Soon-to-be-married New York power couple Kim Stolz and Lexi Ritsch are living the dream: head-over-heels in love, starting a new business, and basking in a circle of supportive family and friends. As co-owner and operations manager, respectively, of SoHo’s newest restaurant and cocktail lounge, The Dalloway, these two are proof that you can mix work and pleasure.
In addition to running a business, they’re also busy planning their dream wedding. The couple is slated to seal the deal on June 15 in Kim’s parents’ backyard. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Kim and Lexi kindly indulged all the hopeless romantics here at GO with the details of their picture-perfect love story.
They both clearly remember the first time they saw each other at a dive bar in the Hamptons. The rest of the room seemed to fade away. “She was talking with friends and the backyard lighting just lit up her face,” Lexi recalls. “My heart smiled the second I saw her; I knew from that moment that she would be in my life.”
“We started talking moments later and spent every night together from that point forward,” Kim says. “I still see her across a room and forget where I am.”
Before long, it was obvious they both knew where the relationship was heading. It became a kind of game, a fun question: who would propose first?
“We had both been shopping for rings and I always knew I wanted to propose, and I had a big plan for May 2012—but she figured me out,” Lexi tells us. “We had a girls’ weekend planned in May to travel to Antigua with our moms and spend a weekend together. My mom and I had it all planned out—she was going to help me with the candles and the rose petals in our suite, etc.
“Well, in February, Kim says, ‘I know you’re going to propose in Antigua.’ So I needed a new plan and I needed it right away, because it was the only way I could surprise her! I put a rush on the ring (it was being specifically designed) and was ready to propose over the weekend in the Hamptons. I had quite a few proposal scenarios running through my head. But then I got a call from Kim, saying, ‘I’ve got a surprise for you!’ She had arranged for my best friend Cara to join us in the Hamptons! So I spent the weekend carrying the ring around in my bag and I proposed on Monday because I simply couldn’t wait any longer. I took her to dinner, forced her to order the lobster, her favorite, and ordered champagne – she pulled me close and said, ‘Is there someone else? Is that why you’re being so nice?’
“We laughed and I fumbled to find the ring in my jacket that I’d refused to check at a 5-star restaurant and demanded that she marry me. Literally, I said, ‘Marry me!’ and the rest was history. A dozen Instagram photos and a few phone calls to our parents later, and we were engaged. I did have to ask her to actually say the word ‘yes’ about 15 minutes after she had the ring on her finger!”
Why get married? For Kim and Lexi, it was an easy decision. “For the same reasons everyone else in the world wants to – because we love each other, because we want to make the lifetime commitment, because calling her my wife for the first time will be the most amazing thing ever,” Lexi says. “It’s simply our destiny. We are such a great team and we are so in love.”
And, both say making it legal is very meaningful to them. The past few years have been huge for marriage equality – it’s legal in nine states, officially on the platform of the Democratic Party, and publicly supported by the president. But, of course, there’s a lot more work to do, and being able to get legally married in their own state is something these ladies don’t take for granted.
“While I do believe that marriage as an institution has some fundamental inconsistencies, having the same rights as straight couples is extremely important to me,” Kim says. “From a legal standpoint, we deserve the right. From a more emotional standpoint, I am very much looking forward to the day when I can call Lexi my wife.”
They also believe marriage will make them a stronger couple. “Being able to take our relationship to that next level will be significant for us and for our partnership,” Kim says.
Okay. It’s decided, it’s happening. How did their families react to the big news?
“I have the most supportive parents I could have ever dreamt of,” Lexi says. “My mom and I went ring shopping together last Christmas for Kimmy and she kept correcting all the other mothers in there who said, ‘That is a gorgeous ring for you (automatically thinking it was for me).’ She’d say, ‘No, it’s for her girlfriend, Kimmy – she’s proposing!’ My entire family adores Kim, everyone from my nieces, who are 9 and 10, to my siblings. She couldn’t be a better match for my family; she fits right in. Kim’s parents are really wonderful too, I feel so blessed to have them in my life. It’s such an amazing feeling to have two sets of parents who you love and trust and simply enjoy spending time with!”
“My parents love Lexi and already see her as their daughter, so this was just an added level of excitement,” Kim adds. “Plus, our wedding is at my parents’ house in Bridgehampton – they’re basically becoming wedding planners as we speak!”
Wedding planning has been known to induce some truly epic meltdowns. But, our girls are keeping their cool (mostly!). They dished some details on how everything’s coming along.
“It’s going great!” Lexi reports. “I was a wedding planner for many years, but wow, is it different planning your own! I would definitely say I’ve had my fair share of Bridezilla moments…oops. We have a big tent and an amazing band. We ditched the cake and are doing something more fun for dessert. I’m so excited; the menu is amazing! As for colors and flowers, we’re thinking peonies and hydrangeas. We love pale and muted colors, pastels, and our bridesmaids are wearing gray.”
“It’s fun! But also complicated. So many things go into the planning that you aren’t aware of,” Kim tells us. “Limiting the guest list is tough. There are so many people I would absolutely love to have there who we simply can’t add. But it’s going to be gorgeous. I am so excited. We’re both wearing white dresses, but very different ones – although, I suppose I can’t be sure, considering we won’t be seeing each other’s dresses until the big day!”
A few words of wisdom for other couples thinking about taking the plunge:
“Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks,” Kim advises. “Do what makes you happy. If that means getting married and having a huge wedding, then do it. If it means escaping to City Hall one afternoon, do that. It should be a decision that reflects you as a couple.”
WORKIN’ WITH WIFEY
Every great story has some conflicts, and every couple faces their own set of challenges. “Our biggest challenge is that we’re so busy all the time, between the restaurant and Kim’s other job [as Vice President of Equity Derivatives Sales for Citigroup] – we always have plans, are working late, etc.,” Lexi says. “Sometimes it gets to be 9pm before I can just look in her eyes, take a deep breath, and say, ‘How was your day?’ It’s always a balancing act but we make sure we make time for each other and our relationship.”
Kim concurs. “The Dalloway has been a challenge, but we have really emerged closer because of it,” she says. “As Lexi runs the day-to-day operations of the place and I’m the owner, it has given us the opportunity to start a completely new kind of relationship that both adds to and enriches our romantic relationship.”
Clearly, the future is bright for these ambitious sweethearts. Kim sums up what she’s looking forward to most: “Spending my life with the love of my life!”
“Just time,” Lexi agrees. “Spending time with my best friend, growing old together and making memories. Laughing every single day, growing our family, loving her better and more everyday.”