Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Wilmington couple’s engagement at concert catches the eye of country superstar Luke Bryan — and then the Internet

Bryan Benoit proposed to Kelly Trujillo at a Luke Bryan concert in Raleigh on Sept. 1 and caught the attention of the country superstar. Courtesy photo.
Bryan Benoit proposed to Kelly Trujillo at a Luke Bryan concert in Raleigh on Sept. 1 and caught the attention of the country superstar.( Courtesy photo.)

When Wilmington resident Bryan Benoit decided to propose to his girlfriend, Kelly Trujillo, he never imagined it would turn into the viral Internet sensation that it became. But that’s exactly what happened when Benoit proposed to Trujillo on Sept. 1, while standing front row at a Luke Bryan concert in Raleigh.

“It was definitely above and beyond what I expected,” Benoit said.

For starters, Benoit wasn’t even sure until the day of the concert whether he was going to propose to Trujillo, whom he first met years ago when both were students at Hoggard High School.

“I bought the ring months ago, and she found out when she went snooping on my computer and saw a receipt for a ring,” Benoit said, adding that the receipt Trujillo spied was not for the same ring he proposed to her with. “She kept telling me that I wasn’t going to be able to surprise her, but I did. I didn’t decide I was going to propose at the concert until the morning of it.”

“I did know that he had bought the ring, but there were times in the past where I thought he would’ve proposed and he didn’t,” Trujillo, a Wilmington hairdresser, confirmed. “So I had no idea it would happen at the concert. It was a big surprise.”

Fans of Luke Bryan, like Trujillo, know that Bryan’s songs aren’t the best soundtrack for grand romantic gestures and popping the big question. That was both a blessing and a challenge for the couple: It kept Trujillo’s suspicions at bay, but it also made it difficult for Benoit to choose the right moment.

His dilemma was resolved when members of the group Little Big Town, who also performed that night, came back out during Bryan’s set to cover British singer Ed Sheeran’s hit ballad “Thinking Out Loud.”

“I was trying to figure out which song I should do it to, but as soon as they started playing that, I knew,” Benoit said, saying the final decision was spur of the moment. “I wasn’t really nervous the whole night, because I knew she would say ‘yes,’ but I got nervous when they started singing the song because I realized that was the perfect time.”

While the country crooners were singing, Benoit pulled a Taco Bell hot sauce packet — a reference to a conversation they previously had about having a taco bar at their wedding reception — out of his pocket. That packet has a simple statement written on it: “Marry Me?” Benoit held the packet up to her face and, while Trujillo began to process what was happening, Benoit pulled out the ring box.

As this was happening, people around the couple started to realize what was going on and caught the attention of the members of Little Big Town and Luke Bryan, and fans in the audience who were recording caught the next moments on video.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have an engagement alert,” the “Kick the Dust Up” singer announced as Benoit and Trujillo’s faces went up on the big screen on stage. “Congratulations! That’s awesome.”

Then came the chiding that made the video a sensation on the Internet.

“Hey – you might want to put the ring on, alright?” Bryan told the couple. “Don’t drop it!”

That was the moment that was reported on the Country Rebel Clothing Company blog, and which propelled the couple to online fame.

“I’ve gotten a lot of comments about that,” Benoit said. “But honestly, she snatched the box away from me so fast that I couldn’t get it back to put the ring on her.”

Trujillo said she was so caught up in the moment that it was hard to do anything.

“I couldn’t put it on my hand because I was so excited,” Trujillo said. “All I remember is Luke Bryan coming over and announcing it and telling me to put on my ring.”

Kelly Trujillo and Bryan Benoit, both of Wilmington, got engaged during a Luke Bryan concert on Sept. 1. Courtesy of Kelly Trujillo.
Kelly Trujillo and Bryan Benoit, both of Wilmington, got engaged during a Luke Bryan concert on Sept. 1. (Courtesy of Kelly Trujillo.)

Benoit said getting others involved was never part of the plan.

“I wanted to make it special, but I didn’t do any of this so we’d be called up on stage,” said Benoit, who said he laughed off his mother’s pre-concert instruction to make the proposal “newsworthy” as a joke. “I didn’t want it to be cliche, but it ended up being that way, but all in a good way.”

In another twist of irony, Trujillo had brought a cardboard sign to the concert that said, “I want to marry Mr. Bryan,” a reference to both the country singer and to Benoit, who is called “Mr. Bryan” by her two kids.

“It just all seemed to fall into place,” Benoit said.

“For it to have come out the way it did, I knew it was meant to be,” said Trujillo.

Now, the Wilmington couple is in wedding planning mode. Though no date has been set yet, two reminders of the concert will be a part of the wedding: the taco bar that led to the proposal with the hot sauce packet, and a bottle of champagne signed by Luke Bryan that was given to the couple following the concert.

“And if Luke Bryan and Little Big Town decide to record their version of ‘Thinking Out Loud’ before then, then we’ll have our first dance to that,” Trujillo joked before turning back to her love of her new fiancé. “I’m just on top of the world. I’m overjoyed with excitement and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him.”

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