- Met: April 2001
- Engaged: July 10, 2003
- Wedding: September 25, 2004
Desiree Slane and Jeff Klassen both grew up in Temecula. They went to the same high school: he was a surfer dude with long blond hair; she was a punk rocker. “I thought he was cute,” Miss Slane, 25, says at sunset on a grassy knoll near the end of Carlsbad Village Drive. “He didn’t know I was alive.”
After Mr. Klassen and Miss Slane graduated, he in 1996, she in 1997, they both headed off to San Diego State. “I saw him on campus,” Miss Slane says. “I still thought he was cute.”
One night, the pair ended up at the same college party. “It turned out we had a lot of mutual friends,” Mr. Klassen, 26, explains. “I didn’t even know there would be Temecula people there.” Mr. Klassen saw Miss Slane at the party but didn’t talk to her.
Later that evening, the two found themselves in the same place again. “We both went to Jack in the Box,” Miss Slane explains. “He said, ‘You look familiar.’ He ended up asking for my number. He was so excited to meet me, he forgot to order his food.”
Mr. Klassen, now a civil engineer with close-shaven hair, smiles. “All my friends had already ordered.”
He called Miss Slane five days later. They went on their first date at Chili’s off Mission Gorge Road near the SDSU campus. “I knew he liked me because he wanted to take me to the movies after dinner even though we hadn’t planned on that.” They saw Blow.
“When I dropped her off after the movie, she gave me a kiss,” Mr. Klassen remembers. “A real kiss. I thought, ‘She likes me.’”
A couple days later, Miss Slane and Mr. Klassen started hanging out together. They both knew the relationship was serious after a month. “He’s so sweet and accepting,” Miss Slane says and smiles at Mr. Klassen. “He’s loving and patient, and he has a good heart. We’re opposites. I’m louder and more high-strung. I really love his sense of humor.”
Mr. Klassen returns the compliment. “What set Desiree apart was that she was well-spoken and intelligent. I could really have a conversation with her. She wasn’t just pretty.”
The couple planned a trip to Hawaii with the graduation money Mr. Klassen received from his parents. “Before we left, I took her dad out to lunch and asked if I could marry his daughter.”
“He was thrilled,” Miss Slane confirms. “My dad loves him.”
“We went to Maui,” Mr. Klassen continues. “I didn’t know exactly where I was going to propose. For the first three days, I carried the ring in the box everywhere we went. I was worried she’d wonder why I always had a backpack with me. Finally, the third night we were there, we took a walk at sunset. There were a lot of people on the beach. I wanted to walk farther to get away from everyone. Desiree said, ‘Let’s just sit here. ”
“I was tired,” Miss Slane protests.
“I said, ‘No, let’s go a little farther.’ Then she says, ‘What, are you going to propose?’”
“I was totally joking. I had no idea.”
“I was caught off guard. I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ We walked about ten more steps. Then I dropped down on one knee and asked her. She didn’t cry.”
“I was in shock. I was shaking.”
Miss Slane said yes. Mr. Klassen gave her the ring — a princess-cut diamond set in white gold surrounded by channel-cut diamonds. The former punker girl, who is now an accountant for KPMG in downtown San Diego, will marry the former surfer dude this September. The wedding will be at Heart’s Home Farm in Hemet, not far from Temecula, where they started.