Madeline Rhiana Belloff was ready with Red Bull Energy Drinks, Sour Patch Kids candy and Goldfish crackers, while Daniel Alexander Martinez fortified them with sandwiches from the local deli when they regularly studied together in Columbia.
“We were both steady and boring,” she said. Belloff said, who would like to say they met “across the Broadway Gorge” in 2012 as sophomores – she at Barnard and he at Columbia School of Engineering.
They hung out in the same group of fraternal and sorority friends, and two or three times a week, a bunch of them fell with 10/20 during her bar shift, a local college bar, usually Mr. Martinez’s idea.
“She was very adventurous and silly,” he said. Martinez said.
Mrs. Belloff, 28, is now a communications strategist with Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, a liaison firm, and Mr. Martinez, 27, a strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, both in New York.
During her spring of 2014 abroad in Cape Town, she broke up with her boyfriend. Mr. Martinez, who hooked up with her daily, usually on WhatsApp, got the discount on her human rights classes on the African experience, and her adventures bungee jumping and fall-fall.
“When I came back, I realized how close we were,” she said. “We had such a wonderful summer.”
In August, Mr. Martinez helped her father drag her furniture up four stairs as she moved to a two-bedroom hallway in West 79th Street.
“I convinced him to stay with me,” she said. Belloff, who did not have internet, cable and air conditioning, said she wanted company while her roommate was away. “Something has changed from friendship.”
But they resist the labeling of the romantic twist, and she just told her roommate about it. One friend got caught when he noticed Martinez listening to rapper Talib Kweli, a favorite of me. Belloff.
“Maddy introduced me to an east coast rap from the ’90s,” he said. Martinez, who grew up in Upland, California, said and still has the original playlist that inspired her.
In October 2014, he secretly took her on their first date to Pisticci, a restaurant near the school, and around Christmas, she joined him as ‘friends’ on a family trip to Cartagena, Colombia. He introduced her as ‘mi amiga’, my friend, to his confused parents, who had seen something more. (His father passed away in 2018.)
“I have always loved him,” said Mrs. Belloff said. “It was easy. It was challenging to put up a label. ”
Their last night in Cartagena, he asked, “Can you be my girlfriend?”
At Christmas at his parents’ house in Bogotá (they also lived in California) he introduces her to family members as’ mi novia ‘, my friend. It was no surprise when they slowly shared the news back at school, and when they became more serious after graduation.
In July 2018, he moved to her studio in Battery Park City, while traveling extensively as a technology consultant. A year later, he decided to go to Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he recently earned an MBA.
“One of us is going to get a degree out of this, and one of us deserves a diamond,” she told him vaguely before their long-distance relationship began.
In July 2019, he proposed on a rainy morning at their apartment in Wagner Park, and they soon compiled a list of 120 guests for a destination wedding in Cartagena.
In March 2020, Mrs. Belloff, who adopts the groom’s name, plans to marry Mr. Meet Martinez and visit friends in Buenos Aires, Cartagena to visit places. But as soon as the pandemic hit, he had to fly home, and they thwarted their plans.
On May 29, a rainy, unpleasantly cold day, Audrey E. Belloff, a universal lifelong minister, and the bride’s older sister served at their parents’ home in Mahopac, NY, before 29 guests were vaccinated. The bride’s father walked her down the aisle, and Milo, the couple’s ten-month-old Australian shepherd, was the ring bearer.
“Say it was 40 degrees and my hair was frizzy,” she said. “I was at ease with friends and family.”