By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
N: So we met downtown and had a few drinks, and it was pretty much history from then. There's been a lot in between, but now we have a 10-month-old baby.
Last August, Elly Lachman and AJ Peterson were driving back from New Orleans when they hit a deer and flipped off the road at about 75 miles per hour. Elly was only bruised, but AJ had to be lifted through the windshield and rushed to a hospital. Over the following months, Elly nursed him through a collapsed lung, a punctured spleen, a shattered shoulder, and broken ribs. In October, their friends threw AJ a get-well benefit at Hell's Kitchen, and onstage, in front of 300 of their closest friends and family, he proposed.
"When you have a near-death experience," AJ explains, "you just decide that you don't want to waste any more time."
Elly: It was December 2010, I was living in Chicago, and a friend of mine mentioned that she was performing in a burlesque show.
AJ: I happened to come down from Minneapolis and was working the show.
E: I had never seen a burlesque show. They introduced AJ onstage and I just ... I don't really know how to explain it but I had the feeling that I already knew this person. I didn't see any of the show because I was watching AJ the whole time. I was trying very, very hard to be cool, and I don't go up to people but I had the overwhelming feeling that if I didn't introduce myself to this person I would regret it.
A: I didn't see Elly, because when you're onstage the lights are in your face, and I was DJing the after party so I was setting up. But she came up to me, and she has the most gorgeous smile and I was just sucked in by how beautiful she was.
E: In my efforts that evening to appear cool I dressed really intensely lesbian: I wore really loose pants and combat boots and a button-down, and I remember kind of stumbling up to AJ with my baggy clothes and a Corona in my hand. It couldn't have been further from who I actually am.
A: Quite honestly she looked like she was just getting back from a fishing trip. I told her she looked adorable.
E: I remember babbling incoherently and sticking my hand out, buying AJ a drink and writing my number on the napkin.
A: She thinks she was really awkward but I'm telling you she was so smooth. At the end of the night, I realized the busser had taken the napkin and thrown it out, and I was like, "Nooo!" But we had a mutual friend, and I asked that girl for Elly's info. We ended up connecting on Facebook, and she came up to Minneapolis about a month later. It was the first time we hung out, and I know it sounds clichéd, but I knew she was the person I was meant to be with. And I guess I was right, because now we're engaged to be married.
Rob Miller and Sarah Bonvallet are the co-owners of the Dangerous Man Brewing Company in northeast Minneapolis. Rob is more directly involved with the beer side of the business and Sarah serves as the company's creative director. The pair met at college but had some initial trepidation about getting together.
Rob: Eventually a mutual friend sort of set us up.
Sarah: I didn't really go for it at first but our friends convinced me by telling me he was a good cook and would make me stir fry and smoothies.
R: I remember thinking even in those group get-togethers that she was really fun. She was easy to talk to.
S: So I called him up knowing that he had been led into the whole situation by our friends like I was, but he kind of shrugged me off.
R: Yeah, I told her I was studying and needed to take a rain check, but I totally wasn't studying.
S: Then a couple weeks later I was at this concert and I was dancing and having a good time and I felt this little tap on my shoulder. I turned around and it was him, and he was smiling his cute little humble Rob smile and I was like, "Nice rain check, buddy!" I had never really been stood up before, and, I hate to say it, but the fact that he made me wait it out made me more interested in him.
R: It wasn't like I had this whole other host of options. I just think I knew that if I started seeing her, it would get really serious really fast.
S: I don't really believe in the whole love-at-first-sight thing, but I knew like three weeks into dating him that I was done. I wasn't ever going to look for anyone else.