The only thing that's better than the moment when a couple finally gets together in a rom-com is the moment when they first meet. And the only thing that's better than that moment in the movies is when it happens IRL!
Here are six super-sweet how we met stories from real couples that will have you falling in love with love all over again.
Natalie & Kevin
Married 5 years, currently living in Chicago.
(As told by Natalie) Our love story started well before either of us were actually born. Our moms became fast and dear friends as young working professionals in Chicago, and motherhood came at a similar time for them. That's when Kevin and I entered the picture. Growing up, our families went on countless trips to Disney World, the Rocky Mountains, and various campsites together. On our trips, Kevin and my only brother Andrew were the closest in age, so they bonded quickly. (Kevin's older brother Kyle befriended me to make sure I never felt excluded.) I always remember thinking, Oh, Kevin is cute, but we grew up in different suburbs, went to different schools, and lived very different lives. There was no way our paths would ever cross "like that," until they did. My brother Andrew was getting married—to one of my mom's other best friend's daughters, believe it or not—and I needed a date to the wedding. I happened to be on vacation with my mom and Kevin's mom—did I mention Kevin’s mother is also my godmother?—and she casually said, Oh, just go with Kev. He's already going to be there, and he'll definitely dance with you and tell you look pretty.
Andrew's wedding was the first night we truly got to enjoy each other not on a family vacation or around a dinner table. Sparks flew, but we kept them a secret knowing it could be chaos if things crumbled, so we took the time to make sure we were both all in before telling our families. In December we’ll have been married five years and just welcomed our son last September. It's been a joy that our family friends are now officially family. And it doesn't hurt that I've known my in-laws (on both sides!) my entire life.
Svetlana & Lev
Married 59 years, currently living in Bensalem, PA.
(As told by the couple’s daughter Tanya and granddaughter Emily) Svetlana and Lev have no photos from their wedding in 1961. They got married with a stranger as their witness in the country of Georgia. Both children of the war who survived the Holocaust as infants, Svetlana and Lev met as 14-year-old schoolchildren in Ukraine. He was the popular guy from a wealthy family, and she was the sweet, studious girl who came from nothing. Lev bullied Svetlana by pulling on her pigtails and making her do his homework. Little did Svetlana know, that was Lev's way of expressing his crush on her.
Svetlana lived in such extreme poverty that Lev organized a drive through his school to get her a warm winter coat. Their love developed into their teen years, but the draft called Lev, at age 18, to the army for three years. This did not stop them. He was drafted in Georgia, where their love story came full circle. After exchanging many letters, she finally made the journey to not only visit him but marry him. During those times, it was very brave for a young girl to travel by herself in Soviet Russia. Lev was allowed only a few hours away from base to see his bride. He brought along a fellow soldier as a witness at the local city hall. The papers were signed and they celebrated with khinkali (Georgian dumplings).
This incredible match went on to grow a beautiful family of three daughters, and Svetlana and Lev immigrated to America through a Jewish refugee program in 1996. To this day, they still sing to each other and make each other laugh.
Lyssa & John
Together 9 years, set to wed this October. Lyssa is currently living in Charleroi, PA, and John is in Brampton, Ontario.
(As told by Lyssa) In 2011, I was 14 years old, had just finished eighth grade and was bored on the internet. I started a Tumblr to blog about cute cupcake recipes. An amazing online friend I had made through the blog, Janeen, introduced me to a boy a year-and-a-half older than me named John, thinking we’d get along. Soon enough, my summer became me, glued to a screen and completely enamored with talking to this boy. We stayed up into the wee hours of the morning chatting, playing video games, and hitting play at the same time on the movies and TV shows we watched together.
On October 7th, John asked me to be his girlfriend—with a typo! I still have the screenshot and tease him about it to this day. That January, we met in person under our parents’ supervision. Meeting your online boyfriend—and first boyfriend—along with his parents for the first time is a terrifyingly awkward experience, but it’s one that I’d do again in a heartbeat.
COVID has left the Canadian border closed to non-citizens, which means we haven’t really been able to see each other, but we’re still planning our wedding.
We continued to Skype every day. I got a passport, and we would take 16-hour bus rides back and forth every chance we got. We felt so serious about each other that during our first summer together, we saved up enough to buy rings that we still wear to this day. We made it through high school and college long-distance, and just this past December, he proposed! COVID has left the Canadian border closed to non-citizens, which means we haven’t really been able to see each other, but we’re still planning our wedding. We may have to jump through extra hoops, but being with him is worth it. I’m so happy that a baking blog I made when I was 14 helped me find my future husband!
Ericka & TK
Married 13 months, currently living in Fredericksburg, VA.
(As told by Ericka) Our story begins in 2006 when I was an incoming freshman at Howard University. My twin sister and I needed to confirm our housing arrangements and visited the Office of Residence Life, where I first saw TK. The first thing I noticed besides his gaze were his dimples. Wow, he’s cute, I thought.
Our staring must’ve been noticeable because the administrator in the room said to me, “Don’t even bother ... he’s nothing but trouble.” After that encounter, we would see each other around campus and in the dorms, but I definitely kept my distance.
Two years later we had our next encounter, and it was not pleasant. My sister and I were both RAs, and she was working the front desk of a dorm when TK attempted to enter the dorm without showing his ID. (He was the resident assistant of the building the year prior.) My sister wasn’t having it and an argument ensued. I somehow happened to come down at the same time and, seeing my sister arguing, I began arguing with TK, too. The community director came and broke up the argument, but that wasn’t the last time I’d see TK.
The next day I received a message from the community director to meet in his office. Though I figured it was regarding the incident from the day prior, it was to my chagrin when I walked in and saw TK sitting there. Realizing this was a flex of sorts, I allowed the community director to make small talk, all while never making eye contact with TK. Once the community director finished, I simply asked if that was all, got up without even glancing in TK’s direction, and left. I refused to give him even the slightest amount of satisfaction by making eye contact with him. (It wasn’t until after he proposed that TK told me he had asked for the community director to call me down specifically so he could formally meet me.)
Four years pass. One day while on Facebook I get a “poke” from TK. I respond saying, I think you poked me on accident. We don’t like each other, remember? He responds back: No, I poked you on purpose. I know exactly who you are ... and I never said I didn’t like you.
From there, we casually dated and I realized he wasn’t half bad. He was actually kind of sweet, but planned on going away for training prior to being deployed. I had no interest in dating someone in the military due to the likelihood of constant relocations and maintaining a long-distance relationship. We decided to end things and remain friends. TK would always check up on me and invite me to wherever he was stationed, but I never obliged. Upon his return from deployment, he let me know that he wanted to begin seriously dating. I, unfortunately, was in another relationship at the time. His response: That’s fine. I can wait. It’s just a matter of time.
We went our separate ways. I moved to NYC, he had a child. But he would always remain in touch. In the fall of 2017, he reached out again, and this time something seemed different. He was very intentional. He made it clear that he saw me as his “Claire Huxtable” and he refused to let me get away. By March of 2018, he asked my parents for my hand on marriage, and by August we were engaged.
Christy & Jeremy
Married 9 years, currently living in Philadelphia.
(As told by Christy) I moved to Philly from Indiana in 2008 for an editor position at a magazine. One of my first features was a dating package. It had three parts: hot singles, where to meet people, and a story about what it’s like to date in Philly. The premise was stunt journalism—go on Match.com, go speed-dating, get set up by a matchmaker, find some of your own dates, etc. I had a writer lined up for the story, but he got really disenchanted and bailed maybe a month before the story was due. So a co-worker convinced me to write it myself because I was single, and, having conceived of the story, I knew how to do it.
I went on maybe 30 dates, one almost every night for a month. It was exhausting, but I wasn’t doing it to meet anyone—I was doing it because it was my job.
There was one guy on Match.com who I really liked. His screen name was something like “Big Fan of Pancakes,” and we changed it to waffles in the story for anonymity. I waited and waited, and finally, he asked me out. We had a super great first date. It felt really refreshing because I had been on a lot of dates and they were all meh. (Some had actually been truly bad.) The next day I get a text from him: Hey, had a really good time last night. Can’t wait to see you again. I wrote back: Me too. And then I literally never heard from him again.
When the story published, I got a lot of letters. (Mostly from women, who identified with it.) And then one night I got an email from a guy. It said: Hey, I liked your story. It made me laugh. I came out of a five-year relationship last year, and it is different dating when you’re 30 than it is when you’re 25. I wrote back, because at the time we still ran “Letters to the Editor,” and I asked if we could run his. He said no, that it would be embarrassing. But we emailed back and forth for a few days. And then he was like, Listen, I know this is a little weird, but I feel like we should meet. And I said, Well, I just went out with 30 random dudes. Nothing’s weird anymore.
And that is how I met my husband.
Grace & Scott
Married 17 months, currently living in Tarboro, NC.
(As told by Grace) It was July 4th weekend, and my mother and I were hitting some antique stores in a nearby town before my family headed to the lake for the holiday. I wanted to check out one shop in particular that had great original art and antiques. A few minutes into our visit, we were in a light-hearted conversation with the owner about where we were from, but our chat was interrupted when someone came in to buy a bottle of furniture polish. Based on the amount of conversation I overheard, he obviously knew the owner. To my embarrassment, when he left, my mother asked the store owner if the guy was single and close to my age. (I blew this off as her trying to make me blush before we headed off for lunch.)
I did not think about the interaction again until the Monday after the holiday. Mid-morning, I received a call on my cell phone from the owner of the store that we had visited the week before. I quickly began retracing my steps to think if I had left a credit card or something in the shop, but he explained that he had attended a Fourth of July cookout that weekend and Scott, the man who bought the furniture polish, had also attended. In small-town North Carolina fashion, the store owner had called around town asking people for my number, because apparently I had caught Scott’s attention, and the store owner wanted to know if he could pass my number along to him. He continued to say that he had a good track record of setting up couples and reminded me that my mother had also mentioned Scott in the store. I was shocked and frankly, speechless. The whole thing seemed bizarre, but I took a chance and said yes. Two days later I received a phone call. A week later we went on our first date. Three years later we were married in my hometown. The owner of the shop attended the wedding, and he and my mother take full credit for our relationship.