An iMessage Almost Cost Them an ‘I Do’

Five years ago, the trajectories of Elizabeth Svokos and Kervin Ray Briones Morales’s lives were almost altered by a tech glitch.

It was mid-2016, and the two had been connected by a mutual friend. They started text messaging to plan a date. Then, as a plan was being finalized, Mr. Morales stopped responding.

Ms. Svokos thought that she had been stood up. That night, she went out with friends. After a couple of drinks, she decided to confront Mr. Morales on his apparent sleaziness.

“At 8 o’clock I texted him and I said, ‘Hey, it feels like you stood me up, and that sucks,’” Ms. Svokos said. “I thought calling him out would be the end of it.”

Instead, when Mr. Morales received the message, he immediately dialed Ms. Svokos. He hadn’t seen her messages, he explained, and he’d thought she’d stood him up, too. Their texts had been lost in the digital ether. Far from destroying the seed of their relationship, as Ms. Svokos had feared, Ms. Svokos’s text call out saved it. It intrigued Mr. Morales, too.

“I thought that it was nice that she called me out,” Mr. Morales explained. “I feel like most people wouldn’t have done that — only people who are very sure of themselves would do that.”

By coincidence, the two crossed paths at a party and poetry reading in Brooklyn days later. Mr. Morales had stopped there after a day of summertime skateboarding. Ms. Svokos spotted him when she arrived.

“He was wearing this white T-shirt with holes in it, and he was sort of glistening,” Ms. Svokos said. “It was part of the whole package.”

Mr. Morales was impressed that Ms. Svokos had come to the event alone, and was even more impressed when he saw that she had signed up to read a poem in front of a group of strangers.

“I admired that confidence,” he said. “Also,” he noted, “she’s beautiful.”

They went on their first outing together the following day. They got coffee. They picked up a plant at a garden store. They walked slowly and deliberately together that day, both because they were deep in conversation and because Mr. Morales had injured his foot skateboarding — a blessing in disguise, one that gave them more time to talk.

“I was very much walking like an old man,” Mr. Morales said.

Such outings, minus the hobbling, have become routine for him and Ms. Svokos. Mr. Morales had long enjoyed improvised exploration — a practice he attributes partly to his time in the Navy. (Mr. Morales served as a Navy parachute rigger for four years starting in the mid-2000s.) These spur-of-the-moment adventures were refreshing to Ms. Svokos, who has traditionally been more of a planner.

“My favorite activity is just walking out the front door with him,” Ms. Svokos said.

Ms. Svokos, now 32, is the supervising producer and video director at the Juilliard School in Manhattan. Mr. Morales, 33, is an art director and designer for MediaMonks, a production company with headquarters in the Netherlands.

Mr. Morales proposed to Ms. Svokos in April 2018. They made plans for a July 2020 wedding, but delayed it a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms. Svokos and Mr. Morales were married July 2 at the Liberty Warehouse, an events space in Brooklyn. Their marriage was officiated by Joseph Rechichi, an uncle of the bride who was ordained through American Marriage Ministries.

The following day, Mr. Morales and Ms. Svokos took their families to sing karaoke at Sid Gold’s Request Room, a bar in Manhattan and one of the couple’s favorite hangouts. The couple’s go-to karaoke songs have become Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Ms. Svokos) and Radiohead’s “Creep” (Mr. Morales). The first time they sang karaoke together, though, Ms. Svokos made a different choice.

“I sang ‘Desperado,’ the Linda Ronstadt version,” Ms. Svokos said. “It was awful — and he loved it.’”

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