The ‘Hot Vax Summer’ That Lived Up to Its Hype

It was the summer of 2021, a.k.a. “hot vax summer,” when Megan Margaret O’Connor and her single friends decided to organize a fun outing in Brooklyn. Her friends had already received two Covid-19 vaccinations, and she said they were on a mission: “Calling all singles … tonight.”

The friends had a “hot vax summer bingo card” saved onto their phones, with squares like “buy ice from a bodega” and “ask for someone’s number.”

Ms. O’Connor had been single the entire pandemic. But Omar Mohamed Elsayed was coming out of a “misguided pandemic relationship,” he said. He had been moping around in his sister’s apartment in Williamsburg, where he was temporarily staying, when a friend texted him to join in on the action.

“I hadn’t shaved in a week,” he said. But he pulled himself together and showed up on July 31 to Dumbo House, a private social club, where about 10 singles were mingling on the patio. “Suddenly, I was in the middle of this escapade waiting to happen.”

Mr. Elsayed, 40, and Ms. O’Connor, 38, started chatting, and they hit it off immediately. An hour and a half later, a date she had invited, and had completely forgotten about, showed up.

But the date wasn’t upset that she was flirting with another man. Instead, he was charmed by how much fun Ms. O’Connor and Mr. Elsayed were having. He let them be.

“He ended up hanging out and partying with us till 4 a.m. that night,” Mr. Elsayed said.

For the next stop of the night, the group went to Mr. Elsayed’s sister’s rooftop and crossed off a couple of the bingo squares: “Brooklyn rooftop party” and “dance under a disco ball.” They were missing the disco ball at first, but that was no obstacle for Mr. Elsayed.

“I happened to know my sister had a disco ball in her living room,” he said. “So I ran into the living room and hung it up over a pagoda.” Then, they shared their first kiss under the disco ball.

They spent the next four days together. That August, each had plans to go to Greece: Mr. Elsayed for his sister’s wedding, and Ms. O’Connor for a friend’s 40th birthday. But they would be in different parts of Greece, so they weren’t expecting to see each other.

But during her trip, Ms. O’Connor got Covid and flew to Athens so that she could quarantine for 10 days before heading back home. At the same time, Mr. Elsayed had a long layover in Athens after missing his connecting flight to Antiparos. He decided to leave the airport and grab breakfast in Athens, and sent her a picture of the restaurant he was at.

“I look at the picture, and I’m literally looking at the exact same view,” she recalled. “It was the same angle of the Parthenon up on a hill,” he added.

Although she had Covid, she left her hotel just to wave at him. Both wore masks and were six feet apart.

She recalled texting her friend who had made the hot vax summer bingo cards: “After this serendipitous encounter, he’s got to be my husband.”

Ms. O’Connor is from San Jose, Calif., and is the vice president of strategic partnerships at Chegg, an education technology company. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s in communications and political science and from N.Y.U. with a master’s of public administration. Mr. Elsayed is from Red Bank, N.J., and is a co-founder of Prime, a fintech company. He graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s in computer engineering.

In October 2021, while they were in his apartment in Williamsburg, he asked her: “So are you my girlfriend or what?” (She said yes.)

“I texted my mom later. I was like, ‘A boy asked me to be his girlfriend,’” Ms. O’Connor said. “I was 37.”

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

She moved into his apartment in April 2022. A few months later, on Sept. 3, he proposed on a “normal Saturday morning,” Mr. Elsayed said. He was doing a crossword puzzle, and she was drinking coffee while listening to NPR. “I was so excited, I could not wait any longer,” he said.

On April 8, 2023, the couple were married at the XX Venue in Williamsburg on top of a rug that Mr. Elsayed’s parents had brought from Egypt. Amalia Culpe, one of his best friends from college who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the occasion, officiated in front of 130 guests.

Mr. Elsayed called it a “townie wedding.” Their rehearsal dinner was at the bar Silver Light Tavern, across from their apartment on the night before the wedding. They had brunch the day after their wedding at Casa Publica, which is a block over. They also worked with local businesses, many of which are owned by their friends.

During the reception that followed the wedding, they had pizza and champagne — which is also Ms. O’Connor’s yearly birthday tradition. They had an elaborate balloon setup organized by two friends, inspired by Mr. Elsayed’s affinity for balloons. And the reception included a power point presentation of the antics from the night the couple met, presented by a friend who had been there.

At 11 p.m., guests changed into sequined outfits for an “epic dance party” at XX Venue, Ms. O’Connor said. “It was literally everything I could have ever imagined, and so much more.”

Source: Read Full Article