Layla Providente, of Massapequa, recalls the blind date with future husband Matt that led to their courtship.
On a cool, sunny day in March 2014, I was walking with my childhood friend Christine when we started to share our recent dating experiences. They had all proved to be uneventful and quite disappointing.
In that moment, Christine turned to me and said, “I think I have a guy for you.” She then explained that her older brother’s best friend, Matt, happened to be single. She described Matt as a kind, funny, intelligent and hardworking man with the good looks of a movie star. She offered to call her brother and try to set us up. I was intrigued and immediately agreed, as her description of Matt left me with that too-good-to-be-true feeling.
The next day Matt called and we set up a date at Salumi Tapas and Wine Bar in Massapequa. I was naturally nervous and excited to meet him. When I walked in and our eyes met, I felt an instant connection. Matt was 33 and I was 29.
We relaxed into conversation and learned that our paths had crossed many times over the years. We both grew up in Wantagh and went to the same schools, but we were never in the same classes since Matt was a few years ahead of me. He was often at Christine’s house visiting her brother, yet we never met. We also had other things in common — our grandparents were from Italy, we were very family-oriented and we both lived in Massapequa.
After that night we continued dating, and that summer I moved in with Matt, spending many days on his boat and many evenings talking on his front porch. One day we were planting tomatoes in the garden and our next-door neighbor came over and remarked that it was a sign of true love and that we would be together for life. We all laughed.
One year after our first date, Matt and I went to The Carltun at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow for dinner. When we finished, Matt got down on one knee and proposed. The other diners were very excited and began applauding.
Growing up on Long Island, it was important for us to celebrate locally with close family and friends. So we got married on Oct. 10, 2015, on our front porch, with a string quartet playing and our loved ones gathered around. It was truly the happiest day of our lives. We honeymooned in Grenada that December.
Matt is director of facilities for the Central Islip School District. I had been a school psychologist in Brooklyn and then worked as director of special education for the Vincent Smith School in Port Washington until this past summer, when Matt and I were blessed with the birth of our beautiful daughter. We’re planning a trip to Italy this year to celebrate her first birthday.
— With Virginia Dunleavy