Love Stories: Matt and Kristina Cowan

In this week’s Love Stories—a couple whose engagement night strayed a little from the script.

Matt and Kristina on a trip to California.

When Matt Cowan first saw Kristina Lane in August 2004, he knew nothing about her—except that he had to talk to her.

“My brother and sister-in-law had invited me to their church in Arlington,” says Matt, who had moved to Washington from California just a month earlier. “I’m sitting in the back of the church and I see this girl walk in, and she has this long hair and I’m mesmerized. The whole service I’m thinking, ‘How can I meet this person?’ ”

As the service ended, Matt kept his eye on Kristina . . . and watched her walk right over to his sister-in-law.

From that moment, everything went perfectly. Matt suggested a group lunch date hoping it would lead somewhere, and he ended up getting Kristina’s number. The two went to dinner at Zaytinya in DC and hit it off right away. Matt was even the perfect romantic, saving receipts from all of their dates to create an album for Kristina. So a year later, he was already picturing one more “perfect” in their lives: the perfect proposal. On August 13, 2005, when the couple headed to Annapolis to celebrate their one-year anniversary, he had a plan.

“I tucked away some glasses in my backpack and a bottle of a wine that we had drunk on Valentine’s Day,” he says. “After dinner, we went up to a little park that’s right by the senator’s house.”

As the two were sitting on a park bench, talking and sipping wine, Matt pulled out a piece of paper.

“Earlier that day, I had given him all these anniversary gifts and he had been like, ‘Yeah, I don’t really have anything for you,’ ” says Kristina. “I was like, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ But now he said, ‘This is my gift,’ and he started reading a long poem.”

Perfect? So far . . . .

“Meanwhile,” she continues, ”there are these drunkards behind us yelling, and we hear the police come. There was this whole altercation going on.”

Ignoring the noise, Matt told Kristina to close her eyes. When he finished reading, she blinked them open and he was down on one knee, holding a ring. But Kristina didn’t have time to be stunned: The couple was promptly interrupted by the police officers who had been called to deal with the drunken crowd.

“One told us we had to get going right away,” Matt says. “I almost didn’t get to propose that night. I literally made it within a minute.”

He was disappointed that the proposal he had envisioned turned into a “kind of crazy” scene, but it was hard to be too bummed—they were engaged! The couple—who just moved to Chicago—got married on April 29, 2006, in the Arlington church where they first met.

The police officers did not make the guest list.


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