Maxwell Sugerman treasures Maria Lopez, whom he met after investing $4 on a dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel, in August 2017.
“She’s as down to earth as she is gorgeous,” said Mr. Sugerman, who is studying for an M.B.A. at Pace University in Manhattan.
Ms. Lopez, 29, an art teacher at Dream Charter School, also in Manhattan, said that she and Mr. Sugerman “spoke via the app briefly, and really kind of hit it off.” She graduated from Adelphi University and received a master’s degree in child advocacy from Montclair State University.
The app that connected them originally — which cost Mr. Sugerman $2 to download — was shut down after a week as it had been programmed to cut off any chatting should both parties not exchange phone numbers during that length of time, the app’s way of trying to motivate couples to meet in real life.
Having liked what he had already seen online, Mr. Sugerman made a financial decision by plunking down an additional $2 to reopen the app, and clicked back into his life Ms. Lopez, the dividend of a lifetime.
“In addition to her beauty, she was super-impressive as a teacher, so much fun to talk to, and a trusted friend before anything else,” Mr. Sugerman said. “I figured it was worth the risk, and it ended up being the best decision I ever made in my life.”
Ms. Lopez, tongue in cheek, said she was glad that Mr. Sugerman got his money’s worth.
“I thought, well, he paid four whole dollars and he’s cute,” she said, laughing, “so Iʼll give him a second chance.”
They turned that second chance into a first date in the East Village. “We did a lot of barhopping,” Ms. Lopez said. It was the first of four straight, six-hour dates.
“He was super sharp intellectually,” said Ms. Lopez, who was living in Forest Hills, Queens at the time. “I felt like whenever I threw something sassy or sarcastic at him, he had the ability to throw it right back at me in a very clever and funny way.”
Mr. Sugerman, who was then living in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, said that he and Ms. Lopez began turning a serious corner “at about the four-month mark,” of their relationship.
In the ensuing months, they began seeing in the other the kind of person each hoped to marry one day. “Maria brought a lot of stability and normality in my life,” Mr. Sugerman said. “And culturally, we had many things in common.” And had graduated from Adelphi.
“Max just got me,” Ms. Lopez said. “All of my weird quirks weren’t so weird to him, and he always believed in me, and he has always been my biggest cheerleader. I very quickly realized that this is someone I would never be bored with.”
After Mr. Sugerman proposed to Ms. Lopez by the Lake in Central Park, they began making wedding plans, but time and again, the coronavirus had other plans.
“We postponed our wedding five times because of the pandemic,” said Ms. Lopez, who first chose March 27, 2020 as her wedding date and had planned to marry at Liberty House in Jersey City, N.J., before 85 guests.
The bride and groom had half that many guests when they returned to the Liberty House on Nov. 21, and were finally married, exchanging vows before Janice Wright, the groom’s mother, who became a Universal Life minister for the event. The groom’s mother and father, Mike Sugerman, both work in New York for WCBS News Radio. She as a news anchor, and he is a reporter. Also present were the bride’s parents, Maria Guadalupe Lopez, a retired seamstress, and Mario Roberto Lopez, a superintendent for 67th Road Construction Corporation.
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