The love story between Wendy Browning and Randy Lynch is one of two ships passing in the night—only these two ships kept narrowly missing each other for more than 15 years before they finally had their first date in January 2007.
Randy Lynch and Wendy Browning
The first time they missed each other was in 1993, when Randy lived across the street from Wendy’s sister Celeste in Tampa, Florida. They missed each other again in the late ’90s in New York City, where they lived a mere four blocks from each other and frequented the same bars and restaurants. And it was highly coincidental when it was discovered that Randy at one point lived on the same street (though at different times, but still) as the mother of Wendy’s godson in Rye, New York. They had even met each other in passing at a wedding and an engagement party over the years. So it was nothing but serendipity when the couple, both Manhattanites, were eventually set up on a blind date by mutual friends that fateful January.
They met at Pastis, a raucous French bistro in the Meatpacking District. To help him identify her, Wendy told Randy she had long blond hair and would be wearing black pants and a black top—an intriguing though less-than-helpful description since it fits approximately 94 percent of Manhattan women. It took Randy, who is a managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a moment to pinpoint his date amongst the throng, but he was aided by Wendy’s eye-catching fire engine red coat. Over burgers and frites, the couple laughed and talked, both delighted by the realization this wasn’t to be a blind date from hell—quite the opposite, actually. They ended up going on four more dates in a week, a somewhat rare occurrence in Manhattan’s cynical dating world, where it’s not uncommon for budding couples to go weeks without seeing each other.
They dated for the remainder of winter and into spring, but their togetherness was cut short. Wendy, a staffing director at Bloomingdales, was set to leave for Tanzania to work as a volunteer for four months, a trip she had paid for a mere nine days before meeting Randy.
“I had lived in New York City for 10 years, and needed a break,” says the 36-year old. “And then I met Randy. It goes to show you find the person when you least expect it. It was incredibly hard to leave town.”
But Randy, who is now 39, was very supportive, and encouraged Wendy to go and have an adventure. While Wendy went to work in an orphanage nearly 8,000 miles away, Randy kept in touch by sending long e-mails and care packages containing goodies like chocolate-frosted donuts. He even traveled to Tanzania near the end of her trip and the couple went on safari.
“The only thing I saw was Randy’s face covered by a camera lens,” she jokes.
They ended the trip back in the village where Randy had the opportunity to meet the children at the orphanage.
When they returned to New York in the late summer of 2007, they dated for six more months before Randy proposed to Wendy on a brisk day in March on the beach in Bridgehampton, New York.
“It was the tail end of winter so we had the entire beach to ourselves,” says Randy.
But Wendy was so caught up in the moment she forgot to say the word “yes.” Randy had to ask if her gasps could be interpreted as an affirmative. They could.
The couple decided to get married in Charlottesville, the home of Wendy’s alma mater. “I have a lot of good memories there,” she says. “My godson lives there. Deep down it’s where I always wanted to get married but I wasn’t sure Randy would agree. But when we visited, he’s the one who initially brought it up, ‘Why don’t we get married here?’ Who was I to argue?”
Wendy and Randy wed on November 22 at St. Paul’s Ivy, attended by 150 friends and family flying in from as far away as Turkey.
The highlight of the wedding was during the reception at Farmington when Wendy, who “loves being the center of attention,” bounded up on stage to sing karaoke. Randy, who is known for hating the limelight, surprised everyone, most of all his bride, by getting up on stage to belt out ’80s hair metal tunes with her.
The newlyweds brought down the house by singing a stirring duet of “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger.