Caitlin Ashley DiLena’s exposure to anything Swedish was once limited to trips to Ikea, the Swedish Chef muppet character, and the Swedish princess cake segment on “The Great British Baking Show.”
This was before she matched with Nicklas Alexander Ansman Giertz on Tinder in May 2018, and then met him a couple of weeks later at Lovelace, a gin bar in Manhattan’s Financial District, close to where he lived and she worked.
“We kept talking and talking,” said Mr. Ansman Giertz, 30, the technical lead in New York for Bontouch, a Stockholm-based digital software design agency that partners with various brands.
He had just gotten back from a two-week visit with his family in the Stockholm archipelago. (He is a paternal great-great-grandson of Lars Magnus Ericsson, the founder of Ericsson, the Swedish networking and telecommunications company). She had just spent a rainy weekend at a bachelorette party along the Jersey Shore.
“We were both fed up with dating,” said Ms. DiLena, 32, a senior marketing director at Condé Nast, the publishing company in New York.“Instantly there was just something different.”
As they walked along the East River they had their first kiss, and later while he waited with her for her bus, she went on about how thrilled she was that it stopped close to her apartment uptown.
“She seemed more excited about the bus than the date,” said Mr. Ansman Giertz, with a laugh.
They spent the Fourth of July together watching the Macy’s fireworks display along the East River, she showed him around Boston one weekend in August (she graduated from Boston University) and in November, with his business class voucher about to expire, they went to Tokyo.
“It felt pretty clear,’” said Mr. Ansman Giertz, who started moving into her apartment before the trip, “she was not someone ordinary.”
As they got serious, she learned Swedish on Duolingo and at N.Y.U.
In 2019 she celebrated Midsummer, the summer solstice holiday, with him, his family and friends in Sweden, where they danced, ate several kinds of pickled herring and potatoes, drank schnapps and belted out drinking songs.
He proposed on Dec. 1 2019, after he dragged a Christmas tree home through the snow, and nestled a maroon leather ring box on one of its branches. After he asked her to take a closer look at the tree, she found it, and he got down on one knee.
They had planned a wedding for this December at India House, an events space in the Financial District, but after travel restrictions for non-U.S. citizens were imposed after the coronavirus outbreak, they talked about getting married sooner for a sense of security.
As soon as Project Cupid got underway May 7 in New York, they were among the first couples to get an appointment online for a virtual marriage license from the Manhattan Marriage Bureau for the following Monday.
“We’re really excited we could do this,” said Ms. DiLena, “ We needed that extra security to travel to Sweden and back. Before it was never a factor of the relationship.”
They were married May 21, the anniversary of their first meeting, at the home of the bride’s parents in Franklin Square, N.Y. Mirelle Eid, a Universal Life minister, officiated from Manhattan via Zoom. Also tuning in were the bride’s grandmother from Queens and the groom’s family in Sweden. As a salute to Sweden, Ms. DiLena made a wedding cake with a layer of lingonberry jam.
“It’s sort of symbolic,” she said, “and it’s really, really good.”