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Salvaging a Poor First Impression

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On the night he met Elaine Sunmi Kwon in Los Angeles in September 2012, Jordan Hayes Taylor was exhausted. He had spent the evening before celebrating his birthday, and when it came time to have dinner with some of his friends from high school, “I was hanging on by a thread,” Mr. Taylor, 37, said.

The only person he didn’t know at the dinner was Ms. Kwon, who had been seated near him. She had gone to college with one of Mr. Taylor’s friends, and recently moved to Los Angeles. She was eager to get to know everyone else at the table, but quickly found that Mr. Taylor was not interested in a conversation.

He “not only didn’t say ‘hi’ to me when I said hello, but just kind of ignored me all night,” Ms. Kwon, 31, said. “I thought he was pretty cold and standoffish, frankly.”

After dinner, the group went out for drinks, and Ms. Kwon and Mr. Taylor found themselves pushed together once again at the bar. Feeling a bit more energized, he asked Ms. Kwon if he could buy her a drink, and the two began to hit it off.

“You know when you get a really deep guttural feeling that someone’s a really good person? That’s what I got from him,” Ms. Kwon said.

They exchanged numbers later that night, and fell into a habit of speaking to each other over the phone during Mr. Taylor’s nightly runs. About two months after meeting, they went to dinner and a movie for their first date. They decided to continue the night by meeting friends for a drink, and both slept on separate couches at a friend’s house afterward. The next morning when they went to pick up their cars at the parking garage where they had left them the night before, neither Ms. Kwon nor Mr. Taylor was ready to part ways. They decided to extend their date to a full 24 hours, and went to the Getty Villa museum before spending the rest of the day at the beach.

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“We so clearly just loved being around one another,” Ms. Kwon said.

They began regularly dating, and were talking about moving in together when Ms. Kwon got a job offer in Seattle in June 2014. Ms. Kwon knew how hard it would be for Mr. Taylor to leave Los Angeles, where he had grown up and lived for much of his life. They took a trip to Seattle together, where Mr. Taylor intended to help Ms. Kwon look for a new apartment. But by the time their trip was over he was certain that he would be joining her.

“Being up here with her,” Mr. Taylor said, “it made the decision easy. And so I was like, it’s time to go. And I haven’t regretted it since.”

A few years after moving to Seattle, in April 2016, Ms. Kwon and Mr. Taylor started Kwontified, an e-commerce management and consulting business that quickly became their main focus. Ms. Kwon is a founder and the managing partner; Mr. Taylor is a founder and partner. He is also a managing partner at Taylor Ali Capital, an alternative asset class hedge fund.

In January 2019, on a trip to Seoul, Mr. Taylor surprised Ms. Kwon by proposing to her in Haneul Park, followed by an engagement shoot and a private dinner at their hotel.

“Seoul is where my family is from, and he wanted to have it there to pay homage to my heritage, which I really appreciated,” Ms. Kwon said.

The couple were married Sept. 6 at the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Tracy M. Lynch, a Universal Life Minister, officiated.


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