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Looking for a Wedding Date, He Found a Partner Instead

Nicholas Cerbone was looking for someone to bring to his brother’s wedding when he matched with Emily Sundel on the dating app Bumble on May 30, 2018.

While she was open to being his date, Ms. Sundel didn’t end up attending the event, held days later, with Mr. Cerbone. “I didn’t want to ruin a good thing when I met her online, and I didn’t want to get together in person too soon and mess it up,” he said.

Instead, the two met for a first date on June 5, 2018, at Republic Gastropub in Bloomfield, Conn., where they had cheese steaks and a bottle of red wine. After the meal, Ms. Sundel said, “We both felt like we were not ready for the evening to end. So we walked around the town for over three hours just holding hands and talking.”

A second date, on which they hiked, followed. The care that Mr. Cerbone took in planning it, Ms. Sundel said, made her start to think that he might be “the one.”

“He was packing a cooler for our hike and asked me my preferred brand of water,” she said. “That level of care and thoughtfulness is something that has continued through the relationship and one of the things I love most about him.”

Before the end of the month, the two took a trip with Mr. Cerbone’s father to his family’s vacation home in the Ortley Beach section of Toms River, N.J. During the trip, Mr. Cerbone said that Ms. Sundel had an ease that stood out to him.

“From day one, Emily and my dad had a playful banter and she immediately felt like family,” he said.

Mr. Cerbone, 32, is from Windsor, Conn., and earned an associate degree in accounting and business from Manchester Community College in Manchester, Conn. He is a tax analyst at H&R Block, a tax preparation company, in Agawam, Mass.

Ms. Sundel, 33, from Chappaqua, N.Y., received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University and is the contract compliance manager for Propark Mobility, a parking management company in Hartford, Conn. She was a 12-time N.C.A.A. Division II all-American in swimming, specializing in distance freestyle, and was twice named an N.C.A.A. academic All-American.

Credit…Constance Schiano
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An appreciation for sports, the couple said, provided an early common ground. “Our shared love of sports, specifically N.F.L. Football, has remained a constant in our relationship,” Ms. Sundel said.

Mr. Cerbone, a New York Giants fan, had planned to propose to Ms. Sundel, a New England Patriots fan, when the teams faced off at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 10, 2019. But the forecast for game day was rain. “I was really afraid of that rain,” he said. “It would have ruined everything.” So he decided to propose the night before, as they were getting ready for bed.

The couple, who live in West Hartford, Conn., set a wedding date of Jan. 1, 2021, but decided to postpone it in October 2020, on the day of Ms. Sundel’s bridal shower, because of the pandemic. (At the time, Mr. Cerbone was recovering from Covid.)

A year after they initially planned to wed, the two were married on Jan. 7 at Le Chateau, an event space in South Salem, N.Y. Donna Katsuranis, a Universal Life Church minister, officiated before around 70 guests, all of whom were vaccinated.

Before they got to walk down the aisle, though, the couple had to deal with several surprises the week leading up to their wedding. More than 35 confirmed guests canceled because of the pandemic; Ms. Sundel’s bank account was hacked; and several inches of snow blanketed South Salem the day before the event.

But by the time the ceremony began, all of those stresses had melted away, the bride said.

“I felt like I was floating going into the ceremony,” said Ms. Sundel.

Then, as soon as she reached the altar, her veil fell off. Prepared by everything she and Mr. Cerbone had gone through to get to that moment, Ms. Sundel didn’t miss a beat. “I looked out to everyone and said, ‘2022. Am I right?’”

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