It took Samantha Weinstein and Philip Della Noce a few years to form a friendship, and another few more to become romantic.
Some people know instantly when they meet “the one.” But when Samantha Rose Weinstein met Philip Joseph Della Noce, “It was not love at first sight,” she said. “We weren’t too fond of each other at the beginning.”
The two met Aug. 26, 2010 at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y., on their first day of freshmen orientation.
“It was definitely a slow burn,” Ms. Weinstein, 30, said. “When you first meet me, I’m very loud, and he’s very soft-spoken. So, I was probably too much for him.” Indeed, Mr. Della Noce said he found her “a little intimidating.” They gravitated toward different social groups, and saw each other in classes and theater activities, but it wasn’t until junior year that the two became friends.
“We took a trip to Amsterdam with school,” Ms. Weinstein said. “The whole group became closer, including us. And by our senior year we were very close.”
In the spring of their final year, Mr. Della Noce, now 31, contracted mononucleosis. “I was dating someone else at the time, but the first person I went to was Sam,” he said.
The two say they can’t pinpoint an exact first date. “It was more a gradual development,” said Ms. Weinstein, who admits she was the first to have romantic feelings. “Starting in September 2014, we were in a kind of gray area. It took Phil longer to come around.”
In November 2014, Mr. Della Noce received an offer to work as a performer aboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship. On Jan. 19, 2015, he left to rehearse for six weeks in Toronto.
Ms. Weinstein was sure their budding romance was doomed. But she needn’t have worried; Mr. Della Noce continuously reached out.
“I got to Toronto, and the first person I called was Samantha,” Mr. Della Noce said. “We FaceTimed every single day.”
On Feb. 28, Ms. Weinstein took a 13-hour bus ride from Manhattan to see him and told him, “I think I’m starting to fall for you.” He replied the same.
The two were on FaceTime on March 7, 2015, as he was on his way to board the ship for six months. “Which was when he said ‘I love you’ for the first time,” Ms. Weinstein said. They spoke whenever Mr. Della Noce was in port. And when Ms. Weinstein went to join him onboard for a week in June 2015, Mr. Della Noce asked her to be his girlfriend.
Mr. Della Noce moved back to the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in November 2015. About a year later, he moved to Hudson Heights, where Ms. Weinstein joined him in June 2017 and they still live today.
“We’ve been through long distance and quarantining through Covid in a one-bedroom,” Ms. Weinstein said. So, they knew it was love.
Ms. Weinstein, who was raised in New City, N.Y., is a real estate agent and the director of operations for the Kelly Robinson team at Compass. She graduated in May 2014 from Wagner College with a bachelor’s degree in musical theater performance, as did Mr. Della Noce.
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Mr. Della Noce, who grew up primarily in the Philadelphia area, is a senior data analyst at the Situation Group. He has an M.B.A. from Syracuse University.
On June 1, 2021, under the guise of getting together for a friend’s birthday, Mr. Della Noce proposed in Fort Tryon Park.
The park is very special to the couple. They live nearby and have walked it hundreds of times. Ms. Weinstein said, “We had so many talks in that park about getting married one day and our future together.”
The couple were wed March 25 at the Park Savoy Estate in Florham Park, N.J. Because Ms. Weinstein is Jewish and Mr. Della Noce is Catholic, they had the Rev. Bill Beute, an assistant chaplain at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Pennsylvania, officiate, with Rabbi Dennis Tobin of Chavurah Temple Beth El of Co-Op City in the Bronx participating in the interfaith ceremony.
The couple requested that all 140 guests be vaccinated and encouraged Covid tests before attending.
The melding of traditions and inclusion of their families in the ceremony was a great success, although Mr. Della Noce was not particularly fond of one reception tradition: being lifted up in the air in a chair during the hora. Mr. Della Noce said, “I was hora-fied.”