Friday, July 19, 2024

When Lily Gene Ramirez and Michael Anthony Fasano attended the same December 2017 holiday party in Denver, both were nursing wounds from recent romantic woes.

“I recall just saying hi to each other very quickly, and I didn’t really give him the time of day,” Ms. Ramirez said.

The next day one of their shared personality quirks emerged, and the seeds of an accidental first date were planted.

Mr. Fasano has a propensity to ignore boarding times for his flights, and on Sunday morning he skipped his departure to his home in New York City altogether. Ms. Ramirez, who tends to postpone travel plans depending on the situation, also decided to stay. She had planned to fly to Gainesville, Fla., for the holidays that day.

Their friends had persuaded them to attend a Denver Broncos game later that Sunday.

Both got tickets at the last minute and sat together, just the two of them (they took in a 23-0 thrashing of the New York Jets). For three hours, they got to know each other. Both liked what they saw and heard.

“We weren’t looking for anything romantic,” Ms. Ramirez said. “We just went to the game and had a fun time together.”

“I moved my flight again to Tuesday, and we ended up spending the day together on Monday,” Mr. Fasano said.

They exchanged numbers, kept in touch, and quickly began to communicate every day.

“It was super easy,” Mr. Fasano said. “There was never any conversation about ‘where we stood.’ We both just knew we wanted to be together.”

The couple visited each other every other weekend. Their shared background as athletes also bore out a love of food, traversing the culinary scenes of Denver, New York and beyond. Mr. Fasano eventually moved to Denver where they briefly lived together. Then Ms. Ramirez passed the Florida bar exam and found a new opportunity in Miami, where they now reside.

Ms. Ramirez, 33, was born and raised in Gainesville, Fla. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and was an all-American swimmer at the University of Florida, following in the footsteps of her father, Robin Ramirez, a member of the class of 1981 and Alumni Hall of Fame Honoree. She has a law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2016 and practiced law in Colorado until moving to Miami in 2022, where she is a senior associate with Kasowitz Benson Torres.

Mr. Fasano, 36, was born in Bridgeport, Conn., and grew up in nearby Southport. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Arizona State University and was a member of the rugby team. He is now a director at RIPCO Real Estate in Miami.

The couple’s bond deepened about two months into their relationship when Ms. Ramirez traveled to the Fasano family home in Vermont. She recognized another important facet of their personalities — love of family.

“My parents are madly in love and have been together for more than 35 years,” Ms. Ramirez said. “They were a model couple for me to find the love of my life. I knew that night I had found him.”

Their mothers echoed similar sentiments about their relationship.

“They really ‘get’ each other,” Ms. Ramirez’s mother, Susan Ramirez, said. “I liked Mike immediately because Lily seemed so taken with him, and I could tell he was a good person.”

Mr. Fasano’s mother, Laura Fasano, said: “There’s so much joyfulness when they’re together. There’s never any drama with them.”

The couple flew to Portugal right after Christmas 2021 to ring in the New Year at a black-tie event, for which they purchased formal attire. The couple spent a great deal of time planning this trip only to realize after strolling up that night to the party in Cascais that they had not purchased tickets to the event.

“We decided to make the best of it. We ordered a nice takeout dinner and had a great night exploring the city,” Ms. Ramirez said.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

Both knew the proposal was coming on this trip — Ms. Ramirez simply didn’t know when. In truth, Mr. Fasano didn’t either. Until the morning of Jan. 1, 2022.

“Every time we were doing something romantic on the trip, I could see her looking at me to see if it was time,” Mr. Fasano said. “But I wanted to surprise her. So that morning we had just got back to the hotel with an amazing view of the sunrise on the Mediterranean Sea, and Lily was distracted. I knew that was the perfect time.

The couple married Oct. 13 at the Addison of Boca Raton, in Florida, in front of 165 guests. Karen Steinhauser, a lawyer Ms. Ramirez used to clerk for who was ordained by Universal Life Church for the occasion, officiated.

When it came to the moment of allowing anyone to object to this union, Ms. Steinhauser proclaimed, “To the many lawyers here, we know that motion should’ve been filed a long time ago.”

Under the canopy of two gargantuan banyan trees in the Addison courtyard, the couple exchanged impromptu vows.

“He’s always put me first and been there for me unconditionally,” Ms. Ramirez said. “He makes me a better person.”

Mr. Fasano said in his vows, “I’m truly at my happiest when I can make her happy. And I’m going to chase that feeling for the rest of my life.”

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