Monday, July 15, 2024

Philip Joseph Lee Taylor Jr. knows how to host a good party. He runs a roving social event series with food and music called Philinthebrunch, and it was at an event in early February 2020 at Row House, a restaurant in Harlem, where he first saw Kristin Tyler Dyson.

“My friend was the D.J. and I said, ‘Who is that with the green dress?’” Mr. Taylor said. Ms. Dyson had spotted Mr. Taylor as well. “When he walked in I was like, ‘Oh, that’s Philinthebrunch,” she said. The pair were already friends on Facebook but had not met.

Mr. Taylor, 39, approached Ms. Dyson, 34, to introduce himself. After chatting briefly, he knew he had to seize the moment. “I was trying to think fast and I said, ‘You should text me and tell me how your experience was,’” he said.

For a few days after the party, they exchanged some messages. (Mr. Taylor sent his regards when Ms. Dyson’s favorite football team, the Kansas City Chiefs, won the Super Bowl that Sunday.)

Then, on Feb. 5, they met for their first date — dinner at Ferraro’s, an Italian restaurant in Westfield, N.J. — and they kept talking until the staff told them they were closing for the evening. A server recommended a wine bar nearby called 16 Prospect so they continued the date there. When the wine bar closed, they spent another 45 minutes talking in Mr. Taylor’s car.

“We were there until almost 1 a.m. on a Wednesday night when we both had to go to work the next day,” Ms. Dyson said. “It felt like the whole date was 10 minutes because the connection was so strong.”

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

The next morning, Mr. Taylor was a bit behind schedule and was rushing to work when he ran a red light and was pulled over by a police officer. He was unfazed by the two tickets he was handed. “I told the officer, ‘You know, listen, man, I totally understand, you’ve got to do your job.” Mr. Taylor recalled. “I didn’t care because I was so happy about how the date went.”

The good dates continued, and in November 2020, the couple returned to Ferraro’s for another dinner. Mr. Taylor told Ms. Dyson he loved her and she told him she did, too.

Ms. Dyson grew up in Scotch Plains, N.J. She received a bachelor’s degree in legal studies from St. John’s University and is a general manager in the property management division at Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate services company based in Chicago. She works in their Midtown Manhattan office.

Mr. Taylor was raised in Roselle, N.J. He has a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health for kindergarten through high school from Virginia State University. He is a health and physical education teacher and the head coach for the boys varsity basketball team at Barringer High School in Newark, N.J. Mr. Taylor is also a managing member of the Silent Majority, another social event company.

Since their first date, both Mr. Taylor and Ms. Dyson had spoken openly about their goals for the future, including marriage. In February 2022, Ms. Dyson had a ring adjusted and learned her ring size. She relayed the information to Mr. Taylor but told him there was no pressure to buy an engagement ring right away.

Mr. Taylor appreciated the sentiment but wanted to be in charge of the proposal-planning process. “I have this joke with her and when I want to be in control of something, I say ‘Will you let me quarterback this thing — I’ve got everything under control,’” Mr. Taylor said. “So I said, ‘Baby, will you let me quarterback this thing?’”

In May 2022, he bought an engagement ring and in June, he used his party-planning skills to bring about 75 friends and family members to a venue called Loft Life in Newark. Mr. Taylor told Ms. Dyson that they were going to a gala but, when they entered, the guests yelled surprise, he took the microphone and proposed. “I was on cloud nine,” Ms. Dyson said.

The couple were married Nov. 12, 2023 at the Venetian in Garfield, N.J. Their officiant was Dr. Richard Price, a minister at North Green Street Church of Christ in Tupelo, Miss., whom they had heard speak at a conference. After reading their vows, the couple jumped the broom, which Mr. Taylor said represents “leaving things in the past and jumping forward as one.”

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