Her Easy Confidence Felt Excitingly Familiar

When Neah Alexandra Morton and Geoffrey Bain Hutchinson connected on the dating app Tinder in April 2017, they didn’t wait long — just five days — to meet for their first date at a tapas restaurant in Bethesda, Md.

It took even less time for a chemistry to develop between them.

“I knew I liked him immediately because he was so warm and humble and fiercely intelligent,” said Ms. Morton, 29, a senior business program manager at Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle.

“He had this calm way about him, the kind you can only have when you’re really comfortable with yourself,” added Ms. Morton, who graduated magna cum laude from Spelman College with a bachelor’s degree in political science. “We’ve been joined at the hip ever since.”

Mr. Hutchinson, 32, said that when he looks back at his first date with Ms. Morton, “all I can see is this gorgeous woman, flashing the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.”

“I remember being so amazed by her sense of style and her easy-yet-confident demeanor,” added Mr. Hutchinson, a doctoral student completing a dual mentorship in immunology and immuno-engineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “She gave me a sense of exciting familiarity that I had never felt before.”

A graduate of Ball State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Mr. Hutchinson served in the Peace Corps in Mozambique from 2014 to 2016. Before beginning his graduate studies, he spent three years as a post-baccalaureate research fellow at the National Institutes of Health’s vaccine research center in Bethesda, where he focused on the development of vaccines against the coronavirus, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.

In the ensuing years, their initial chemistry evolved into a deeper relationship. The couple went on weekend road trips to visit Mr. Hutchinson’s father, George B. Hutchinson, in New York’s Finger Lakes region, and attended weekly Sunday dinners followed by Scrabble games at the home of Ms. Morton’s parents in Fairfax, Va.

On April 21, 2019, the eve of their second anniversary, the two became engaged in Bartholdi Park, a quiet garden in Washington, D.C.

The following year, Ms. Morton had planned to pursue a master’s degree in communications at Johns Hopkins University. But she deferred to accept her current job at Microsoft. Ms. Morton now plans to begin the master’s program remotely in January 2022.

“I love the way she thinks,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “She’s so quick, she has this brilliant analytical mind and a way of breaking down problems that just kind of blows me away.”

Ms. Morton and Mr. Hutchinson, now based in Seattle, were married Dec. 12 in an outdoor ceremony before about 110 guests, most of them vaccinated, at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami. The Rev. Elijah McDavid III, senior pastor at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis and a childhood friend of the bride, officiated.

They had originally planned to marry there April 24, but coronavirus-related restrictions at the venue forced them to push back the date, which Ms. Morton said was for the best.

“I’m so happy we waited,” the bride said when speaking of the couple’s wedding. “It gave us the opportunity to be fully present in the moment and to reflect on the journey we had been on together.”