Brides is committed to guiding ALL couples through not only their wedding planning journey, but through relationship milestones and ups and downs. Every love story is beautiful, has its own distinct history, and its own trials—there's no relationship that looks the same. To celebrate that uniqueness, we're asking couples to open up about their love story, for our latest column, "Love Looks Like This." Below, entrepreneur, author, and Drybar co-founder Alli Webb and leadership engagement expert and founder of Take New Ground Adrian Koehler share their story.
Do we create love or does love create us? It was October 2018. Alli had just jumped off the 10-year rocket ride of founding and leading DryBar to be the national sensation. Through that, she had come to the conclusion that her first marriage had also come to an end. She was in a time of rebooting her life. Who the hell am I now? The brilliant, energetic darling of the female founder rise found herself in a season of pause and loss...looking for reinvention and looking for what's next for herself, her career, her teenage boys, and her love life.
Meanwhile, just a couple miles away was Adrian. He was in the trenches building his leadership consulting company. Just a few years prior, he had overcome a drinking problem that had led to the quick end to a despondent marriage. He had been in a season of rebuilding from the ground up with his two young kids for a couple of years.
Two driven leaders. Two searching humans. Two romantics looking for a love that would transform. Ours is a story of redemption and reinvention. We had both been dating, but differently. She was looking for her next deep love, maybe someone new to spend the rest of her life with. It wasn't going well. He had decided to date very casually and was hoping not to fall in love too soon. By October of 2018, we were both ready for something great to happen.
Alli and her brother Michael Landau were having their weekly Raising the Bar Podcast interview with an impressive entrepreneur—this time Talia Goldstein from Three Day Rule, a matchmaking service. "People invest in what matters most to them—their health, their careers, their financial lives. Why not invest in your love life?" she said. Alli was all ears and the interview became a sales convo. She was in. Simultaneously, Talia had found Adrian on social media and she sent one of her matchmakers to see if he was interested in being matched with one of their amazing clients.
Fast forward a few weeks. Adrian was given Alli's number. In true form, he called her out of the blue. This was both off putting and inviting. What kind of guy DOES that? How rude. Also, what kind of guy does THAT? Maybe my new kind of guy, she recalls. That call led to a five-hour conversation of laughing, story telling, countless smiles, and such a curious wondering. The next day, Alli took a flight to NYC for a press event. We were hooked quite quickly. We recall often how funny it is that Alli sent Adrian one of her favorite Taylor Swift songs "I Think He Knows" just a couple days into their conversation. Adrian picked her up at the airport after that trip. All of Adrian's friends said, "You're doing what?!?"
There was a magic, an intense invitation, an unstoppable curiosity....a calling. This would never stop. When love calls, you better listen. Life is short.
We both got very real on that first date with all of their stories of our pasts. When you've lived hard, all out, the honest telling will most likely cause a few long gulps in the listener. Aren't we all looking for someone who can both love us through the hard realities of failures and be the host for the redemptive energy of life?
The adventure had begun. As hard chargers, we followed our nature into this love. A month later, Alli was on a plane to Illinois to meet Adrian's family over Thanksgiving. Because when you've found your one, you might as well get on with it. Five months of dating and integrating this eclectic family, COVID hits. It was natural to move in together and increase the heat under this young relationship. Blending a family isn't for the faint of heart, especially for two Type-A, opinionated, and stubborn lovers. Throw a quarantined net around it and our best and worst came to the surface early.
As F.D.R. put it, “Calm seas never made a good sailor.” We came out ready to face whatever life might bring us. Through this, we found the richest possibility of love: that it accepts us and reinvents us. So, do we create love or does love create us? All we know is that it’s our job to ready ourselves, look for the magic, and have the guts to go all in…over and over and over again.