Family Is Everything for Diana Ming and John Gold

Neither Diana Ming nor Jonathan Barrett Gold seemed to want their first date to ever end.

After connecting on the dating app Hinge, the two agreed to meet on March 22, 2018 at Goodnight Sonny, a bar in Manhattan’s East Village.

“We instantly bonded while consuming spicy margaritas and laughing,” said Ms. Ming, 30, a vice president for business operations at the Global Atlantic Financial Group, an insurance and annuities provider in New York. She had graduated from Dartmouth with a bachelor’s degree in government and public policy.

“He was interested in me and curious about what kept me busy,” she said.

Mr. Gold, 31, a software engineer at Amazon, found Ms. Ming gregarious and engaging, as well as intellectual and kind. “I was impressed by her and hoped she felt similarly about me,” said Mr. Gold, who has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in computer science from Stanford.

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At 1 a.m., they had closed the bar down. Then she followed Mr. Gold to the roof deck of a friend’s apartment, for which he had the entry code, just two blocks away. They shared their first kiss on the deck, which overlooked Tompkins Square Park.

“I wanted to keep talking to him,” said Ms. Ming, adding that she had found Mr. Gold refreshing and different and “felt giddy and sparked by him.”

She got her wish. Just hours later, he texted Ms. Ming and asked her out to dinner.

Their relationship moved quickly. The two spent the next six months falling in love by seeing New York City through each other’s eyes. This included hundreds of bike rides, hot yoga classes, Yankees games, food tours through Astoria, Queens, and batting cages in the Bronx.

In September, Mr. Gold invited Ms. Ming to his family’s annual summer barbecue at his childhood home in Manhasset, N.Y., which 75 relatives and friends attended.

“Having a big family is part of my personality,” said Mr. Gold, the oldest of five siblings. His mother died from cancer when he was in high school. “I envisioned being incorporated into someone else’s large family, because they understand the things that come with that.”

Ms. Ming, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who grew up in Morristown, N.J., is an only child. She said she “rarely had any connection to my extended family except for a few childhood visits to China.”

“Marriage seemed like an unattainable idea,” she added. “I thought, ‘I’m never going to find someone who understands me and my cultural identity.’”

The summer reunion was an important event for both Mr. Gold and Ms. Ming.

“Instead of feeling lost, I was embraced,” Ms. Ming said. “I knew I wanted to marry John that day. Bonding with those closest to him helped me know him more intimately.”

“At the party, I could hear her distinctive laugh from across the room, which let me know she was OK,” Mr. Gold said. “She not only survived, she thrived. That was heartwarming.”

They moved into an apartment together in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn in July 2019. On Oct. 2, 2021, while picnicking in Prospect Park, she turned around to find Mr. Gold, ring in hand, proposing on one knee. She said “yes” as Mr. Gold’s father and siblings emerged from the entranceway of the park touting balloons, champagne and lobster rolls.

Ms. Ming’s parents, who moved to Singapore in 2020, were eagerly waiting, at 2 a.m., their time, to join the festivities via FaceTime.

The couple married on June 3 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Plant Family Collection before 180 guests. Victor Hollenberg, Ms. Ming’s college roommate, who was ordained through Universal Life Church for the occasion, officiated.

Ms. Ming’s culture was celebrated the night before with a performance by a traditional Chinese lion dance troop and a family-style dinner at Mr. Chow’s in TriBeCa. Mr. Gold’s Jewish heritage was infused throughout the wedding ceremony and reception when the couple stomped on a glass, read from the seven blessings, and danced the hora.

“John has made me more spontaneous and vulnerable,” Ms. Ming said. “His family adds so much color and relationships to my world.”

The groom spoke similarly. “When my mom passed away, I didn’t have anyone to push me toward being the person I could be — Diana does,” he said. “She elevates me.”

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