Andrea Ragin & Benjamin Coleman
In Good Time
Love—and the ideal wedding day—was simply a matter of the moment for Andrew Ragin and Benjamin Coleman.
text by Jessica Elliott & Photography by Charla Storey Photography
On the morning of her wedding, Andrea Ragin woke up to a thunderstorm. For months, she had planned her September 18, 2016, nuptials to Benjamin Coleman at The White Sparrow, a whitewashed barn in Quinlan, Texas, set among oak trees, and now rain was pouring on the pastoral swaths of green. So, she started praying. “It was dark and gray, and right when I finished, the sun came out and was shining,” Andrea says.
The moment’s perfect timing was a fitting metaphor for her relationship with Ben. She met him fresh out of college—they were in the same hire group at Microsoft—and they became friends. Dating him was the last thing on Andrea’s agenda, though. “I was super into church and he was super into partying,” she says, and laughs.
Andrea Ragin Coleman
“I didn’t have a vision—but I knew how I wanted it to feel.”
Still, they grew closer. Ben joined Andrea at church, and they often prayed together. But after two years, “I got scared because I could tell he was really feeling me, and I had butterflies in my stomach,” Andrea says. “But I didn’t want to ruin our friendship because it was a safe place, and I didn’t want to date someone I worked with. So I started to add distance.”
Ben complied, against his wishes. About a month later, they both realized how much they missed one another. Ben wrote her a note explaining that he wanted to “pursue her God’s way,” he says. “We had shared so much time together already that I had strong feelings for her, and my mindset was to marry her.”
In the early hours following Christmas Day in 2015, he left his hometown in Charlotte, North Carolina, to propose at a wine cellar in Andrea’s hometown of Clermont, Florida, where family and friends had gathered for the surprise. While en route, “She was blowing up my phone trying to figure out what I was doing,” he remembers. (She didn’t discover the secret until he got down on one knee—good timing on Ben’s part.)
Andrea is known among friends—and at Microsoft, where she’s a business program manager—as the party planner. For her own wedding, she imagined a mood rather than an aesthetic. “I wanted it to be pretty and simple, but still elegant and nice,” she says. “I didn’t have a vision—but I knew how I wanted it to feel. I wanted people to feel our love and the presence of God’s love.”
Atlanta-based planners Amy Osaba and Mary Wynn of Amy Osaba Design tapped Andrea’s selected sources for an ethereal celebration. The barn’s sunlit, white wood served as a backdrop for delicate blushes and creams, deep blues, and grays. Ivy framed the doorways and topped light-gray table linens with romantic roses from The Southern Table, and Layered Bake Shop assembled a dessert spread of pink and white confections. “It was a dream,” Andrea says.
The defining element for Ben, though, was when he first saw Andrea. “I wish I could just rewind and repeat it over and over—everything slowed down for me in that moment,” he says.