WHEN Alyssa Tantillo matched with Brit Tom Maggs on Bumble during a work trip, 5,500 miles from home, wedding bells were the last thing on her mind.
But the 29-year-old Californian, who works in software sales, soon fell for paediatrician Tom, 31, after meeting in London two and a half years ago.
The couple, who met on the penultimate day of her trip, were instantly smitten and went for a second date on her final day.
They’re now happily married, after 18 months of long distance dating.
Alyssa said: “If you’d told me as I walked to the date that evening that I’d have ended up marrying the man I was about to meet, I’d have thought you were crazy. I had no expectations.
“When Tom showed up, not only was he way better looking than his photos, but everything he said about life, work and travel, showed he was made for me.
“I was speechless – and that never happens to me.
“It’s been such a whirlwind, but anybody that knows Tom and me, and sees us together, knows how special what we have is.”
After being single for nearly two years, Alyssa had joined several dating apps in a bid to find The One – but wasn’t having much luck.
If you’d told me I’d have ended up marrying the man I was about to meet, I’d have thought you were crazy. I had no expectations
She said: “Out in LA, everyone is on every app, but there’s very much this view of, ‘If you’re not first choice, you’re last.’
“It felt like people were always looking for a better option, so they’d be flaky, act distracted on dates or sometimes even not show up.
“Don’t get me wrong, I had some nice dates too and met great guys – but they were all just first dates. Nothing felt like it’d be my last.”
On a whim, Alyssa decided to swipe through Bumble with her work friend while in London in March 2017.
She said: “Our thinking was ‘Why not?’ We were only there for 11 days.
“At first, there was nobody I was really clicking with on Bumble, then on the second to last day, I matched with Tom. We arranged to meet that night in Shoreditch.”
Alyssa brought her colleague on their date and on the second night Tom’s friend joined too, another Tom who was the best man at their wedding.
She said: “As we parted ways, he said he could tell there was something between us, and we agreed to keep speaking once I was back in LA.
“He said to let him know if I was ever back over in London and, by chance, I’d already booked a trip to travel around Europe that July and August.
“Right then and there, he invited me to stay with him at the end of it – and I accepted. It felt right.”
Right then and there, he invited me to stay with him in August – and I accepted. It felt right
Before long, the couple were speaking during nightly phone calls, although it was tricky with the eight-hour time difference.
“All I wanted to do was talk to Tom – I was really falling for him,” said Alyssa.
“The true lightbulb moment came when I realised I’d rather take a 10-hour flight to London to see him again than a 10-minute cab ride to date a man in my area.”
The couple reunited in August 2017, when Alyssa stayed with Tom in London for 10 days, meeting his friends and family.
Completely smitten, she told Tom she loved him and booked a flight to London for his birthday the following month.
“I knew then that it was love,” she said. “I didn’t want him to spend another birthday without me.”
At first Tom was shocked and didn’t say “I love you” back, but he returned the sentiment when they met on his birthday.
Determined to make things work, Alyssa started taking monthly work trips to London.
Meanwhile, Tom spent two weeks in LA every three months, using every scrap of his holiday allowance.
She said: “Tom is such a good communicator and I had so much trust in him – more than I had ever had in previous relationships.
“We agreed that, although it’d be difficult, we’d put in the hours and the effort to make it work.
“It didn’t matter if that meant one of us staying up late or waking up early so we could talk – our relationship was our priority.
“Because we weren’t physically together for a lot of it, all we could do was talk, so we got to know one another slower.
“The lust was almost an afterthought – though obviously overwhelming when we did see each other in person.
“But Tom really is my best friend and we know absolutely everything about each other.”
In August, Tom proposed on Parliament Hill, Hamstead Heath, during London’s sweltering heatwave.
Alyssa said: “I’d been so convinced I wouldn’t ever get married that I repeatedly asked my dad, who has been saving for my wedding for years, if I could just have the money to use for something else.
“Thankfully he said ‘no’ and held out.
“Given that it was a heatwave, Parliament Hill was packed with about 100 people having picnics.
“Bless poor Tom, I don’t think he expected having to ask in front of so many strangers. But he said all this lovely stuff about me then got on one knee.
“His best friend then appeared with this bottle of champagne, and everybody watching clapped. It was amazing.”
Knowing Tom couldn’t practice as a doctor in the US, Alyssa moved to Canonbury, North London, in January.
In April, the couple had a small wedding at Islington Town Hall, in front of 30 of their loved ones – before a pub party with 120 guests.
Alyssa said: “Married life is so much fun. Tom’s family and friends are wonderful. They have adopted me into the British side of the family.
“Our families both get on brilliantly too, which is lovely. Our dads have such a bromance – Tom’s dad is basically the British version of mine.
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“It feels crazy to look back on the past two years, but now, I am such an advocate for going out on a limb and putting yourself out there.
“To those that feel fed up or like they’re giving up on love, I’d say just go for it. Go on 100 dates if you have to – one will work out and lead you to the love of your life.”
We previously reported on a couple who met on Bumble and married on the FIRST date – but have now split up.