Two newly engaged St. Louis couples share their love stories.
Kristin Dinga, 29 & Dan Normansell, 29
Occupations: I am a special-education teacher and varsity cheerleading coach at Belleville East High School and a former Rams cheerleader. Dan is an emergency medicine chief resident at St. Louis University Hospital.
The Proposal: My fiance? proposed in downtown Lebanon, IL, right outside of my favorite pizza place, where we had lunch on Nov. 23, 2013. He was supposed to wait until we went to a winery that evening, but according to him, he was too nervous and excited. Looking back on it, he was acting so weird that morning—very jumpy and happy—but I attributed that to too much coffee.
How We Met: I first met my fiance? in eighth grade at a Catholic retreat for confirmation, where we were put in the same group. He remembers that I had on a striped sweater and brought a new package of smelly markers that I used on our group’s poster project. It must have been my multi-colored braces and glasses that really intrigued him. We became pretty good friends in high school, but didn’t start dating until about 10 years later.
Together We Like To: Time is precious to us, as his job is quite demanding, and our schedules get crazy between his odd hours and me being a teacher and varsity coach. We love spending time outdoors—boating, riding the bike trails in the area—or going out to dinner and a movie.
Ideal St. Louis Date Night: It really depends on our moods. I am in love with Baileys’ Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Square, and that’s such a great place to get a drink. It is also the location of my upcoming bridal shower. The atmosphere is super-romantic. Soulard is awesome, especially when the weather is nice. We love sitting out on a patio—McGurk’s and Chavas being personal favorites—just soaking up the sun while enjoying good food and drink.
Our Relationship in Three Words: Normal, loving, sweet.
Our Big Day: Oct. 11, 2014, at St. Clare Church in O’Fallon, IL.
Jason Green, 36 & Mai Tran, 31
Occupations: I am the director of solutions marketing at Salesforce.com, and Jason is the director of marketing procurement at Energizer.
The Proposal: Jason proposed on Aug. 26, 2013, in Rome at the Fontana de Trevi in the pouring rain with hundreds of tourists around the perimeter, protecting themselves from the rain under the awnings. Jason disregarded the entire situation and pulled me to the front of the fountain to pop the big question.
First Sight: I was excited to find out that my Match.com date was real and good-looking in person. We’ve been a couple from the moment we met in January 2013.
First Date: We had a four-hour conversation over bottled water. That’s right, water. It was beautiful and sobering.
Together We Like To: Consume calories.
Ideal St. Louis Date Night: Hitting up the San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals baseball game and ending with a delicious dinner at Niche—the chef’s menu, of course!
Our Unique Love: We’re STL transplants who are loving our new home and want to bring the excitement to those who don’t know what The Lou has to offer!
Our Big Day: Oct. 24, 2014, at Katikies Hotel in Santorini, Greece.
Photo by Jen Henneberry with Catchlight Park Photography.