Love and Sex

First Comes Love, Then Comes Whatever the Hell You Want

According to the typical love-story timeline, you should fall in love, get married, purchase a house, have a child, and raise a family. Well, many contemporary couples no longer follow this predetermined route.

Today’s couples are taking their own, less conventional paths by opting to buy a home together before getting married or even starting a business together before committing to a long-term relationship. Others pick the other path for them; for example, a couple may have to get married before their wedding ceremony because of visa issues, or their post-marriage pregnancy may take longer than expected.

I just care about the traditions we establish for ourselves. In whatever sequence that may be, you must act in your best interests and the interests of your family.

By choice or by chance, these couples have taken a different route to finding their happily ever after and have instead found a new way to travel it. The only traditions I care about, as one bride put it, “are the ones we make up. In whatever sequence that may be, you must act in your best interests and that of your family.

We asked seven couples who chose an unconventional route to fulfillment to share their tales in the sections that follow. While we might feel pressure to follow a predetermined path to a fulfilling relationship, remember that going off-road occasionally can be just as enjoyable.

Love comes first.

A clever idea resulted in marriage and a relocation abroad.

The husband-and-wife owners of the eco-friendly accessory company Min & Mon are Andrés and Carolina Quintero. But it wasn’t love at first sight when they first met in college at Colombia’s Universidad de Los Andes. Through a common friend circle, their own bond grew over time. Carolina and Andrés would eventually share a room. They discovered a mutual entrepreneurial drive during this time and jointly launched a lamp line. Despite the failure of their initial business venture, it served as the spark that started a relationship that has lasted for almost twenty years and counting.

Following graduation, the couple were hitched and relocated to the US, where they launched their third company, Min & Mon, in 2016. According to Andrés, “We find it hilarious that two individuals who weren’t particularly fond of one another at first were able to go past the first impression [and] become friends, then housemates, followed by business partners, and now a family running a business.”

Planning a Future Without Children and a Second Marriage

While attending Greg’s acting school, Alexis Hilton met Greg. She invited him out for coffee after eight months of lessons because she thought her crush could have been shared. It was. The two decided to be married after three years of dating. Because of her first marriage’s pressure and stress, Alexis wanted to conduct a smaller, more intimate wedding this time around. She and Greg made the decision to hold a small ceremony in the desert with only two friends present while hosting a large celebration the previous evening with 60 friends and relatives. Alexis found it challenging to tell her family the news, but she believed it was crucial for the wedding to be a private occasion only for her and her future husband.

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She and Greg were married using a local photographer and a set of directions to a place in the Red Rocks neighborhood of Las Vegas. They served champagne and a cake made by Bouchon Bakery at the wedding. They then went sightseeing in Vegas. Four years later, the pair has welcomed two cats into their home and is “blissfully child-free,” enjoying the freedom to take vacations whenever they like and to unabashedly sit on a stunning white couch. She says they could have a dog one day.

A home and a child come first, followed by marriage.

Robyn was scheduled to have her IUD replaced after sharing a residence with her future husband Mike. But she also reflected, “Oh my god, I’m turning 35 soon. Isn’t it the moment your uterus starts to shrivel and die? Her now-husband advised her not to change her IUD and, in her words, “not ‘try’ but not-not try,” as she struggled with her emotions of biological pressure and the stigma associated with “geriatric pregnancy” for women over 35. It was clear to me that it would take years to possibly get pregnant.

Informing her husband of her pregnancy was as simple as “putting the positive test on top of the fresh beer he requested me to grab for him while I was up,” according to Robyn. The pair was then residing in a one-bedroom loft in Downtown Los Angeles. “Our queen bed was so little in the bedroom,” she says, “you could only walk around two sides of it and back again like Pac-Man.” So they pooled their life money and bought a house that needed work. Mike proposed after they had moved in while visiting the lake near Robyn’s childhood home. During the proposal, their daughter was secured in her carrier. The couple eventually got married in 2019, and their 18-month-old daughter was a flower girl.

Celebration of Life, a Small Ceremony, and a Postponement

Dara Patel and Kunal Patel never anticipated having a huge wedding, but with their parents’ support, they decided to host a sizable Jewish and Hindu wedding in 2020. In addition to having to postpone the wedding because to the 2020 Covid shutdown, Kunal’s Tanzania-based parents and sister also had their visa permits delayed indefinitely. The pair decided to hold a small ceremony in Santa Rosa with participation from the couple’s California-based family because they anticipated that Kunal’s immediate relatives would be unable to attend the initial postponed date.

At this time, Kunal’s dad developed TB. Despite their difficulties, Dara and Kunal went ahead with a little ceremony and family gathering despite the fact that Kunal’s father was ill on the other side of the globe. Worldwide guests were invited via Zooming in, which was organized by Kunal’s family. They continuously emphasized to the pair that Kunal’s father would be pleased if he knew they were married.

Soon after the tiny ceremony, Kunal’s father passed away. Although nothing has turned out as they had hoped, Kunal’s mother recently received approval for a visa to visit in the fall of 2021. Kunal’s father will also be honored during the one-day Hindu ceremony that the pair is now planning.

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students, lovers, and husband and wife

Ganit Kriel and her husband Bryan, both acupuncturists, met when enrolled at Emperor’s College. After becoming friends at school for more than a year, Ganit destroyed her car, and Bryan offered to help drive her about for a few months until she found a new one. This is when the couple began dating. After graduating and after seven months of dating, they established an acupuncture clinic as business partners. Their love and professional stories developed swiftly.

Ganit was nearing the end of her student visa period as their new acupuncture practice, which specialized in fertility and pregnancy, had just opened. Bryan proposed and they were married a few months later to avoid her having to go back to Israel. A large, traditional Jewish wedding with 250 guests was organized by Ganit’s parents for the couple in Israel on the very same day that the previous year had passed.

What Love Looks Like: A Joint Venture Worth the Paperwork
Worth the Wait: A Family

When Julie Serber and Gary started looking at homes and talking about getting married in 2016, they had been dating for roughly five years and living together for four. According to Julie, they were not “necessarily married to the idea of any specific sequence of things.” That December, they made a decision to buy a house together, and Gary set up a “elaborate proposal” there, complete with a backyard full of sparkling lights and the words “will you” and “marry me” written on their dogs’ collars.

In September 2018, Julie and Gary started attempting to have a child. The pair began IVF with four or five rounds of egg retrievals following a miscarriage in 2019. We’ve been through a lot in the nine years we’ve been together, says Julie. I would like to believe that regardless of the sequence in which events occurred, we would still be here, together.

A Protracted Engagement and an Unexpected Plan Change

Seven years of dating and a six-year engagement marked the start of my own path to happily ever after.  We spent the majority of our engagement living together in San Francisco, where we frequently discussed having a traditional wedding but were unable to decide on a location or venue.and  We eventually relocated to Los Angeles, where we continued to discuss wedding arrangements while looking for our first house. We planned to get married at our new home in May 2020, but we found the ideal house before we could find the ideal wedding site.

My close family friend hosted a lovely bridal shower in February 2020 for me with all of the women in my family and close friends, once our plans were finalized and the wedding invitations were received. Then, in March, we rescheduled our customary wedding. Instead, my husband and I decided to elope at Meadowood Napa Valley by ourselves. Now, there is no other way that I could have imagined our wedding.

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