Jennifer Valdes had a sense somebody was watching her whereas she was at a birthday dinner in October 2013 at Café Martorano, a restaurant in Oakland Park, Fla.
“I glanced over and caught a stranger gazing in my direction,” Ms. Valdes mentioned. “I asked my friend Lauren to verify since it was very dark. She confirmed. Just as we were wrapping up, a server placed a shot and a business card in front of me on the table and said, ‘This is from my manager.’”
Brian Skogen, the restaurant supervisor then, had observed Ms. Valdes the second she entered the place.
“When Jen caught my eye, I began plotting how I could get her number,” he mentioned. “I sent a server over with my card and a drink. But after a while, I could stand it no longer and went over and introduced myself.”
After exchanging pleasantries, Ms. Valdes, 35, gave Mr. Skogen, 39, her enterprise card. Two days later he known as and requested Ms. Valdes out on a date for the next Tuesday. They met for cocktails, then shared a bottle of wine and sushi rolls at Katsuya South Beach on the South Beach Hotel. Neither needed the night to finish, in order that they headed to Hyde Beach for after-dinner drinks.
“After that night, I knew there was something different about Brian,” mentioned Ms. Valdes, who graduated from Cornell and acquired a grasp’s diploma in public relations from the University of Florida. “I looked forward to seeing him again and getting to know him better.”
The couple began courting frequently. They took a number of journeys collectively and finally went to the Pacific Northwest to go to Mr. Skogen’s household.
“I immediately loved them,” Ms. Valdes mentioned. “They were so warm, welcoming and, well, normal.”
“Brian and I shared a soft spot for hospitality so we quickly connected our professional experiences and interests, but our personal backgrounds and personalities couldn’t be any more different,” mentioned Ms. Valdes, who now could be a senior account director at RBB Communications in Coral Gables, Fla. “His colleagues and friends would agree that the most commonly used phrase from Brian is ‘Everything will be fine.’ I, on the other hand, typically need a Plan A, B, and C for any situation.”
Ms. Valdes, who grew up in Miami, and Mr. Skogen, who grew up in Woodinville, Wash., and graduated from Eastern Washington University, mentioned they “became a stronger team during the pandemic. Brian taught me how to be more patient and how important it is to take time to slow down and appreciate the little things. I feel so lucky to have him by my side.”
In 2020, the couple determined to rejoice Valentine’s Day a day early and replay their first date. On Feb. 13, that they had dinner at Katsuya, with after-dinner drinks at Hyde Beach. Not feeling as younger as they did after they first met, they ended the evening after one drink. As they have been leaving, however nonetheless standing poolside at Hyde Beach, Mr. Skogen all of a sudden turned to Ms. Valdes and mentioned, “You’re stuck with me.” He then positioned a hoop on her finger. She was in shock, however completely happy.
With the long run unsure because of the pandemic, they determined to maneuver ahead with planning a marriage in early 2021.
“We were ready,” Ms. Valdes mentioned.
And they have been busy. In May 2020, Mr. Skogen additionally opened a brand new restaurant, MKT Kitchen in Coral Gables. He is a co-owner.
They have been married March 20 on the Church of Little Flower in Coral Gables with the Rev. Omar Ayubi, a Roman Catholic priest, main the ceremony earlier than 65 friends. (Guests have been required to put on masks, and the reception had indoor and out of doors seating choices.) Friends and household who couldn’t attend tuned in by way of livestream on YouTube.
“I was the first girl Brian ever brought home and introduced to his family,” Ms. Valdes mentioned. “At the wedding, they shared that’s how they knew I was ‘the one.’ And my dad expressed his happiness of now having a son.”
“The wedding was amazing,” the bride mentioned. “I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day and night.”