After the Pandemic Separated Them, Bridie and Luca Decided to Get Married
By Ashley Edwards Walker
In September 2018, Luca, an attorney, was living in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. His relationship had just ended, and he was looking for a change. He’d been thinking about applying to jobs that would take him abroad and challenge him to build a new life and start a new phase of his career “without anyone to rely on.” In the meantime, however, he wanted to keep dating and downloaded Bumble. When he came across Bridie’s profile, he thought she was beautiful and swiped right. Luckily, Bridie, a model, felt the same way about Luca. “I just remember thinking he was cute,” she says, explaining she also wasn’t looking for anything serious at the time. Within a few days of matching, they met up for their first date for drinks at a local French restaurant.
Bridie and Luca had an instant connection. In fact, during the date, they got so wrapped up in their conversation about their experiences living abroad (Milan for Bridie; the U.S. for Luca), their interest in travel, and love of food that they stayed at the restaurant for five hours and forgot to order dinner. He texted her the next day, and they quickly made plans for a second date the following weekend.
The couple continued seeing each other at least twice a week for the next month. When Luca asked Bridie to be his date to an October wedding, where she’d meet his parents and many of his friends, she asked him to commit. “I was like, ‘What is this? Why am I coming to meet your whole family and all of your friends at once?’” says Bridie. “To me, that wedding wasn’t something you’d invite just some girl you’re seeing to.” Even though Luca was “a bit more commitment-phobic than Bridie was,” and he still hadn’t mentioned his plans to move abroad, he agreed to make their relationship official. In retrospect, he believes, his hesitation stemmed from the fact that he “probably hadn’t realized how I was feeling about her yet.” After the wedding, having seen how seamlessly they were starting to fit into each other’s separate lives, their connection continued to deepen.
Over the next few months, Luca and Bridie grew even closer, planning their first holiday together and traveling to the beachside town of Byron Bay so Luca could meet Bridie’s parents. It was around that same time that Luca received a job offer that would take him to the Cayman Islands. But still, he waited to bring it up to Bridie. “I was trying to play it cool,” admits Luca. “I had previously made decisions based on a partner’s preference and, even though every relationship is different, I didn’t want to compromise my ambitions and goals for a partner again.” It wasn’t until July 2019—six months before he was scheduled to leave—that he finally told Bridie of his plans, explaining the move was something he felt he needed to do for his personal and professional development. He left it up to her to decide whether she was willing to “uproot her life” to go with him. “I didn’t see it coming,” admits Bridie. But once the initial shock wore off, she says, “I was going to be supportive of what he wanted to do with his life.”
They agreed that Luca would go to the Cayman Islands first, secure a place to live, and get settled in his new role. Bridie would join him a few months later so they could be together. But shortly after Luca moved in January 2020, COVID-19 hit and the world shut down. “A week before my flight, that’s when everything turned to absolute crap,” says Bridie. Initially they stayed connected by cooking meals together—breakfast for Bridie and dinner for Luca. But as the initial quarantine period was extended again and again, the 15-hour time difference began to take a toll on their relationship. Once the Cayman Islands started to lift social distancing restrictions and Luca was able to socialize, Bridie felt even more isolated at home under Australia’s stricter regulations. They started fighting, and their relationship had reached a breaking point when travel to the Cayman Islands finally started reopening. After 10 months apart, Bridie boarded her long-postponed flight in November 2020. After a two-week quarantine in a rented apartment—during which Luca stopped by daily to wave to Bridie from outside her window or drop off coffee at her doorstep—the couple was finally reunited. “Everything came back,” Luca says of those initial days and weeks back together. “We picked up where we left off very quickly.”
After 10 months in the Cayman Islands, their relationship stronger than ever, Luca got another job opportunity in New York City. Not wanting to risk yet another separation, he and Bridie decided to get married. They returned to Melbourne for a six-week pitstop before moving to the States. Between spending time with the friends and family they’d been separated from throughout the pandemic, they threw a small party and surprised their guests by announcing they’d eloped the day before. In July 2021, they moved—this time, together—to NYC. Having just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, the couple has finally found their stride. Being with Luca, says Bridie, “makes me believe I can do more than I’d imagined,” from living in new cities to expanding her life goals. For Luca’s part, Bridie taught him he needed a life partner more than he’d previously thought. Says Luca: “She grounds me.”