Wednesday, October 27News That Matters

Brexit Was the Start of Romance

Melissa Marcus had been on four dating apps for almost two years when she matched on Bumble with Justin Wass in June 2016.

“He was creative and goofy. In one photo he was wearing a tie-dye shirt with cats on it and he wrote a haiku,” said Ms. Marcus, 30, a senior program officer at New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit educational program that supports New York City public schools. “He was different from the carbon-copy men I dated in the past.”

Mr. Wass had been on Bumble for only three months; Ms. Marcus was his seventh date.

They met two weeks later at the Russian Vodka Room in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, which Mr. Wass had chosen. Though the bar and location were not Ms. Marcus’ first choice, the man steering the conversation was surprisingly enjoyable. “He was welcoming and warm,” she said. “It was the first time I kissed someone on a first date.”

They moved to a second bar, Lily’s, so they could watch the Brexit results. It was 2 a.m. when Mr. Wass dropped her off at home.

“I couldn’t fall asleep or stop smiling that night because I had that excited feeling after meeting her,” said Mr. Wass, 34, a vice president for international wealth management at Morgan Stanley International Business. “I made the decision to throw away the dating games and text the next day.”

A second date happened the following week. Almost instantly they were seeing each other multiple times a week.

“I was guarded because I didn’t want to get hurt,” she said. “But after a month of dating it felt like we had been dating for years. I could see myself being with him for the rest of my life. He became the person I wanted to see all the time.”

For Mr. Wass, “there wasn’t a moment of falling in love, it was a series of moments. I felt like we were in things together. We were able to talk things through very early on.”

Ms. Marcus spent most nights at Mr. Wass’s Turtle Bay apartment returning only to her Chelsea home to pick up belongings. In June 2017, she moved into his apartment.

Two years later, a proposal came in Paris at the Eiffel Tower.

Planning for the wedding happened as quickly as their relationship developed: May 2, 2020 was their date, a venue was booked, a guest list of 200 was made.

Then the coronavirus came. Their wedding was postponed because of the pandemic.

A new wedding date was set, and the ceremony site was changed to the Cat Rock in Central Park from the Village Club at Lake Success, in Great Neck, N.Y. The guest list was cut to 15. Ms. Marcus’ 95-year-old grandmother, Elaine Oster, replaced the rabbi.

On April 2, the couple were married by Ms. Oster, who was ordained by the American Marriage Ministry for the occasion.

“We feel a strong connection to Midtown, it’s where we had our first date and where we live,” said Mr. Wass who added that the couple often picnicked at Sheep’s Meadow. “The spot where we got married is an elevated rock and has an unobstructed, scenic and beautiful view of Manhattan. And Melissa’s grandmother is the coolest person we know.”

“I had a timeline in my head that I had to keep readjusting,” Ms. Marcus said. “With Justin, I let go of the timeline. He’s my family and best friend. I knew he was my person and that I wanted to be with him.”

Mr. Wass felt similarly. “With Melissa I can be completely myself,” he said. “She puts me at ease. She makes everything better. She’s the person I want to share everything with.”