With each advance in technology and communication comes the broadening of romantic opportunity. In three different decades, these neighborhood couples’ matches were made possible by modern invention.

Erin Aldrich and Andrew Shean: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Erin Aldrich and Andrew Shean: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

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The online voting craze serves this couple with Lake Highlands roots (who met on Myspace)

In 2010 the online votes of thousands of friends, relatives and fans won Lake Highlands High School alum Erin Aldrich and Andrew Shean a Four Seasons Ultimate Wedding worth $100,000.

It all began in 2007. Myspace was a thing. Erin, a two-sport Olympian (high jump and volleyball) was living in Italy, playing for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball team. Andrew was teaching college and dabbling in business in Southern California, where he also played competitive beach volleyball. Seeking art for a website he was helping to build, he came across erinaldrich.com, replete with attractive images of the lanky beauty — on the court wearing ultra-short spandex, soaring gracefully over a high jump, poolside in a string bikini. It was enough to prompt Andrew to send a Myspace message. And a second. “I just really thought you were beautiful …” wrote Andrew, in a follow-up message offering contrition for the first. “I really apologize for the email yesterday …” it began.

After perusing Andrew’s Myspace profile — which showed a good-looking, tall former college quarterback and pro volleyball player who was, like her, a practicing Christian — Erin replied, launching a five-month-long exclusively online relationship.

When Erin moved to San Diego to train for the Summer Olympics, she and Andrew were able to meet for the first time in person.

“This was before online dating was so common, so I was a little nervous,” Erin says.

Andrew says he was uncertain, too.

Erin retorts, “I find it hilarious that he says he was unsure. He was the one who reached out to me. He knew I was who I said I was,” she says with a giggle.

Neither was disappointed, though the two could not have been more different from each other, they say.

Erin had spent time living in Italy, so she arrived “decked out in these expensive designer clothes,” Andrew recalls.

“Yes, I was fresh from the fashion capital of the world,” Erin continues, “but he was wearing ripped jeans, flip-flops and a ‘Drop Knowledge Not Bombs’ T-shirt.”

They mutually and more than once use the phrase “anal-retentive” to describe Erin and the word “shiftless” for Andrew.

Still, on that first date, the two sat in his car talking until 4 a.m.

The courtship ebbed and flowed and included a brief breakup before an eventual proposal in July 2010.

Immediately they began planning the nuptials. While shopping at NorthPark Center, Erin spotted a call for contestants in a $100,000 wedding contest.

“Being the competitive person that I am, I decided to enter. And win,” Erin says.

Three entrants were chosen based on an essay. Finalists made television appearances on WFAA before a public Internet vote determined the winners.

Erin and Andrew thought up creative ways to garner votes — “We created a Facebook page and, for example, had friends and family use the computers at the Apple store, since you could only vote once per computer …” Erin says.

A blog post on advocatemag.com also publicized their efforts and gained votes.

They handily dominated the contest and married in 2011 in Fort Worth.

“It was such an unbelievable experience,” Erin says. “We had a wild time. It was just over-the-top extravagant.”

They took some time after the wedding to enjoy life, travel and play volleyball, but now things are getting really real — the baby is due this spring.


Online personals bring Lake Highlands couple together, internet sleuthing leads to one-of-a-kind engagement gift

Marshall and Joy Hayes: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Marshall and Joy Hayes: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

In 2005 Marshall Hayes, who owns Lucky Ducky Lube Center and Car Wash in Lake Highlands, met the love of his life, Joy, on the online dating service Yahoo! Personals. Neither was optimistic about finding The One online, but both were busy, intelligent, technologically savvy professionals who figured exploration of this increasingly popular digital dating world could not hurt.

“I admit I was one of those people who kind of snickered at those who met on the Internet until one of my good friends, Elizabeth, met her now-husband online,” Joy says. After serving as Elizabeth’s maid of honor, Joy relented.

[quote align=”right” color=”#000000″]I figured I was going to just continue to date women, but not find one person that I would want to spend every day with … That all changed when I met Joy.”[/quote]

Marshall’s photo was cute and, according to his profile, he cooked, which was appealing, Joy says. But she was skeptical about his vaguely stated area of profession — “the entertainment industry.”

(Turns out that was the catchall phrase for automotive-care-center owner, food truck vendor and television producer, among other ventures.)

Marshall, too, had his doubts. A media-obsessed entrepreneur, Marshall was all for Internet matchmaking. His problem was a lack of faith in true love.

“I figured I was going to just continue to date women, but not find one person that I would want to spend every day with,” he says. “I treasured my alone time. Even when I had girlfriends in the past, I would save a day just for me. That all changed when I met Joy.”

Marshall and Joy’s first date turned into a six-hour conversation during which they discovered a mutual love for the writings of Malcolm Gladwell and the live music of Reverend Horton Heat.

After a year of dating, Marshall tracked down author Malcolm Gladwell and asked him if he would consider signing a copy of his book “The Tipping Point,” which Marshall planned to use as a prop in his proposal to Joy. (He would place the ring inside and have Gladwell write, “Glad I could help” on the front cover and “Congratulations” on the back.)

Gladwell eventually agreed and signed the book, but Marshall could not wait for its arrival. Instead he proposed on Oct. 10, 2006, the one-year anniversary of their first date. The autographed book arrived the following Monday.

They married in September 2007. The car-care center is still in business (on Royal at Audelia), and they are parents to two little boys.


‘Cutting-edge’ recording equipment leads to love for a couple of music aficionados

Sam and Audrey Sequenzia with their son: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Sam and Audrey Sequenzia with their son: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

In 1997, before Facebook or smartphones, Lake Highlands residents Sam and Audrey Sequenzia met the old-fashioned way, in person. But Sam explains how their 18-year relationship started with a common interest in making music and the era’s most cutting-edge recording equipment.

“Newly armed with a Tascam Portastudio (model 414, I think) a glorified cassette-tape deck, yes, cassette, our mutual friends and I had decided to use my apartment as a makeshift studio … to record the best blues album, uh, ever.”

Before Apple computers and GarageBand, musicians used the groundbreaking Portastudio to record and blend multiple audio tracks, Sam explains, “so the existence of a current-day MacBook would have precluded any chance of meeting Audrey at my apartment at TimberCreek (which today is the site of a Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart).”

Audrey’s friends warned her that Sam was “kind of weird” and that he had just endured a breakup, she later revealed. But as she entered the apartment/studio, her eyes locked with Sam’s; the chemistry was instant.

Sam was wearing studio headphones, a bushy shock of hair jutting out from them. Audrey was a brunette, Birkenstock-clad beauty.

She stayed all night, listening to Sam and the band record, falling asleep on the couch and eating pizza the next day with Sam at his apartment/studio.

Precisely four years later the two married atop Winfrey Point. One of Sam’s bandmates from the Tascam session led a five-piece jazz ensemble that played Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady” at the reception.

A few years later they brought baby Judson into the world. Sam did not exactly become a world-famous blues artist, but he is still making music.

“I have no idea what became of that Tascam, or that cassette for that matter,” Sam says. “Wherever they are now, I owe them, big time. Best blues album, ever.”