Benjamin Richard Koller Lowell was hoping to impress Dr. William Douglas Winkelman on their second date, in October 2013. The couple had matched on a dating app about a month earlier, and Mr. Lowell, who grew up in San Francisco, wanted to show Dr. Winkelman, who had recently moved to the city, around the area.
He had planned to take Dr. Winkelman on a hike on Angel Island, in San Francisco Bay. But when Mr. Lowell picked Dr. Winkelman up to take him to the ferry that would bring them to the island, he had a moment of panic. Dr. Winkelman had shown up in boat shoes and a button-down shirt.
“I clearly did not communicate what this date was going to be correctly,” said Mr. Lowell, 33. “But he went for it.”
Embracing the unknown and taking risks would grow to become defining themes of their relationship. About a month later, at Dr. Winkelman’s suggestion, the couple went skydiving together.
“I was never particularly into skydiving, in fact it kind of freaked me out,” Mr. Lowell said. But Dr. Winkelman’s excitement was infectious. “I was willing to do it with him.”
Many of their early dates that followed involved Mr. Lowell and Dr. Winkelman exploring the city, which Dr. Winkelman appreciated as a newcomer.
“I had just moved to the Bay Area from Boston, so it was a nice way to explore and see the city, and do it with someone I had just met,” said Dr. Winkelman, 34, who is a New York native.
About a year and a half after they began dating, the couple moved in together in San Francisco. In July 2017, they relocated to Boston, where Dr. Winkelman works as a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and a gynecologist at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. Mr. Lowell is a candidate for a doctoral degree in education at Boston College.
“It kind of felt like another adventure that we were going on,” Mr. Lowell said about moving across the country. “I was excited.”
The couple had been talking about marriage, and Mr. Lowell planned to propose on March 3, 2020, during a trip to Lake Tahoe in California. He wanted to ask Dr. Winkelman to marry him at a viewpoint on a hike, but about halfway to the destination, he and Dr. Winkelman got caught in a snow drift.
“I was like, ‘we should probably turn around, this is not working’,” Dr. Winkelman recalled telling Mr. Lowell when he insisted that they try and make it through the snow. “I could not understand why he was so determined.”
They ended up hiking to a different viewpoint overlooking the lake, where Mr. Lowell proposed to a surprised Dr. Winkelman.
“I find Ben to be extremely giving of himself,” Dr. Winkelman said. “That says a lot about his character, the fact that he’s able to go out of his way, even when it’s really out of his way, and be quite giving.”
The couple were married on Oct. 22 at Mr. Lowell’s parents’ home in San Francisco, in front of about 20 vaccinated guests, which included the couple’s parents. Charisse Wu, a friend and former roommate of the couple who was appointed a deputy marriage commissioner for the day in San Francisco County, officiated.
“He is organized and together and on top of it, but also caring and thoughtful,” Mr. Lowell said about Dr. Winkelman. “I’m excited to keep on going on these adventures together, and to experience life together.”
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