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our story so far

Chapter One: Molloy College 

Rockville Centre, NY: 2012-2016

In February 2011, Ben and Anna met for the first time at the Molloy College Scholarship Dinner. Anna thought he was friendly (she knew instantly that he was not from New York) and Ben thought she seemed familiar (he was convinced that they had met before). Through shared classes, cafeteria lunch dates, theater/music rehearsals, car trips into town, and countless late night sing-a-longs, they quickly became good friends. Anna was not shy in telling her friends that she was going to marry Ben Norton--she even wrote him a poem in the first semester of their freshmen year telling him exactly so. Ben attended Anna's family get-togethers in Selden, and Anna excitedly took the Amtrak up to Vermont to visit Ben in the summer. 

Chapter Two: Official 

Rockville Centre, NY: 2016

In March 2016, Ben's beloved Gram, Joanie Wulfing, passed away. Anna drove up to Vermont, not only to support Ben and his family during this difficult time, but also to say her goodbyes to Joanie, who she had gotten to know in her later years. The night before Gram's memorial, Ben and Anna were snuggling up together when Ben, blown away by Anna's thoughtfulness, asked her to be his girlfriend. Anna assumed he was joking. The next day, Anna met the masses of Ben's loving extended family and family friends. She continued to introduce herself as his friend, while Ben was going around the reception referring to her as his girlfriend. It wasn't until hours later, when Anna was preparing to drive back to Long Island, that she brought up how silly it was that "everyone was asking if I was your girlfriend," to which Ben responded: "Wait, aren't you?" He flipped her claddagh ring (a tradition close to Anna's heart), and sent her back home with a kiss, followed by a very giddy phone call that night.

Ben and Anna spent the last semester of their senior year buckling down on papers, celebrating their graduation with friends, sharing breakfast sandwiches, performing senior recitals, traveling to Vermont together, and binging staggering amounts of "How I Met Your Mother." The transition from friendship to romantic relationship was as seamless as could be. They split one more Ferring's breakfast sandwich as they drove together to Jones Beach for a brisk graduation ceremony, and from there, started the next chapter of being together, albeit from a distance.


Chapter Three: Long Distance

Wallingford, VT & Selden, NY: 2016-2018

Enter the era of Facetime! Long distance dating had its highs and lows, but Anna and Ben were dedicated to seeing each other as often as they could. They got comfortable sleeping on an air mattress in Anna's childhood living room, navigated the spottiest areas of cell service on Route 140 while Ben drove home from work, attended four New Year's Eve parties in one night to see all of their college friends together, and discovered the most scenic views that the various rest stops between Vermont and Long Island had to offer. 

During this time, Anna became a board-certified Music Therapist, adopted her tabby cat, Billy, and moved into two different houses in the span of two months, along the way finding a new friend in her roommate Gabby (also befriending Gabby's cat Tiffany, of course). During more than one visit, Ben helped Anna break back into her apartment after forgetting her keys. Ben continued to work at his beloved childhood summer camp, Camp Downer, and outside of the camp season worked as a technician at a neurofeedback clinic and as a salesperson at a local headshop on the weekends. While on a trip looking after his boss' clinic in North Carolina, he visited a dear friend in Asheville, NC, and fell in love with the area. After raving about the trip to Anna, she proposed a potential move there, which they're still considering for the eventual future. 

Chapter Four: Roomies

East Meadow, NY: 2018-2020

In 2018, the two moved in together! Alongside college best friend Eitan and new coworker/buddy Ryan, Ben and Anna moved into an apartment in East Meadow, Long Island. Here they cooked, worked, played, and made countless memories, meeting lots of new friends on the way. They held silly costume parties and traded countless songs. They visited Asheville together for the first time. Ru, their rambunctious little kitten, joined the crew. They worked four separate jobs, sometimes only seeing each other at home between 9pm-11pm on weekdays. That, of course, changed very quickly in March of 2020, when the pandemic saw Ben, Anna, Eitan, and Ryan teaching virtually from four separate rooms simultaneously.
This apartment, the home of many treasured stories and good times, was also where their children's music project, BenAnna Band, was born. With a heaping show of help and encouragement from both family and friends, Ben and Anna began recording music/videos and playing live shows as part-time performers for kiddos. 


Chapter Five: Vermonters

Wallingford, VT: 2020-2023

In October 2020, following Ben's Dad's cancer diagnosis (Ken is still kicking cancer's butt like an absolute champ!), Ben and Anna moved into his late grandparents' cabin to be closer to his parents. They had a proper Vermont winter; it snowed heavily once a week from Halloween to Mother's Day. They hibernated together, and the seasons went round and round. Ben attempted to share to hidden joys of mud season. Spring found them basking in the bloom and sharing many laughter-filled dinners and hangs with Ben's family. They took BenAnna Band fulltime and toured throughout the summer. Anna marveled at the Vermont Fall colors. A new chapter of their relationship had begun, living together with just their little family.  

Chapter Six: Living Mas (the Engagement)

New York City, NY: Dec 2021

December 18, 2021: While visiting Anna's family for the holidays, Anna and Ben decided to spend a special day in NYC to celebrate the season. They popped into an art pop-up in Brooklyn, visited the Winter Market in Bryant Park to capture some college nostalgia, took in the light show at Saks Fifth Avenue (revisiting more college memories), and made their way over to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree, all the while recounting their favorite adventures together. The mood: romantic. Their hearts: full to bursting. The weather: FOGGY. After a few pictures by the tree, Ben revealed that, to cap off the day, he had gotten them tickets to go to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Plaza, ironically "to get a view of the whole city." Once there, as you might have guessed, a 30 Rock employee was explaining to the disheartened visitors outside that not only would there be no visibility due to the heavy fog, but that, in their words, anyone who went up would be "EXTREMELY disappointed." On Anna's assurance that they would make their own fun, they decided to go up anyway, and because of the weather, they ended up being practically the only visitors. They explored the exhibits, made conversation with the employees outside the elevator, and made their way to the observation deck. They were outside of course, but you wouldn't know it; with all the fog it looked like a perfectly painted white room. After sharing a hard laugh at the absurd circumstances, Ben revealed why he wanted to go up there in the first place. He held Anna's hands, got down on one knee, and asked her if they could start their next adventure together as husband and wife. After joyful tears and a few selfies, they ran through the upstairs halls, giggling and gleefully showing the ring to all the employees that they'd just met. They hadn't realized that there was another observation level and that they hadn't even been to the top yet. Upon taking the escalator up, they met an incredibly sweet security guard who, after finding out about the minutes-fresh engagement, quickly asked for their phone so they could do a photoshoot. Their new friend took a slew of laughter/tear-filled pictures of the couple and shared some beautiful musings on love and marriage while a fellow security guard shined a maglight beam from above them for extra lighting. Following hugs and handshakes and great big thanks for the impromptu engagement shoot, Ben and Anna floated down on a cloud (really the elevator, but the fog might've been thick enough) back to Rockefeller Plaza and the Christmas tree. Ben insisted on having a "New York moment," running into the middle of a crowd and shouting "Hey New York, she said yes!" which (thankfully) was followed by cheers and claps. They celebrated with a fairytale Taco Bell dinner in Times Square, and the burritos were the best they'd ever had.

Chapter Seven: To Be Continued

Selden, NY: 2023-now

In January 2023, Anna, Ben, and the cats moved back to Long Island, NY to live with Anna's family. They've been lucky enough to spend so much time with each of their amazing families and so many wonderful friends over the last few years, and their hearts definitely belong to both Vermont and New York. BenAnna Band keeps them as busy as can be, and that's exactly the way they like it. They love their life together more than can be expressed in words, and they can't wait to continue the journey side by side. 

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