They Met the Day the World Shut Down

When Courtney Mashaye Smith told Andrew Jordan Fede that he seemed like someone who would be in business for himself, he felt seen in a way he had never experienced.

“I felt that Courtney really gets who I am and what I want to do, and wouldn’t mind being bold with me,” he said.

The two had matched on the dating app Bumble on March 10, 2020, and met for drinks that Friday night, March 13, at the View Lounge, a rooftop bar at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. Both had only been in the Bay Area for a few years then, and the conversation flowed so easily that they decided to continue the evening with dinner at Mastro’s Steakhouse.

“We knew that something big was about to happen,” said Ms. Smith of the Covid-19 pandemic that was bearing down, “but we didn’t know how big.”

They met again on Sunday, walking around Mr. Fede’s SoMa neighborhood, as everything shut down around them.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

Ms. Smith, 32, is a news producer for KTVU Fox 2. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and is now working toward an M.B.A. at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Fede, 38, is a senior program manager at Google in Mountain View, Calif. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Florida A&M University, an M.B.A. at Western New England University and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Ms. Smith began spending more and more time at Mr. Fede’s place, given she still had to go to the news station, and his apartment was not far from there.

In those early months, they made Costco runs for toilet paper together, and cooked Southern cuisine (he mostly grew up in Tallahassee, Fla., and she in Houston.) “We both like to cook, and to make gumbo and soul food dishes,” Mr. Fede said.

With Ms. Smith’s entrepreneurial encouragement, he now runs an at-home chef meal delivery service, PlatePick, along with a real estate development business, the Fede Realty Company, in addition to his job at Google. Mr. Fede is also an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law and teaches business law at Menlo College in Atherton, Calif.

By December 2020, they moved into an apartment together in Oakland, Calif.

“During that unknown time, I felt protected and safe with Andrew,” Ms. Smith said. “As we continued to grow closer, I thought, ‘I can do this for the rest of my life.’”

Mr. Fede felt the same, and took his time planning the perfect proposal, which happened in May 2022.

“If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it right,” he said, which is how he came to book a 15th-century palace in Venice, the Ca’Sagredo, presumably for a photo shoot, but also so he could propose there with a custom-made diamond ring.

“It looked like we stepped into a portrait,” said Ms. Smith, who is taking Mr. Fede’s name, “with paintings plastered across the walls and ceiling, and a man in the corner playing violin.”

The couple were married at San Francisco’s City Hall on Feb. 17 by Raynard Hillis, pastor of the Double Rock Baptist Church in San Francisco. Then, on Feb. 26, they held another wedding celebration in front of 71 guests at a private villa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The ceremony was led by the bride’s godmother, Kathy Taylor-Outley, who is also a gospel singer who performs with the name Kathy Taylor. During the ceremony, she sang the Lord’s Prayer.

“What I wanted in a partner was someone supportive, and someone who brings me peace that I love being around,” Mr. Fede said. “With Courtney, I got everything I wanted, and I’m just so happy she decided to be with me.”