The journey to the altar starts with one life-changing meet-and-greet

Summer Lovers

Lauren Kourakos, 28, and Erik Stephens, 28

How they met: Singles in New York City know that the best way to spend the summer is to get out of the city. Which is why Erik and a few of his buddies rented a weekend house on the Jersey Shore. To fill the last room, the guys posted an ad on Craigslist and found a group of friends, including Lauren, who were interested in a share.

Their dating days: There was instant attraction between Lauren and Erik, and a first-night kiss, but Lauren, realizing it would be a very long, awkward summer if things didn’t work out, pulled back. Erik persisted in wooing his housemate. "I would e-mail her—usually under the guise of some logistical thing. But I’d always throw in a flirtatious comment." Eventually Lauren succumbed.

The proposal: He proposed at the beach with a champagne picnic in Hilton Head, South Carolina, six months after they met. She cried... they giggled.

The wedding: They exchanged vows at a black-tie ceremony at New York’s famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in October 2005.

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