How he proposed: I was kidnapped

This is how he did it.

Hello, readers and lovers! I’d like to take a moment to explain the reason behind the slow trickle of new content on Next Date recently. Last month, the man and muse behind so many date experiences profiled on this site, asked me to marry him.

The past few weeks have been, as you can expect, a beautiful whirlwind. I never expected to bicker with my future husband about Le Creuset spatulas or classical sonatas, but I wouldn’t want to with any other human on the planet.

With that, here’s the story of how Ben proposed, pulled from our wedding website, in response to the ubiquitous question of “How did he do it?”

Ben essentially kidnapped Nicole to propose to her this past June.

He picked her up from friend and future bridesmaid Cara McCarty’s apartment, invited her into his car with the promise of a mysterious adventure, refused to answer any questions, and blindfolded her.

For an hour and a half, Nicole remained blindfolded during the car ride, save from a quick peek as they passed through Gary, IN. At one juncture Nicole requested a snack, since neither of them had had dinner that evening. Ben pulled into a McDonald’s off the nearest exit, and enjoyed watching her eat a cheeseburger while blindfolded. They both wonder to this day what passersby must’ve thought.

In the car, Ben played playlists the two had made for each other over the past two and a half years, during their time as a long-distance couple and after Nicole relocated to Chicago.

Finally, they reached their destination: New Buffalo, MI, a quaint beach town in Michigan’s Harbor Country, sprinkled with wineries and antique shops. Ben had booked a night at the Lakeside Inn, where they had stayed the year before for a romantic weekend getaway from the city. They had a late dinner at Casey’s, then quietly checked into the inn.

Ben and Nicole woke up the next morning and packed up for a day at the Indiana Dunes (now an unromantically unsafe destination), and whatever else Ben had planned. Nicole sat on a swing on the back porch of the inn while Ben checked out inside.

Minutes later, Ben walked out onto the porch where Nicole was sitting, barely awake and without coffee, with the woman from the front desk. She was holding Ben’s SLR camera.

Ben asked Nicole, “Want to take some pictures?”

Not quite awake enough to suspect anything, but slightly suspicious over Ben’s newfound enthusiasm for posed pictures, Nicole agreed. After the third or fourth photo, Ben’s arm wrapped around Nicole’s waist, he asked:

“Nicole, will you marry me?”

Obviously taken aback, Nicole stammered out a “yes,” and then watched Ben, her hands covering her wide open mouth, as he got down on one knee and pulled out a small black box.


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