She sent me one of the cheesy pick up lines supplied by the site. When I saw her picture, I thought she was pretty and had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. I sent her a cheesy line back and we started messaging from there. We talked over the phone for about two weeks. Then we decided to meet in person.
Tell us about your first date!
Erica: I met Ben for the first time at Starbucks. After meeting, we drove around Clarksville. We went to lunch at Logan’s. As we ate, we talked about our pasts, our desires, beliefs, and goals. Next, we went to the Riverwalk here in Clarksville. We sat on a swing and watched the boats and people go by. As we sat and talked, we learned that Ben and I had been around each other for about two years when he lived here in Clarksville but had never met until now. We learned that we went to the same college, never met, passed each other at school and didn’t know it. We lived two streets apart at one point and I had known his grandfather most of my life. But I had never met Ben. We drove back to Starbucks and we said goodbye for two hours. We became an official couple two days later.
Ben: When I met Erica at Starbucks, I was so anxious. I got out of the car, went to where she was standing, and gave her a big hug. She was even more beautiful than I had imagined. She had on this perfume that was intoxicating and her skin was so soft. We drove to Logan’s for lunch. I tried to eat, but I couldn’t stop staring at her. Then we drove down to the Riverwalk. We talked on what seemed like every topic for hours. I found her to be so interesting and thoughtful in her responses. I drove her back to Starbucks, and stalled for two hours before I had to go to work. Once I left, I realized I couldn’t be apart from her for very long. I drove back to Clarksville two days later and we became an official couple.
When did you first know he/she was the one?
Erica: As cheesy as it sounds, I knew Ben was the one from our first date. When he left to go to work, I called my best friend on the way home. I told her I had just went on a date with my future husband. She thought I was crazy and that it was too fast, but I knew. He was different. He always told me how beautiful I am, challenged me, and he was bluntly honest even when I don’t want to hear it. His imperfections made me love him love and I knew I couldn’t see my life without him.
Ben: I knew Erica was the one while we were sitting on the swing at the Riverwalk during our first date. Something drew me close to her that I had never felt with anyone else. We talked for eight hours straight one day. I knew it was soon and we were moving fast. But I was drawn to her. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, she accepted my flaws, and she felt like home.
Tell us about the proposal!
Erica: Ben and I knew we were going to be engaged and get married after many long conversations. I just didn’t know when it was going to happen. I had told him I would like to get engaged on my birthday in November. I had also told him I didn’t want to get engaged at Christmas because I thought it was cheesy. My birthday came and went. So when the proposal didn’t happen, I guessed it would happen the next year after the holidays. Instead we planned to have a nice date for our anniversary on December 13th. We planned to go to lunch at my favorite place and then walk around the Ag Center flower garden to see if we liked it for a wedding venue down the road. The week of the date, I got bronchitis and barely had a voice. I felt horrible, but still wanted to go. I worked the night before, came home, slept, and started getting ready. I got ready pretty quick and we left at least an hour early. Ben seemed very nervous for some reason. I figured it was because he had made reservations for a certain time and now we were super early for them. When we made it to the Cheesecake Factory, there were no parking spots available. We circled for 20 minutes trying to find a spot. I could tell Ben’s anxiety level was at a 10. I suggested we go on to Ag Center eat after. Ben agreed. Instead of going straight there, he took me to these neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just go on to the Ag Center. I knew something was up at that point. Two hours later, we made it to the Ag Center. We walked down the path Ben had made for his Eagle Scout project to the gazebo and garden. When we reached the bottom, I walked ahead of him looking at the surroundings in detail as a possible place to have a wedding in the future. Ben had to catch up to me and walk me under the gazebo. He grabbed my hand and stood in front of me. He said, “You know, we’ve been together for a while now. So I have a question to ask you” He got down on one knee, and said, “Will you marry me?” At this point he had started to cry and so had I. I said yes. He put the ring on my finger and we gave each other a huge hug and a kiss. I had mentioned that I would love the proposal to be photographed whenever it happened. Shortly after I said yes, Lisa and Chris who had photographed the whole thing came out of their hiding spots. We posed for more pictures. Once we got back to the car, we called everyone we knew. We were so excited and wanted to share our news with everyone.
Ben: I had been planning to propose to Erica for about a month. I had planned to take her to the Ag Center in Nashville and ask her under a gazebo in the middle of a flower garden. I tried to cover it up by planning a date for our year and a half anniversary. I told her we would go to lunch and walk around the Ag Center flower garden since she loves flowers. The week of the proposal, Erica got sick with bronchitis and had completely lost her voice. Even she felt horrible, she still wanted to get dressed up and go on the date. I had arranged with Lisa and Chris to be set up and hidden at the gazebo around 1:30 pm to take pictures. I arrived at her house and expected her to take a while to get ready. To my surprise, she only took 30 minutes. I knew I had to stall for two hours. I thought we would eat lunch to allow for time. When we got to the Cheesecake Factory every parking spot was taken. So lunch wasn’t an option. In a desperate attempt to stall, I drove her around different neighborhoods in Brentwood looking at Christmas lights. Once the two hours had passed, we drove to the Ag Center. We walked down the path I had made for my Eagle Scout project. When we got to the bottom of the path where the garden started, Erica kept walking around the garden. She tried to show me how we could use the site for a wedding and kept going on and on. Finally, I pulled her under the gazebo. I grabbed her hand, took a deep breath, and stood in front of her. I had a speech prepared of all the things I wanted to say. But standing in front of her, I couldn’t remember any of it. I was so nervous. All that came out was, “ We’ve been together for a long time now. And so I have a question to ask you.” I got down on one knee and said “Will you marry me?” She said yes. We both started to cry and gave each other a big hug and a kiss. Lisa and Chris came over and we posed for pictures. We walked back up the path and called everyone to share the news.
What is the one thing you love most about each other?
Erica: The thing I love most about Ben is how he accepts me 100% for who I am. He never tries to change me or make me feel insecure. In doing so, he allows me to be completely myself when I am around him. I don’t have to put on a show or pretend with him. It makes every moment we are together feel like I am home.
Ben: The one thing I love most about Erica is her willingness to accept me for who I am and my faults and weaknesses and doesn’t try to change me, but helps to improve me. She allows me to be 100% honest with her and truthful and voice my opinions and doesn’t think that what I have to say is stupid or ridiculous.
Share something silly or quirky the other person does that is normally annoying or crazy, but makes you love them a bit more each time!
Erica: Ben does this thing where he plays with his hair. He twirls it between his fingers and spins it. He does it to the front and back when he is bored. His hair is short. So when he does it, it makes cowlicks and makes his hair look a mess. It drives me insane!! I’ve never seen a guy do that and the random out of place pieces of hair bug me. But at the same time, it doesn’t bother him. It bugs me how he’s so calm about it. I feel the immediate need to fix it. Yet, he sees no issue. His ability to relax and be calm when I am stressing out makes me breath, calm down, and love him a bit more. Messy hair and all.
Ben: Erica has this need to have everything done her way. She has this saying that if its not done the Erica way, then it’s not right. Its extremely annoying and when I try to do something one way that would make the task easier and makes more sense to me, she usually says its being done wrong so I let her do it. It drives me nuts most times because there are sometimes easier and more efficient ways of doing things, but at the same time I know why she acts like that and most times I end up laughing about how she acts like that and she will get this cute grin on her face that makes me love her even more.
Besides getting married what is the one thing you are looking forward to on your wedding day?
Erica: I am most excited to see each other for the first time when I walk down the aisle. It’s one of my favorite parts of the wedding. I think the initial reaction and look on each other’s faces says it all when you see each other for the first time.
Ben: I am most excited about seeing her walk down the aisle towards me and finally getting to see her in her beautiful dress and finally be able to call her my wife and to see the look on her face when it all hits her that we are married.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yI4KjinGZI ]
Officiant: Joey Myers
Flowers: Rebel Hill Florist
Hair & Makeup: Harlow Salon
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Wedding Woods