She’s the kind of person who knows when to post a sloth meme, who fakes ginormous eyebrows for laughs, who muses on the inadequacy of certain crayons. Watching a video of her beautifully spare cover of Jenny Lewis’ “Acid Tongue” I get a sense of what he felt, caught up in the digitized molecules of a total stranger.
“What got me was the bright red hair,” Kyle Harris says, recalling that December day in 2012 when he scrolled through his 20,000 Twitter followers and stopped on the face of Bryanna Mazzella. He ended up on her YouTube channel and watched her cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” Then he watched everything else, and tweeted that people should check out this girl who was really talented and really, really cute.
He tells me this on speakerphone with Bryanna in New York, having just flown back from their honeymoon in Italy. The tale of how his tweet profoundly snowballed has been in the news, major outlets from Good Morning America and Huffington Post to Cosmopolitan and the U.K.’s Daily Mail pouncing on the 21st-century novelty of a couple falling for each other via Twitter, FaceTime and Skype and live-streaming their May 30 wedding on Periscope. But there’s a classic love story underneath.
He was 22 and she was 20. He was going to school in Arkansas, where he’d lived his entire life. And she was crashing with her parents in Las Vegas, finding a new path after deciding that the University of Nevada, Reno wasn’t the right fit. When he tweeted about her music she noticed, because he had such a big audience, because she also found him really, really cute, and because he called out something dear to her heart. So she tweeted back, a simple thank you that started a conversation that never stopped. They Skyped within 12 hours of the first tweet. After that, they talked every day for two months, Bryanna even introducing her parents to Kyle on FaceTime and Skype. They both wanted more, and they knew it could never work if they were 1,500 miles apart. So in February 2013, Kyle hopped on a one-way flight to Vegas. His parents thought he was going to LA to move in with friends. “Because if I told my very amazing, conservative Southern Baptist parents that I was moving to Las Vegas for a girl I met over the Internet, they would have killed me.”
“He lied for love!” Bryanna says with a big laugh.
Her parents bought the plane ticket. And they went along on the first real date, waiting at Boca Park’s Three Angry Wives pub as Bryanna met Kyle at McCarran Airport. She insists there was no brainwashing involved in their enthusiasm. They'd gotten to know him along with her, and they trusted her heart.
"To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really have to say anything. It was mostly my mom. She’s like, ‘Do you like this guy?’ I’m like, ‘I really do.’ And she’s like, ‘Are you for sure-for sure?’ I’m like, ‘I’m pretty for sure.’ She said, ‘Okay cool, well here we go. You’re happy, then I’m happy.’ My parents have always been supportive that way. Always."
But the vibe that had been so effortless through a screen got a gut-punch when Bryanna and Kyle locked eyes at Carousel 21. They agree it was overwhelming, that they had no idea how to act, whether to reach out. "I walked up to her and we said hi very awkwardly, and then Bryanna said, 'Can I just hug you now?' and we had a very long hug." By the time they were on their way to the pub, the nerves had given way to the joy of actually being together. Long story absurdly short, they met her parents for a drink, moved in together and got engaged three months later. They set a date with a two-year engagement, knowing they needed time to test their relationship—and for Bryanna’s dad to painstakingly embroider towels for save-the-date packages and bedazzle place cards for the reception. Kyle's parents got into the wedding prep, too. They'd found out about the relationship through a combination of social media and his sisters, he says, admitting they were shocked and upset at first. Once they had time to digest and really see their son's happiness, he says they were thrilled for him and Bryanna.
Kyle: “My life didn’t start getting really, really fun until I moved out to Las Vegas. Honestly. ... She’s really helped me come out of my shell. Back then I was super-shy, and now …”
Bryanna: “You have no fear.”
Kyle: “I have no fear. I started doing Vine videos a while back. She would give me ideas and be in the skits with me, and I would do stupid things in public just to make people laugh. She really brought out the best in me.”
For more than a year the couple has been part of the volunteer crew behind progressive talk show Downtown Podcast, and they're developing their own creative endeavors. Hers is Hoodratz, understated custom clothing for dogs (expertly modeled by her Italian Greyhound Milo); his is a network for homegrown businesses called Vegas Made. They can focus their energy now that the “two years of mass-production and planning” is over.
The wedding took place in Bryanna’s native Long Island at her childhood parish, with a lavish reception at Tam O’Shanter country club—and everywhere else, thanks to Periscope. Kyle says that initially the streaming element was about far-flung friends and family being able to share in the day. "Then it kind of developed into, hey, we’re gonna be broadcasting it anyway, so we put it out there on Twitter: Anybody who wants to watch, here it is, here we are." Bryanna adds that people who’d followed their relationship on social media from the beginning expressed how nice it was to “get the closure” of seeing them wed. Especially given her insane gold dress, custom made by Puerto Rican designer Lissa Porrata in Moroccan silk, with a 21-foot veil. (Kyle later tweeted: I'm sorry but my wife's gown was 1 billion times better than Princess Kate's.)
During the ceremony, she promised to be his sidekick and cheerleader, and to protect their jokes. He vowed he wanted nothing more than to love her and make her happy. “You would hear none of his vows, because he was actually sobbing,” Bryanna says. “And I don’t mean that to be embarrassing. I was completely overwhelmed by how emotional he was, in the best way possible.”
The reception had two live bands, aerialists, a three-tiered gold cake and a photo booth with (of course) an upload feature. Both of their fathers gave toasts. And the first dance was to “Little Things” by One Direction, whose manager never responded to Kyle’s pleas for a live rendition despite his Twitter camp having grown to over 35,000 in the media whirlwind. Bryanna's swelled from 2,000 to over 14,000. Asked how they’ll leverage all the attention, Bryanna laughingly says she can dream of getting a Twitter notification that Jennifer Lawrence is following her.
“It’s not about having fans. I don’t think we have fans. I think we just have people who are interested in what we’re doing and about our story. ’Cause I’m not a personality by any means. I’m just somebody who found love on the Internet and got married,” Kyle says.
“In other words, we’re just two schmoes,” Bryanna adds, in the best way possible.