Decide who really matters
Courtesy-Ben-BryantBen Bryant, 81, lives on the Upper West Side with his wife of almost 50 years, Elizabeth, who's just a few years younger. They met in August 1967 when Ben was the lead in the musical Carousel and Elizabeth (known as Betsey back then) was in a supporting role. During a rehearsal, Ben spotted Betsey. "It was as though there was a pin spotlight on her and all the others in the room faded from view." He asked her to lunch. With some reluctance, she accepted they went to the snack bar across from the theater. Ben calls it a "profound inner knowing." He said, "I knew she was the one." Later that day, on Ben's way to the laundromat, he asked Betsey to join him. Under the glamorous fluorescent lighting, they had their first date. Ben says their relationship felt natural from then on...three months later they married. Check out these adorable true love stories from couples who knew exactly when they'd found "the one."
Shape life around summer camp
Courtesy-Anne-WallaceIn 1967 when she was 17, Fran Wallace got a summer job as a kitchen girl at the all-boys Camp Tosebo near her family's summer cottage near Lake Michigan. It was Pancake Day in the dining hall and Fran, along with the other kitchen girls, got the syrup ready for the meal, but it spilled and ants were everywhere. That's when former camper turned counselor Dave Walle stepped in to help. The two quickly realized they were both from Chicago where they went to rival high schools. Fran found Dave to be gentle in the way he showed her around and explained camp rules. Dave liked how Fran laughed at his jokes. As the summer progressed, their interest in one another grew. Halfway into the eight-week summer program, some counselors had to travel back to Chicago to pick up the next round of campers. Dave didn't want to go. He wanted to be with Fran for an upcoming beach party. He said, "Once you started venturing into relationships you don't particularly want them to stop. I did everything I could to stay." Dave managed to stick around that weekend and he married Fran five years later. Ten years later, the camp closed. The Wallace's still visited the family cottage on weekends and in the summer. Over the years, they maintained close bonds with former camp friends. On one visit they discovered the sale of the camp fell through and it was looking for new owners. Dave dreamed of owning Camp Tosebo but the timing wasn't exactly right, financially speaking. Their daughter was starting college and their son was getting married, but the newfound empty nesters had been praying for a fresh community and active lifestyle and realized this could be it. Thanks to a conservation easement (an agreement not to develop the property), the Wallaces, along with three other couples, now own Camp Toesbo and rent it out to other families. In 2012, they moved to the camp for good where they volunteer regularly, gather as a community and enjoy evenings on the front porch. Now grandparents, Dave 68, and Fran, 67, recently purchased a Camp Tosebo onesie for the latest addition to their family.
Riding the train? Always say hello
Courtesy-Danielle-BeckerDanielle Becker spotted an acquaintance standing with a group of friends while waiting for her train to the Hamptons. She approached the group to say hello and found they were Hamptons-bound as well. The acquaintance introduced her to Noah Stern. When Danielle found out he worked for sales at Adobe, a company whose program she uses regularly, she peppered him with questions, like, "Why was this shortcut changed?" "Do you love the rubber stamp?" Since Noah sells software and doesn't actually use it, he really had no clue what Danielle was talking about, but they laughed and he shared his beer with her. Later Noah asked their mutual friend for Danielle's number. Danielle recalls, "As rare as it is these days, Noah asked me out on our first date like a true gentleman: he called." On their first date, they went out for margaritas and talked all night. Afterward, Noah saved Danielle's name in his phone as "GF." Three years later they're husband and wife. (Looking to chat anyone up, here are some go-to conversation starters).
Young, broke, and in love
Courtesy-Keani-AabelKeani and Nicholas noticed each other at a party but they didn't say hello. Nicholas told a friend, "That girl in the blue shirt is absolutely beautiful, I need to know her." A year later, a mutual friend introduced them when Keani was 18 and Nicholas was 24. They talked about soccer (their favorite sport), travels, college, and the fact they went to the same high school but never met before. They both loved the same kind of music: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, and Oasis. Keani liked Nicholas' sense of adventure, his beard, and the fact that she felt comfortable around him as if they were old friends. Nicholas liked Keani's spontaneity and sense of adventure, which makes sense since she's a travel blogger. Their summer was full of fun moments: jumping off a local pier in their Florida hometown and drinking wine on the kitchen floor. Keani says, "One night he took me up to his rooftop, laid out a blanket, and we watched the stars for hours. The world was quiet, the stars were bright. It was the moment I knew I was falling in love with him." Check out these 14 summer date ideas that are completely free.
Pull an all-nighter on the beach
Courtesy-Frank-ColemanThe summer Toni turned 34, she joined her friend's beach share house in Bethany Beach, Delaware. By the time she arrived on July 4th weekend, everyone was at the beach already, everyone, that is, except for Frank Coleman, who she met as soon as she arrived. They were friendly with each other, but sparks weren't exactly flying between them. Later that weekend, their group of friends were at a bar when a fight broke out. Not exactly a bar person to begin with, Toni wanted to leave. Frank noticed and suggested they take a walk on the boardwalk. Over the weekend, they spent a few all-nighters together on the beach, talking and laughing about everything: how she was Catholic and he was Jewish but how they were still similar and both originally from New York. That weekend Frank asked her on a boat ride. Later she introduced him to scuba diving. To avoid Sunday beach traffic, Toni gave Frank a ride back to their hometown of Washington, D.C. early Monday morning. By then, Toni was very interested in Frank. That night, he called and they went out the next day. A year later, they were engaged and they have been married for almost 30 years. She says, "People should not dismiss someone too soon. They could be passing on the potential love of their life." Find out the signs you should accept a second date.
Take your Midwestern lover to the big city
Courtesy-Local-Color-XCA few months after Carson Vaughan, a freelance writer, started dating his girlfriend, Melissa Dohmen, a public relations professional, they both moved from their Nebraska hometown to New York City for summer internships. Vaughan was interning at Variety magazine and living in Brooklyn with his brother in an apartment where they couldn't afford to run the A/C during the heat wave the summer of 2008. Meanwhile, Dohmen was interning at an ad agency and living on the Upper West Side. Every day, they'd go to work and every night they would explore the city together, going to movie premieres and after parties, thanks to Carson's gig at Variety. On weekends, they would picnic in Prospect Park or drink on Carson's brother's rooftop. Carson says, "It was in New York that I first told Mel I loved her." Toward the end of the summer, they scored free tickets to an after party that went all night with drinks and dancing. He said, "It dawned on me that I'd never had more fun with a girl in my life." The two have been together for nine years and are engaged to be married this fall. Find out the surprising secrets of happily married couples.
Disneyland emergency? Not a problem
Courtesy-Sarah-BrownOn a day trip to Disneyland, Sarah Brown noticed she had a red, puffy rash on her ankles. It was starting to itch so she found herself at the medical center where they gave her ointment and sent her home. As the day went on, the rash spread to her legs. Her ankle swelled and she was in pain. She says, "I could barely hobble to our parked car and we were Googling for the closest hospital." Her friend from college, David, held and comforted her the whole time. They went to three hospitals and all were closed. At the fourth, they sat in the waiting room for three hours before being seen. Two hours later, Sarah finally had her diagnosis: poison oak. It was 3 a.m. when Sarah and David began their search for a pharmacy. Nothing was open, so David drove two hours back home to San Diego with Sarah to go to bed and wake up early to get her prescription. Sarah says, "He never left me alone and he never once complained. It was the kind of feeling I had hoped to have with my partner in life." While they previously went on a few dates prior to the tip, Sarah later discovered that David was harboring a six-month-long crush on her but it was the way he cared for on the trip that won her heart.
Sneak out and watch the sunrise
Courtesy-Othello-Banaci-Photography-for-Joanna-& -Alex-ChoiAt church camp, Joanna Choi, then 13, noticed a sullen looking boy named Alex. Joanna was gung-ho to be in nature and experience camp fully. On the last night, Alex, also 13, asked Joanna if she wanted to sneak out and stay up to see the sunrise. Joanna, a self-proclaimed goody two shoes wasn't sure if she should accept. "I'd never done anything even remotely 'bad' before!" Johanna says. Alex told her, "I'm going to be watching the sunrise anyway, so if you show up that's cool, and if you don't that's cool too." This sealed the deal. At 9 p.m. they made their way to a hill in the woods and talked for hours about high school, his dog, and all the other teenage topics of importance. Just as it was getting light out, Joanna fell asleep outside. Alex took his jacket off and covered her with it. They stayed in touch off and on over the years. Alex drove 200 miles every other week to visit Joanna in college when they were a couple. They broke up after graduation only to get back together seven years later. The two are married now but their union was 17 years in the making. Joanna says, "I'm honestly really glad that it took as long as it did. It gave us a chance to grow up and figure out what's important to us. I was always the 'girl that got away' for him, and I always considered him my first love."
Follow the trail to marriage
Courtesy-Elizabeth-Tsung-Photo/ etsung.comIn 2011, Carol Kuruvilla and Renoj Zachariah were two recent college graduates grappling with what many 20-somethings grapple with: finding their purpose, their faith, their people, their place in the world. Renoj was working in the engineering field and had his sights set on law school. The two had known one another for ten years as acquaintances growing up in the same community in Hudson Valley in New York. One night they were up late messaging one another on Facebook. Renoj invited Carol to go hiking the next day. Carol recalls, "I hadn't talked to him very deeply before that, but I decided to give it a try." The two scaled over steep paths and jumped over cracks while Renoj carried two large jugs of water in his backpack and Carol managed without proper gear on what became a nine-hour trek. Taking it all in, Carol recalls thinking, "I felt like something had moved in me after so many months of feeling paralyzed. That's what I had been wanting for so long: to feel movement in my life." Their love unfolded slowly just like the hike did while they learned to look for the markers on the trees along the way. Carol says, "It was a very long and slow, gradual process of coming to an awareness that this is the right person." Carol is now working as a religion journalist and Renoj recently finished law school. The two were engaged in January of 2017. Officially, they went on the hike as friends when they look back, they consider it their first date. Carol says it's when their hearts moved toward each other. She adds, "I think we both discovered how to hike together and what our purpose was in that kind of meandering sort of way." Ready for a hike of your own? Check out these seven stunning hiking trails.
Meet your match at a music festival
Courtesy-of-Christine-Reardon-&-David-YeomansWhen David won a trip to the four-day Bonnaroo Music Festival in Nashville, he considered not going. He lived in Los Angeles and wasn't sure if the expensive, last minute flight was worth it. But a friend warned him that if he didn't go, he'd regret it, so he went. During a performance by indie electronic duo Matt and Kim, David felt a tap on his shoulder. He's 6'2" so a shorter festival goer asked to switch places with him so she could see. That was Christine Reardon, a public relations professional from New York. During the song "Daylight," David introduced himself and took off his sunglasses and Christine noticed his pretty blue eyes. They exchanged numbers and 30 minutes later, the two met up at the Florence and Machine show where they had their first kiss. Christine says, "It's a music festival so things move a little faster than normal." Bouncing around the festival together in a golf cart provided by David's sweepstakes win, Christine's friend's started to call David "Bonnaroo boy." Neither of them had any inclination that this was the start of a relationship especially since they lived on opposite coasts. Later that Summer, David emailed Christine to say hello. They stayed in touch and when Christine was in LA on a work trip, she texted David to meet up. She wasn't nervous to see him, but wondered if their chemistry would exist outside of the electric making festival magic. Christine says, "He walked into my friend's apartment and we laid eyes on each other and it was madness." For the next year and a half, they were in a long distance relationship. Thankfully many unexpected West Coast work events popped up on Christine's calendar, so the pair didn't spend more than six weeks apart. David recalls, "I knew that no matter what I did in my life, I had to make sure that Christine was part of it." He moved to New York in June 2013 and they married in fall of 2014. Christine says, "Don't be afraid of summer love. You never know where it will take you."