Surprise Proposal at Duke Gardens

The first time I talked to Ben and learned about his plans to propose to his girlfriend Brittany at Duke Gardens I'm pretty sure I was almost as excited as he was, okay, maybe not.. But we talked on the phone and orchestrated a plan. Ben had already talked to Brittany about her favorite place on Duke's campus and narrowed it down to Sarah P. Duke Gardens so I went ahead of time and sent him some photos and we found THE spot. It was absolutely perfect. They live in Washington D.C. and Ben planned the trip to Durham. The day finally came and I got the text I had been waiting for, "We are in Durham! Getting lunch now." I headed to the gardens and waited for Ben and Brittany to show up.

I asked Brittany if she had any idea that Ben was going to propose, "I was 99% surprised, but there was a part of me that knew there was something suspicious going on when Ben decided to plan a trip for us (that's usually my responsibility!). When we showed up at the gardens, Ben insisted we go to the White Gardens (behind the visitor center) and I totally put up a fight because I thought we should walk through the main entrance towards the fountain. Overall though, he did a great job of keeping everything a surprise and totally caught me off guard!"

I asked them to give me a couple words to describe their feelings that day. Ben - excited and ready. Brittany - shocked, overwhelmed, excited, and emotional. I think the saying a picture is worth a thousand words is quite true here. 

Ben & Brittany met in the airport on Christmas Day in 2013 on their way to Israel as part of a Birthright trip and they've been together ever since that trip (so a little over four years now!) For the first two years they were in a long-distance relationship (Ben in St. Louis, and Brittany at Duke, then in D.C.), but Ben moved to D.C. in April of 2016.

I was curious to know how long Ben knew that Brittany was "the one" and when he started seriously planning the proposal. "I knew she was the one for quite some time. Once we got back from our 12-day Birthright trip, I was eager to spend more time together. The long distance between us made things difficult, but we were happy to travel back and forth to visit one another. I would say about six months into the relationship, I knew she was the one that I wanted to be with. I started planning the proposal a few months in advance. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but things really materialized over those last six weeks. Between getting the ring, getting a photographer, and securing Duke basketball tickets, it was a fair bit to coordinate -- but it worked out really well!" 

I knew that Duke Gardens had special meaning to them so I wanted to learn more, "The first time that Ben visited Duke in April 2014, we went to the Duke Gardens. We spent time walking around and enjoying one another's company as we got to know each other better. So although we both didn't attend Duke, the Gardens are a fond reminder of some of the first weekends we got to spend with each other."

Of course, I had to ask them what we're all dying to know. How much wedding planning have you gotten done!? They said they have just started talking about the initial things and haven't really put a whole lot of thought into it yet and are excited for everything to start coming together. 


Ben & Brittany, I am so glad I got to witness such a huge moment in your lives and I am so excited and happy for you both. I am wishing you nothing but love and happiness as you begin your lives together. 

To see all of their engagement photos head over to