If there’s anything that COVID-19 has proven, it’s that true love most definitely prevails. And the union of professional ice hockey forward, currently playing for Vastervik in Sweden, Connor Jones, to ABC Nightline producer Stephanie Fasano was no exception. In fact, we can even go so far as to thank the pandemic for encouraging the super career-driven couple to wed in an incredibly intimate ceremony they would’ve never planned otherwise.
Hear this New York City-based love story, and just try and pretend you’re not envious of the romance…
In December 2018, Connor Jones and Stephanie Fasano were so busy in New York City with work that an official date night had to be set a month in advance. They planned an evening in the neighborhood where they’d first started dating, the West Village, with dinner at the Jane followed by a show at the Comedy Cellar. But first, there was a stroll through Washington Square Park, where unbeknownst to Stephanie a photographer was hiding.
“On one of the first dates we had in our first month together, we spent a lot of time walking through there,” Connor says of the park. Upon their return, Stephanie suggested snapping a selfie under the Washington Arch. “As she’s putting her phone away, I got down on one knee, and I think she screamed a little bit. She didn’t let me talk for the longest time, and I was finally like, ‘Can you annoy me for the rest of your life?’” he laughs.
“I was so surprised. So, so surprised. It was so romantic,” Stephanie says. But the romance didn’t end there for the couple, who started dating in 2016 after meeting through mutual college friends. “’Hey, lets go and just have a me-and-you moment before we call everybody,’” Connor recalls suggesting, so they headed to The Folly, a bar where they’d gone on their second date. Instead of a quiet moment, Stephanie discovered 30 of her friends and family waiting to celebrate.
Connor leaned on reinforcements when choosing the ring. “I talked to her best friend, Kara, and then her sister a little bit,” he says. “I had an idea of what she wanted, and I knew that she wanted it to be simple.”
“He totally knew what I wanted!” Stephanie says. “We never tried on rings, but you know when you’re on Pinterest and you’re like, ‘This one’s pretty. Wow!’ and he says, “You like that?’” The resulting ring, an oval cut diamond on a minimal rose gold band, was created with help from a jeweler recommended by friends.
“It’s a really big purchase and it’s a lot of money and I just wanted it to be so perfect for her,” Connor says. “Once I got it in my possession, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, let’s get this out of my hands!”
The Original Plan
Though the couple called New York City home at the time—Connor is originally from western Canada and Stephanie from northern New Jersey—, they chose a scenic destination for their wedding. “We set the date for June 19th, 2020. We were going to get married in Banff at this gorgeous old hotel,” says Stephanie. “I mean, stunning, stunning, stunning.” Then, of course, COVID-19 hit.
They pushed the wedding back one month, assuming July 2020 would be fine. “I don’t know what we were thinking,” Stephanie says. “Then, Alberta shut down all gatherings with ten people or more until September.” They postponed their celebration to August 2021, but still Stephanie felt nervous. “What if August 2021 doesn’t happen? We’ve been engaged for so long. We want to get married. We want to start our lives together,” she says. “So, we pressed on.”
The Pandemic Plan
Ever the producer, Stephanie threw together a micro-wedding in just a few weeks. “Steph, she sets her mind to something and she gets it done,” Connor says. “She’s an absolute firecracker when it comes to that stuff.”
On their wedding day, August 13, the pair got ready together, Connor in a black suit from State and Liberty and Stephanie in a short white dress by Sarah Seven. “It’s normally for rehearsal dinners and bridal showers, but it was a cute white mini dress,” she says. She accessorized with Jimmy Choo heels and rose gold earrings to match her engagement ring and wedding band. “I was actually really nervous to buy too many things, because I was like, I feel like I’m going to jinx it.”
They took photos around their beloved West Village neighborhood, snapping at some of their early date spots before their ceremony at Bridgepoint, a rooftop venue in Brooklyn with amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. They were married by their wedding planner, Lara Mahler of Alt. Weddings, in front of 22 live guests plus more of Connor’s Canadian family and friends watching on Zoom. “We had a live stream for all the groomsmen and then any of my close family—obviously they couldn’t be there,” Connor says. “My friends had their dress clothes on. It was pretty funny.”
“We wrote our own vows. That was our number one thing,” Stephanie says. “He’s a very, very talented writer, so they were great. There wasn’t a dry eye.” COVID restrictions kept them from formally catering a meal, so instead the couple said, “Screw it. We’ll just get extra liquor and some cake, and that will suffice,” Stephanie says.
Of course, even a tiny, half-digital wedding planned in days had its amazing moments. Connor’s father gave a memorable speech over Zoom and “actually, with the speakers, we heard him perfectly, so that was really cool,” says the groom. And then Stephanie surprised her new husband with a (two-person) band to play their wedding song, Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me.
Later in the evening, the band happened to play “Stand by Me,” which was Connor’s parents’ wedding song. “It was by chance,” Stephanie says; the couple then FaceTimed his parents so they could appreciate the moment together.
Following their August 2020 nuptials, Connor and Stephanie still have their big August 2021 wedding planned in Canada but have made peace with the possibility of the pandemic getting in the way once again. “Banff is going to be amazing if that happens, but… the important thing truly came down to the day of: I was marrying him and he was marrying me and that was what it was really all about. Not the thousands-of-dollars dress and 200 people in a remote location [with] a mountain as a backdrop,” Stephanie says.
Connor is just grateful it’s official now. “I’ve wanted to marry Steph, I swear, since a few weeks into dating her,” he says. “Damn, we’re married—and that’s fantastic.”