A classic best-friend’s-boyfriend connection brought Danica Gould and John Stamatis together, in 2015, but it eventually emerged that their connections went back another generation. Just a coincidence? The couple isn’t convinced.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2015, Ms. Gould’s closest friend from college was in New York, and invited a group of friends to get together at a bar on the Lower East Side. Mr. Stamatis, scrolling through the Facebook invite list, saw Ms. Gould’s picture.
“I thought it would be nice if she was there, because she is very pretty,” said Mr. Stamatis, now 33 and a partner in TigerRisk Capital Markets and Advisory, an investment bank in New York. He graduated from Harvard, and is also the bassist for Expost, a band that performs annually on the Fourth of July at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, N.Y., and at Winter Jam in New York, too.
When the day came, Ms. Gould’s friend introduced the two, and they spent much of the evening talking.
“It wasn’t a setup or anything — we always wonder why it wasn’t,” Ms Gould said. “John has a very strong presence, he lights up a room, always the center of attention, always making people laugh. He’s very charming!”
At one point, Ms. Gould apologized to her friend for not spending more time with her catching up.
“She was so excited to see us hitting it off, she was like, ‘No, no! This is more important,’” Ms. Gould said. The two shared a first kiss that night.
Mr. Stamatis recalls that one element of debate in their initial conversation was whether fish drink water. When he got home after the meet-up, he said, he consulted Wikipedia on the matter, and then sent Ms. Gould a message the next day assuring her that fish do in fact drink underwater.
Within a week, the two had a first date.
He worked just a couple of blocks from her apartment in Midtown, and she worked close by his in TriBeCa, so each day, their commutes on the E train created the potential for bumping into each other. And they did.
“It just felt like everything was aligning for us to be together,” said Ms. Gould, 29 and a senior strategist at Area 23, a pharmaceutical advertising agency in New York. She graduated from Columbia.
By Valentine’s Day, when the two had lunch with his parents in the theater district — grasshopper tacos were on the menu — Mr. Stamatis realized he was serious about the relationship, and she was too.
“It shows how much Danica wanted to make a good impression on my parents, because she is a very picky eater,” he said.
As they grew closer and more serious about the direction of their relationship, both said that finding how family-oriented the other was mattered a lot.
“The time I’ve been with her has been probably the happiest time of my life,” said Mr. Stamatis.
At another family get-together, they learned the couple’s mothers had both grown up in Union, N.J., and one of Ms. Gould’s uncles had been a grade-school classmate of Mr. Stamatis’s mother.
Their wedding, on Aug. 1, was, of course, a family affair, even with the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic. The couple married at the Mansion at Natirar, in Peapack-Gladstone, N.J. Brian D. Robbins, who is a Universal Life minister, officiated. The wedding had just 25 people, down from the couple’s original plan to host 200.
“So it felt like our families were always meant to be together,” Ms. Gould said. “They just didn’t realize what generation, and how long it would take.”