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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Two lives, which have been running parallel for years, come together at last

Jennifer Wilder and Brandon Perlman were invited to a party at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in Manhattan in June 2018 by a mutual acquaintance with the goal of setting them up. Ms. Wilder and Mr. Perlman had a lot in common, according to her acquaintance, despite the fact that they had never met before.

In 2004, Mr. Perlman and Ms Wilder received their bachelor’s degrees from George Washington University, and they had both since moved to New York to pursue their professional careers. In addition, both had previously worked in the same building at the same firm, American Express Publishing in Manhattan, where Mr. Perlman was the digital editor of Departures.com and Ms. Wilder was a digital marketing manager for the company.

“I decided to go to that party with a few friends and no expectations,” said Mr. Perlman, 40, who is now the chief executive of Social Studies, Inc., a company he founded that specialises in social media analytics and influencer marketing and has offices in New York and Los Angeles. “I went to that party with zero expectations,” he said.

Ms. Wilder, who is now the head of media at Parsley Health, a medical practise with locations in New York and Los Angeles that also offers telemedicine services to patients all across the country, came to the party with a similar frame of mind. Her previous marriage, which had lasted around seven years, had ended in divorce in 2018, and she was considering returning to life as a single woman in New York City.

After arriving at the museum, Mr. Perlman said that he instantly recognised Ms. Wilder “across the museum’s outside lawn,” in part because of her “contagious laugh,” which he claimed could be heard two city blocks away.

Later, while waiting in line for drinks, the two struck up a conversation. By the end of the night, they’d swapped phone numbers with each other. They stayed in contact over the next several weeks while they toured across Europe on their own. She submitted images of her trip to Berlin, and he supplied pictures of meals he ate while in Portofino, Italy, for a friend’s wedding, both of which he shared with her.

The following August, when they had both returned to New York, they reunited for omakase at Shuko, a Japanese restaurant in Union Square.

Ms. Wilder, from Framingham, Massachusetts, said that she, too, “felt very much at peace” that night. It was a long dinner with no uncomfortable pauses,” says the author. “I left feeling interested,” she recalls, recalling the moment they shuttered the sushi counter and Mr. Perlman gave her an unexpected kiss good night.

Once again, they met up a week later, this time to tour the city, and before long, they were being introduced to one other’s friends and connecting over a common sense of humour and love of travel. In Mr. Perlman’s words, “there was an immediate connection that was electric; one that could not be denied.”

By the end of 2018, the two had been married and were living together in a West Village apartment in Manhattan. Their lives as a couple remained stable until the outbreak of the epidemic, when they started to experience a great deal of “bouncing,” as Mr. Perlman called it.

They spent the first three months of 2020 living with his parents in the Cleveland suburbs before relocating to Aspen in June of that year. It was at the summit of Aspen Mountain, on June 21, 2020, that Mr. Perlman proposed to Ms. Wilder, marking precisely two years after their first meeting at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. After that, they relocated to Los Angeles in October of the following year, where they still reside.

The ceremony took place on February 12 at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida, with Rabbi Barry Silver of Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor officiating in front of 140 visitors who had been vaccinated.

“It was definitely a whirlwind,” Mr. Perlman reflected on all of the changes that the newlyweds had to traverse over the course of the previous two years. “We are absolutely on the same wavelength,” he said, which made managing things that much more straightforward.

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