William Gleason and Fareez Giga Marry in Kent, Conn.


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Aug 23, 2023

William Gleason and Fareez Giga Marry in Kent, Conn.

Advertisement Supported by Mini-Vows When Fareez Giga met William Gleason just before the Covid-19 pandemic began, he instinctively knew that Mr. Gleason was the one. By Valeriya Safronova Within


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When Fareez Giga met William Gleason just before the Covid-19 pandemic began, he instinctively knew that Mr. Gleason was the one.

By Valeriya Safronova

Within minutes of meeting William Sam Gleason at a restaurant in the East Village of Manhattan, Fareez Giga knew that Mr. Gleason was special.

At the time, Mr. Giga was actively dating with the goal of finding a serious relationship. “He was like my 250th date,” he said, jokingly. It was late January 2020, and the two had matched on the dating app Hinge a few days earlier.

Mr. Giga’s dating experience had attuned him in listening to his inner voice. “I had an instinct within five minutes of meeting someone if it would go well,” he said. “As soon as I saw him, I just knew.”

During their date at Kindred, a Mediterranean restaurant that has since closed, the two discussed their love of all things New York City — the restaurants, the Broadway shows, the art galleries. And they clicked. “His job is so about the city, and mine, too,” Mr. Giga said.

Mr. Giga, 37, who is from La Verne, Calif., works as an architect at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an interdisciplinary design studio. He was a core designer for the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art. He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Stanford and a master’s in architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Mr. Gleason, 34, graduated from N.Y.U. with a bachelor’s in journalism and history. He is from Holland, Mich., and the content director for the Americas at Time Out Group.

Mr. Giga and Mr. Gleason went on a few more dates before the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020. Mr. Giga lived in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and Mr. Gleason lived across the East River in the East Village, and soon the Brooklyn Bridge became a well-trod link between the two.

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“We’d put all our gear on, load up a backpack and walk to the other person’s apartment,” Mr. Gleason said. The journey took about 70 minutes. “Walking across the bridge completely alone was really crazy,” he said. Mr. Giga said that the deserted bridge “felt so postapocalyptic — but I needed to see him.”

The atmosphere in their homes was cozy and comforting. In the beginning, they stayed with each other for a few days at a time, but in May, Mr. Giga moved in with Mr. Gleason for a month.

“We had a candlelit dinner every night,” Mr. Giga said. Mr. Gleason would prepare dinner for two and refer to the dining table as L’Appartement Restaurant, while Mr. Giga learned to make crème brûlée and layered crepe cakes for dessert.

“I was always so scared of moving in with someone,” Mr. Gleason said. “I ended up moving in with someone and being with him 24 hours a day, nonstop. Now I still miss being at home together all the time.” In March 2021, Mr. Gleason moved in with Mr. Giga in Cobble Hill.

On Sept. 8, 2022, Mr. Gleason told Mr. Giga to wear a suit so he could take him out to a fancy dinner. They began walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and when they reached the middle, Mr. Gleason bent down on one knee and asked Mr. Giga to marry him. Mr. Gleason’s friend Delia Barth, disguised as a tourist in an “I ❤️ NY” T-shirt and hat, as well as a fanny pack, was nearby to capture the moment on camera.

After the proposal, the couple celebrated with a surprise engagement party with about 30 friends at Stone Street Tavern in the Financial District. The two ended the evening with an intimate multicourse dinner at Saga, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the neighborhood.

They were married on Sept. 16 in front of 124 guests at Club Getaway, a sports and adventure camp for adults and families in Kent, Conn. Mr. Giga and Mr. Gleason wore matching Tom Ford tuxedos. Zahra Giga, Mr. Giga’s sister, led the ceremony; she was ordained for this event by the American Marriage Ministries.

Days before the wedding, Mr. Gleason flew to Michigan so he could drive his maternal grandmother, Sandy Gleason, and his mother, Mary Beth Gleason, to Connecticut, along with 165 customized pin cushions she had made for the wedding. Each guest received one, in addition to a personalized, handwritten note from the couple.

During the three-day wedding weekend at the camp, guests had access to zip-lines, a ropes course, water skis and more. On Saturday morning, before the ceremony, the grooms and their guests woke up at 8 a.m. for a plunge in the lake.

Bryan Rivera, the couple’s friend and a professional baker, made the wedding cake, and three of their other friends, D.J. Jax, D.J. WhoGirl and D.J. Smusch, were in charge of the musical entertainment. At the reception, the couple’s first dance was to “I Believe in You and Me” by Whitney Houston. “It felt like we were in a movie, and I really felt like it was just me and him, and everything around us was a blur,” Mr. Giga said. “It was so special.”