Setting the Stage
What kind of story would this be if we didn’t start at the beginning?
In July 2019, Marta was living on Lake Iseo (which you should know by now is where we’re getting married!) where she was running the operations for a cycling tour operator that organized cycling trips all over Europe.
At that same moment, Taylor was living in New York City and was packing his bike up to go on a trip with his friends to cycle across the Dolomites mountain range in Northern Italy.
Out of all the romantic places, picture the busy Venice airport.
On July 5, 2019, Marta had just finished running a busy cycling event called the “Maratona” when she had to head to the Venice Airport to pick up her next group of clients coming from America. Taylor had just spent 10 hours on a plane. As you can imagine – not a good look.
A few days later, Marta joined the American clients for the last dinner of their cycling trip in Bormio. It was this dinner that changed their lives!
The Six Dates
You read correctly. Six dates… total! Well, it’s quite difficult when you’re living on different continents to grab a casual coffee on the weekends!
But these weren’t just any ordinary dates. These six dates were six longer stays in different parts of Europe, and were the best experiences of our lives at the time.
The First Date: Poland
After that fateful cycling trip in July 2019, Taylor (back in NYC) and Marta (working in Italy) spent a lot of time together on the phone. Three weeks later, they decided they should go on their first date…
Marta already had some family holiday time planned for August, so she invited Taylor to come to Poland to kill two birds with one stone. That’s right – the first date was spent with Marta’s entire family at their vacation home in Smołdzino, a small village in Poland on the coast of the Baltic Sea.
They knew that if Taylor survived that week, it would all be uphill from there! Not only did they survive, they had an amazing, unique experience.
The Second Date: Lake Iseo, Italy
It only took 5 days after the first date in Poland for Taylor and Marta to find a way to make another date happen. This time it was a week in Lake Iseo, Italy, where Marta was living and working!
The Third Date: Portugal and Italy
The third date was three weeks after the second, and was probably our favorite date – if we were forced to choose!
This one started in Lisbon, Portugal, where Taylor was attending a work conference and Marta joined him there for 3 warm, sunny days filled with exploring and great food and wine.
After the conference was over, they flew back to Italy for a lovely trip where Marta showed Taylor the parts of Northern Italy she lived in and knew well: Lake Garda, the Dolomites, and Verona. And they spent a few days back at Lake Iseo for good measure (i.e. pizza, pasta, and gelato).
The Fourth Date: Poland
After the third date, Taylor and Marta were trying to figure out how to be together for a longer period of time. The original plan was for Marta to get a visa to come to the US and stay with Taylor in NYC for a few months until they could figure out their next move.
However, a crisis struck! When Marta went to the embassy in Warsaw to the visa, she was denied! At the time, we thought this was a disaster. In hindsight, this event changed both of our lives in amazing ways that we never could have imagined.
A few days later, while Marta was still in Poland, Taylor came to visit and they explored the Tatra Mountains, Krakow, and Poznan, all the while cooking up a new plan for how they spend longer periods of time together.
The Fifth Date: Sweden
A new plan was hatched!
After the fourth date, Taylor went back to NYC and convinved his boss that relocating to Sweden and working out of the company headquarters in Stockholm would be great for the business. This was the solution to Marta and Taylor’s visa problems, and the plan that would let them start a life together.
After learning that they would be moving to Stockholm sometime in 2020, they decided to “test the waters” and stay for the month of December 2019.
For those who may not know, December is a very dark time of the year in Sweden, but who cares when you’re in love?
The Sixth Date: Austria
Before flying to Stockholm for the fifth date, Marta actually thought she might just stay in Stockholm for a few months until Taylor was able to move there full-time. However, after the first 3 days of darkness, she was ready to escape, and she secured herself a job in Austria for the Winter ski season.
Snow, sun, and skis. Oh, and nighttime tobogganing, alpaca walks, endless goulash soup, and Weissbier too! That about sums up the last date before we moved in together.
Starting Our Life Together: Sweden
We also like to call moving to Sweden our “final date”.
Moving to Sweden wasn’t without its bumps (aka “Corona”).
In May 2020, when Marta and Taylor were scheduled to move to Stockholm, Sweden wasn’t officially allowing travellers from the US into the country. Taylor took a chance and flew to Sweden anyway.
After hours of Marta pacing around the empty Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Taylor was let into the country by a lovely lady at the border control.
Family and Life Changes
A month after moving, two little cats made a 40-hour journey from New York City to Stockholm to be reunited with their father and their new mother!
A few months after that, little Bruno (who is so NOT little anymore!) joined our family after flying all the way from Poland.
And then, in September 2021, a little road trip to Norway and a camping trip in the Fjords changed our relationship status, and so the fun and excitement of planning this wedding began!
The Next Chapter
Whew, we’ve now caught up, so here we are today!
We would love for you to be a part of the next chapter in our lives: our wedding in Italy. And yes – we know what you’re wondering – you will meet Bruno there!