The date was January 27th 2011, approximately 3 o’clock in the morning when Ben was making his rounds in the online dating community – which will not be named here. You might be wondering just why he was up at 3:00AM as any sane person would be asleep, especially on the eve of a big snowboarding trip to Vermont, but he was restless and wide awake.

As he browsed, looking at picture after picture and reading bio after bio of mostly uninteresting people, he began to grow wary that even online dating wouldn’t be the promised land of dating any more than the myriad methods everyone always seemed to suggest. “Am I really destined to never find anyone?” he thought. He’d have asked someone at the time, but it was 3:00AM and everyone else in the world he knew was sound asleep.

Not too far away -11.3 miles to be semi exact- Amanda was having similar feelings. After a few months and a number of not-going-anywhere first dates, Amanda had decided it was probably time to wave the white flag and submit to what life had become. This wasn’t all bad what with Trivia Mondays, Open Mic Wednesdays and Karaoke Fridays. Life was busy and bustling, but it was still missing something.

During some rather serious life conversation on this snowy evening, Amanda confided in her good friend Sean that “tomorrow morning I will be deleting my profile, this just isn’t working out!” There was little resistance and the idea seemed reasonable at the time. After all, there are a bunch of weirdos online.

Meanwhile as Ben carried on through the drudgery, suddenly a face poked through the sea of faces so with a svelte command+click, he opened her in a new tab to make sure he came back around for review in a few minutes (he wasn’t ready to commit right then and there).

Upon first view of Amanda’s profile, he was met with a very strict and rigid defensive filter which Amanda used to weed out the undesirables from even wanting to contact her. The first thing she mentioned was that her profile wasn’t two words and you’d actually have to do some reading. Ben never questioned her on this but has always suspected that stopped 98.4% of all suitors on the spot, which gave him much, much better odds (which excited him, ’cause he likes to think about numbers and at the time the prospect of dating someone as well).

After thoroughly reading Amanda’s profile and learning how much of a goofy, nerdy, awesome person she sounded like, Ben decided it would be prudent to send a communiqué (which he still has a copy of to this day), it started off like this:

hey, amanda.

the first thing I have to say is …

and that is probably the most any of you will ever see of that message which went on for another five pages! Yes, one thing Amanda has learned about Ben during their time together is that he writes. And writes and writes and writes. On the plus side to that, he spent some time in college, so his writing is mostly fluent and well thought out and makes some amount of sense.

After Ben sent his novella over to Amanda, the long agonizing wait began. “I wonder if she read it?” “I wonder if she’ll reply?” “Dude, why on earth did you write five pages? She’ll be intimated and just delete the message, what’s wrong with….” right at that exact second, his phone vibrated alerting him to a message…from Amanda.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, let’s take a step back for just a moment.

Amanda was up early the following morning to shovel the front walk and dig her car out of the snowpocalypse that happened overnight. Like any good red blooded American of their age bracket, a healthy dose of procrastination was taken though before shoveling the walk to avoid the bitter cold and the completely disagreeable job. She logged into her dating profile for what was supposed to be the last time when there it was, Ben’s message. Shoveling would need to be delayed.

This was not your typical run of the mill message, especially not the type Amanda was used to receiving in the online dating world. The words were not “hey you’re cute; let’s get to know each other! LOL”, the words in fact comprised a somewhat “oh, dear lord this dude wrote me a book is he crazy or genuinely sincere?!” thought for her. Alas this was a true letter, a genuine interest in her interests and a true “this is who I am” introduction. She spent the following day re-reading Ben’s message (it was too long to read in one sitting). She could see that likewise, a two word retort would not suffice and took her time to write back. The white flag would have to wait for now as Amanda began to compose her response and of course dig her car out of the snow.

Back to the email alert from Amanda, Ben was casually sitting, feet still strapped to his snowboard “resting” on his way down the mountain when he received that notification. He excitedly tried using his iPhone with mittens on, which is no easy task. After several minutes of fumbling around, he finally removed one mitten and replied to her on the spot; skiers, snowboarders, and the occasional walker passing by. Probably all wondering why on earth “that guy” was just sitting on the slope. Little did they know, “that guy” was busy attempting to shape the future of the two individuals involved.

At the time, neither Ben nor Amanda had any idea just what they were getting into, mind you. It was casual, laid back and just fun. There were a few messages back and forth on the dating site which were soon supplanted by text messages. Before the trip to Vermont was over, numerous text messages were exchanged and like all prospective dating candidates should do, epic matches in “Words with Friends” were had. There was a general consensus that a first date would be in order and as such, a tentative first date was booked.

February 1st 2011, the date where it really all began. Ben left work at 6:00PM sharp that day, he couldn’t be held up by any lingering issues so he made sure a quick and smooth transition was well planned earlier in the day. All he had left to do was hope nothing exploded, and to his surprise and good fortune, nothing did. He quickly and nervously drove over to Amanda’s house to pick her up for the date. (Ed. Note: Don’t worry Ben is not a mass murderer and Amanda carries mace for all of you worried about a front door pick up on the first date)

Patiently and calmly, now waiting out front when he couldn’t find a parking spot (or was too nervous to parallel park), he let Amanda know he had arrived when she was ready to come out. “Breath, man, breath…” Ben repeated to himself, “you don’t want to freak her out ten seconds into this thing!” After a couple minutes Ben saw the front door swoosh open and out came this beautiful woman who then with a big smile on her face, hopped into his car.

Pleasantries were exchanged and for about the first 2 minutes, awkwardness ensued as Ben had to admit that being from “not around here” he didn’t exactly know how to get from her place to the restaurant. “If you could just get me back to the highway, I’ll be good!” he reassured Amanda.

Once on the highway, the talking seemed to flow more freely and naturally. Ben wasn’t so focused on not getting lost and Amanda wasn’t so focused on being his navigator. Conversation started slow, but by the time they arrived at the restaurant both of them had a feeling that there just might be something here. As corny as it sounds, it was something like love at first sight. The conversation flowed, there was no shyness or fear of rejection or the ever-present worry that at any second this is going to get really weird. It was just really good conversation, craft beer and dinner. It was like they were best friends getting together for some grub. They spent nearly 2 and a half hours at dinner conversing, laughing, and telling stories before deciding maybe they should head somewhere else (they were one of the remaining few couples in the restaurant). So they hopped back in the car and went over to Amanda’s favorite watering hole to have a nightcap.

Something special happened that night, two people came together and began forming a very close bond. It wasn’t far after this point that Ben and Amanda were spending a great deal of time with each other and getting rather serious about their relationship. Everything just clicked like it never had before for either of them and they were extremely excited and happy.

Before too long, they realized that they indeed had something very special. There were many hiking excursions, movies, dinner dates, hang outs with friends and a trip home to Chicago to get those famous hot dogs…err family approval. They realized that through all of their past relationships, they each had a keen eye on what exactly it was they were looking for and in a fortunate twist of fate, had each found just that in the other.

Purists may say Ben and Amanda moved too fast, but they don’t care. What they care about is spending the rest of their lives with each other and they’re not afraid to show it, which brings us to why you are reading this in the first place.

Ben and Amanda are here to share their love for each other with their friends and family. You, presumably, are here because you are in one of those cliques and wish to share your love with them as well. On behalf of Ben and Amanda, we wish to welcome you to their lives and their journey.

On September 1st 2012 at dusk Ben and Amanda will make their lifelong commitment to each other in front of you, their dearest friends and family.

In a nutshell, the purpose of this here site is for more than just wedding information, but to hopefully be a window into the lives of Ben and Amanda. To see what we’re up to and what we’re doing well past the wedding. As many of you know, life is busy and full of responsibilities and obligations. Nobody gets to see each other or spend time with each other as often as is desired. We’re grown ups, this is what happens. We hope to share with you what we can for all the “in between” time when we don’t get to see all of you on a regular basis.

ben & amanda