Before they make the biggest commitment of their lives and become husband and wife, these couples tested their compatibility with Style’s special version of “The Nearlywed Game.” Let’s meet our contestants.
story: Shemir Wiles / photos: Fred Lopez
Meet Steve Elli & Susan Snell
Work and their love of music brought Susan and Steve together.
“We met at a Battle of the Bands event I organized at Ferran Park in Eustis,” explains Susan. “Steve volunteered to run the sound and manage the stage.”
After chatting for months about the fundraiser’s details, they began to form an unexpected bond. By the end of the night, Susan admits she was already sad about not talking to Steve on a regular basis anymore. “I told him I was going to have ‘Steve withdrawals’,” she says.
However, it was Steve who suffered withdrawals and called Susan two weeks later to ask her out. Sadly, Susan wasn’t aware it was a date. “He was doing a show at a local venue and asked me if I wanted to hang out, so I said yes. After that, he would call me to hang out, but I didn’t know we were dating until two months later when he asked me to spend the Christmas holiday with him and his family.”
Oblivious to how he felt, Susan declined. “I didn’t hear from him for three days, so I finally called him and he said he thought we were dating,” she says. “He then officially asked me out, and we had our first date on New Year’s Eve.”
Four years later, Steve picked New Year’s Eve again to be the day he would propose. He popped the question onstage at the House of Blues in Orlando. “Originally we were going to go to the mountains but it didn’t work out, so I quickly made arrangements to do it at the House of Blues,” Steve says. “I had been thinking about proposing for a year. I didn’t want to let her get away.”
Susan says she was completely surprised. After the end of her first marriage, she had completely written off getting married again. “I said never again. Plus, Steve and I had talked several times about not getting married so I didn’t think he would ask.”
Steve, on the other hand, says it was Susan’s headstrong attitude that changed his mind… and the fact they are so similar. “We are so much alike that it’s scary,” Susan says. “I know what he likes and how he’s going to answer a question. Being with someone just like me takes the guesswork out of our relationship.”
And while Susan and Steve haven’t picked a date yet, they are certain on one thing. “We’re country so we’re going to have a barn wedding,” says Susan.
As for Steve, he just plans on showing up when it is time to say, “I do.” “When my alarm goes off on my calendar and I see my clothes laid out, I’ll know it’s time,” he says with a laugh.
Meet Kyle Cole & Kristen Sellars
Kyle didn’t like Kristen being the quiet girl at the party, so with some gentle ribbing he encouraged her to talk.
“I told her she didn’t have to be so quiet. It was a party. That’s how we ended up having a conversation,” Kyle says.
Kristen thought he was a nice guy, and later that week, Kyle found Kristen on Facebook and asked for her phone number. Then, while she was on vacation, Kyle asked her to attend his birthday celebration. The next week, they had their first date, which was a success.
“I thought she was relaxed and really mellow,” says Kyle. “She wasn’t high maintenance at all.”
Kristen thought Kyle was extremely sweet. “He was an absolute gentleman,” she says. “He was just so easy to talk to.”
Overtime, the couple grew a friendship that helped build a strong foundation to their relationship.
“I feel like I can tell him anything, and I love his personality,” says Kristen. “There was never a specific moment where I knew I wanted to spend my life with Kyle. I just always had it in the back of my mind.”
Last June, Kyle arranged for the message “Will you marry me?” to be posted on the signboard at Ramshackle Café in Leesburg; Kristen accepted his proposal without hesitation.
“My whole family was there. I was so happy,” she says.
Their wedding date is June 21. Everything is pretty much set for the big day, thanks to the help of a wedding planner. It will be an indoor, traditional ceremony at the couple’s church.
“Deep down, she has the same values as I do. That’s one of the things I love most about her,” says Kyle. “Three to four months into our relationship, she became like my best friend. She’s my rock that keeps me sane.”
Together, the couple says they are laidback, but still fun and energetic.
“And awesome! We’re like a magic carpet ride,” says Kyle with a laugh.
Meet Beau Nacke & Kirsten Germeroth
To Kirsten, Beau was always just her brother-in-law’s best friend. So when he called her out of the blue to ask her out on a date, she didn’t know what to think.
“We had both just gotten out of relationships, and I was certain my brother-in-law had pushed him into calling me,” says Kirsten. “I decided to go on the date because when I met him at my sister’s baby shower, he seemed like a nice guy.”
For their first date, Beau kept it simple with dinner and a movie. However, he won over Kirsten with his amazing sense of humor. “I couldn’t stop laughing,” she says. “He is extremely funny.”
They began dating in July 2012 and became an official couple in October of the same year. Beau admits that he soon found himself loving Kirsten’s company whenever they were together. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be more serious,” he says.
So, on Dec. 21, Beau whisked Kirsten off to the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando for a lovely dinner. She was unaware, however, that Beau had arranged for her family to be at the hotel on one of the balconies so they could witness the proposal. “I told Beau that if he ever proposed, my family would have to be there,” she says. “When he proposed I looked around for my family and couldn’t see them. Then I looked up and saw them all on the balcony. I couldn’t talk; I had no idea he was going to ask me to marry him.”
Nevertheless, Kirsten already knew in her heart the answer would be “yes.” From the beginning, she cherished the way Beau got along with her family and adored his patient and kind nature. “Plus, he treats me like a princess,” she says with a laugh.
The couple will be tying the knot on Dec. 20 in downtown Orlando. And the date couldn’t be early enough; Kirsten says her and Beau’s families are ready for them to finally become Mr. and Mrs. Nacke. “They are definitely ready for it to happen,” she says. “And we’re both excited, too. I can’t wait.”
Meet Chase West & Bridgette Berisford
Chase met Bridgette at a St. Patrick’s Day party at the University of Florida. However, it would be another six months before the two would talk again.
“He tweeted a quote or something and as I joke, I responded back with ‘Marry me,’” says Bridgette.
Little did she know the bit of shameless flirting would lead to her packing her bags to visit Chase three weeks later in Nashville, where he was attending school. Chase and Bridgette spent the next eight months traveling back and forth between Gainesville and Nashville, with Atlanta serving as a midway meeting place on occasion. But after a while, the constant trips began to wear on the young couple. So in September 2012, Chase decided to relocate to Florida.
“What really influenced my decision to move was visiting in July to celebrate Bridgette’s birthday. We rented a beach house in Daytona and had friends and family come stay with us. That’s when I started to see myself with her for the rest of my life,” Chase says. “Two months later, I made plans to move.”
Bridgette, however, says she knew she wanted to marry Chase way before her birthday. “I was at a point in my life where I was happy being single, but I always said if God brought me somebody that would be cool, too. Chase was the one I prayed about. Our love just grew stronger.”
This past December, Chase orchestrated a very elaborate but top-secret proposal. “Bridgette has a Christmas party with her family every year, so I had friends come in from out of town. I set up candles under the gazebo behind her parent’s house and had rose petals leading from the back door up to the gazebo.”
When they arrived, Chase led Bridgette through the empty house and to the gazebo where he proposed. “I started crying,” says Bridgette. “Then my family and friends came from around the house and formed a circle around us. I had no idea it was going to happen.”
Though they don’t have an exact date for their wedding yet, Chase and Bridgette have tentatively selected May of next year as the month they will exchange vows.