On Her Bony, Unpolished Finger

The Proposal: Part II (and more)

Before we dive in – this is the follow up from https://rileyv.com/index.php/2019/07/24/shes-got-the-6-carat-harry-winston-engagement-pt-i/ . In truth, this is a “canned post” because my best friends are in town – but it’s appropriate because BEN MOVES TO BOSTON IN TWO WEEKS (I’m just a little excited). In honor of the next three years in Boston – the longest we’ve ever been together! – let’s back it up three years.


It was the morning of December 31, 2016. We were at my apartment in Santa Maria, where I lived during training at Vandenberg AFB; Ben had flown in from AZ the day before and we were getting ready for a nice hike. Pismo Beach was twenty five minutes from my place and I wanted to show him a neat spot called Pirate’s Cove. AT THIS POINT IN TIME, I knew an engagement was imminent; Ben had the ring, and our fancy schmancy New Years Dinner & adorable weekend getaway seemed purposefully planned for that reason. Therefore, I had no reason to suspect this hike was anything but a hike. In fact, I was actively planning dinner make-up as I pulled on leggings, a legit walmart sweatshirt, vest and sneakers.

My spidey senses began TINGLING when Ben came downstairs in a nice button down shirt, slacks, and leather shoes.

Nice shirt & shoes not pictured. Keep reading.

I asked him what the heck he was wearing and, in the most DIGNIFIED way possible, he stared me down and said…I just want to look nice. Implying that, duh, looking nice on a hike was normal and I was the weirdo for looking like a bum.

Uh oh.

Of course, it was far too late to shower (we’re going on a dang HIKE, NO ONE LOOKS GOOD FOR THOSE) so I did damage control. I threw on some mascara, texted my bestie with an Engagement Warning, and pulled a beanie over the grease. I also MADE Ben change his shoes (he was honestly going to ruin them on those rocks) and put on a sweatshirt because it was cold. He huffed. And just like that, we headed out the door.

Part of the reason our relationship works is because I am high-key (read: emotional, excitable, going 1 million mph at all times) and Ben is low-key as heck (read: an impassive rock). During that twenty, thirty minute drive though, the roles COMPLETELY reversed. He was so nervous that I couldn’t help but laugh. My guy was freaking out!!!

But he got us there and we went on our hike. We wandered down the trail, climbed around rocks by the water, stared out at the ocean, climbed back up, took a few pictures, watched some otters play….and then sat on the rock’s edge, looking out over the ocean. I kept thinking, this is it! And then nothing would happen. Time went by. In hindsight, it was probably only a few minutes, but I was no longer calm. I was beginning to lose it. Was I wrong after all? What if he was literally re-thinking his entire life plan, right now? WHAT IF HE THREW THE RING IN THE OCEAN BEFORE I COULD EVER WEAR IT???????

And more importantly, before I could commit my life to him. Obviously.

Well, I didn’t have the whole thing figured out. Ben coordinated with a photographer friend to capture the moment (shoutout to Sarah Rodemaker, which is where these pics came from!) While I was internally spiraling, he was just waiting for her to arrive. But I had no idea, so when I finally stood up to go – defeated, sad, confused, and a tiny bit glad I’d have time to clean up – I expected to see him following me out.

Instead, I half-turned to find Ben in the process of kneeling, pulling a box out of his pocket and grinning like a lunatic. I gave an oh! and just started GIGGLING AWAY as I heard him say

Riley, will you marry me?

I don’t even know what I said, or if I said anything at all – I just know suddenly there was a ring on my finger and Ben was hugging me and laughing, and suddenly Sarah was there, telling us congrats and snapping pics that captured the absolute joy and pure excitement of that moment.

In hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing – greasy hair & Walmart sweatshirt included.

Six months later, we met in Denver and made things official in a court of law. We decided to mirror the engagement and go really simple; no photos, flowers, or white dresses, just us and our immediate families. The Fun White Wedding (which will absolutely get its time in the sun) would wait until we finally lived together. But on June 23, 2017, Mr. Benjamin Persian sealed the deal wearing – you guessed it! – a button down shirt and leather shoes.