Another Duggar daughter is getting married on "19 Kids and Counting." After almost a year of courting, Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald celebrated their engagement on Tuesday night's episode of the hit TLC reality-TV series. The episode's debut comes just days after the couple actually wed in Bentonville, Arkansas.
The Season 8 episode, titled “Jessa’s Engagement,” started out with Ben, 19, asking Jessa’s dad, Jim Bob Duggar, for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Jim Bob, who said Jessa, 21, had been expecting a proposal for a while, gave the political science major his and his wife Michelle’s blessing. With his belle’s parents on board, Ben sought the help of three of Jessa’s sisters, Jana, 24; Jinger, 20; and Joy, 17; to help him plan the big day. With Jinger serving as their chaperone, Ben said he wanted to use a scavenger hunt to pop the question. Wanting to involve all 19 Duggar kids in the engagement, he even reached out to Jessa’s oldest brother, Josh, 26, in Washington, D.C.
“I really wanted to try to get all of Jessa’s family involved in the proposal. It’s going to make it really special in the long run,” Ben said.
The night before the big proposal, Ben took Jessa on a dinner to Market Place, the location of their first date eleven months prior. Upon arriving for their night out, they were greeted by Jim Bob, Michelle, and Ben’s parents, Michael and Guinn Seewald. “Something must be up. I don’t think this is just an ordinary date,” Jessa said.
Shockingly, the couple broke the Duggar’s courtship rule by holding hands while saying a prayer at the restaurant. Despite their slip-up, the duo, who up until their engagement had only engaged in side hugs, shrugged off their mistake and promised to save their first kiss for their wedding day. Before the night ended, Ben handed Jessa a gift and told her to wait until the following morning to open it.
“This is the first clue for the rest of your life,” he said.
The next morning, Jessa opened her gift and found a tablet which included a pre-recorded video from Ben. She was told to meet her brother John David, 24, at his airport hangar to find her first clue. With Jinger by her side, Jessa flew to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in order to begin her scavenger hunt. Throughout the day, Ben had planned several different activities, ranging from a trolley ride to a mini-golf course, for Jessa to partake in, all odes to their past dates.
“It was all about the high points of things that had happened that were memorable for their relationship and then bringing then all about in one day,” Michelle said. “It definitely personifies Ben’s sweet, romantic, personality."
While Jessa was busy finding her clues, Ben was back at the Duggars' home in Tonitown, Arkansas, getting ready for the proposal. His parents, and his several siblings, were also in attendance. Ahead of Jessa’s arrival to her final location, Thorncrown Chapel, the two families helped decorate the glass locale with candles and rose petals. Jill Duggar, 23, was unable to attend the engagement event due to her recent nuptials to Derick Dillard, which were featured in last week’s episode.
After changing into a dress at the request of her sister Jana, Jessa arrived at the chapel to find Ben waiting for her. “Walking in there, I was totally speechless. I felt like I was in a dream,” she said.
“I trust you’ve had a wonderful journey today, but I trust by the grace of God that another journey is about to begin,” Ben said, before bending down onto one knee and popping the question.
Jessa immediately accepted the proposal and promptly broke down into tears. After securing her ring, which she said was beautiful, the couple once again violated the Duggars' premarital rule by engaging in a full-frontal hug. “I’m thrilled at the thought of spending the rest of my life with Ben Seewald,” Jessa said.
Despite the couple’s second mishap, Jim Bob and Michelle said they were thrilled to learn that another one of their children was headed down the aisle. “We couldn’t be happier for Ben and Jessa. I’m so excited for them and them going on to their next phase of life,” Jim Bob said.
“Here we go again,” Michelle said. “We are gearing up for another Duggar wedding!”
“19 Kids and Counting” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on TLC.