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 In Culture, Guide

Three St. Louis couples share their engagement stoires.


Danielle Johnson, 19 & Darren Jackson, 22

How We Met
We were so different when we first met each other: I hated the Church, and she loved Jesus. I rapped and loved hip-hop, she played the guitar and sang worship. But then, something happened. I surrendered to Jesus and started building a relationship with God. I met Danielle again, and we started seeing that we weren’t so different after all. I thought she was hot, and she thought I was cute. I loved her voice, and she loved my rhymes. I knew God’s love, and she knew God’s power. Most importantly, I knew how to make lemonade, and she loved lemonade; I loved dancing, and she loved it when I danced. I started to like her (a lot), and she started to like me (a lot). God told me that she was the one, and He told her the same thing.

The Proposal
Darren proposed to me on Aug. 23, 2011 at the park where we had our first date. He was incredibly nervous! He made me sit down and watch a romantic video he had made about us on iMovie. At the end of the video, the words, “This is the part where you look at me,” ran across the screen. I looked at him, and he froze. Then he said, “This is the part where I am going to ask you to marry me!” It was amazing and so cute. I said “yes!” He got down on one knee, but when he went to put the ring on my finger, he freaked out because it didn’t fit. Turns out, it was the wrong hand! We went to our best friends’ house, and they had baked us a heart-shaped cake to celebrate.

The Big Day
August 2012 at Lafayette Square Park.


Elizabeth Smith, 28 & Timothy Linck, 29

How we met
Tim says the first time he laid eyes on me, he knew I was the one. It was at Companion Cafe in Clayton on a warm fall day. I was just joining the Companion family, and we were gathered for a management team meeting. I don’t really remember that day, but he has reminded me. We worked together for months and became friendly, but we were always more than just friends in Tim’s eyes. In October 2007, he asked if I’d be his date to a friend’s wedding. I didn’t know that it was the last first date I would ever go on.

The Proposal
We were in Ottertail, MN, which is a very special place to me. I have many fond memories of spending my summers on the lake there, and when my mother passed away, we planted a special tree overlooking the lake with her ashes at the roots. That Sunday was Tim’s 29th birthday, and it was a lovely, sunny afternoon. After I gave Tim his birthday present, he said he had something for me, too. As the two of us crossed the street, Tim held my hand, and we shared a quiet but intense moment. Then, he brought out the ring and told me that the best birthday present that I could give him would be to agree to marry him. He told me that I made him the happiest he had ever been, and he wanted to make a promise of forever. I was overcome with emotion and shed tears of joy as I said “yes.” My engagement ring started as Tim’s grandmother’s gold wedding band and was then inlaid with diamonds, my birthstone and a brilliant-cut center diamond.

The Big Day
October 20, 2012 at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church and reception at Hendri’s Banquets & Catering.


Tiffany KaltenBach,33 & David Unger, 32

How we met
Dave and I first met in high school, and I never thought in a million years that over a decade later we would be tying the knot. We were great friends who loved dancing at festivals and traveling all across the country to see our favorite band, The Allman Brothers. As we got a little older, our trips with friends were less frequent because everyone was getting married, having babies and embarking on adulthood. We would see each other randomly, but that was it. In March 2009, we met up to plan a much-needed trip to Chicago for a concert. After a night of planning and reminiscing, all of our friends left while Dave and I continued chatting. We were both single, and the spark was there—the rest is history. We spent that trip together in Chicago as a couple, dancing the night away.

The Proposal
I sensed that a proposal was coming, but each weekend I was left a little disappointed. I had repeatedly told him that I didn’t care how we got engaged and that I would be happy with a charm bracelet. One Saturday afternoon, he came home and presented me with a beaded bracelet that his 10-year-old niece, Mia, had made. I laughed and responded, “very funny.” Then, he dropped to one knee and pulled my grandmother’s 60-year-old emerald-cut engagement ring from his pocket. He told me that it would be the biggest mistake of his life if he didn’t make me his wife, and popped the question. It means the world to me to have my grandmother’s diamond, and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with the most caring, kind man on the planet. I haven’t taken the ring or my sweet charm bracelet off since!

The Big Day
June 9, 2012 in Dave’s parents’ backyard.



Danielle Johnson & Darren Jackson



Tiffany Kaltenbach & David Unger


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