I must preface this article by letting you know this is a proposal story close to my heart, as it features my best friend and maid of honor. The bride-to-be has been my closest friend for over a decade, and it was an honor to witness one of the best days of her life and recount her story here. I hope you find Nick and Paula’s engagement story as magical as I do. 

Nick Lewis and Paula DiBenedetto have the ultimate modern-age love story. They swiped right on Bumble, had their first date at Birmingham’s FIVE, and as they say, the rest is history. Together since January 2018, Nick and Paula have grown their relationship from a fond friendship to a forever kind of love.

“I had been planning this proposal for months. I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but I was just waiting for the perfect time,” says groom-to-be Nick. Although Nick had his plan in mind, the preparation for the proposal officially began in July 2020. Unfortunately, this plan was quickly halted by an unforeseen medical emergency. The day Nick began filming his proposal video, he was admitted to the hospital with a small brain tumor. An emergency surgery and several weeks of recovery later, Nick was healthy and back to normal — and eager to continue his elaborate plan to have Paula say “yes.”

Couple photo
Meet Paula DiBenedetto and Nick Lewis!

In early September, the plan began to unfold once again. Nick knew the proposal video was a top priority, so after securing the proposal location on the Elyton Hotel‘s rooftop, it was back to filming. “I wanted to create a video that included all the special moments prior to a proposal,” says Nick. “I filmed everything — from asking her parents for their blessing to telling my family about the coming proposal and even a spoof of picking out the ring at Walmart,” remembers Nick.

In order to lure Paula to Moon Shine without any suspicions, I invited her and Nick to a “tasting” at the rooftop bar along with myself and my husband, Austin. She thought I was invited to write an article for StyleBlueprint (which wasn’t exactly wrong), and after a couple of stressful days and some excuses, she finally agreed to come and invited Nick to tag along. Success!

Once Paula arrived, I was waiting for her on the outside patio. The guys were “running late” from work, so it was just going to be us for a bit. She came out, we chatted, and then the plan began to unfold. In my purse, I had an iPad and AirPods that held the video Nick had been working so hard to create. The video explained why Nick was running late tonight — he was prepping for the proposal. This incredible 11-minute video made it seem as though he filmed it all that day … talk about some serious planning. After the video concluded with Nick walking out of the Moon Shine elevator, he came out to the patio, dropped to one knee, and asked Paula to marry him.

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Bride-to-be watching proposal video at the Elyton Hotel
The bride-to-be watching the video Nick worked on for months, explaining why he was running “late” to the venue.
Groom proposing to bride on Birmingham rooftop
“I could not have been more surprised,” says Paula. “It was truly one of the best nights of my life.”
Proposal at the Elyton Hotel
She said … yes!

It was quite a relief to Nick and myself that Paula was completely caught off guard. “I almost didn’t even come to the tasting because my team, the Lakers, were in the playoffs,” says Paula. “Thankfully, I finally gave in, and I am so glad I did. It was such an amazing day!”

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Couple after proposal at the Elyton Hotel
The soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Lewis!
Couple hugging after proposal
Have you ever seen a happier couple?!
Best friends crying tears of joy after proposal
Cue the happy tears!
Couple toasting champagne
Paula’s diamond engagement ring is extra special to the couple as it belonged to Nick’s great-grandfather.

After the proposal, there was another special surprise in store. At my home, Paula and Nick’s closest family and friends were patiently waiting to celebrate this incredible day. Thankfully, the rain held off and guests were able to socially distance in our backyard.

The weather was just right, the ring is gorgeous, and two of my favorite people in the world are set to wed. Now, we look forward to August 14, 2021, when Paula and Nick will become husband and wife. Cheers to the future Lewises! The best is truly yet to come.

Thank you to the groom’s talented sister, Isabel Lewis, for the photos!


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About the Author
Taylor Justice

A proud Magic City resident, University of Alabama alum, and self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, Taylor enjoys exploring the 205 and sharing the true magic that lies in her beloved city of Birmingham.