Finding Light Together After a ‘Very Dark Place’

Amanda Winer was a participant researcher on a Birthright Israel trip in December 2015. Her preliminary research for her dissertation focused on Jewish millennials’ relationships and social habits. She had already been dating someone for six months, so finding a partner was the furthest thing from her mind. However, she and Nathan Friedman, who was on the trip to meet new people, were drawn to one another.

Educator and doctoral candidate in social psychology at New York University, Ms. Winer, 31, described Nate as “cute, kind, and charming.” “Everyone was hooking up all around us. As a gentleman, Nate did not initiate any contact.”

Having returned home before the new year, the group reunited on January 6, 2016. In order for Mr. Friedman, who was standing behind Ms. Winer at the bar, to hear, she had broken up with her boyfriend after the trip and was now single. As soon as he saw her, Mr. Friedman asked if she could walk him to the subway.

Mr. Friedman, 31, an equity researcher at Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities, said, “It was a mix of heart pounding and butterflies to ask her out.” Knowing that I could pursue a relationship with her now that she was single gave me the confidence to do so.

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Two days after that, they went out on their first date as a romantic couple. Mr. Friedman, who suffers from numerous food allergies, began to feel ill somewhere between dinner at the Saigon Market and Chloe’s for sorbet in the Union Square area. He clearly needed assistance on the way to Ms. Winer’s house.

In spite of the fact that Ms. Winer does not suffer from allergies, she keeps Benadryl and an EpiPen on hand just in case. “He took the Benadryl and went to sleep on my bed. Then I heard him writhe in agony. I wasn’t put off by it. I felt a strong connection with him. “The evening confirmed that this was a one-of-a-kind event.”

A mortified Mr. Friedman took an Uber home that night. Before I became ill, “I hoped she enjoyed the fact that we had a good time,” he said. “The next day, I sent a text to my boyfriend apologising profusely. I didn’t know if she’d respond or just disappear.”

Minutes later, Ms. Winer responded via text. A relationship developed as a result of the subsequent exchange of text messages.

For the next two years, we attended Broadway shows and soccer games, explored New York City, met each other’s families and friends, and enjoyed many allergy-free meals.

On January 15, 2018, the couple moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Union Square as they prepared to merge their lives and responsibilities.

On March 23, 2019, while Mr. Friedman was visiting his cousin in Grenada, the couple got engaged. They were hiking up Levera Hill in Saint Patrick Parish when Mr. Friedman proposed to his girlfriend by getting down on one knee.

The best in him comes out when she’s around, he said. The most beautiful person in the world is her. “I wanted to be with her all my life.”

According to Ms. Winer, “we were literally on top of the world” when she immediately said yes. Your life’s greatest achievement is to find someone with whom you can share it. “I had a sense that one of my dreams had come true.”

Their joy, however fleeting, was not shared by everyone. Once back at home, he discovered some abnormalities in the X-rays taken by his orthodontist. Maxillofacial surgeons have been consulted.

For the next three months, I had to see numerous doctors. Mr. Friedman’s airways were severely restricted due to a skeletal malocclusion, according to doctors. Many surgeries were required, including breaking and shifting his upper and lower jaws and realigning his chin. For the next three months, he would have his jaw wired shut. Doctors predicted he wouldn’t live past the age of 45 if he wasn’t fixed.

Mr. Friedman described his life as “on fire.” My life depended on it, and I had faith that Amanda wouldn’t abandon me. Then I knew I had found my soulmate.”

Ms. Winer was unnerved by the circumstances. With someone who might not be around forever, “I planned the rest of my life,” she recalled. We were doing this together, and I wanted him to know that.” That I was a member of his team.”

Next, Mr. Friedman spent the next two years researching and preparing for his surgeries in January of 2021; he also had to deal with insurance companies.

There was an undercurrent of wedding anxiety and planning in the air around them. Ms. Winer is from Westborough, Mass., and Mr. Friedman is from Livingston, N.J., so they used Whatshalfway to find an event space in New Haven, Conn., called Lighthouse Point Park. The outdoor area, which overlooked the beach, had a working antique carousel and room for a sit-down dinner inside.

There was a steady upsurge in excitement and optimism as Mr. Friedman recovered well from his operation.

“The focus of our life together has been accomplishing and fighting Nate’s health battle,” said Ms. Winer. “It felt like nothing could happen until we found a solution to this problem. We’re getting closer to achieving gender parity now. He’s here almost every day. We’ve won, in my opinion. As a result, we’ll be able to live our lives without fear of running out of time.”

With 65 guests in attendance and 150 people watching via Skype, the couple was married by Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s Cantor Lucy Fishbein on May 30, 2021 in Short Hills, New Jersey.

Mrs. Winer, who sent 100 heart-shaped Rice Krispie Treat gift boxes filled with homemade cotton candy, paper flower centrepieces, personalised handwritten notes, and a Spotify playlist said it was like planning two weddings. For their big day, the newlyweds hired a production company to use cameras to capture a variety of perspectives. Prerecorded toasts from childhood friends were played as guests made their way from the beach ceremony to the main venue or took a ride on the carousel during the wedding.

“We lived in a 500-square-foot apartment, got through Covid and the surgery at the same time, and we stayed together,” the groom said. Because of our shared love and compassion for one another, we are capable of overcoming anything.” I’m so optimistic about the future we’ll have together. Honestly, I didn’t expect to get one. To spend time with the person who means the most in my life is a joy I’ve never had before.”

Similarly, Ms. Winer said. It taught her how to be a partner and what love is. “We’ve just come back from a dark place.” “This wedding is the light of our lives.”

The day of this week On the 30th of May 2021 In New Haven, Conn.

The Sweetest of All Lives Couples have cotton candy and ice cream trucks, as well as carousel rides for their wedding reception. The bride described her vision for the event as “a whimsical, celebratory family union vibe.”

Cake for Kids Vegan vanilla cake with honey chamomile and mixed berries was created by 15-year-old baking prodigy Abby Sauberman. Mr. Friedman didn’t have to worry about anything because it was nut-free. Mrs. Winer stated, “We love baking competition shows, especially ones with kids.” Ms. This is my second summer working at Eisner Camp in New York, where I spent my first four years as a camper. Last year, they had a silent auction. On Abby’s cake, I was outbid. Because of this, I reached out to her on my own to complete our own.”

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