Tiana Idoni-Matthews met Nate Koppel, from Woodside, Queens, on JSwipe after extending her dating radius from five to 25 miles.
Tiana Ehinome Idoni-Matthews, who lived on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, connected with Nathaniel Wagner Koppel, who lived in Woodside, Queens, on the dating app JSwipe in January 2017 after she extended her Manhattan-centric dating radius from five to 25 miles.
A few weeks earlier, a dating coach had advised that “expanding filters can be refreshing” at a workshop-dinner she attended at JCC Manhattan. (Ms. Idoni-Matthews is now on JCC Harlem’s advisory board.)
She met Mr. Koppel, 35, who goes by Nate, after work one evening at Dive Bar, which is next door to her building.
“I was at a point in my life that I wanted to find someone serious,” said Ms. Idoni-Matthews, also 35 and a global marketing lead at Facebook in New York. She was previously an executive producer on the film “Hello, My Name is Doris,” a 2015 comedy starring Sally Field. She graduated from Harvard and received an M.F.A. in creative producing from Columbia.
“I had gotten out of a three-year relationship, and was enjoying myself meeting people and having fun,” said Mr. Koppel, who grew up in Naperville, Ill., and is an attorney adviser at the Social Security Administration in New York. He graduated from Drake University and received a law degree, cum laude, from the University of Illinois.
He quickly embraced their “commonality” — they each completed a Harvard Business School online certificate program for professionals, and loved jazz.
“Obviously I thought she was cute,” he added.
Ms. Idoni-Matthews, a Nigerian-American who had converted to Judaism a couple of years earlier, said that he didn’t make her feel “different.”
“There was an acceptance of my whole person,” said Ms. Idoni-Matthews, who grew up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
When he offered to accompany her home after meeting at the bar, she pointed to her building a few steps away. So they strolled a couple of blocks along Amsterdam Avenue before he walked her home.
“We had a lot to talk about, to share,” he said. “She was a little more observant religiously that I was. She had a kosher kitchen. Everybody’s got their own journey.”
A couple of weeks later they went to Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem to listen to King Solomon Hicks, a blues musician, followed by a friend’s birthday party at a nearby restaurant. They later had their first kiss.
When their third date — dinner at Cookshop in Chelsea and a walk along the High Line — surprisingly landed on Valentine’s Day, they went with it.
“I knew there was something romantic there,” he said.
Soon they traveled back and forth from Manhattan to Queens. He enjoyed a Shabbat dinner at her place, Passover with her friends on the Upper West Side and Easter at her sister’s apartment in Harlem with her parents, where they had a Nigerian Jollof rice dish.
In late July 2017, after a trip to a Montana music festival, their relationship became clear to him.
“It was hard to imagine wanting anything more than being with her,” he said.
In September he and Djemma, his rescue black labrador-husky mix, moved in with her and her rescue cat Tallulah. A month later they all moved to Harlem.
On April 1, 2019, he proposed on a beach of star-shaped sand in Taketomi, one of the Yaeyama Islands in Japan.
“My mother had given me my grandmother’s ring,” he said. Ms. Idoni-Matthews is taking the groom’s name.
They planned to get married in October 2020, with about 200 guests, at Tarrytown House Estate on the Hudson in Tarrytown, N.Y., but after the pandemic hit, they postponed it, and on that date adopted Riley, a pit bull rescue dog. They then postponed a May date, waiting for all guests to get vaccinated.
On Aug. 22, Rabbi Jeffrey Brown officiated, before 100 vaccinated guests, with a jazz band at the Tarrytown estate, and then celebrated with the Nigerian money-spraying tradition on the dance floor. (A traditional Nigerian ceremony is to follow eventually at the bride’s family home in the Maitama district of Abuja, Nigeria.)
Despite the rain from Tropical Storm Henri, Mr. Koppel said, “It was a magical event.”