5280‘s Single in the City party—where we celebrate our top singles with stiff drinks, yummy food, and good music—is just around the corner. Yes, it’s a fun night, and, yes, it raises money for Volunteers of America, but it’s also possible you’ll meet the love of your life. Here’s the proof: Allen and Ricci Barton met at our 2009 Top Singles party—and they’ve been together ever since. Here, they tell their love story in their own words.
Ricci Barton: I was so against meeting anyone. But a big group of girls were going, and it was for charity.
Allen Barton: I had just moved back to town from Memphis. I’d been to the singles party in the past and I asked my buddy—whose wife is 5280 food editor Amanda Faison—if there was another one coming up. There was.
RB: Boom. There was this guy who stood out from everyone. Immediately, we locked eyes.
AB: I saw this girl—really pretty, big eyes. She kind of stared [at me]. I stared back.
RB: I was in line for a drink; he was in the VIP area. As the line moved forward, I slowly approached where he stood. When I was right in front of him, I placed my hand on his chest [and said], “Great shirt, you look really nice.” I dangled the bait and walked away.
AB: I was dumbfounded, I guess. Instead of pretty eyes, I went for “nice necklace.” Later on, I couldn’t find her anywhere.
RB: He looked like a lighthouse, scanning back and forth—looking for me!
AB: Someone came up and put their arm around my waist. We spent the rest of the evening together, including going out for drinks after the party. We stayed out late.
RB: That night my girlfriend pulled me aside to say how amazing we were to witness; she could see the fireworks between us… He called at 8:30 the next morning. We didn’t spend a day apart for the next two weeks.
AB: We spent the next 14 days straight together. We were inseparable.
RB: I don’t believe in love at first sight—at least I didn’t until that night! This February will be four years together. We got married in January 2012 and had a baby, Brady Allen Barton, this fall.
AB: Go [to the party] with an open mind. You can meet a lot of great people…like your future wife.
—Image courtesy of Ricci and Allen Barton