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  • Dion Lim and Evan Panesis

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    Charlotte couple Evan Panesis, a professional poker player and Dion Lim, WCNC NewsChannel 36 anchor are pictured at their home with their dogs "Georgie" and "Frankie."
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    Dion and Evan at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar with Dion's namesake roll, the "Neon Dion."
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    Dion and Evan at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar in SouthPark.
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    Dion and Evan at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar in SouthPark.
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    Dion and Evan at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar in SouthPark.
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  • Dion Lim and Evan Panesis

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Newsworthy romance

By Kelli Robinson

Posted: Friday, Jan. 13, 2012

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When Dion Lim’s boyfriend Evan Panesis proposed to her in 2009, she can’t really say she was surprised. “I had already found the ring a few weeks earlier and took it out for a test spin to see how it felt!” Lim confesses. The WCNC NewsChannel 36 anchor was thrilled, said yes immediately, and the couple tied the knot in June of last year.

Test-driving the ring before the proposal may be the most routine part of the SouthPark couple’s relationship so far!

'He started yelling at me like a stalker'

Were it not for a news story about neighborhood crime and skipping class, the two may never have met. After graduating from Emerson College in Boston, Lim got her start in television as a reporter in Springfield, Mass. Panesis, a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was skipping class one day to play online poker when he spied Lim snooping through backyards in his neighborhood. She was putting together a story about crime in the area. “He started yelling at me like a stalker to see if I could interview him for the story,” says Lim. “I ignored him until my photographer suggested I speak to him, and he actually gave me a great sound bite.”

Panesis read the crime story online and contacted Lim through her work email address. “After giving it some thought, I figured I had nothing to lose, so I asked him out on a date,” replies Lim. The two hit it off right away.

Careers put the couple on the move

Lim’s career took her to Overland, Kan., where she became morning anchor for KMBC in Kansas City. Panesis followed, having decided to pursue his interest in professional poker, a job that fits well with the travels that accompany Lim’s job in television. When it comes to professional poker, Lim describes her husband as nothing less than “brilliant.” Panesis is one of the top online cash players in the world.

“After graduation he was unsure if going pro made sense,” says Lim. “I told him to go for it, and so far it’s worked out very well. Having moved around a lot, it’s great he can work online and travel to do his job.”

'Technically Georgie proposed to me'

The couple dated for almost three years before Panesis popped the question. Interestingly enough, annoyance was Lim’s initial reaction. Morning news anchors aren’t known for being night owls, explaining why she was asleep one evening at 7:30 p.m. “(Evan) put some bacon on the bed and Georgie, our Yorkie pup, hopped up on the bed and began eating the bacon,” says Lim. “I wasn’t happy about this – I was trying to sleep!”

She noticed the pup sporting a cute shirt, from which a small black box holding an engagement ring fell out. “Georgie presented the ring, so technically he proposed to me!” Lim says.

The couple was engaged for two years and planned a wedding in Boston for close friends and family to attend.

Running of the news anchor bride

Lim’s search for her wedding gown led her to Boston’s Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides, a yearly event that sends brides into a frenzy, shopping the department store for designer gowns at bargain prices. “We camped out for 12 hours to attend the event,” says Lim. “There’s actually a video of my experience on YouTube, and the news station in Kansas City videoed it. It was total madness but totally worth it!”

Lim snagged a $9,000 Reem Acra gown for $699. But once back in Kansas, on a whim, she also purchased a reception dress that was perfect for the fun party she was planning. “This dress was fun and gorgeous with rosettes and a slightly asymmetrical hem,” she explains. “I loved it!”

A great Segway from engaged to newlywed

On a beautiful June Saturday in Boston, Lim and Panesis said, “I do,” in front of 150 friends and family. The ceremony and reception were held at the New England Aquarium, and it was an experience that both the couple and their guests won’t soon forget.

“The only way to describe the day is to say it was unreal,” says Lim. “People in shark and turtle costumes greeted our guests, and a penguin attended the reception. There was a martini ice luge and a diver in the shark tank holding a congratulations sign!”

And what better way to start this festive party than by making a grand entrance? Lim and Panesis arrived as husband and wife on Segways. “We took friends on a Segway tour of Boston the day before and asked the tour leader if we could borrow them for our wedding,” says Lim.

Married life is the same – and it’s great

After the wedding, the newlyweds spent a week in Savannah, but the real honeymoon came last December with a trip to Hawaii. Now they’ve settled back into their Charlotte routine, which includes playing tennis and frequent visits to The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar (where Dion has a namesake sushi roll, the Neon Dion!). They’re enjoying life as a happily married couple – which turns out isn’t much different. “(Evan) and I just hit it off right away, and we keep getting stronger as a couple,” says Lim. “When people ask how it feels to be married, I say ‘It just feels the same! It’s great!’”

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