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When it comes to these incredibly romantic tales recounting how these couples met, truth is sweeter is fiction.
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When Susan Hable went to New York City in December 1999, she had a lot to do. So when her friend told her one morning that there was a man she wanted her to meet, Susan wasn’t interested. But when she saw the man, Susan suddenly wished she had at least combed her hair. “He was a vision of cleanliness and perfection, and I was like Pig Pen,” she says. But to Peter Smith, a partner in a New York law firm, she was anything but that. “I looked at her,” he says. “I can’t overstate it. I understood what people mean by love at first sight.” They had three dates that week. By March, three months after meeting, they were engaged.
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Outwardly, they had their differences. He was a single father in Los Angeles; she was a New Yorker with a glamorous, globe-trotting job as a fashion stylist. They met in August 2012, during a marathon dinner date orchestrated by a mutual friend while JoJo was in L.A. for work. “I was dumbstruck,” says Eric, the president of a real estate development and investment firm, of their connection. “She’s beautiful, but there’s also a warmth to her that was intoxicating.”
They talked for hours, and after Eric showed JoJo photos of his kids, who’d lost their mother to cancer the previous year, “I felt like they—and Eric—were mine already,” JoJo says. “Everything was so natural.”
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After sharing a summer romance in 1989, Christopher Halliburton and Jocelyn Cooper broke up. They each married other people, and Christopher had two sons. Eventually, they both divorced. All the while, neither had forgotten their love, and 11 years later, they met again. This time, Christopher wouldn’t let her get away. “I was being given a gift, and I knew that if I let Jocelyn go again, it would be the greatest loss of my life,” he says. Two years later, they married.
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Tiler was 11, Robbie, 13, when the two first met in 2001 at a jazz dance class in NYC. Over the next 11 years, they experienced the drama of a youthful relationship’s leaps, twists, and turns: dating, breaking up, reuniting, and splitting again before they got together for good in 2011.
A year and a half later, when the pair were both principal dancers for the New York City Ballet, Robbie orchestrated an elaborate proposal, luring Tiler to Paris by telling her they were needed there for press photos. Before the “shoot,” he asked her to climb the steps up to the Sacré-Coeur church to check out the view. “I was complaining because it was raining,” she recalls. “Then he got on his knee, and I knew. We were both so happy to be marrying our best friend.”
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Back in 2004, Michael Krans and Matt Rice met during a business meeting (Matt was a media planner and Michael was a sales rep). Michael’s clients weren’t the right fit for Matt’s, but he always took Michael’s calls because he thought he was strikingly handsome. Michael was also smitten, and kept pitching ideas.
After three years, the two lost touch when Michael changed jobs, but fate intervened in 2009. The pair ended up working at Details magazine, in adjacent offices. While it was years before their romance started, once it did, it took no time for the pair to commit. They soon made the relationship official before 118 well-wishers at Haven’s Kitchen, a circa-1870 carriage house in Manhattan.
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Kelly Marie, who owns a flower shop called Fleur in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, met Dave when he was bartending at a restaurant next door and bought her a glass of wine. Seasons passed and she never quite forgot him. Though a friendship blossomed, it wasn’t until they bumped into each other at a bar that he invited her to go see a movie together. Four and a half years later, the pair tied the knot, not far from the Windy City, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
As for that fateful night the singletons met? Well, the neighboring restaurant remodeled their bar a few years into their relationship, so Kelly Marie snatched up the actual bar at which they first met, and it’s now quite the conversation piece inside her flower shop.
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In fourth grade, most boys are more interested in teasing girls than being friends with them. But even at age 9, Truman Cho knew there was something he liked about Minhee Park, his classmate at Laguna Road Elementary School in Fullerton, California. The two stayed friends throughout high school and college but it was not until 1997 (14 years after they first met!) that Truman asked Minhee out on a date.
When the pair tied the knot, in front of many of the same friends that they had shared since elementary school, they put out a blackboard as a backdrop for photos. Not surprisingly, the bridesmaids posed in front of a message on it reading, “Finally!”
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Cyndi Thomson was scheduled to spend nine hours shooting an interview for a television program about her fast-rising country-music career. She answered the reporter’s questions while Daniel Goodman, the show’s production manager, sat quietly nearby. Cyndi noticed his good looks and gentle demeanor.
As the crew packed up at day’s end, Cyndi asked someone to invite Daniel along to dinner. “I didn’t know anything about him, but leaving without him just seemed impossible,” she says. On that September night, the two broke away from the group and talked for hours. Both left knowing they had met the person they were going to marry.
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Who says technology’s not romantic? Not Melissa Paulo, a social media manager, or Matt Cruzada, a global apparel merchant and one of her closest friends since freshman year at the University of California at Berkeley. Despite circumstance and distance—Matt was in a relationship in college; Melissa moved to Japan after graduation in 2005—the two stayed in touch with the help of modern media, bonding over Facebook catchups and e-mail.
It wasn’t until Melissa returned to her native Los Angeles, in 2007, during the pair’s occasional long conversations over ramen, that she decided the timing was finally right for them to become more than buddies. After a weekend visit from Matt, who lived in San Francisco, she shared her thoughts, unplugged: She sent him a snail-mail letter. Turns out he felt the same way. Some 200 flights along the California coast and four years later, Matt proposed to Melissa with an elaborate, YouTube-worthy adventure through San Francisco’s Ferry Building, as loved ones escorted her to where he waited on bended knee.
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Markus, who now works as a senior sales account executive for Levi’s, and Alison, a wedding planner, met in 1996 when they were 19. He’s from Switzerland and was on holiday in San Diego before enlisting in the Swiss army; she was on break from college. They had a great summer romance, kept in touch, and even rekindled the flame when he returned to California a few years later. At that point, the pair dated and, when he had to return to Switzerland, visited back and forth.
Eventually Alison and Markus realized long-distance wasn’t working and broke up, not talking for 10 years. Then, in 2012, he took a trip to San Francisco, where Alison now lives, and he asked her to dinner. Sparks flew once again—and six months later he proposed on a beach near the bride’s hometown in Connecticut.
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It might have been a mutual friend who brought Joanna Prince and Kyle Mosteller together at a Cinco de Mayo party in 2012, but the credit for making the relationship stick falls squarely on the small shoulders of someone else: Joanna’s son. The stay-at-home mom had been smitten with Kyle from the start, but she was apprehensive about introducing a new beau to her three young boys. That is, until the foursome ran into Kyle at a Starbucks near their home in Arlington, Virginia.
After half an hour, Joanna’s oldest asked Kyle, who owns a construction firm, if he’d want to hang out—just the guys. “They really thought of him as their friend first,” says Joanna, laughing. “It wasn’t until later that they realized, ‘Hey, you like my mom, don’t you?’”
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They met in 2001 in the Cayman Islands, where Caitlin Leiweke, then 18, was vacationing, and Loren Nowland, a 22-year-old, was waiting tables. They had an instant connection and promised to keep in touch. She went off to college in San Francisco; Loren moved to New Zealand and played hockey for the national team.
In 2009, Caitlin reached out to Loren via Facebook. “We e-mailed, and three months later, I found myself on a plane to New Zealand to see him for the first time in eight years,” Caitlin says. She saw him and never looked back. They soon relocated to Australia, where they bought and renovated a surf bar. After a proposal in Hawaii, the two returned to the Pacific island state to say “I do.”
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Jamie Lau, a designer-sewing instructor-fashion editor-author, met her web developer beau Kyle Johnson while dining out on Southern soul food. He was sitting at an adjacent table playing name that tune, but when he mistakenly guessed the post-punk band The Raincoats, she couldn’t help but correct him by saying it was The Slits. Playful banter ensued, and about 16 months later, on August 11, 2012, they tied the knot in a wedding they describe as “the ultimate art project.” Together, they picked the playlist for their reception and a menu that honored their first encounter.