Lauren remembers swiping right on Jack Berger’s Tinder profile.
His picture was cute, and she saw they had mutual friends. And, the real kicker, he had a dog.
Jack liked Lauren, too, and they started chatting in the fall of 2016. Soon — after some prompting by one of Lauren’s not-so-sober friends — the couple met downtown for their first date.
Neither of them knew then, as they sipped on tall IPAs at Lucky’s, how far the relationship would go. But they both knew they were comfortable with the person sitting across from them.
Two years later, they were planning their wedding.
The signs of affection started even before the first date began. Jack, who was living downtown with his sister at the time, had a decision to make. Keep the mustache, or shave? His sister told him go ahead and keep the mustache, but only if he thinks he won’t like his date.
He thought about his early conversations with Lauren and decided to shave.
For Lauren’s part, it was clear she liked Jack because she always wanted to see more of him. When they were chatting on Tinder, she wanted him to say more. When he moved to wrap up their first date after only one beer, she wished he’d stayed for one more, and when Jack walked her to her car after their first date and left with a hug, she again wanted more.
“I thought he was going to kiss me, but he didn’t,” she said of their first date.
But Jack’s superstitions got the better of him. You can’t kiss on the first date, he said, not if you like the girl.
“I almost thought it was like a curse,” he said.
Curse or not, it didn’t take long before the couple started to realize they had something real.
They saw how much they had in common, both in their interests and in their personalities. Both Jack and Lauren are includers, the kind of people who are always excited to see you walk into the party. They also have a knack for matching each others mood, recognizing when the other needs leeway to take the day to relax or, instead, needs that extra push to get out and go exploring.
As the months went on, they started mapping their future together. They met each other’s families, and conversations drifted deeper into more personal topics. All the while, Jack and Lauren were becoming more comfortable with each other and opening up in new ways.
Jack is the only guy Lauren’s dated with whom she says she’s 100 percent her authentic self.
“I just didn’t think that was possible to find,” she said.
And Jack couldn’t help but fall in love with Lauren. She was a breath of fresh air in his life, he said. He was the first to say, “I love you,” and it just slipped out. But, boy, did he mean it.
“It was pretty much right there and then when I was like, ‘I’ve got something special here.’”
The couple was engaged on Oct. 26, 2018 at Great Bear Recreation Park, and Jack made sure to bring not only the diamond ring, but also the thing that attracted his soon-to-be bride to him in the first place -- his dog, Sven.
“She could say no to me,” he joked. “But she couldn’t say no to him.”