Ben was supposed to take me to Portico, a restaurant in Goochland County, a few weeks before we actually went. My parents and Ben ended up throwing me a lovely surprise party to celebrate the fact that I had become a licensed Architect the night we had those ‘reservations’ instead. The night we finally got to Portico was November 10th, the night of the first frost in Richmond, so it was very cold. Ben and I got a lovely dinner and had a cozy time in a secluded part of the restaurant, but as the plates were being taken away he began to seem anxious. Right then, a couple was seated next to us and began to order their drinks. Ben proceeds to launch into telling me how much I have meant to him all of these years, and why our relationship is so perfect. Ben isn’t normally the type to speak about his feelings, so I started to feel like something special was happening. The next thing I knew, he was down on his knee, getting out a gorgeous ring and asking me to marry him! I, of course, was speechless, but able to say yes as he put the ring on my finger. Side note – that couple that was seated right next to us? Both of them equally freaked out as he was going down on his knee. She screamed out “OH MY GOD ARE YOU PROPOSING?!?!” and he turns to Ben, on his knee, and asks if he should record this moment. Too funny! We were given 0.4 seconds before everyone around us came over to congratulate us, and the owner of the restaurant brought us glasses of champagne to celebrate. He suggested we head to their fireplace outside (which luckily also had some blankets to keep us from getting too cold!) We spent some time together reveling in our new engagement and getting excited about the next stage of our lives together. Immediately after, we surprised my parents by showing up to their home unannounced. We celebrated that evening together, and the next night went to Ben’s parents home to celebrate and to show them the ring (on my finger this time!) Sunday night of that weekend, the Hamners and the Hendricks celebrated together at dinner as we embark on this journey of joining our families.