Jess and Ben are high school sweethearts. They met when Jess was a freshman, and Ben was a sophomore. Two of their friends were dating, and they decided to set up Jess and Ben on a blind date. “Growing up, I would always tell my friends that I was never going to marry Ben, mainly out of annoyance because they would say it all of the time,” she says. “Ben was always very kind and mild tempered—especially since I can be very headstrong and stubborn. The fact that he put up with that was a big plus!”

After years of happiness, Ben started planning his proposal. “I purchased the ring about two or three months before the proposal, but I really had no idea how I was going to pop the question,” he says. “One day, I had been counting how many months we had been together—no idea why I was doing this—and I noticed that in February, we would have been together for 100 months. A coincidence like this was too good for me to pass up!” Ben went to the Internet and found a site where he could write and illustrate a book about their relationship.

“The last page says, ‘And on the 100th month, Ben proposed.’ I, of course, had no idea how I was going to give this book to Jess but I knew it had to be in February and as close to February 10th as I could get. We ended up going for a hike on February 12th. I had no plan going into the day besides ‘I’m coming home engaged,’” he says.

Jess said yes as well as saying, “It’s about damn time!” And into planning they went. With Jess’s experience as an event coordinator, she knew what she wanted from their wedding day. “I love to plan,” she says. “Assisting with other couples’ weddings is definitely more fun than planning your own wedding, but I loved almost every minute of the planning. My favorite pieces were the details—décor pieces, guest book, table numbers—and the progression of everything as it came closer to the deadline.”

As the day arrived, the emotions felt by the couple were mixed. “I felt very excited and nervous, not that I was getting married, but more that I would have 100 people staring at me,” the bride says. For Ben, he felt like he was on a roller coaster all morning leading up to the ceremony. “Nervous, anxious, excited, everything,” he says. “After the ceremony was over there was a whoosh of relief and it was just pure joy and happiness for the remainder of the wedding.”

A memory that sticks with Jess is the first dance. “I felt so at ease just really being in the moment of us and our love, and it felt as if he and I were the only ones at our wedding.” 

—Kourtney Jason