Jessica Frogge and Dr. Saif Rathore didn’t initially seem to have much in common. She is Irish Catholic and grew up on the family farm outside Chicago. He is a naturalized citizen who is Muslim, was born in Pakistan and raised in Toronto, Canada’s biggest city.
But a closer look quickly revealed that the two have formative experiences forged by similar values and expectations.
Each grew up with two younger siblings and with middle-class working parents (hers are a nurse and a science teacher, his are a grade-school teacher and an autoworker). And then both left home for Ivy League colleges, where she played volleyball and he football. After graduate school, they moved into high-powered careers with prestigious firms.
So when they encountered each other online, in January 2019, Ms. Frogge said, she found an instant connection.
“I was struck by the number of similarities we have,” she said. “And, you know, he had a good smile.”
“We fit in, but kind of didn’t fit in,” Dr. Rathore added. “It helped us understand each other.”
Ms. Frogge, 38, is a litigation associate in the Chicago office of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. She graduated and received a law degree, cum laude, from Yale.
Dr. Rathore, 46, is the head of data and analytics innovation at Cigna, the health insurer; he also works in a Chicago office. Until earlier this year, he was an associate partner and the medical director for the pharma group at McKinsey & Company, the consultancy. He graduated from Cornell and received both a medical degree and a doctoral degree in epidemiology from Yale.
Although the two were at Yale at the same time, it was only after they met last year, in Chicago, that they realized they had friends in common in New Haven, Conn., had been to the same parties and restaurants and bars, and even weddings.
“Our paths have crossed so many times it’s hilarious,” Ms. Frogge said.
“She seemed like someone I would have been friends with in college,” Dr. Rathore said. “Smart, kind, and she is cute.”
For their first date, they had drinks. “We clearly hit it off because the very same week we went out again,” Ms. Frogge said.
On their third date, they went to see a Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old.” By March, the two were on a two-week trip together to Portugal, and in love.
“She is remarkably patient, and she just has a big heart,” Dr. Rathore said. “Those were the sort of characteristics of someone who I knew would be a great partner in every sense of the word.”
The couple had planned to have a small Muslim wedding ceremony, known as a nikah, in April, followed by a large civil ceremony in November. But after the arrival of the coronavirus and the closure of the border between Canada and the United States, where his family still lives, they postponed the nikah until June. They then had to cancel again.
Anticipating that their November plan might also end up a casualty of the health crisis, they decided, instead, to marry without further ado.
“We’re not sure how any big wedding celebration is going to be pulled off,” Ms. Frogge said.
Judge Michael Y. Scudder of the federal court of appeals in Chicago officiated on Aug. 25 at the farm in Kankakee, Ill., that the couple bought last year for a weekend home. The bride’s parents, who live on an adjacent farm and made their way across a soybean field to participate, were the only guests at the ceremony, which was held on the banks of the Kankakee River.