Two newly engaged St. Louis couples share their love stories
Jessica EerNisse, 27 & Tom Halfhill, 28
Occupations: I’m a licensed cosmetologist, cosmetology instructor and a learning leader at Paul Mitchell The School St. Louis, and Tom is a police officer for the city of St. Louis.
First Site: Tom and I met for the first time when I was still working weekends at the Jive and Wail on Washington Avenue while I was building in the salon. In walked a dreamy cop, and the first words he ever spoke to me were, “Is that a wig?” Four words that changed our lives! I honestly didn’t have any interest in him and believed him to be an arrogant cop. I was completely offended. Two days later, he dropped by while I was working to apologize, and was ever so charming.
First Date: A few weeks later, he brought coffee to the salon and waited while I finished my appointments. Our first date was later that evening, after we realized we had been talking in the alley for a few hours and I was getting hungry. We went to The Drunken Fish in the Central West End, and after an entire day of chatting I realized he wasn’t the pretty-boy jerk cop I thought him to be. We have been best friends ever since, and have been together for almost three years.
The Proposal: Tom and I were living with my dad when he proposed, because we were still in the process of rehabbing our loft. All I thought I was getting for Valentine’s Day was a kitchen floor! I went straight to my dad’s place after work to take care of our first goldendoodle puppy before she got spayed the next day, and I fell asleep with her—probably a sugar coma from all of the treats at work that day from my students. He woke me up, and the ring box was around my puppy’s collar. A simple “Will you marry me?” brought me to tears! I loved that he incorporated Nola, and that he had asked my daddy for permission first!
Our relationship in three words: Strength, adventure and heart.
Our Song: “Stitch by Stitch” by Javier Colon.
The Big Day: Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, with the ceremony in the Chouteau Room at Moulin and a brunch reception (our favorite meal) to follow in the Centennial Ballroom.
Stephanie Dunajcik, 30 & Bradley Fox, 30
Occupations: Brad is a professional wrestler, and I am a social worker for a mental health agency.
First Date: On our first date, we went to Sidney Street Café for dinner, then to Concrete Ocean Art Gallery and ended the night watching a friend’s band at Felix’s.
Perfect Date Night: A picnic at Art Hill, dinner and drinks at Boogaloo and a Cardinals game to end the night.
The Proposal: Brad asked me to marry him on March 23, 2013. We had planned a going away party for him because he was scheduled to go on tour in Japan for three months, and before the party, he asked me out to lunch. Afterward, we went to sit at a little gazebo on St. Charles’ Main Street, which was the spot where we decided to be exclusive years ago. Unfortunately for Brad, his plan hit a few hiccups. The gazebo was being used for a wedding, and as Brad was contemplating his next move, a stranger struck up an odd conversation with us that seemed to have no ending. After about 15 minutes of awkward conversation, Brad excused us and we went for a walk on Main Street. He popped the question, I cried “yes” and we continued our walk, laughing at how original it was. I like to call it an imperfectly perfect moment!
Believe it or not: We spent the first three months of our engagement living multiple time zones apart. Tokyo to St. Louis was a 14-hour time difference! I would be going to bed and he would be getting ready for his day. And because of his hectic touring schedule, we would only be able to talk for 30 minutes most days.
The Big Day: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at The Conservatory St. Charles, followed by a reception at St. Charles Ameristar Casino Home Nightclub.
Photo by Jess Dewes Photography