The Proposal Was a Walk in the Park (the Second Time Around)

On July 2, all Caroline Mackenzie Gottlieb wanted to do was sit inside her cool, air-conditioned apartment. Ms. Gottlieb, 36, is a features producer for NBC’s “Today” show in Manhattan, and had spent the last few days shooting on location in Charlottesville, Va. It had been hot and humid in Virginia and it was hot and humid when she got back to her Manhattan apartment, where she lived with her boyfriend, David James Virenius. Mr. Virenius, who is a director of programmatic advertising for the Weather Channel in Manhattan, had other plans.

“He starts asking me to go for walks in Central Park,” Ms. Gottlieb said. Normally Ms. Gottlieb loves Central Park, and goes almost every day with her dog, Henry. But after her trip to Charlottesville, “I did not want to leave the apartment,” she said.

Ms. Gottlieb and Mr. Virenius met on Bumble in February 2019, and by the end of the night Mr. Virenius knew he had met someone special.

“I kind of knew she was the one on our first date,” he said.

Ms. Gottlieb’s realization about how much she liked Mr. Virenius was a little more painful. On their third date, while walking around the Upper West Side in Manhattan, Mr. Virenius made Ms. Gottlieb laugh so hard that she walked into a small fence post. Her leg was bruised and bleeding by the time they got to a bar where they were planning to grab a drink.

“It was bad, I probably should have gone home after that,” Ms. Gottlieb said. “But I was enjoying it too much.”

On that night in early July, Mr. Virenius finally persuaded Ms. Gottlieb to take a walk with him, under the guise of having a picnic. As they walked, Ms. Gottlieb kept suggesting nice picnic areas, but Mr. Virenius insisted that they walk all the way across the park to a scenic gazebo, where he was planning to ask Ms. Gottlieb to marry him.

When the couple got to the gazebo it was just as beautiful as Mr. Virenius had pictured, but it was full of other people.

“Dave just seems kind of bummed out, and I don’t really know why,” Ms. Gottlieb said. They ate dinner together at a nearby rock outcropping, and headed home for the night.

The next day Mr. Virenius asked Ms. Gottlieb to go on another evening walk through Central Park, this time to Pinebank Arch. When they arrived, they noticed another couple was already there, but Mr. Virenius didn’t want to wait for the bridge to empty out.

“I was like, we’re doing it,” Mr. Virenius said. He got down on one knee, and asked Ms. Gottlieb to marry him.

“She’s very curious, and appreciates all the dorky stuff that I like, or she’ll take an interest in it,” Mr. Virenius said. “It’s almost like having a best friend, we can banter back and forth, support one another, it’s just a really good relationship.”

“Dave has a great sense of humor,” Ms. Gottlieb said. “He’s constantly cracking me up and really bringing a lot of laughter to my family.”

The couple were married Sept. 19 at Ms. Gottlieb’s parents’s home in Sharon, Conn., where Ms. Gottlieb grew up. The bride is taking her husband’s name. In a nod to Ms. Gottlieb’s Scottish heritage, the couple was led in and out of the ceremony by a bagpiper. Ryan Paulson, the groom’s cousin and a Universal Life minister, officiated

Although the couple aren’t religious, they asked a nearby Episcopal church to play a bell solo during the ceremony, filling the small, socially distanced wedding with the same bell sounds Ms. Gottlieb had grown up listening to.