An Unexpected Matchmaker and a Trip to Costco Sealed the Deal


At the end of May 2021, Ilana Madelya Maier received a tipsy call from Tyler Aldrich, asking: “If someone like Scott Berlin, but not Scott Berlin, but Scott Berlin asked you out, what would you say?” Ms. Maier replied, “I would need to get an invite for him to find out.”

Mr. Aldrich was one of Scott Andrew Berlin’s colleagues and best friends. Mr. Aldrich, who worked with Mr. Berlin at Hamilton Campaign Network, a political campaign consulting firm, thought that Mr. Berlin and Ms. Maier would be a good match and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Mr. Aldrich was assigned to Mark Levine’s borough president campaign as a consultant. Ms. Maier was Mark Levine’s campaign manager at the time, so she and Mr. Aldrich spoke frequently.

Ms. Maier and Mr. Berlin had first connected earlier that month via a “perfunctory” work email, Ms. Maier said. A few weeks later, Mr. Berlin texted her and asked if they could get on a Zoom call to discuss campaign details. Their work discussion soon segued into talking about hobbies, “oddly seamlessly for two people whose main personality trait was workaholic,” Ms. Maier said.

“I thought she was cute,” Mr. Berlin said. “And we had good conversations.”

After the Zoom call, Mr. Berlin had asked Mr. Aldrich “if he knew what my deal was,” Ms. Maier said, meaning her romantic status. That question prompted Mr. Aldrich’s call to Ms. Maier, which sparked her curiosity — or “cyberstalking,” as she called it. “Which led me to accidentally liking a many-years-old Instagram photo of Scott’s.”

She reached out to a friend, wondering, “Did he get a notification?”

“He definitely did,” Mr. Berlin joked in an interview, referring to himself. The like led him to follow her on the app.

The two then began messaging one another through Instagram, which soon led to daily calls and texts. “We’d find a work excuse to call, but then it was just to say hi,” Ms. Maier said.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

But, Ms. Maier said, “Whenever I got too flirty, Scott would say, ‘Ask me again after June 23’.” Although there was no mandate against the two dating, they both thought it best that they wait until after the election.

On June 8, 2021, though, they decided to set up an official date in advance. “Scott asked me out using a campaign technique called ‘a hard ask’ where instead of asking a yes-no question,” Ms. Maier said, “I asked which of three days worked best for dinner,” Mr. Berlin interjected. She chose June 25.

However, a few days later, they ended up meeting in person for the first time. Not having a Costco membership of her own, Ms. Maier asked Mr. Berlin if he had one as she needed to pick up snacks for early voting poll site volunteers. He did. “I lived in Jersey,” Mr. Berlin said by way of explanation.

“From the moment I got in Scott’s car that night, it’s like we had always known each other,” Ms. Maier said. They had their first kiss that night, “which nearly ended in one of my staffers catching us making out in Scott’s car,” Ms. Maier said.

The two saw each other often between early voting in New York City and primary Election Day on June 22. (Mr. Levine won.)

And on June 25, they finally had their first official date at the now-closed Spaghetti Tavern, “under a comically large moose,” Ms. Maier said. Nine months later, they officially moved in together in Harlem.

“When we first started talking about our future, Scott joked that if he ever proposed, it would be with a Ring Pop,” Ms. Maier said. On, Dec. 21, 2022, Mr. Berlin did just that during a hike in Sedona, Ariz. The Ring Pop, which now hangs over their bed, was later replaced with a real engagement ring.

Ms. Maier, 33, holds the dual roles of assistant commissioner at New York City Housing Preservation and Development and vice president of communications at New York City Housing Development Corporation. She grew up mostly in Tampa, Fla., and graduated cum laude from Brandeis University with a degree in politics.

Mr. Berlin, 32, grew up in East Brunswick, N.J. He attended Northern Arizona University.

The couple were married Feb. 17, before 190 guests, at the Hilton Pearl River in Pearl River, N.Y. Mark Levine, the Manhattan borough president who received a one-day marriage officiant license from the Office of the City Clerk, officiated a traditional Jewish ceremony.

Mr. Aldrich served as one of Mr. Berlin’s groomsmen at the wedding, maintaining a special perch in their relationship trajectory. “He knew about the proposal plans before they happened,” Ms. Maier said.



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