Since 2010, mutual friends had been trying to set up Permele Doyle with William Robinson, who is known by his middle name, Garner.
Despite those efforts, Ms. Doyle, 33, the president and founder of Billion Dollar Boy, a digital marketing agency with offices in New York and London, and Mr. Robinson, 37, the chief executive of the Robinson Lumber Company of New Orleans, shared nary a phone conversation, text or email until early 2016. Mr. Robinson, tired of waiting, took it upon himself then to call Ms. Doyle when he arrived in Manhattan for a work-related function.
She initially missed the call but listened to his message. “He asked about taking me to dinner and when I later suggested lunch, he told me that he would be speaking at the University Club and asked me to come by,” Ms. Doyle said.
She accepted his invitation, found a seat, and as she watched and listened to Mr. Robinson speak, visions of dating him began dancing in her head. “He was very handsome and spoke very well,” she said. “I was indeed very, very impressed.”
Mr. Robinson was equally impressed. “What a smile,” he said. “She was gorgeous.”
Later that night, they met for dinner at Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan, and hit it off. Mr. Robinson ordered the tasting menu, and their long dinner, which gave rise to a daily texts, covered many subjects.
Ms. Doyle said she had graduated from the University of Virginia and began her career in public relations at the Estée Lauder Companies and Tom Ford.
She also said that she was the only daughter of Permele Doyle, known as Pam, and William S. Doyle of Millbrook, N.Y., and that her father, was involved in the iconic “I Love NY” marketing campaign in 1977, when he served as deputy commissioner for the New York State Department of Commerce.
Mr. Robinson graduated from Columbia, and was retired as a lieutenant from the United States Navy Reserve, and is now a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He said that he was a son of Charles W. Robinson, known as Toto, of New Orleans and the late Julie Robinson. His father retired as an executive vice president in the family lumber business. Mr. Robinson’s mother was an artist specializing in abstract painting. Her works are on display at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital and in the collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art.
They kept in constant touch, and almost inexplicably, their relationship ground to a halt, as Mr. Robinson suddenly stopped responding, leaving Ms. Doyle to assume that Mr. Robinson was no longer interested in her, and had simply moved on.
But two weeks later, he texted her to say that he had been in a vehicle accident and was unconscious for days. When he finally emerged, and got word to her, she arranged to visit New Orleans for the first time.
The two dated long distance for three years. Then one evening in May 2019, thinking she was going to dinner with a friend at the Gramercy Tavern where she first met up with Mr. Robinson, Ms. Doyle was surprised to arrive at her table and find Mr. Robinson, who had secretly flown in and was waiting for her with a ring. He had printed an explanatory note for their fellow diners, who applauded as she said yes.
After dinner, as they walked out of the restaurant, Ms. Doyle was surprised again to find that the bar was almost entirely full of their friends and family, who Mr. Robinson had arranged to celebrate.
The were married Aug. 14 at St. Peter’s Church in Lithgow, N.Y. The Rev. Dr. Robert D. Flanagan, an Episcopal priest, performed the ceremony before 20 attendees. (The number of guests had dropped from the 150 that were originally invited to the couple’s scheduled wedding in Puglia, Italy, last month that had to be postponed because of the coronavirus.)
The couple moved to New Orleans earlier this year, where with a partner they purchased Faulkner House Books, the bookstore in the 1837 French Quarter townhouse where William Faulkner wrote his first novel, “Soldiers’ Pay.”