Two newly engaged St. Louis couples share their love stories.
Abby Woody, 27 & Matt Foster, 30
Occupations: I am a corporate buyer at Baisch and Skinner, and Matt is a lead barista at Kayak’s Coffee. First Date: Matt and I went to a wine bar, sat on soft cushions on the floor and spent the evening talking about our pasts and where we imagined our futures would take us.
The Proposal: I actually proposed to Matt. We were driving in the car, and I popped the question with tears pouring down my face. The ring had come loose and wasn’t facing out perfectly when I opened the box, and I didn’t say the speech I had rehearsed. But Matt said “yes,” we held each other and then went to 7-Eleven for Slurpees. It wasn’t the proposal I’d prepared, but in the end, it was really kind of perfect.
Our Unique Love: Although we met while living and working overseas, we love our adopted hometown of St. Louis, where we plan to tie the knot. We’re excited to showcase the city we love to our families, who will both be traveling from out of state to attend our big day. But what makes this day even more special is that we planned our wedding despite Matt’s stage-four kidney failure. Matt recently received a kidney transplant, and his donor was my mom! It all came together very suddenly but it is an awesome thing to happen right before our wedding. Matt has never viewed his kidney disease as a reason to slow down or not chase his dreams, so even though he has a long road ahead, it doesn’t define his life or ours together.
Together We Like To: We love to spend time outside with our puppy, Brida, shop at the Galleria, try new restaurants or just spend an evening in with some popcorn and Netflix.
Ideal St. Louis Date Night: We’d start off with pre-dinner coffee at Blueprint in The Loop, move on to Korean barbecue at Seoul Garden in St. Ann, and then finish with skee ball and pinball at Orbit in Maplewood.
Quirkiest Thing About Our Relationship: Matt and I are huge “Downton Abbey” fans. We each have our favorite characters and get completely wrapped up in the storylines.
Our Song: “Tongue Tied” by Grouplove.
The Big Day: June 15, 2014, at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park.
Chelsey Brooks, 26 & Alex Kamenetskiy, 28
Occupations: I’m an account executive at FleishmanHillard, and Alex is a financial analyst at Monsanto.
How We Met: We started talking through an online dating site, but it wasn’t until a chance encounter at the Clayton Walgreens that I made the first move. I texted Alex, trying to play off that we were in the same place, and months later, Alex admitted he knew exactly who the girl stocking up on candy was that night at Walgreens.
First Date: We went to The Side Bar on Washington Avenue, and it wasn’t love at first date. Alex thought I was a little loud and obnoxious, and I thought he was too quiet and a little boring. We both left unsure about each other, but both of our moms insisted we go out on a second date.
The Proposal: Alex took me to The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, for our anniversary. After a delicious dinner, I left for a quick restroom break and returned to a cleared table and Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” playing. I smiled and said, “It’s my song,” and Alex said, “I know.” The couple next to us turned out to be a hired videographer and photographer, and as Alex dropped to one knee and I started crying, they captured our proposal. My parents joined us afterward for Champagne and dessert.
Ideal St. Louis Date Night: A delicious dinner at one of the many great spots around the city, followed by dancing and listening to live music.
Our Relationship in Three Words: Silly, warm and timeless.
The Big Day: Oct. 25, 2014, at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.
Photo by Steve Seebeck