It took two different dating apps, two cities, a pandemic, and more than two post-breakup run-ins for Kiyona Carswell and Alison Wynn to realize that they were finally serious about each other.
“A lot of people don’t make me laugh,” Ms. Carswell said, yet Ms. Wynn’s dry humor on Tinder hooked Ms. Carswell for a first date, leaving her “enamored.”
In December 2016, after their first few messages on Tinder, they decided to meet in person at a Cha Cha Matcha cafe in Lower Manhattan, where they both experienced a number of firsts. For Ms. Wynn, 32, a design program manager at Intuit in Clifton Heights, Pa., it was her first Tinder date. For Ms. Carswell, 30, a fashion model and early intervention specialist at a genetics agency in Philadelphia, it was trying a matcha drink that she “hated but drank anyway” to impress Ms. Wynn.
After five hours, the date was about to end, but as soon as Ms. Carswell left, Ms. Wynn texted, “Come back.” The date continued for three consecutive days, after which the couple remembers “talking for hours” on end and exploring new sights in Manhattan.
As their time with each other progressed, the couple categorized their relationship as a “situationship,” a romantic arrangement that goes beyond casual hookups but falls short of a committed relationship.
“I’d have to ask Kiyona if she thought certain things were dates, I bought us Kelela tickets, and she’d be like, ‘That wasn’t a date,’” Ms. Wynn said. Because of this confusion and a “lack of communication,” their so-called situationship ultimately fizzled out in March of 2017, and they mutually agreed to demote their relationship to a friendship.
During their time apart, the couple had this clairsentience of “knowing” that they would cross paths with each other despite not communicating. Ms. Carswell traveled extensively, yet a string of coincidences seemed to follow them.
These fateful encounters included chance meetings at social gatherings hosted by mutual friends that they didn’t know they shared, unexpected sightings at the Brooklyn Museum, and a final reunion at the Oculus in the World Trade Center, where Ms. Wynn shouted, “What the heck is she doing here?” to her friend who pointed Ms. Carswell out of a crowd and asked, “Isn’t that the girl?”
“I just came back from Singapore and lived in Brooklyn, and Alison just moved to New Jersey, so how were we at the Oculus at the same time?” Ms. Carswell said.
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In 2020, four years since their first date, Ms. Carswell started having premonitory dreams of Ms. Wynn walking back into her life once again. “I was so tired of dating, so the night before I meditated, said a prayer and asked the universe to show me who I’m supposed to be with, and it showed me Alison.”
Two days later, Ms. Wynn, now living in Chicago, messaged Ms. Carswell with a dry open liner, “How’s Hinge going for you?” to which Ms. Carswell replied, “horrible.”
Despite living apart in Chicago and New York during the pandemic, Ms. Carswell was eager to reconnect with Ms. Wynn. She booked a ticket to Chicago to meet her the day after Christmas. They realized that after reconnecting, their values were finally in alignment. Ms. Wynn described it as a “remembrance and rewriting of each other.” Reflecting on their strengths and weaknesses, she said, “cemented that this is my person. We call each other our mirrors, a lot of the things I need to work on she reflects back at me, and it’s vice versa.”
In October 2021, Ms. Carswell proposed to Ms. Wynn at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Despite the throng of visitors, the couple managed to steal a private moment on a secluded lower level of the tower, where Ms. Carswell knelt on one knee to profess her love for Ms. Wynn.
Ms. Wynn then proposed to Ms. Carswell in December 2021 at the tearoom of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, surrounded by supportive strangers.
On the morning of their wedding day, March 23, the couple sent each other the same text message, “I can’t wait to marry you.” They were married before 66 guests at the Grove, a wedding venue in Las Vegas, and created their version of a “real life fairy tale” with chairs adorned with eucalyptus and baby’s breath and the room filled with bubbles from heart-topped bubble wands handed out to guests.
Despite struggling through tearful vows, they live-streamed their wedding for those unable to attend and were wed by Adam Berchin, who is certified by the Nevada secretary of state to perform the ceremony. After an emotional exchange of “I do’s,” they honored African American tradition by jumping the broom.
“Our love is a testament to the fact that connections are never broken, they merely transform,” said Ms. Carswell, who is taking Ms. Wynn’s last name.