Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Matthew and Benjamin Carl-Allen

Matthew and Benjamin Carl-Allen never expected to meet over FaceTime on a drunken night.

“I had no clue what I was getting into that night,” Benjamin says. “I had just finished a workout and only came out after the fifth pleading.”

At the time, Matthew was living in Chicago. In Orlando, some mutual friends and Benjamin had decided to go out for Cinco De Mayo. Matthew celebrated alongside them from his bed, drinking cabernet out of mini wine bottles.

One of their friends sent Matthew a group photo with Benjamin in it.

“I happened to say to my friend, ‘that guy is cute,’” Matthew says. “What did I care? I was in a different time zone. Next thing I know, my friends are FaceTiming me and Ben pushed himself into the camera and introduced himself.”

The next morning, Benjamin texted Matthew to let him know he was thinking about him.

“Matt was truly the first thing on my mind, the cute face and all those little bottles of wine,” Benjamin says. “He was a keeper and I had to get to know him.

“I remember admiring the honesty and the confidence,” Matthew says. “I knew this person would mean something, and the rest is history.”

The couple always knew that Benjamin would be the one to propose. They even bought rings six months into the relationship.

“When you know, you know,” Benjamin says.

Two years into their relationship, Benjamin planned a date at The Turf Club, their favorite restaurant.

“For someone who often ruins surprises, it should have been obvious to me that something big was about to happen,” Matthew says. “But for some reason, I was totally not aware.”

Their server brought over a white box and told Matthew that their new tester appetizers were in it. Since they had been coming to the restaurant so often, Matthew believed it. Then, Benjamin stood up and told him that before he opened that box, he had another smaller box for him.

He got down on one knee and proposed. Turns out, the bigger box that the server had left them contained a Christmas ornament that said “Just Engaged.”

“I had to make every aspect of our normal lives seem extraordinary on that day,” Benjamin says.

After their dinner, Benjamin surprised Matthew again with a celebration with friends at their favorite local spot, Yeoman’s.

“It was a wonderful day that turned out to be the beginning of many amazing moments,” Benjamin says.

The two got married on Sept. 18, 2021. Both said that one of the most special aspects of the wedding was being able to have their family and friends around them.

“[I loved] sitting with our wedding party and seeing the friendships that were created, all because of their love and support for us,” Matthew says.

One of Benjamin’s favorite moments was dancing to Dolly Parton’s cover of “The Story.”

“Matt and I have done and experienced so much during our four years together,” Benjamin says. “It connects to how we show everyone the strong side of our personalities, but underneath us all, there are stories that no one else knows that make us who we are today.”

The couple and their loved ones danced the night away, enjoying each other’s company on what was truly a night to remember.

“You spend months planning a wedding,” Matthew says. “It takes a lot of time and effort. There was a moment getting ready, being surrounded with our favorite people, where Ben and I sort of looked at each other and both agreed — from this point on, whatever happens today, let’s remember why we are truly here and just enjoy it.”

Engagement Date: July 29, 2019

Wedding Date: Sept. 18, 2021

Officiant: Bri Stefek

Venue: Dr. Phillips House

Colors: purple and gold

Wedding Song: “The Story” by Dolly Parton

Florist: Lee Forrest Design

Caterer: Millenia catering

Cake Flavors: Multiple small cakes for variety: red velvet, carrot cake, s’mores and double chocolate.

Bakery: The Smith Island Baking Company; Two Smart Cookies

Photographer: Corner House Photography

Entertainment: Justin Kornaker, Orlando DJ Group

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