Finding Romance in Her Spare Time

Finding Romance in Her Spare Time
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Eight years ago, just before the dating app Hinge started up, Julia Silva invested some of her spare time to serve as a beta tester. Her job was to help try out its software from a consumer perspective.

That investment paid handsome dividends for Ms. Silva when it came to a man named Brian Whelan, whose profile she noticed during her brief tenure on the site.

“He was a few years older than me and working in finance,” said Ms. Silva, 30, a business development manager in New York at Allergan Aesthetics, a company based in Irvine, Calif., focused on aesthetics brands and products like Botox.

“Brian was the first real man I ever met,” said Ms. Silva, who was born in Salvador, Brazil, and graduated with a business degree from the College of New Jersey, from which she also received an aesthetics license.

After two weeks of electronic chatting, Mr. Whelan pushed for an in-person meeting.

“We have to meet up, or I don’t want to chat anymore,” said Mr. Whelan, 33, a vice president for MUFG Securities Americas, a Japanese bank in New York that specializes in financial services and corporate banking.

Ms. Silva arranged to meet Mr. Whelan for a 7 p.m. get-together on a Thursday night at the Back Room, a speakeasy-style bar on the Lower East Side.

“My friends thought I was crazy for going into the city alone to meet up with a guy from an app,” Ms. Silva said. “But I gave them all his information and promised to text with updates.”

“Hey, I was about to graduate from college,” she added with a chuckle, “and my weekends were sacred.”

When their date night arrived, Mr. Whelan made it to the restaurant 10 minutes early, and waited outside for Ms. Silva.

“I’m standing there and 7 o’clock comes and goes,” he said. “Julia eventually arrived — 45 minutes late.”

Ms. Silva said she made a joke about “being on time versus arriving on Brazilian time, which meant that I wasn’t really late.” She and Mr. Whelan laughed together and went inside.

They sat on a small sofa, facing each other from a side-by-side position rather than sitting across the table from one another.

“Sitting on that sofa made our first date so much more intimate,” Mr. Whelan said.

Ms. Silva felt the intimacy as well.

“He was very courteous and professional, but at the same time, gentle and a very good listener,” she said. “I was completely drawn to that aspect of him.”

And he was completely drawn to her. “She was gorgeous and just fascinating to talk to,” said Mr. Whelan, who graduated from James Madison University and received a master’s degree in finance from Loyola University Chicago.

For five hours, they drank cocktails out of teacups before taking a late-night stroll along the Hudson River, where they shared their first kiss.

When their first date finally ended, they were both beaming beneath a bright sun.

The couple were engaged March 3, 2018, at Pier 64 at Hudson River Park in New York. “In the middle of the afternoon, he dropped to one knee,” Ms. Silva said, “you know, old school.”

They were married Aug. 8 in a civil ceremony on the roof of The New York Times building in Manhattan. Alex Asylum, a friend of the couple who was ordained through the American Marriage Ministries for the event, officiated.

On Aug. 20, the couple took part in a celebration ceremony before family and friends at Villa Gamberaia, a 15th-century villa in Florence, Italy.

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