Dustin Schneider made quite an impression with Lindsay Hirsch in December 2018, when he complimented a photo of Ms. Hirsch dressed as Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” that was posted on the dating app, the League.
“I was super excited,” said Ms. Hirsch, now 31, who was then living with her mother, Marilyn Kahn in Las Vegas, but was just days from moving to San Francisco, where Mr. Schneider, 37, happened to live.
“Dustin was the first person I matched with and the only person I was talking to,” she said. “There was a warmth in his voice that made me feel very, very special.”
Ms. Hirsch, who owns Get Into the Limelight, a company in San Francisco that sells self-tanning products, shared a first phone call with Mr. Schneider the following day, during which she learned that he graduated from the University of Michigan, and received a master’s degree in organizational psychology from N.Y.U.
Ms. Hirsch, who is fluent in Chinese, has two bachelor’s degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, one in Chinese and the other in international business and marketing.
She mentioned in their conversation that she was an only child who was born and raised in Chicago, and that she was still reeling from the unexpected death of her father, Gordon Hirsch, six years earlier, in November 2012, at 53 years old.
As a result, Ms. Hirsch has vowed to “live every day to the fullest,” and spent the next four years traveling around the world. She visited India and made numerous stops throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“I took a lot of time off from dating,” she told Mr. Schneider, who was hanging on her every word.
“What I was able to glean from her profile and our first phone call was that obviously she was beautiful and incredibly intelligent,” Mr. Schneider said. “She also had a remarkable drive and ambition that really came shining through given her multiple interests, her zest for travel and life in general.”
Just before their first phone call ended, Ms. Hirsch left Mr. Schneider with something to think about: her.
“If you’re my person, let’s do it,” she said to him about starting a relationship.
Mr. Schneider, who was born and raised in Dix Hills, N.Y., and works as a member of Facebook’s leadership development group in San Francisco, had been reeling from a recent divorce, which put him in a similar why-wait-until-tomorrow mind-set when it came to romance.
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“I thought to myself, ‘If I ever meet the right girl, I’m just going to go for it.’”
Every night for the next two weeks, Ms. Hirsch and Mr. Schneider spoke via FaceTime, strengthening their bond with each and every on-screen appearance, until Ms. Hirsch moved to San Francisco in January 2019.
On that same day, Ms. Hirsch made her way to San Francisco’s Alamo Park, where she and Mr. Schneider made plans to meet in person for the first time.
Once there, Ms. Hirsch, thinking she had arrived before Mr. Schneider, decided to climb up a small hill to find a better vantage point “for checking him out, thoroughly,” as she jokingly put it.
Halfway up the hill, Ms. Hirsch noticed Mr. Schneider climbing up the other side of it. He too had been trying to position himself for a thorough first look.
When their eyes locked, Mr. Schneider began walking toward Ms. Hirsch, all the while asking himself a series of questions on how best to proceed. “I start wondering to myself: ‘What should I do? What should we do? Should we kiss right away? Then I thought, this feels a little forward, and it’s not my style.’”
He was still thinking when she charged in his direction and tackled him.
They toppled to the ground, and began kissing.
“Given our pasts, it felt right and made a lot of sense,” Mr. Schneider said. “I think we were both at a point in our lives where we were no longer taking anything for granted.”
“We knew who we were, and what we wanted,” he added, “and considering my divorce, and her dad’s passing, well, it sort of created this perfect storm in terms of us being ready for a relationship together.”
A whirlwind relationship ensued. Within a week, they were swapping the “L” word; within three months they had met each other’s families. “My favorite photograph is the one where my mom and Lindsay are hugging each other,” Mr. Schneider said.
In December 2019, a month after she moved into his apartment, they were engaged at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. (Ms. Hirsch, an avid Disney fan, said that by the time she graduated from high school, she had been to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., more than 30 times.) The search was over for the true-love-seeking Mr. Schneider and Ms. Hirsch, who listed several of the things they have in common as “a love of family, a love of travel, and the fact that we are both Jewish.”
“I spent so much time traveling and searching for a place that felt like home,” Ms. Hirsch said. “Then I met Dustin, and it suddenly dawned on me that home is not necessarily a place, sometimes it’s a person.”
“He is the most outgoing, loving guy,” she said, “someone who always makes everyone in the room feel welcomed. He went through his divorce and yet here he was, wanting to marry me and jumping in feet first.”
The couple planned to marry May 23, 2020 at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando, Fla., where they would greet about 60 guests.
But when the coronavirus surfaced, they canceled everything but the wedding date, and began quarantining together in their 700-square-foot apartment in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood.
“That we were able to live in this environment, together, with no escape possible, only solidified the love we already had for one another,” Mr. Schneider said. “It made us feel even more blessed to have found each other.”
Rather than sulk about having to find a new wedding venue, Ms. Hirsch put her energy into trying to have their rescheduled ceremony held in one of the Bay areas professional sports venues.
“Since we are both big sports fans, and those places were not being used due to the virus, I thought, ‘Why not give it a shot?’” Ms. Hirsch said. “I called every team’s public relations staff, every sports radio and TV show I could think of, and I finally got lucky with the Chase Center.”
She was referring to the Chase Center in San Francisco, home of the Golden State Warriors National Basketball Association team. There were no guests, only a witness, Jordan Poole, a 2019 first-round draft pick of the Warriors who accepted the organization’s invitation to attend the wedding and assist the couple.
There was also an officiant, Rebeca Delgadillo, a Universal Life minister, who stood before the couple and behind a mask.
“I remind them today that they are performing an act of complete faith in each other,” said Ms. Delgadillo, as the couple’s parents, including Willa and Stanley Schneider, and Mr. Schneider’s older sister, Alexis Breinberg, watched from their homes via Zoom.
“In a world where faith often falls short of expectation,” Ms. Delgadillo said, “it is a tribute to these two who now join hands and hearts in perfect faith, especially in these uncertain times of Covid.”
The bride, who took her husband’s name, then began exchanging wedding vows with him. “Dustin, you are a million hopes and a million dreams of a little girl come true,” is how the bride, dabbing at tears the entire ceremony, began. “You are a man of brilliance, kindness and compassion, a man of integrity and a man of your word.”
Then it was the groom’s turn.
“Lindsay, neither of us expected that we would be doing things in this way, but it’s fitting,” he said. “From the beginning, this has always been about us, and the entire situation has brought into sharp focus that while life might not always be easy and things will go wrong, we win by going through it side by side.”
On This Day
When May 23, 2020
Where The Chase Center, San Francisco
What They Wore The bride wore a wedding dress on loan from Kinsley James, a bridal shop. The groom donned a black tuxedo by Calvin Klein and an engraved Movado watch that had belonged to the bride’s father. As a gift to the couple, the Warriors organization, which did not charge the couple for use of the space, gave each a team jersey with their first name on the back.
On the House The wedding flowers were donated by a local florist, the Rae & Rose Floral Company.
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