5 Cute Couples Share Their Love Stories

There are many things that make us proud to be a Chicagoan, including gorgeous architecture and mind-blowing cuisine — pizza included, thank you very much. But, on November 20, 2013, our pride grew beyond the city limits. Finally, the same-sex marriage law was signed, sealed, and delivered by Governor Pat Quinn, making LGBT and straight folks cry tears of joy.
So, to celebrate this beautiful milestone, we'd like to introduce you to five inspiring same-sex couples who shared with us their heartfelt love stories. Trust, there's never been a more touching way to define equality. In the words of President Obama, "Our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” It's time to get out the tissues, dear reader.
Advertisement
1 of 8
Photographed by Stephanie Bassos.
Ryan LaFollette (urban planner for the federal government) and Tony Sarkees (attorney for the federal government)

How did you two meet?
La Follette: "Tony and I met at a queer dance party called Mixtapes thrown by a D.C. DJ — although I don't remember meeting him. I was still mending a broken heart from my prior relationship. He says he continued to see me at the beach that summer and decided to reach out to me on social media. We dated for about one month, but I still wasn't completely emotionally available, so we stopped dating. A few months later, I couldn't stop thinking about Tony and decided to reach out to him to see if he'd be willing to give it another try."

"I knew he would be cautious about dating again, so I decided to go big to prove that I was serious. I invited him down to the Kentucky Derby, where we stayed with my parents and ended up partying in the company of Martha Stewart. This year we'll celebrate our three-year anniversary at the Derby."

How did you celebrate the passing of the marriage law?
LaFollette: "We went to the bill signing, which was a lot of fun, and then had a couple drinks at Sidetrack with friends — and shook hands with the mayor."

Any plans to get hitched?
LaFollette: "We're not married, but since the bill signing, people regularly ask us about it. We've both acknowledged that we'd do it at some point when it felt appropriate. I want to have a more-the-merrier party with keg beer and a taco truck kind of thing. No ceremony. That's how I envision it. Not sure about Tony. He'll probably insist that our cat Newman play a big role."

Sarkees: "I just think he'd (Newman) make a great ring bearer! And, when we do get married, it's just going to be a party, so put on your drinking pants!"
2 of 8
Photographed by Stephanie Bassos.
What makes him so irresistible?
LaFollette: "He's the sweetest, kindest, smartest, and hottest guy I've ever met. He's a big hand-holder."

Sarkees: "Ryan is an expert at making me feel special. He's endlessly thoughtful, and every little gesture is beautiful and important. It also helps that he's incredibly cultured and totally gorgeous. And, he puts up with my mean old cat!"

What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together?
LaFollette: "We both love to travel and basically live our lives from trip-to-trip. A partner who is compatible while traveling is essential to me. With Tony, I may have met my soul mate. I'm writing this from the beach on Isla Mujeres, Mexico, and we're planning a trip to Europe in the fall. We also love camping in Michigan in the summer."

Sarkees: "Travel is a big one, but we're also pros at spending low-key Sunday mornings together. But, whether traveling the world or eating oatmeal and debating this week's Maureen Dowd column, I always look forward to spending time with Ryan."
3 of 8
Photographed by Stephanie Bassos.
Abbey Jo Hall (freelance children's photographer) and Patricia Sayad (interior designer)

How did you two meet?
Sayad: "We met about four years ago on OKCupid. I had never done online dating, and it was still a time when people weren't admitting it. But, I did it anyway. Her profile mentioned elephants, mustaches, small dogs, and babies. I kid you not, I had just come home from babysitting my friend's daughter, where I had helped 'style' his mustache (the dad) before leaving for the night. And, as I was reading her profile, I was wearing an elephant T-shit and my miniature Dachshund was sitting on my lap. Our profiles were too serendipitous to pass up, so I contacted her."

"We met up a couple of times, but neither of us thought the other was really interested, so we kind of faded and lost touch. Fast forward a year and a half when we both wound up at the Hideout. She walked up to me and (not-so casually) asks me if I was seeing anyone. We have been together since."

How did you celebrate the passing of the marriage law?
Sayad: "She texted me, I cried at work, and emailed my whole office. We then came home, cooked dinner, drank some wine, and just basked in the fact that we were witnessing history being made — and on such a personal level. I came to find out later on that she already had my engagement ring hidden in the apartment."
4 of 8
Photographed by Stephanie Bassos.
So, then you obviously have plans to get married! Tell us about it.
Sayad: "We got engaged on December 6, and, wow, did Abbey do an incredible job! Toward the end of dinner at Ruxbin, we we're talking about where to go next. Abbey was adamant about going to Beauty Bar. When we arrived, Glitter Guts (a traveling live photo booth) was setting up, so Abbey suggested we go and do it."

"After our four shots, I started to walk away, but the photographer kept shooting. I turned to Abbey and she said: 'Nothing in my life has ever made more sense than you and me together.' We then went to another bar down the street to celebrate our engagement with family and friends. We're getting married this coming May 31."

What makes her so irresistible?
Sayad: "She is by far the loveliest person I have ever met. I have never been so at ease physically, mentally, or emotionally as I am with her — yet everything is still so exciting. No joke, I get excited knowing that I get to come home to her every day. And, she has great dance moves."

Hall: "Besides her being so breathtakingly beautiful, I find kindness is her most irresistible trait. She is always looking for ways to make me happy, whether it's a homemade gift or simply getting me a glass of water. She is a fun-loving, easy-going partner, which makes her my favorite person to hang out with."
5 of 8
Photographed by Stephanie Bassos.
Meg Streit (freelance journalist) and Shira Kollins (owner Of Speedpro Imaging Chicago)

How did you two meet?
Streit: "We met on OKCupid in January 2010. At that time, we lived less than a mile away from one another but had never met. We had an instant connection on our first date and started dating exclusively within two weeks. We moved in together six months later, and got engaged on 11/11/11."

How did you celebrate the passing of the marriage law?
Streit: "We didn’t really celebrate the passing of the marriage law, but we applaud Illinois lawmakers for doing the right thing. We are already married (in our hearts and in the eyes of our family and friends). While we appreciate that the Illinois government has now passed a marriage equality law, we weren’t about to let that stop us from getting married when we were ready to do so. But, having this law in place will give us a lot of peace of mind and important legal protections, which will be especially important when we have children."

What are a few highlights from your own wedding?
Streit: "Our wedding took place in Chicago on January 26, 2013 (which was two years and 364 days after the day we met!). Since same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in Illinois at that time, we currently only have a civil union license. We could have gone out of state to get married, as many gay couple have done, but for us, it was really important to have our wedding right here in Chicago because this is where we met. It’s where we fell in love, and it’s where we and many of our friends and family members live. Our wedding ceremony and reception were held at Room 1520 in the West Loop. After our traditional Jewish ceremony, we had a four-course dinner for 155 people. Chicago’s Jodi Jean Band played during our reception, which was very special for us because we saw them perform on our second date, which is when we fell in love."

"Celebrating our commitment to one another in the presence of everyone who we love was such a precious and surreal experience. Because we are a same-sex couple, it was particularly validating. When we were young, our culture was so different that neither of us ever really imagined that a big traditional wedding — complete with toasts, father/daughter dances, seating charts, cake cutting, etc. — would be something we’d get to experience firsthand. So, we feel really lucky for all of the support and love we received from our wedding guests, many of whom had never before attended a gay wedding."
Advertisement
6 of 8
Photographed by Stephanie Bassos.
What makes her so irresistible?
Streit: "I really admire her passion for and her dedication to her business. It’s rewarding to be able to lend some of my skills and expertise to help her grow her business each year. I also find Shira’s genuine kindness irresistible. Shira has a special way of connecting with people and making them happy. Because of those qualities, I know that she will be a wonderful, loving, and fun parent. We are hoping to have our first child this year, and we’re both so excited to begin that stage of our lives together."

Kollins: "The day Meg emailed me from OKCupid, I just knew that I would quickly fall in love with her. She's the perfect package: gorgeous, extremely smart, always fun, hysterically witty, and such a classy lady. Not only this, but Meg is such an incredible homemaker, wife, and soon-to-be parent. From across any room, one look at her and my heart still melts every time. We have a connection that is definitely one-of-a-kind. Not only has she become my rock, but she also has filled my heart to the absolute brim with so much joy, laughter, love, and happiness that I never knew was possible. Being with Meg makes my life complete."

What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together?
Kollins: "We love to travel and want to do more of it. Checking out new restaurants is another thing we love doing together. Our home is very important to us, and we love to entertain our friends and family there. We’re known for throwing great parties, and it’s something we love doing together. We also enjoy quiet and relaxing weekends at home together. We like to sleep in, have breakfast in bed, and watch movies."
7 of 8
Photographed by Stephanie Bassos.
RJ Mac (DM and footwear buyer for AKIRA) and Patrick Addison (pastry and developing chef for the Doughnut Vault)

How did you two meet?
Addison: "We met through our best friends who happen to be sisters. When I met him, I told my best friend to talk to him but he wasn't interested. I was too young and he was too cool. Four years later, we ran into each other at Spin in Boystown. He stopped me and when I looked at him I instantly knew who he was, but totally played it off like I forgot all about him. Like a true gentleman, he never called me out."

"When I got home that night, I had received a Facebook message from him. We got to talking and finally had our first date on New Year's Day. I cooked him Paella, and he drank too much wine. We've been together since."

Any wedding bells in your future?
Mac: "We absolutely have no plans of not being with one another. But, we plan to grow together as individuals supporting what it is that the other needs at different junctures in our lives. Within the first few months of dating, Pat revealed to me that he had a plan which included marriage within five years. I should've been scared. He was also specific about preferring a zebra wood cabinet with mirrored interiors and a custom sink in lieu of a ring."
8 of 8
Photographed by Stephanie Bassos.
What makes him so irresistible?
Addison: "He's one of very few people that can make me look at my self and see how I can improve myself, us, and others. Also, I love his impromptu dance routines. Nothing makes me laugh harder and smile bigger than my man. And, he's fine!"

Mac: "I can attest that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Can your man cook Paella? He's easy on the eyes, too."

How do you like to spend time together?
Mac: "We both love to dance, so when we go out, it often ends up becoming a dance party. When we stay in, we enjoy a smoke while trying to catch up on all our shows, ranging from anything on Bravo shows to documentaries on Netflix. We also love to shop and travel. Up next up is Puerto Rico, San Francisco, and hopefully Asia this summer."
Advertisement