Kelli Cohen and Martin Fein became engaged on a Greek Island cruise after a whirlwind romance.
Kelli Cohen and Martin Fein share a beachside kiss on the day of their engagement during a Mediterranean cruise in 1999.
Kelli Cohen Fein & Martin Fein (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
2013 Ballet Ball chair Kelli Cohen Fein in Carolina Herrera (Photo by Fulton Davenport)
Martin & Kelli Cohen Fein at a family weding.
Ah, February, the month of romance. Love is in the air. Cupid is warming up his bow. And our thoughts are turning to romantic engagements. As Valentine’s Day approaches we begin a series of engagement stories.
It was less than year from the time that Houston Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein, a general and pediatric radiologist, and Martin Fein, founder of Martin Fein Interests, first met to their wedding day. As she likes to say, “We dated just over five minutes before we became engaged.”
They met on a blind date, arranged by dear friends Lois and George Stark. Twenty years later, they still celebrate that date, January 16. They also celebrate the day they became engaged on a cruise in the Mediterranean, July 3, and the day they were married, November 21.
“All took place in 1999 . . . it was a very good year,” she says.
Martin invited Kelli to join him on a cruise of the Greek Islands and Turkey with the intent of surprising her by asking for her hand.
As she tells it, “We had just returned from a fascinating, fun day in the souk in Marmaris, Turkey, where a cafe owner read my fortune via the coffee residue remaining at the bottom of my coffee cup . . . and told me ‘a mysterious small package is coming to you very soon.’ ”
The couple had bought a small rug in the market and Kellie assumed that would be the small package.
“I was feeling grateful that my then boyfriend had not been kidnapped and rolled up in a carpet to be sold in the marketplace . . . as Martin had been whisked away in the blink of an eye to confirm payment at the souk bank, leaving me stranded in a tiny shop with four strange men glaring at me and waiting for Martin’s return, which felt like an eternity,” Kelli says. “After those encounters at the souk, we returned to the ship with not a moment to spare thanks to two friendly motorists who raced us to the port on the back of their motorbikes.”
It was a double surprise back in their cabin on the boat. Kelli was so filled with the excitement of the day that she arranged for a private party en suite of chocolate, strawberries and champagne. When the waiter arrived with the goodies, she cooed to her beau, “Surprise.” He responded with “Surprise!” and presented her that “mysterious small package,” a box containing a proxy ring — a turquoise glass Baccarat piece — and then popped the question.
“To this day,” she says, “he claims that it took me 45 minutes to respond. I do recall that he asked to sit down on the couch finally while I continued to ponder . . . I ultimately said yes and we celebrated with champagne that evening at a concert in front of the library façade at Ephesus.”
The Feins share five children, ages 15 to 43; one daughter-in-law; and five grandchildren, ages 1 to 10, with one on the way.
“We thank God every day for our beautiful blessings of love and family,” Kelli tells PaperCity.