When Herman Stanley Parish IV, who goes by Stan, walked into Macao Trading Company, a restaurant in Manhattan, in November 2013, he didn’t know that he was about to begin a love story that would unfold across three countries and two continents.
Mr. Parish had been having drinks with a friend, Peter Martin, who suggested that they meet up with Mr. Martin’s cousin, Anna Rosa Sánchez Bendahan, and a few of her co-workers at the restaurant. After chatting with Ms. Sánchez Bendahan for only a few minutes, Mr. Parish turned to Mr. Martin and said that she was “the most impressive and attractive woman I had ever seen.”
Mr. Martin, in response, told Mr. Parish that he had no chance, in part because Ms. Sánchez Bendahan was in a relationship at the time.
For the next few years Mr. Parish’s attraction to her became a running joke between him and Mr. Martin. Whenever Mr. Parish would see Mr. Martin, he would ask after Ms. Sánchez Bendahan, sometimes before saying hello.
His persistence paid off a few years later. By the early summer of 2017, Ms. Sánchez Bendahan was no longer in a relationship, and Mr. Parish asked her out as soon as he learned she was single. They went to dinner at the Grill at the Four Seasons in Manhattan, and became so enamored with each other during their date that they didn’t even notice Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake were sitting at tables on either side of them.
“That was probably the best date ever,” said Ms. Sánchez Bendahan, 33. “I immediately fell in love with him.”
The couple dated casually for the next year and a half, before parting ways amicably when Ms. Sánchez Bendahan moved to Barcelona and Mr. Parish, 38, moved to Los Angeles.
They didn’t keep in close touch, but in July 2020, when Mr. Parish went to Rome with Mr. Martin and another friend, Ms. Sánchez Bendahan decided to join the group from Spain. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to rekindle a romantic relationship with Mr. Parish and intended to keep her distance, but soon found herself staying up late with him, talking into the night.
“I’ve always really loved him as a person,” Ms. Sánchez Bendahan said. “We really enjoyed each other’s company and the conversation.”
After the trip to Rome, Ms. Sánchez Bendahan returned to Barcelona, and Mr. Parish couldn’t shake the feeling that letting her go had been a mistake. He wasn’t alone in his opinion, he said.
“After she left, her cousin and my best friend sat me down and said, ‘You are the best version of yourself when she’s around,’” said Mr. Parish, who then decided to change the plans he had made to stay in Italy for a few more weeks, and booked a trip to Barcelona instead.
When he arrived, Mr. Parish and Ms. Sánchez Bendahan planned a trip to Ibiza with a group of friends, where they fell for each other again. Instead of returning to Los Angeles after their trip in Ibiza was over, Mr. Parish moved in with Ms. Sánchez Bendahan in Barcelona.
“She’s the best person that I’ve ever met,” said Mr. Parish. “I knew that that’s who I wanted to be with forever.”
A graduate of Wesleyan University, Mr. Parish is the author of the novels “Down the Shore” and “Love and Theft.” Ms. Sánchez Bendahan, who graduated from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and has a master’s degree in international relations from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, is a senior commercial manager at Klarna. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in clinical sexology and couples counseling at the Instituto Superior de Estudios Psicológicos in Barcelona.
In September 2021, the two returned to Ibiza, where Mr. Parish proposed. They were married on Dec. 31, 2021, in a private room at Gemma, the restaurant at the Bowery Hotel in New York. Sarah Ritchie, a Universal Brotherhood minister, officiated at the ceremony before 10 guests, all of whom were vaccinated and tested negative for Covid.
Later that evening, the newlyweds celebrated their marriage at the groom’s sister’s home in New Hope, Pa., with about 25 guests, all of whom were also vaccinated and had tested negative for Covid. Now that they are married, the couple plan to move to Rome at the end of the month.