When Dieter Demetrios Seelig and Jaclyn Michelle Tokarz first laid eyes on each other in 2015 at Plug Uglies, a bar he owns in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood, both felt an immediate attraction.
“I remember Jaclyn’s gorgeous blue eyes,” Mr. Seelig, 41, said. “Her smile stuck with me. Her laugh was like hearing your favorite song.”
Ms. Tokarz, 34, a regular at Plug Uglies, said that “seeing Dieter was like being hit with a bolt of lightning.” She pulled aside her friend, Nicole Payne, who was bartending at the time, and asked about him.
“He’s in a long-term relationship,” Ms. Tokarz recalled Ms. Payne telling her. “Get him out of your head.”
Though they continued to run in to each other at the bar, where they developed a circle of mutual friends, the two were no more than acquaintances when Mr. Seelig’s relationship ended in March 2017.
At that time, he was opening a new craft-beer bar and shop in Downtown Brooklyn called Craft + Carry. He learned from their shared friends that Ms. Tokarz was a graphic designer and reached out to her about doing some freelance design work.
“I was thrilled,” Ms. Tokarz, 34, said of being contacted by Mr. Seelig. A graduate of the University of Georgia, she is the senior art director at Composed, a digital and creative service agency in Manhattan.
The two set up a meeting to discuss the project weeks later at Goodnight Sonny, a bar in the East Village. “It became clear that we had a great working rapport,” said Mr. Seelig, who graduated from Fordham.
Later that evening, they had a drink at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge followed by late-night pierogies at Veselka, both also in the East Village. Then came a late-night kiss.
“Jaclyn was different from anyone else I had ever met,” Mr. Seelig said, noting that she “was funny and had a very sexy inner fire.”
“She was passionate about her likes and dislikes,” he added. “I could see on her face when something caught her eye.”
They started dating that June, and exactly one year later, in June 2018, Mr. Seelig said he told his future best man that he was going to marry Ms. Tokarz. “That was the first time I ever said it out loud,” he said.
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]
On April 1, 2020, as they approached three years of dating, Ms. Tokarz moved into Mr. Seelig’s Sutton Place apartment. The city had recently shut down because of the pandemic, but Mr. Seelig’s Craft + Carry locations, of which there are now eight in New York, remained open for takeout orders. Ms. Tokarz worked remotely from home.
That year, as Thanksgiving approached, Mr. Seelig rented a house in Pine Plains, N.Y., on Airbnb for both of their families. Though she did not know it, a proposal was in the works.
On Nov. 25, 2020, while their families were preparing cocktails, the couple took off to hike Stissing Mountain, a short drive away. After they climbed a 90-foot lookout tower along the trail route, Mr. Seelig got down on one knee. “I asked if she would make me the happiest man in the world,” he said.
Totally surprised, Ms. Tokarz said, “All I could get out was ‘Are you kidding?’ and a resounding ‘Yes!’ to the easiest question I’ve ever been asked.”
They then sat on the floor of the tower and hugged and cried and kissed for 15 minutes. When they returned to the house, they were greeted by their cheering families, who were in on the plan.
The two were married on March 19 at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in Manhattan. The Rev. Joseph Hagan, a Roman Catholic priest, officiated before 140 guests. The day before, they had a Greek Orthodox ceremony at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan with 70 guests in attendance. At both, all guests were asked to show proof of vaccination.
“The whole weekend was so full of love,” Ms. Tokarz said. Mr. Seelig called the two-day celebration “perfect.”
“I knew our wedding day was going to be special,” he added, “but I wasn’t prepared for the emotions of seeing so many friends and family for the first time in more than two years.”