Hedieh Fakhriyazdi and Michael Anthony Pasnello II were married May 17 at the Foundry, an events space in Long Island City, Queens. The Rev. Brian Van Fossen, a Roman Catholic priest, officiated. Earlier in the day, the couple took part in a Baha’i Faith marriage ceremony led by Trisha Irons, a longtime friend of the bride’s family.
Ms. Fakhriyazdi, 33, is the associate director for global diversity and social responsibility at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the international law firm based in Manhattan. She also manages operations for the firm’s charitable foundation. She graduated from the University of Virginia and received a master of public administration in nonprofit management and policy from N.Y.U., where she is an adjunct assistant professor of public service. She also serves as vice chair of the board of directors for the Epic Theater Ensemble in New York.
She is a daughter of Mehrnoush Fakhriyazdi and Farshad Fakhriyazdi of Burke, Va. The bride’s father is the president and chief executive of Car Web, an automobile dealership in Fredericksburg, Va. Her mother is a family nurse practitioner at Burke Allergies and Asthma.
Mr. Pasnello, who is 29 and also works in Manhattan, is an associate designer for Tailored Brands, where he specializes in designs of tailored men’s garments and works closely with Joseph Abboud, the company’s creative director. The groom graduated from St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens.
He is a son of Mary Louise Pasnello and Michael A. Pasnello Sr. of Williamsport, Pa. The groom’s mother is a staff assistant at West Branch Settlement Services, a title company in Williamsport. His father is the chief financial officer and vice president for TURA, an international eyewear brand in Manhattan and Muncy, Pa.
Ms. Fakhriyazdi and Mr. Pasnello first met at a mutual friend’s fund-raiser in Manhattan in October 2015.
“I found him to be very handsome and sophisticated and incredibly kindhearted,” Ms. Fakhriyazdi said. “He also had a very diverse circle of friends, which I admired.”
Though Mr. Pasnello had seen a photo of Ms. Fakhriyazdi through their mutual friend on social media, he never had the chance to chat with her the day of the fund-raiser, because he was heading off to a work-related fashion show upon her arrival.
“She looked even more beautiful in person than she did in her photo,” Mr. Pasnello said. “I thought to myself, ‘I hope this can wait for some other day.’”
That other day arrived two months later, when Ms. Fakhriyazdi and Mr. Pasnello met again in Manhattan at the birthday party of their same mutual friend. This time they sat and talked and soon realized that they both lived in Long Island City, about a 10-minute walk from each other’s apartments.
Two days later, they met for a first date at a coffee shop in Long Island City. They clicked immediately despite their distinct ethnic and religious backgrounds — she is of Iranian ancestry, and he Italian — and just like that, Ms. Fakhriyazdi became part of Mr. Pasnello’s diverse circle of friends that she had admired.
“As attractive as she was, I started to understand that there was a wholesomeness and a very deep, caring individual behind all of that beauty,” Mr. Pasnello said. “She was someone I really wanted but knew I wasn’t guaranteed to get. So I decided I wasn’t going to play any games, but rather, I was going to put the pedal to the floor and give it all I had in terms of trying to make it work.”
Ms. Fakhriyazdi said that the real driving force that made their relationship work was their families, “who accepted and respected the fact that religiously and culturally, we were from two different worlds.”
Mr. Pasnello, who shares Ms. Fakhriyazdi’s love of for international travel, high-end fashion, philanthropy and being around family, agreed.
“I think our families realized that there’s a lot of depth and substance to both the Persian and Italian cultures,” he said. “Both happen to be very family-oriented cultures, so that made Hedieh a very easy fit into my family, and I’d like to think I’ve fit in pretty seamlessly where her family is concerned.”
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