Their Interfaith Relationship Turned a Corner on Christmas

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By the time Caressa Gonzalez and Mordechai Miltz met in December 2016, 10 months had passed since they matched on the dating app Bumble.

Though they quickly exchanged phone numbers and became Facebook friends after connecting on the app, Mr. Miltz, 37, was then living between his native Long Beach, N.Y., and Florida, where Ms. Gonzalez grew up and lived.

For Ms. Gonzalez, 32, their delayed in-person meeting was “just as well because I wasn’t ready for a relationship after a tough breakup,” she said.

Raised in West Palm Beach, Ms. Gonzalez graduated from Florida International University in Miami and runs Manhattan Trophy & Promotion, her family’s business in Lake Worth, which sells trophies, medals and other tokens of achievement. Mr. Miltz, who goes by Mordy, attended Nassau Community College and is a broker with United Yacht Sales in Stuart, Fla.

When the couple finally met for drinks and dinner at Park Tavern in Delray Beach, Fla., in December 2016, there was an immediate chemistry. “We had a great conversation,” said Mr. Miltz, as they talked about work and their different families: Ms. Gonzalez was raised Catholic by parents who immigrated to this country from Cuba, and Mr. Miltz, whose parents are divorced, was raised Orthodox Jewish.

“We laughed for two hours,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “He was really good company.”

Over the next few weeks, they grew inseparable, taking yachts out for lunch (a perk of his job) attending car shows and sharing meals together. Soon Christmas was upon them. Ms. Gonzalez, who had planned to celebrate the holiday with her family, said she was “baffled” when Mr. Miltz asked what time could he come over and what he should bring.

“Who invites himself to an intimate family gathering for a holiday he doesn’t even celebrate?” she said. That night, he asked her to be his girlfriend and they officially became a couple.

But not for long: Right before Valentine’s Day in February 2017, Ms. Gonzalez broke up with Mr. Miltz. “I had never dated anyone as giving or kind as Mordy,” she said. “I felt smothered.” He was so understanding about her decision, though, that Ms. Gonzalez quickly regretted it. Days later, they were back together.

“I was skeptical but let it play out because Caressa was a good person and so much fun,” Mr. Miltz said. As they continued to date, the couple “learned to talk through our problems,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “Our differences have helped us grow together and enhanced our relationship.”

In 2020, early in the pandemic, Mr. Miltz permanently relocated to Florida, and the couple later bought a home near Ms. Gonzalez’s parents’ house in West Palm Beach. While the two had discussed marriage over the years, Mr. Miltz’s proposal that May took Ms. Gonzalez by surprise. They had just returned from the beach and she was wearing pajamas.

“I don’t even remember his words, but I said yes,” she said.

On Feb. 14, the couple married on the steps of St. Stanislaus Church in Altos de Chavon, a replica 16th-century Mediterranean village within the Casa de Campo resort in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Father Brian King, Ms. Gonzalez’ childhood priest, performed a Catholic ceremony before 53 guests, who had all tested negative for Covid the day before the wedding. At the end of the ceremony, a huppah arranged by the couple was brought out. After two Jewish prayers were said for the newlyweds, they smashed the traditional glass.

The outdoor reception that followed began with a cocktail hour held near the church on a plaza overlooking the Chavon River. It continued at La Piazzetta, a restaurant within the resort, where the couple and their guests enjoyed a flamboyant hora loca, an hour full of dancing and appearances by costumed performers.

Of her new husband, Ms. Gonzalez said, “He puts everyone above himself. In the past six years, I have watched him grow into an extraordinary person.”

She added, “I couldn’t wait for this day to come.”