Mary Jo Bowling
Technically, Sergio Villarreal wasn’t actually crashing—it was a holiday party for the tenants of a San Francisco office building where the start-up he worked for had just opened shop. But Michelle Gonzalez, who was the property manager at the time, says he might as well have been an uninvited guest. “In the older and conservatively dressed crowd, he and his coworkers stood out like sore thumbs,” she says. “They seemed like party crashers!” Because she was the only other person in the crowd in their peer group, Sergio and his coworkers came over to chat with her. Cards were exchanged, lunch dates were made, and five years later, Sergio and Michelle were getting married.
When Tiffany Maleshefski and Dan Apczynski met she was working at Strings magazine and he was an editor at Acoustic Guitar, a sister publication. It would take some time before their relationship hit the right note. “He pursued me for a couple of years, but he was really, really shy and I thought he was too young for me,” she says of Dan, who is four years her junior. But after a couple of dates, Tiffany realized that their personalities were perfectly harmonious.
It’s not that Mark Kriozere and Kate Keller didn’t care about their wedding, they just didn’t sweat the details most couples fuss over. “Decisions about silverware, linens, clothes, and things like that just aren’t important to us,” says Kriozere. “What we were concerned about is bringing our family together.”
When Devon Thorson and Anna Higley of Portland decided to get married in San Francisco, they didn’t want it to be like other weddings—they wanted it to be really and truly fun. “We thought it should be a massive party,” says Anna. “You know how you go to weddings and you are ‘supposed’ to have fun? It just feels so forced, and that’s just not us.” The couple invited 25 of their closest friends to a four-day destination wedding in San Francisco. “We love the city,” says Anna. “It’s like Portland, but better.”
When Jenn Jacobs and Bill Phillips met in August of 2009, they quickly realized they shared the same sense of humor and became pals. Several years passed before their relationship morphed into something else, but once their “more than friends” status was established, it took Bill just 12 months to propose.
“We had decided that we were going to exchange gifts for our one-year anniversary,” says Jenn. “I thought I was getting a David Yurman bracelet, but when I opened up the box, I found a rock he’d put in there to give it weight so I wouldn’t catch on. When I looked up, he was down on one knee,” she says. “I was totally surprised! All I got him was a tie.”
After John W. Stewart and Ramon Torres finished decorating their Christmas tree in 2009, Ramon left the room. John called after him: “There’s one more decoration I want us to put on together.” When Ramon returned, John got down on one knee, handed him a Cartier ring box and said: “Will you marry me?”
When Bryce McGovern proposed to Jennifer Roemer, he opted for the darkly dramatic. The couple was carving Halloween pumpkins in 2009 when he pulled a faux bloody finger stump sporting a diamond engagement ring out of a jack-o’-lantern. At first, all Jennifer saw was the plastic digit. “I said: ‘that is so stupid. It doesn’t look real,’” she said. “And then I saw that he was shaking and he got down on one knee.” When she took another look, she got his meaning, and didn’t think it was stupid at all.
Schuyler Sokolow couldn’t decide if she wanted to go to a Christmas party. It was late, she was tired, and she was getting ready to leave San Francisco for New York City in a matter of weeks. Trying to psych herself up for the ordeal, Schuyler told her friend: “Come on, let’s go! We’ll meet our husbands there.” It turned out she was half right.
The women walked into the party, and a man made a beeline for them. “Hey, my name is Hal,” he said. When he went to get them drinks, Schuyler whispered to her friend: “He’s adorable.” Schuyler didn’t know it then, but she’d just met the man who was about to change her travel plans.
She laughs a lot, he smiles occasionally; she is a fun-loving social butterfly, he’s a homebody; she sips wine, he drinks beer; but, despite their differences, they came together down the aisle last weekend. She (Jennifer Patterson) married him (David Duffield) overlooking the stunning Placerville landscape at the Lava Cap Winery.
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