Marissa Katarina Bergmann was attending a rooftop party in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in May 2021 when she was approached by a man. She had recently arrived in New York from San Francisco to visit friends. “I was sitting there with my heart-shaped sunglasses on, minding my own business,” Ms. Bergmann said, when Retta Abraham sat down next to her and started chatting.
“I didn’t even look at him,” she said. Until he asked what her romantic life was like and caught her attention.
“My ears perked up because I thought ‘Oh, he’s attracted to me or interested in me,’” Ms. Bergmann, 33, said. “Then I looked over and realized how cute he was.”
As it turned out, they also had a lot in common. They spoke about their families — both of their mothers are of Japanese heritage — and their close relationships with their grandmothers. The two also shared how their backgrounds inspired the vision they had for their future selves: to be surrounded by children and grandchildren.
Mr. Abraham, 40, told her that “at the moment, that vision was a little bit blurry because I didn’t have that person who would help co-create that with me.”
Ms. Bergmann said that Mr. Abraham then paused and reached out his hand: “Like in an old movie, he was like, ‘Do you want to fall in love?’” she said. “I wanted to say ‘Yes, let’s do it,’ but I had to be cool, so I asked if we could dance first.”
They danced at the party and went on their first date five days later. The pair met in Madison Square Park in Manhattan — close to the Rose Hill neighborhood where Mr. Abraham lived — and walked to Nonono, a Japanese restaurant nearby. Ms. Bergmann ended up staying with her friend on the Upper East Side for three weeks, and when she returned home, they visited each other often.
Then, in the fall of 2021, Mr. Abraham attended a wedding in upstate New York and was inspired by the love he witnessed. “It also reminded me of the feelings I was having for Marissa,” he said.
“He FaceTimed me three times that day,” Ms. Bergmann said. During the last call, they both declared their love for each other.
Ms. Bergmann moved to New York and into Mr. Abraham’s apartment in Rose Hill on June 2, 2022, where they still live. Earlier that spring, the two started to talk about marriage, and Mr. Abraham began practicing proposing.
On March 6, 2022, on the way to a restaurant, he asked if Ms. Bergmann would marry him in the future, and she said yes. While on vacation in Rio de Janeiro later that month, Ms. Bergmann said, he “practiced” getting down on one knee. And sometime that August he unofficially proposed with a piece of ginger in their kitchen. By fall, Mr. Abraham couldn’t contain his enthusiasm anymore and bought an engagement ring with a heart-shaped diamond.
He told his 8-year-old niece about the ring. She told her 5-year-old sister, who dropped a hint to Ms. Bergmann.
“I wasn’t considering that 8-year-olds and 5-year-olds can’t really keep secrets,” he said.
On Nov. 20, the couple visited Ms. Bergmann’s hometown Palm Desert, Calif., and joined some of their family members at the Coachella Valley History Museum in Indio, Calif. A picture of Ms. Bergmann’s grandparents was displayed in an exhibit that Ms. Bergmann’s mother had created about the family’s heritage. This was where Mr. Abraham dropped to a knee and asked Ms. Bergmann to marry him.
Ms. Bergmann, who will be taking her husband’s last name, received a bachelor’s degree in visual and media studies from Duke and an M.F.A. in fine arts from California College of the Arts. She is the head of creative at LilyAna Naturals, a skin care company based in Collinsville, Miss.
Mr. Abraham, the chief executive of LilyAna Naturals, grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., and has a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering from Cornell. He is also the managing partner of RDM Partners, an investment firm, based in St. Petersburg, Fla.
In 2021, Mr. Abraham and a friend bought a house in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The couple planned their wedding nearby, wanting to open the doors of their coastal vacation home to friends and family.
The couple were married July 15 at the El Mangroove hotel in Guanacaste with 115 guests. The ceremony, which took place on a hotel terrace near the beach, was led by Andrea Ochoa and Gregorio Avanzini, who are friends of the couple. It was officiated by Einar José Villavicencio López, a local notary and lawyer.
The reception was held in the hotel’s garden under a tent. Mr. Abraham said his father gave one of the closing toasts, “in recognition of the word banzai,” a Japanese term that “means 10,000 years of life and luck.” The wedding party toasted to the idea three times — once for the bride and groom, once for their families and once for everyone who had gathered to celebrate.