Lauren Thompson 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.”
It took Andrew Smith less than two weeks in Sioux Falls to find his future wife.
It was late summer 2017, and he’d just moved to town from Iowa to take a job as a veterinarian for a feeding company. He downloaded Tinder as a way to meet new people in an unfamiliar city. That’s when he swiped right on Erin Williams.
Erin had been in Sioux Falls for several years, but had also only been on Tinder for a couple weeks. It didn’t take long with Andrew to realize she didn’t need the app anymore. She’d found her teammate in life.
Two years later, Andrew has again found himself starting a new job in an unfamiliar city, but this time, he had Erin by his side. And when he thinks about the future, he knows he’s found his forever teammate as well.
“I think that we’re going to be able to raise a family and have careers and lives that complement each other really well,” he said. “And I think that’s really going to set us up for success.”
Andrew and Erin were an “opposites attract” couple from day one.
He was quiet. She was loud. He was new in town and didn’t know many people. She had an established group of friends ready to hang out whenever.
But they never saw the differences as shortcomings in the other person, Erin said. From the start, they were happy to fill in the gaps for one another.
“I think we’re a good balance,” she said. “It’s sort of like one is strong where the other person is weak.”
They felt comfortable in the relationship very quickly, and about a year after meeting, they moved in together.
It was around that time they both realized marriage was on the horizon. Living together, they were a natural fit, and they were able to find comfort in being together but still doing their own activities.
For Andrew, he knew he wanted Erin as his wife when he found himself going to her first with the big stuff.
“I went to her for advice and comfort,” he said.
And while Erin already knew she wanted to be with Andrew, she really realized how committed she was to their relationship when life threw a wrench in their plans to live together in Sioux Falls. Andrew had gotten a job offer in Missouri, hours away from Erin’s friends, job and family.
Erin never questioned her next step.
“It was like, ‘Oh, well if that’s where Andrew is, that’s where I’ve gotta go,’” she said.
All that stood between Erin and a move to Missouri was a proposal, something she had told Andrew she needed before committing to selling her house and trekking 500 miles south to Joplin.
Andrew popped the question on a hike in Red Rocks State Park while the two were on vacation in Arizona, much to Erin’s surprise. Early in the trip, Andrew had casually mentioned taking the first step in talking to a jeweler, but Erin didn’t know he’d already got the ring picked out, purchased and pocketed.
“I loved completely fooling her,” Andrew said of the proposal.
She said yes, and their wedding is set for Nov. 1, 2019.
When Andrew thinks about the future, he’s excited to have Erin by his side.
“We are very opposite, but we are like two pieces of a puzzle that fit together,” he said.
And Erin, who moved to Missouri this spring with dogs Gertrude and Edith in tow, is looking forward to all of the new experiences marriage will bring to her and Andrew’s relationship.
“He’s just a fun companion for most anything,” she said, “hiking, or making decisions about what to do with the dogs’ dental work. It’s fun to figure out all that stuff together -- the exciting travels, and then also just the mundane stuff. All those new experiences are fun to do with him.”