Two newly engaged St. Louis couples share their love stories.
Ellie Chopin, 22 & Scott Sanazaro, 23
Occupations: I am a first-grade teacher at Marvin Elementary School in Ritenour School District, and Scott is a programmer analyst at Edward Jones.
The Proposal: Scott popped the question on March 3, 2014, on my front porch in Webster Groves. He had planned to propose four days later, but when I had a snow day that Monday, he felt the time was right. He loves having a schedule, so the most special thing about the engagement was that it was so spontaneous. I knew he just couldn’t wait to start our lives together.
First Sight: He was singing onstage in our high school choir freshman year. I had no clue who he was but thought he was pretty cute—and, hey, who doesn’t love a guy who can sing? We met at the beginning of sophomore year at the cafeteria table.
Together We Like To: Bake, walk through our neighborhood in Webster, play music together and spend time with friends and family.
Our Song: “Lover of the Light” by Mumford & Sons
Settling Down: Scott and I have dreamed about living in Webster Groves since we were 17. We just loved the charm and small-town feel of the area. In June 2012, I bought a foreclosure there that needed to be completely renovated—there wasn’t even a kitchen floor! With support from my dad and labor from our friends, we completed our renovation in September of the same year.
Our Unique Love: We really value serving others and God in our relationship. In high school, I helped start the Perales Water Project to provide access to bathrooms and drinking water for families in the poorest areas of Lima, Peru. Scott and I traveled there together to help get some of these bathrooms running and lead a summer camp for kids there. Once married, we hope to go on more mission trips together.
The Big Day: Nov. 22, 2014, at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel. Scott and I are both breakfast-loving morning people, so we’re having a morning wedding with a brunch reception.
Liz Valerio, 27 & Nate Marschalk, 28
Occupations: I am a Fisher Fellow for KIPP (a principal preparing to open a middle school), and Nate is a patent specialist and attorney at Juristat.
The Proposal: Nate popped the question at our home on Dec. 17 last year. He had the chef of Farmhaus [owner Kevin Willmann], where we had our first date, prepare us a special meal. Our dog, Mumford, was also there, and it was very intimate and emotional.
First Sight: We met at the Great Grizzly Bear sports bar. I was coming from a ceremony and wearing a black cocktail dress and looked really out of place. We’ve been together since May 18, 2012.
Together We Like To: Ride our bikes, try new St. Louis restaurants and walk Mumford.
Quirkiest Thing About Our Relationship: We have contrasting sleep schedules! Nate is a night owl and I am an early riser. We like to think it’s time for us to be independent.
Our Unique Love: Nate and I are both extremely committed to St. Louis. Nate became involved in the startup community, and I am opening a middle school that will serve more than 300 children on the north side of the city. A huge part of our relationship is spreading the word about what our city has to offer.
After the Wedding: We plan to be in St. Louis for a long time. We love our house in Shaw and hope to be there for many years!
The Big Day: Nov. 1, 2014, at City Museum.
Ellie Chopin, 22 & Scott Sanazaro, 23. Photos by Alison Duffy.