Attorneys Nida and Ryan were on each other’s heels long before they fell in love, but thanks to a dating app connection they were able to turn their game of cat-and-mouse into a marriage for the ages. Due to Covid, the couple had two ceremonies–one in the church where Nida grew up and one officiated by the judge Ryan used to clerk for. A sprinkling of Lithuanian traditions were the cherry on top of a day the pair say was “entirely worth the wait.” Read more to learn about the fated couple’s journey from strangers to spouses.
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When it came to meeting each other, Nida and Ryan had about as much luck as Ted Mosby and Tracy McConnell did during the first eight seasons of How I Met Your Mother. For seven years, the pair were coincidentally and constantly on each other’s heels, but somehow never ended up face-to-face.
The first miss: After graduating from college in 2008, Ryan began coaching an after-school squash program in Harlem. This led him to move in with a Columbia University squash coach for two months while looking for his own place. Nida, a Columbia freshman at the time, lived only a block away.
The second miss: From 2012 to 2013, Nida and Ryan overlapped while studying at Stanford Law School. They made 40 mutual friends, just not each other.
The third miss: In January of 2015, a friend of Nida’s met Ryan at a squash event and asked Nida afterward if she knew him from Stanford. She didn’t – but she did think he was cute (Ryan lived in Houston at the time, though, so Nida put him at the back of her mind).
The fourth miss: By October of 2015, Nida and Ryan were both living in San Francisco–Ryan at an acquaintance of Nida’s–but still it was not meant to be.
Finally, thanks to the Bumble dating app of all things, Nida and Ryan connected in December of 2015. The couple shared their first date at Bourbon & Branch, a speakeasy in San Francisco, where they uncovered the series of almost comical missed connections that had followed them for nearly a decade.
“I thought he was very handsome and kind, and the conversation flowed effortlessly,” Nida says. Ryan, too, was smitten, telling his roommate after the date that he had “met his future wife.”
“I was blown away by her intelligence, beauty, and passion for making the world a better place,” Ryan says.
(To add more fuel to the fated-love fire, four days later while at home with their respective families for Christmas, both Ryan and Nida received copies of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg from their mothers.)
After three years of dating, Ryan proposed to Nida on April 27, 2019, on top of Coit Tower in San Francisco. Afterwards, Ryan had prepared for them to celebrate the news with friends at the same Bourbon & Branch where they shared their first date.
The couple initially planned to marry at Epiphany Catholic Church in DC on August 1, 2020, with a reception to follow at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. When the pandemic hit, Nida and Ryan decided to postpone their nuptials until June 2021.
Unfortunately, DC’s gathering limits were still lower than their anticipated guest count three months before their new date, so Nida and Ryan went into overdrive trying to figure out a new plan.
“Three months before our wedding, we had to reimagine everything. We found a venue with plenty of outdoor space in Virginia that would let us safely celebrate with our larger guest count. We quickly moved all of our vendors over to the new venue and shifted from a museum wedding to an outdoor tented wedding,” the couple says. The couple required that guests be vaccinated or get tested beforehand, and gave guests corresponding bracelets.
On June 5, 2021, all of Nida and Ryan’s hard work finally paid off. “For the ceremony, instead of having everyone at Epiphany Church, we ended up having two ceremonies: a family-only indoor ceremony at Epiphany where we were formally married, and an outdoor ceremony for all guests at Rose Hill Manor,” the couple says.
“The church holds a special place in my family’s life,” Nida says. “My parents were there 30 years ago when my mother’s water broke. They had to rush to the hospital, and I was born hours later! To commemorate these occasions, my family donated two bricks that have since been placed in the church’s walls: one says ‘Nida beveik čia gimė’ (Nida was almost born here), and the second says ‘Nida and Ryan, June 5, 2021.’”
“It ended up being a blessing in disguise: Nida got to get married at the Catholic church she grew up going to, and then for the second ceremony, the Honorable Judge Lee Rosenthal (chief judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas), for whom Ryan used to clerk, was able to officiate. So we got an intimate ceremony with just family, plus a big celebration with all of our friends…and Nida got to walk down the aisle twice!” they say.
The Wedding Decor
Going for a California-on-the-east-coast-meets-Lithuanian-traditions theme for their special day, the couple chose neutrals and sunset-beach-inspired colors including orange, peach, copper, lavender, light blue and sage green for the design.
Continuing with the theme, the wedding florals were a mixture of “local seasonal blooms, with a nod to California.”
Cocktail hour consisted of coconut shrimp, crab cakes, spanakopita, and chicken-and-waffle bites. And for dinner, guests chose between beef shoulder au poivre with au gratin potatoes and lemon butter asparagus; salmon pink champagne with au gratin potatoes and lemon asparagus; and four-cheese ravioli.
There was also a “late-night spread” toward the end of the reception, set up by Spilled Milk, that included mac ‘n cheese lollipops, pizza, grilled cheese, tater tots, sliders, chocolate whoopie pies, and cannoli.
Nida’s friend Claire Kalala, a local artist, painted a picture of the couple reading on the sofa with their dog–whome they adopted on their original August 2020 wedding date–which was on display. “It was a small, beautiful representation of the ‘lost year’ of the pandemic,” Nida and Ryan say.
The Special Details
Nida and Ryan say they took great care in making sure that their families’ heritages were represented and that the day was truly a celebration of the two of them.
While the pair hired a florist for their special day, Nida chose to follow a traditional and personal Lithuanian custom for her bridal bouquet: “The groom prepared the bouquet (with some help from family friends) using local flowers, including flowers from my family’s garden and from friends’ gardens,” she says. “I loved that the bouquet was so simple, followed past traditions, and was made with the love of family, friends, and my future husband.”
The couple also incorporated a traditional Lithuanian dance into their reception before their first dance. “Sixteen of Nida’s family friends came early and practiced, and danced around us with sashes, almost like a human [maypole],” Ryan says. “It was special to do something to honor Nida’s family heritage and also just a really fun way to celebrate our new status as a married couple.”
For their wedding cake, the couple chose a Lithuanian šakotis–“tree” cake. (It took one broken shipped cake and a replacement order driven down from Chicago to finally get it to the party, but it was worth it).
On the tables, Ryan and Nida placed bottles of Krupnikas, Lithuanian honey mead. “Honey mead has been used for centuries to toast weddings in both Lithuania and Ireland (it is where the term “honeymoon” comes from—the couple would be given a month’s, or moon’s, worth of honey wine), so it was a nod to both of our families’ cultures,” they say.
A final, special touch was added when creating Nida’s wedding earrings. With the help of San Francisco jeweler Atelier Gigi, Nida acknowledged three generations of women in her family. “We used a pair of antique earrings from the 1920’s (something old) and incorporated small diamonds that used to be a part of a necklace that was passed down by my grandmother. The main stones were Montana sapphires that matched my eyes (something blue). I also had Gigi create a custom sapphire necklace for my mom: It contained a light blue sapphire that matched my mom’s eyes as well as two small diamonds from the same necklace from my maternal grandmother,” she says.
The couple, who now live in San Francisco, safaried in Kenya and scuba dove in Egypt’s Red Sea for their honeymoon.
You can watch their wedding video here.
Photographer: Amelia Johnson | Getting Ready Venue: St. Regis Hotel | Ceremony Venue: Epiphany Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Rose Hill Manor | Event Planner: Kristine Michalson, Etc. Coordinators | Florist: Wild Fleurette | Invitations: Mercurio Brothers (Berkeley, CA) | Catering: Gala Cuisine, Spilled Milk | Cake: Racine Bakery (Chicago, IL) | Hair: Heather Moreno, Moreno Hair Design (Redwood City, CA) | Bride’s Makeup: Carl Ray | Bridesmaids’ Makeup: The Luxe Brand | Bride’s Attire: Lazaro, bought at Bridal Galleria (San Francisco, CA) | Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss, bought at a Hugo Boss Store (San Francisco, CA | Bridesmaids Attire: Varied | Groomsmen’s Attire: Their own tuxes| Music: DJ Brennan, Dan Goldman Events | Videographer: Ojo de Uva | Transportation: All Pro Charter | Tent/Lighting: Sammy’s Rental (Tent & Tent Lighting), Dan Goldman Events (Uplighting)| Jewelry: Atelier Gigi (Berkeley, CA) | Rentals: Paisley & Jade, Something Vintage | Alcohol: ACE Beverage | Painting: Claire Kalala