Right about the time Lindsey Scannapieco was losing faith in online dating, in the summer of 2016, the dating app Tinder matched her with Sandy Machin.
“I wasn’t enjoying online dating,” she said. “I guess some people do. But I wasn’t.”
It took the two about six weeks to finally meet at a pop-up beer garden in a Philadelphia park, in September, and by that time, Ms. Scannapieco had deleted the dating app because she didn’t feel it was working for her.
When they met, she was still skeptical.
“We had a good enough time, but I thought, ‘Well, I’m not sure where this will go,’” said Ms. Scannapieco, 34, who is the founder of Scout, an urban design and real estate development company in Philadelphia. She graduated from the University of Southern California and received a master’s degree in city design and social science from the London School of Economics and Political Science. “I thought, Sure, I’ll invite him to see my favorite drag queen, Martha Graham Cracker, perform, and if he can hold his own there, maybe there’s something here.”
Mr. Machin, also 34, and an independent lamb, beef and pork importer in Philadelphia, with his own business, Sirius Foods, said his initial attraction was a little different. On that first date, he was enthusiastic. He came to the United States in 2015 from Australia, his home country, and his passion for his field was one of the first things that made him attractive to Ms. Scannapieco. He graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.
“It was an instant connection,” he said. “She had some perspective from having lived in London for a while, and outside of her physical beauty, she was very easy to get along with.”
She caught up with his keenness on the couple’s second date. “We had a really great time,” she said. “That was an important sign for me, that he was able to love a drag show, too.”
Ms. Scannapieco suggested a third date at another drag show. “Just to make double sure,” she said. “I’m sometimes high and low, and he’s really even keel, which is something I really love about him. He’s always up for adventure.”
Within a few months, both realized they were in love. His epiphany came during Thanksgiving, which he spent with her family. He didn’t have any expectations for the American holiday, but thinks that maybe Ms. Scannapieco’s father, a vegan, cheated on his behalf and served a bird rather than tofurky.
Hers happened when she visited college friends. “They were like, ‘Is this it?’ And I said, ‘I think it could be.’”
Last year, Mr. Machin woke up Ms. Scannapieco at 5 a.m., on Labor Day weekend, for breakfast on the balcony off their bedroom. Though she’s always considered herself a morning person, rising between 6 and 7 a.m., he has a different definition of “morning.” He regularly wakes up at 4:30.
She was tired and so sat down to the breakfast that he had prepared with the expectation that he would soon be heading off for a long bicycle ride, as he often did on weekends. Instead, he dropped to one knee and proposed.
“We called his parents in Australia, spoke to them, but there was nobody else we could talk to,” said Ms Ms Scannapieco, who will take her husband’s name. “We went for a walk with our dog and got coffee. It felt like our secret for the morning.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the couple had intended to marry in a Philadelphia church in June, but instead had their wedding on the steps of the Second Bank of the United States, in Independence Park, on Sept. 18. The Rev. Dr. Susan Richardson, an Episcopal priest, officiated. Six people participated. They had a party afterward, in another park, with 100 people, socially distanced on blankets that were laid out, properly demarcated, in advance.
“We’re excited,” Ms. Scannapieco said. “Life is about making lemonade when life hands you lemons. And we’re trying to embrace that.”