Engaged: Beth Gampel & Adam Abell

Beth Gampel and Adam Abell
Beth Gampel and Adam Abell (Handout art from the couple, Baltimore Sun)

Their competitive natures led to lots of initial break-ups in college, but now playing sports together is a way to bond.

Wedding date: May 12, 2012

Her story: Beth Gampel, 28, grew up in Columbia and is an occupational therapist at Genesis Healthcare. Her father, Howard Gampel, is a pharmacist at Food Lion in Odenton. Her mother, Joanne Gampel, is a retired federal social science analyst.

His story: Adam Abell, 27, grew up in Pikesville and Owings Mills and is senior territory sales manager for Healthpoint Biotherapeudics. His father, Stuart Abell, is a sales representative for the Safilo Group eyeglass company. His stepmother is Leslie Abell, a Baltimore area interior designer and owner of L.A. Designs. His mother, Bonnie Hartley, is a retail sales associate.

Their story: They met at a New Year's Eve party in Pikesville their senior year of high school, when 2001 became 2002. She went to the party with a childhood friend who lived in Pikesville.

"Another mutual friend of ours who was at the party introduced us," says Beth. "He knew we both wanted to go to the same college.

"It's in Connecticut and not many people around here had heard of it. Quinnipiac [University] is known for its health science program. At that point I wanted to do occupational therapy and he wanted to do physical therapy. We ended up talking a lot that night."

"I bet one of my friends that I was going to get her number that night," Adam says.

He got the number, but failed to use it.

"I was too shy and I never called," he says. "I was just too scared."

So Beth went to the Internet.

"We had screen names on AOL. I asked another friend for his screen name and I messaged him. We chatted on there. Then, he asked me on a date. Our date was a double date with my friend and his friend. We went to a Bennigan's and then a pool hall."

The talking and dating continued. And the following school year, they both went to college in Connecticut, Beth to Quinnipiac and Adam to University of Hartford.

"We were an hour apart and we would take turns taking the bus to see each other," she says.

"I played soccer there," says Adam. "She would travel almost every weekend to watch my games,"

In their sophomore year, Adam transferred to Quinnipiac, where they both played soccer (Beth had been injured freshman year so didn't play then). And their competitive natures reigned both on — and off — the field.

"Once he did transfer, we had many breakups, probably one a week," Beth says, with a laugh.

"There were ups and downs in college," she says.

After graduation in 2006, Beth stayed for grad school, while Adam went back to Baltimore and worked at Aerotech, a recruiting company.

"We stayed together during that time," says Beth, "and then got to come home for my last three months of grad school. And we've been together ever since.

Further commitments followed with a move together to Canton and getting their cockapoo, Kory, in 2007.

What makes it work: It's all about sporting personalities, a shared sense of humor and 10 years of knowing each other.

"We're always doing something," says Beth. "We play the social sports in Baltimore with Baltimore Sports & Social Club. We do softball. We do kickball. He plays in a men's flag football team. I still play soccer. We play broom ball."

"We're both highly competitive and we always joke about it," says Adam. " We used to play soccer against each other. We have a pool table in our basement and the loser's always in a bad mood for a while. It's just something we live with," Adam says with a laugh.

"We are pretty competitive," says Beth. "We will get into the stupidest arguments about nothing, like at a kickball game. But we always make up immediately because we both realize it was just funny. We end up laughing about it."

The proposal: "To be honest, I didn't want to do a huge thing," Adam says. "I was just waiting for the time when it would feel right. I had the ring." .

That time arrived on a gorgeous Saturday night, October 23, 2010.

"We have a rooftop deck," Beth says. "We had friends coming over that evening."

"And I thought, 'I'm going to propose tonight,' " he says.

"He said, 'Let's have a glass of wine on the roof before they come over,'" Beth says. "We go up there, and he ends up doing this long proposal. I thought it was another fake proposal [which he'd been doing for a while to joke with her] so I was playing with my phone. Then, I turned around and he was actually on his knee with the ring. I think I was in shock. Then, he said something and was teary-eyed. And then I knew it was real."

The ring: "She gave me a couple of ring designers that she liked," says Adam. "So, I went on their websites and I looked at rings that were listed as [being] modern style. And I found one that I thought she would really like. I took the picture to Michael's Jewelers in Pikesville — now it's called Misha & Co. in Greenspring Station [Lutherville]. I went to them because my grandmother had worked for them for a number of years. [Owner/jewelry designer] Michael worked with me, designed on the computer and did a wax prototype of the ring, which I approved. It's a radiant cut diamond, kind of squared. It's very modern, with three princess-cut diamonds on each side of the platinum band. It was exactly what she wanted."

The wedding: The invitations, too, had a clean, contemporary feel. Beth found them on etsy.com.

That set the tone for the wedding itself.

It will be in a ballroom on the 12th floor of The Belvedere. The cocktail hour will precede the ceremony, officiated by Rabbi Mark J. Panoff of Temple Isaiah in Fulton.

"He did my bat mitzvah," says Beth.

A seated dinner and dancing will follow.

About 200 guests will sit at black and white covered tables. Beth and Adam will have their own sweetheart table. The main decorations will be the table centerpieces, created by Kim Tyson of Canton's My Flower Box Events.

"It's a grouping of three vases in varying heights," says Beth. "Inside at the bottom of each will be river rocks and orchid blooms.The largest has red orchids with a floating candle, the medium has two tiered red calla lilies and the smallest will have an ivory pillar candle."

The color scheme for the wedding party is the same.

"I wanted black dresses with red shoes for my bridesmaids, because it's indoors and elegant," she says.

The maid of honor, six bridesmaids, and one junior bridesmaid all had their choice of short black silk taffeta dresses from J. Crew. And each could find her own pair of red shoes, with Beth giving the final "nay" or "yay."

They'll carry bouquets that will be a mix of white hydrangeas and white orchids.

The groomsmen are renting classic tuxedos from Tuxedo House. With black bow-ties, black braces, no cummerbund and laydown collars, simple black and white is what Adam wants.

He, himself will wear a tux purchased from J. Crew that has a slim silhouette and notched lapel.

Beth found her dress at a sample sale at Betsy Robinson. Even though it was several sizes too big, she fell in love with it. Several alterations later, she says it's perfect — modern, with some black touches. Her shoes are black Kate Spade peep toe pumps with crystal embellished bows on the toe.

Her bouquet of red charm peonies with deep burgundy red orchids — as well as her bridesmaids' — also are designed by Tyson.

Other design components are courtesy of Beth's best friend — and maid-of-honor — Lauren Katz, a graphic designer/illustrator.

"She made name tags for everyone at our engagement party," says Beeth. " She took our engagement photos. She blew up one and put it in a frame and had everyone there write a little note...She designed the maps for guests to get to the Belvedere, and the rehearsal dinner and brunch invitations to match the invitations," says Beth.

The couple chose a steak and salmon combo for dinner, with passed hors d'oeuvres in the cocktail hour that will include a touch of Maryland in some crab tempura.

Patisserie Poupon will provide the cake, a side-stacked creation that's half chocolate with chocolate ganache and half genoise with fresh strawberries and mousseline.

Then there will be the music.

"That is definitely the most important part of the night," says Adam.

"I really wanted a band," says Beth. "Our friends recommended the band Millennium, from Washington, D.C. The lead singer — Travis Tucker — was on one of the first seasons of American Idol. We listened to them. They had a great play list. So we booked them immediately."

They both say — other than the ceremony — what they're looking forward to the most is their first dance as a married couple.

Oh. And the honeymoon. They leave 10 days later for a 12-night Mediterranean cruise that starts in Barcelona, Spain, and ends in Venice, Italy.