How They Met 2014

Twin Cities couples on the moment they found love

How They Met 2014
E. Katie Holm
On the cover: Venus and Lynette

Welcome to our second annual installment of "How They Met," in which we ask couples how they came to be and photograph the results.

Last year, one of the couples we profiled went on to become mayor and first husband of Minneapolis. This year, we talked to the most famous married couple in local TV news, two pairs of restaurateurs, and one of the first gay couples to get legally married here.

We can only hope this year brings as much love to the Twin Cities as the last.


OVER THE PAST six months, Tom DeGree and Dean Schlaak have had a lot to celebrate. In August, they threw themselves a legal wedding in their Lake Elmo backyard. In December, they announced a new venture, an upscale pub called Mattie's on Main. And this year, the riverside restaurant they co-own, the Wilde Roast Café, turns 10. Back when they first met, the two had instant chemistry.

Dean: We met at a bar downtown.

Tom: It was 14 years ago, 2000, the Saturday after Valentine's Day. We were at the Eagle in downtown Minneapolis, on Washington.

Dean: We were both out with different friends and neither party knew each other, but Tom and I saw each other from across the room.

Tom: It was actually just odd. I went across the room and held his hand without even talking to him.

Dean: [I thought], "Who is this guy that's trying to hold my hand and I haven't even talked to him yet?" It was a bit odd, but you know, that's how relationships sometimes start. —Olivia LaVecchia


KATE CASANOVA AND CHRIS KOZA are Minneapolis creatives of high renown. Casanova is a visual artist whose oft-magical work — shown in New York and Beijing in addition to countless Twin Cities exhibitions — turns cars and Victorian furniture into gardens of living beings. Koza is the lead singer and songwriting architect of folk-rockers Rogue Valley, and has a solo album planned for later in 2014.

Kate: The first time that we met, Chris and his friend cooked habanero peppers.

Chris: Making fajitas. I was really interested in making an impression, so I was like, "I'm going to buy every kind of pepper that's at the store." It was like six pounds of peppers. Anaheim, banana peppers, habaneros, jalapenos...

Kate: ...and smoked out the whole house. It was in the middle of winter, and nobody could breathe because of the habanero smoke. Literally everybody had to go outside of the house until the smoke cleared.

Chris: I thought it was catastrophic, but I guess they thought it was funny.

Kate: It left an impression.

Chris: I know when I saw Kate I was like, "That looks like a cool artsy girl. I really want to try to get to know her."

Kate: When I saw Chris I was like, "I'm attracted to him, but he's a musician and a painter. I'm done dating artistic guys, because they're all crazy." It didn't take too long to realize that Chris was the definite exception to the rule, and so I changed my mind. I decided that I was not going to date a lumberjack; I was indeed going to date a musician. It was a good decision. We've really grown together, both as a couple and as individual professionals, creative professionals. —Reed Fischer


ON AUGUST 1, 2013, in the lavishly decorated lobby of Minneapolis City Hall, Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke said "I do" at precisely midnight — the moment same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota. They met in the mid-'90s when they both worked for St. Stephen's Human Services.

Margaret: So we knew each other really well as colleagues. Then there came this fateful day when I realized that she had ended a relationship, and I was not in a relationship. So there was this moment. And I thought, "If I don't say something to her — this girl gets snapped up really quickly between relationships." So I did.

Cathy: It did sort of feel like the stars were finally aligning, and once they did align, it was this complete recognition of, "Oh, this is what I'm supposed to be doing." You know, it just felt so good and so right, and to find that person who encompasses so much of what I valued: community and family and art and social justice. We kind of knew right away.

Margaret: It was so great. I had dated a lot of people and had a lot of unhealthy relationships. And I think the fact that I knew Cathy for several years as a co-worker I admired and respected, without having it be a love relationship, but then to have that turn into a love relationship and a life relationship, it really was a great way to get to know the person that you are going to be with for the rest of your life.

Cathy: You know you're in love with somebody when you get really excited about just being together. Whether we're on a family road trip or just going to Menard's, it feels like we're on just one really long fantastic date.... I still love her. I'd marry her a third time. —Andy Mannix

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