Alexa Jayne Nicolette and Mladen Vasic both worked for about eight months in the same office building in Midtown Manhattan, but their paths never crossed until one day in early May 2014, when they shared the same elevator.
They said hello and awkwardly smiled at each other. “As soon as I got out of the elevator, I texted my two best friends a less-than-flattering picture of how I looked that day and said, ‘I think I just met my future husband looking like this,’” said Ms. Nicolette, 34, now a licensed realtor for Signature Premier Properties in Huntington, N.Y.
Mr. Vasic was impressed nonetheless. “The first time I met Alexa, she was magnetic,” he said. “We had only said hello, yet I was so drawn to her.”
About a week later, the two had another elevator encounter. Ms. Nicolette was coming down from her office at the showroom for the fashion designer Yigal Azrouël, while Mr. Vasic, a sales consultant for Strategic Consulting Services, was waiting for the elevator in the lobby.
“The doors opened and we exchanged a smile,” Ms. Nicolette said. “He briefly stepped into the elevator and hesitated before turning around to follow me out. We exchanged numbers.”
“There was chemistry,” Mr. Vasic, 32, added, “and I knew I didn’t want to be without her.”
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Their first date was a spontaneous lunch in Bryant Park near their office building during a workday in late May. “The weather was beautiful, so we decided to sneak away from work,” Ms. Nicolette said. “I sat there being captivated the whole time by how kind and authentic he was. Needless to say, our lunch break ran well over an hour as we sat in the park holding hands and kissing.”
In 2016, after two years of dating, Mr. Vasic moved into Ms. Nicolette’s studio apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. And in 2021, they bought a house in Centerport, N.Y., Ms. Nicolette’s hometown. “I wanted to be closer to my family and we decided to build a future together there,” she said. “We knew for a while that we wanted to marry each other, but didn’t want to rush to the altar. We wanted to accomplish our career goals and grow together before making it official.”
On Sept. 10, 2022, Mr. Vasic took Ms. Nicolette to their favorite winery, Del Vino Vineyards in Northport, N.Y. “We both often worked on weekends, and while at work that day, he texted me using the pretense that it was the last weekend Del Vino was serving frosé, which I love, and we should go after work,” Ms. Nicolette said. “It was a gorgeous fall-like day, so I couldn’t resist.”
When the two arrived at the winery, they were met by a photographer whom Mr. Vasic had hired, unbeknownst to Ms. Nicolette. The photographer told them that she was taking photos of visitors for the winery. “She took some photos of us in the middle of the vineyard and then she wrapped up the session,” Ms. Nicolette said. “When I turned to Mladen, he was down on one knee. I think I blanked out from the excitement and asked him afterward if I said yes.”
The photographer, who pretended to have left, had secretly stayed and taken photos of the moment.
After the proposal, Ms. Nicolette learned that Mr. Vasic had asked her father for her hand in marriage three months before he died of cirrhosis, in July 2022. “That really touched my heart because Mladen knew how important it was to me that he ask my dad for his blessing to marry me,” she said.
The couple chose Sept. 23, the fall equinox, for their wedding date. “To us, it represents balance and harmony — when darkness and light perfectly coexist,” Ms. Nicolette said. “We thought it was meaningful for our wedding.”
The couple exchanged handwritten vows during an intimate ceremony at the Barn at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Ms. Nicolette’s best friend, Audrey Shaffer, who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the event, officiated in front of 75 guests. A reception followed in the Studio at Topping Rose House.
Growing together has been at the core of the couple’s relationship. “We were young and in our 20s when we met, and our bond grew as we got to know each other throughout the years,” Ms. Nicolette said.
She has a bachelor’s degree in retailing and consumer science from the University of Arizona. Mr. Vasic, now a financial consultant at New Start Capital in Midtown Manhattan, has a bachelor’s in finance from William Paterson University.
“Our life goals and values aligned, and we have been through almost a decade together with so many ups and downs,” Ms. Nicolette said, “but life has been so much more fulfilling and easier to navigate with each other.”
Ms. Nicolette often jokes that Mr. Vasic gave his best elevator pitch when they met. “With over 8.5 million people in New York City, I feel so lucky to have run into Mladen,” she said. “I always knew I’d meet my husband by chance like at a grocery store — or in an elevator.”