We love a hot engagement session and a romantic love story.
Music brought Elease and Ra together. After being introduced through mutual friends during a couple “friendcations”, they bonded over a song. Elease shars, “Ra played a song that I loved but could not pinpoint the title. Days later I thought to text her and find out the title of this mystery song. “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande turned out to be the title. One song, Ra played while having control of the prized aux cord sparked something neither of us expected. One text inquiry turned into daily convos about music. After a few weeks, music convos shifted to life in general. Bonding over music unlocked in me the ability to see Ra for simply who she is: a soul. Her gender did not matter to me.”
Two years and a dog later, Ra proposed during Christmas in front of family and friends. It was the intimate and meaningful proposal that Elease always dreamed of. But, Ra’s surprises did not stop there.
For Elease’s 33rd birthday, Ra surprised her with a trip to Aruba. While in Aruba, they took the most swoon-worthy engagement photos. Talk about romantic. Read more about their love story, and see their sultry and chic engagement session below.
- Couple: Ra Dozier and Elease Benson
- Occupations: Deputy Sheriff – Ra – Commercial Property Manager – Elease
- Wedding date: Spring 2022 ; exact date TBD
- Wedding location: Nashville, TN
- Location of Engagement shoot: Aruba
How did you meet?
Ra and I met during a weekend trip to Atlanta. Ra came with our mutual friend, who is also my line sister & a group of others. I visited Atlanta with my best friend & her friends. One drunken night led to me arriving at their Airbnb, briefly meeting Ra & eventually ending the night at the ever-famous Waffle House with friends. We each returned home with no further thoughts, other than a great time & plenty of laughs.
A year passed and Labor Day 2018 arrived. Our friends planned an adventure-filled weekend in Nashville including hiking to a waterfall & renting a boat for a day party. Unbeknownst to me, this was also Ra’s birthday weekend. The most contact we had during the weekend was Ra, at my request, taking a picture of me near the Titan Stadium bridge. It was at that point numbers were exchanged, with zero romantic notions.
While in Nashville, Ra played a song that I loved but could not pinpoint the title. Days later I thought to text her & find out the title of this mystery song. “God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande turned out to be the title. One song, Ra played while having control of the prized aux cord sparked something neither of us expected. One text inquiry turned into daily convos about music. After a few weeks, music convos shifted to life in general. Bonding over music unlocked in me the ability to see Ra for simply who she is: a soul. Her gender did not matter to me. Even though this was foreign to me, the smile I got when her messages came in and the anticipation that grew to meet in person, all overshadowed any doubt & fear on embarking on this journey of discovery with her.
What did you do on your first date?
TSU homecoming was approaching, it’s a Nashville staple and Ra’s alma mater. I had never experienced this epic weekend so it became the perfect backdrop to our first real in-person link-up. This would be our opportunity to see if the magic we felt over the phone was real, initially being long distance. There was this familiar feeling that just clicked with us the entire weekend as we explored Nashville and attended concerts, events, and tailgates.
Tell us your proposal story.
We decided to host both of our families for Christmas this year. Ra’s sister and mom traveled down from Chattanooga and my mom, sister, and niece from Memphis, TN. Ra & I had discussed marriage multiple times and she knew it was my desire to have a very thoughtful engagement and to ensure my family was present. She upheld that wish to the highest standard. While taking Christmas photos, my niece summoned me towards our outside deck. I was given a letter which caught me completely off guard. Ra detailed her love for me and asked would I be her wife. As the tears flowed, right as I read the last line, the door was opened to her down on one knee; with Marry ME lights, music, and lights decorating our deck. It was intimate and intentional.
When did you know he/she was “the one”?
A pivotal moment for me that further confirmed that Ra was the one that occurred during my battle with COVID. I was experiencing a spectrum of symptoms and due to pre-existing conditions, I was considered high risk. My symptoms worsened and after fainting, Ra rushed me to the hospital. In these moments and the following days, the level of concern in her eyes and attention to me tugged at every string in my heart. I knew I simply did not want to live without her and I believe she felt the same in those scary moments. Even though I was all alone in the hospital, Ra was a constant. We Facetimed and she checked on me and spoke with my doctors. She was super expressive in her love for me. I knew this was a forever thing. Sickness and health are not just words. They must be personified in marriage. Having Lupus, I require a partner that will love me through the dark days and see this journey through with me. Ra showed and proved she is that partner and I’m forever grateful.
Describe your engagement session.
Our engagement session was absolutely magical. I am not the best with posing and Demian was a jewel with providing direction. He kept our energy high and the laughs rolling. The wind was very high and although that was not kind to my curls lol it was perfect for the dramatics of my dress. Aruba is such a beautiful island. It truly looks unreal. The natural landscape was the perfect backdrop. We wanted a classy, romantic yet sultry theme. I feel that was 100% captured and we are more than happy with our photos.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple?
We are BIG on binge-watching shows and traveling. Even when we are apart due to work, we will still watch the same shows. Our picks are getting slim due to the pandemic. We have watched everything from Stranger Things to Snowfall. Each year we make travel a priority. At the minimum, we will get two trips per year, one for my birthday in Feb and Ra’s birthday in Sept.
How has wedding planning been so far?
Wedding planning started off at full speed and quickly got overwhelming. There are so many decisions to be made. We did not wish to stress ourselves out with planning and decided to change gears to a 2022 target. Initially, our plans were to elope, however, we decided to have our friends and family be apart of our special day. Even though we will now have a ceremony, it will still be small to be very considerate of the current pandemic and keep it intimate with those who truly wish us all the best.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day.
Our vows! Our vows are the most important part of the big day. We take this commitment seriously and the wedding is only one day. Our main priority is honoring our commitment and not only getting married but staying married.
- Photographer: @demiangibbsphotography
- Elease Dress: @ladyblacktie
- Ra Suit: @asos
- Hair: @weaviewonder @officialjai__
- Makeup: @icametoslay