Because there’s nothing like a feel-good story, we’re bringing one — rather, four — your way just in time for the holidays. In partnership with Forevermark, we talked to real-life couples in and around New York that’ll be celebrating happy milestones over the following weeks. From new babies to major anniversaries, these pairs and their accomplishments are truly goals.
Joey and Angela: First Holiday With Baby
Joey considers himself to be a confident guy. But, in 2006, the then-freshman at Rutgers was all shaky-knees when he first spotted Angela on campus. After a semester of mustering courage, he made his move on a bus. “I ran ahead to grab the seat next to her. I remember being extremely unsmooth, but I guess it worked,” Joey, now earning his doctorate, laughs. “When I sat down, he was suddenly right next to me and breathing heavily like he had just run a sprint,” teases Angela, a product development manager.
The pair married in May 2012. This July, they welcomed their first child, Emilia, to the world. Parenthood has been an amazing and sometimes hilarious experience for the couple. “We had a close call when we went to meet some friends for lunch,” says Joey. “We both assumed the other parent had remembered to grab the diaper bag. There we were in a nice restaurant with a 2-month-old and no diapers. No wipes. No bottles. Nothing. Luckily, the baby napped through the whole thing. That was a fail that ended up being a bit of a victory.”
The newly minted family of three is getting ready to celebrate their first holiday season together, and there’s lots in the works. Angela’s parents will be flying in from Hong Kong, and they’ll keep up traditions. “Each year we go back to my hometown to cut down our own tree,” explains Joey. “Last time we made the trip, we told my parents we were going to have a baby. It’ll be great to bring Emmy there this time around and think about how much has changed in one year.”
Victoria and Stephen: First Holiday in a New Home
Victoria and Stephen, married for just over a year, almost weren’t a thing. “It was a series of missed connections,” Stephen, a hairdresser, laughs. Victoria, a web developer, was living in Charleston when she met one of Stephen’s coworkers who happened to be in town. When this coworker returned to New York, she told Stephen that she’d met the perfect girl for him … but this girl lived in Charleston and was dating someone else. “I was like, well, that sucks. I totally blew it off,” says Stephen.
Months later, Victoria moved to New York, and the pair met in person at an event. “She told me she could do the Worm, so I convinced her to do the Worm across the dance floor,” says Stephen. “Then she dared me to do it and I totally failed.” “Stephen was flopping like a wet fish,” laughs Victoria. “But I still got her number,” says Stephen.
It took more meetings through mutual friends and then a chance encounter on the street to seal the deal. “Once we had that first date, that was it,” says Stephen.
In October 2015, the couple married. Now, they’re gearing up to celebrate another milestone: It’ll be their first Christmas in a brand new home — the couple moved from the East Village to Brooklyn in June. “I wanted to move to Brooklyn, and I knew Victoria didn’t,” says Stephen. “I came across the building, and convinced Victoria to come out. As soon as we walked in, she said, ‘I want to live here.’ I knew I had won the battle.” Stephen’s made it a tradition to pick out a different glass ornament for Victoria, and this year, the couple is excited to trim the tree in their new space.
Dani and Brian: First Holiday Engaged
While most are planning all kinds of activities for the holidays, engaged couple Dani and Brian simply can’t wait to celebrate Hanukkah by doing nothing at all. Brian, who works in business development, and Dani, founder and CEO of dessert startup Jars by Dani, have maintained a hectic pace for months-upon-months between work and planning their May 2017 wedding.
The craziness all started in 2012 when Dani moved to New York after earning her pre-med degree. Her plan was to pursue research, but instead, she pulled a 180 and enrolled in culinary school. When an Instagram photo from a dinner party went viral — she’d served cake and layered toppings in a mason jar — Dani knew she had something. She officially launched Jars by Dani based on the concept in October 2013. The budding enterprise now boasts Soho and Woodbury Commons pop-up storefronts, not to mention over 33,000 Instagram followers.
Somehow, in the midst of it all, Dani and Brian found each other. “I’ve never said yes to a second date before, but I saw him the night after,” says Dani on meeting Brian in January of 2015. “My first impression was that she was very attractive … and she had cake all over her shirt,” admits Brian.
As the holidays roll around, they’re hoping to celebrate their engagement and upcoming wedding by taking some time off. “Some relaxing down-time … some alone-time would be amazing,” says Dani. And when it comes to gifts? “I’d love diamond studs or a diamond necklace with Brian’s initials,” says Dani. “She has cheap taste,” Brian laughs.
David and Michele: Celebrating Their 30th Anniversary
When asked how they first met, David, a stock trader, and Michele, an interior decorator, pause. “You’ve got to understand something: We’ve been married for 30 years; we went out for a couple of years. Our memories aren’t that great!” jokes Michele.
The Long Island-based couple goes on to share that they met at the University of Buffalo. “I’m going to step out of the room!” laughs Michele when we ask David about his first impression of her. “Why?” asks David. “I was very attracted to her beauty.”
They married on December 13, 1986 and their two children were born in the following years. As the holiday season approaches, so does David and Michele’s 30th anniversary. “It’s just a happy, fun time to celebrate,” says Michele. “We love to come into the city and go to Rockefeller Center, see the store windows, the tree … the general vibe is that the city comes alive.”
This year’s anniversary will be a bit different for David and Michele: They won’t be making the trek to the city from Long Island for holiday-themed anniversary festivities, because they’ll already be living in New York. The couple just sold their house and is about to move to the Upper East Side. They’re looking forward to celebrating with their kids who also live in New York. “We’ll have really nice meal with some friends and family and just enjoy the spirit of the holidays,” says David.
Photography by Liz Clayman.What Is a Sponsor Story?