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Three St. Louis couples share their engagement stories.

 

Emily Harres, 24 & Justin Palmier, 27
How We Met

Justin and I knew each other in high school, but reconnected on a night out with friends in the spring of 2006. We started dating soon after and were inseparable by summer's end. In the fall, Justin moved to Carbondale, Ill. to finish his degree at Southern Illinois University. Even though we knew a long-distance relationship would be tough, we were determined to make it work. For two years, we grew closer through weekend visits, phone calls and lots of patience. Now, after five years together, we couldn't be more thrilled to announce our wedding this fall!

The Proposal
Last Memorial Day weekend, Justin and I traveled to Ft. Myers Beach, Fla. for a weekend getaway. Little did I know he was secretly carrying a sparkling ring in his pocket for the majority of the trip, waiting for the perfect moment! On the last night, Justin suggested we head to the beach to watch the sunset. He led me to a secluded cove surrounded by driftwood, which he had obviously scouted earlier that day. As we watched the sunset, he started talking about our relationship and how much I meant to him. He then pulled out a beautiful cushioncut ring and asked me to marry him! I was so completely caught off guard that it took me a moment to reply, “Yes!”

The Big Day
October 7, 2011 at The Music Stand at Tower Grove Park and The Falls in Columbia, Ill.

Liza Kohn, 27 & Todd Chollet, 28
How We Met

Todd and I first met at my '80s Prom Birthday Bash in 2006, but it wasn't until February of the next year when I was out with my friend and her boyfriend that I reconnected with Todd, and our romance began. Upon introducing him to my grandmother, she knew immediately that Todd was related to Jim and Joyce Chollet—his grandparents. It turned out that our grandmothers had attended Maryville University together years ago and remained acquaintances! Over the next few years, we realized our paths had crossed many other times, but it had taken us years to meet.

The Proposal
Todd proposed to me on May 14, 2010 after three years of dating. We had just returned from a run, and I was late to meet friends for dinner, so I took a shower and started looking for something to wear. Todd kept asking me to come into the other room, but I refused because I was so late. I can only imagine how I looked with wet hair and mascara running down my face, but he was so insistent that I finally relented. I walked into our dining room where roses, champagne, cheese and fruit were spread across the table. While I was touched, I thought it was a belated birthday or graduation gift. I thanked him but didn't understand there was more until he got down on one knee. I cried, screamed “yes” and kissed him. When I realized I had not heard a word he had said, I asked, “Wait. You just proposed, right?” What's even more special is that Todd had waited to get my great-grandmother's antique ring, purchased in France during World War I, from my father, so he had stalled the proposal for the entire day!

The Big Day
July 23, 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples, FL. Local celebration on Aug. 13, 2011 at the Saint Louis Zoo.

Kinosha Wilkes, 33 & Cylburn Soden, Jr., 33
How We Met

After ending a five-year marriage, the last thing on my mind was love, but sometimes God has other plans. It all started in 2004 when my cousin and I attended a fashion fundraiser at the WS Hotel & Spa. A friend was an organizer, so we were able to go backstage, and she introduced me to Cyl. As cliché as it sounds, time truly stopped for me; the rest of the night was a blur. By the end, we exchanged phone numbers, and as I was getting into my car, I heard, “Good night, Kinosha.” I looked up to see Cyl in the doorway. I was hooked. Later, my friend revealed that the meeting was planned!

The Proposal
Cyl was visiting from North Carolina, where he was completing his military service. He suggested going to the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel, and I was up for it. After hours of massages, he wanted to surprise me with dinner. He blindfolded me and drove around for 40 minutes trying to confuse me. Once at our destination, he led me down some steps, took off the blindfold, and I saw we were back at our first meeting place! He handed me five roses, one for each year of our relationship, then got down on one knee and presented me with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen! I called my parents and found out that my dad had already given his blessing. I felt like the most special woman on Earth.

The Big Day
September 3, 2011 at Washington University's Graham Memorial Chapel and Lumen Private Event Space.

 

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Emily Harres, 24 & Justin Palmier, 27

Emily Harres, 24 & Justin Palmier, 27

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Liza Kohn, 27 & Todd Chollet, 28

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Kinosha Wilkes, 33 & Cylburn Soden, Jr., 33

Kinosha Wilkes, 33 & Cylburn Soden, Jr., 33

 

Photo credit: Photos courtesy of the couples

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