They Started with an Inbox Full of Questions

They Started with an Inbox Full of Questions


When Jason Daniel Mercado first met Kristen Virginia Bateman in August 2013 at the HôM Store, a trinket shop that also serves brunch in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, he asked for her phone number. “I saw her and her purple hair and struck up a conversation,” Mr. Mercado said. She had another idea: “Let’s exchange emails instead.”

“I’m an introvert even though I have to talk to a lot of people for work,” Ms. Bateman said.

Mr. Mercado emailed her the next day. “We started a lengthy discourse,” he said. “We hashed out questions and got to know one other.”

They spent three months emailing before meeting again in person. “I wanted to become friends first,” Ms. Bateman said.

Their first date was in mid-November 2013 at the same place where they met. “What we knew for sure was that they had pumpkin pancakes and that it felt like a place we’d both enjoy,” Mr. Mercado said.

But even after they started dating, they continued to email regularly. “Things that she wasn’t comfortable asking in person, she asked in email,” Mr. Mercado said. “Like, after going to MoMA on our second date, she emailed and asked, ‘Why didn’t you hold my hand?’”

But it wasn’t long after that second date that the two became official. On New Year’s Eve 2013, “I said I love you for the first time,” Mr. Mercado said.

In 2014, they spent a lot of time traveling together, visiting Montreal, London, Stockholm, and Paris. And over the years, they visited even more countries in Europe and Asia on vacations and work trips.

Ms. Bateman, 30, is a fashion writer and author of the recently published “Little Book of New York Style.” She also works as a consultant for beauty and fashion brands, and she designs and sells jewelry for her brand Dollchunk.

She has dual bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and design from the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts and the Parsons School of Design through the New School.

Mr. Mercado, 39, is a director at Citigroup, specializing in funding and liquidity management. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Baruch College.

Inspired by their love of travel and the date when they became official, Mr. Mercado proposed on New Year’s Eve 2020 on a trip to Niagara Falls. “Since it was during the pandemic, we couldn’t even go to the Canadian side,” Mr. Mercado said. Still, he wanted somewhere nice to surprise Ms. Bateman.

“I got down on one knee in the ice and asked for Kristen’s hand in marriage as the clock struck midnight,” Mr. Mercado said.

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

One year later, Ms. Bateman briefly lost her engagement ring in the snow at the Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre outdoor museum in New Windsor, N.Y., when she fell in the snow. It was found by an employee after an exhaustive search and hours of the couple and staff members digging in the snow.

The couple were married on Aug. 12 by Annie Lawrence, an interfaith minister who is ordained by the New Seminary, at the Ladies Pavilion in Central Park. “A couple of people riding bikes shouted out to congratulate us,” Ms. Bateman said. “It felt very much like a New York City moment.”

Ms. Bateman’s mother and Mr. Mercado’s mother and sister were the only guests. “We wanted it to feel like an elopement,” Ms. Bateman said. “We consider it, combined with our reverse honeymoon in France, a two-part elopement.”

In early July, the two had traveled to the Brittany region of France to have a symbolic elopement. Ms. Bateman said, “I wore two very extreme dresses from the designer Noir Kei Ninomiya’s runway collections and an equally extreme Simone Rocha veil.”

For the wedding in New York, Ms. Bateman wore a Noir Kei Ninomiya dress in black with 3-D pink roses. Underneath the Noir Kei Ninomiya dress, she layered a silver Simone Rocha mini dress with puff sleeves and carried a Gucci anatomical heart bag covered in rose-colored crystals with her vows stored inside. “When it was time to say my vows, I took the paper out and handed the heart bag to Jason, representing giving him my heart,” she said.

During their ceremony, the officiant quoted Dr. Seuss: “We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird,” Ms. Lawrence said. “And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

Afterward, they all took a yellow cab to the Empire Hotel on the Upper West Side for the cake, designed by Yip.Studio, to match Ms. Bateman’s ceremony dress. They then headed downtown for lunch at Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya, where Ms. Bateman wore a red Comme des Garçons dress and a Miu Miu tiara.

Ms. Bateman said everything about their elopement-style union was all about “breaking and questioning tradition.”

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