“How did you meet?”: the question that leads to great stories of serendipity and romance.  But not all romances are of the romantic variety. This story is about how seven Brooklyn women met, befriended and came to form the collective that is Brooklyn Betrothed.

In the summer of 2009, my now husband was on bended knee in a spontaneous proposal en route to Maine. Shortly after, we were both down on one knee before a dear friend from my childhood, Carissa Templeton, asking: “Will you marry us?” And she, too, said yes. Carissa, a seasoned wedding officiant and one of the greatest, most special people I have ever known, creates ceremonies that are exquisitely personal and true to each couple. We wanted to be surrounded by people like Carissa, people we loved and who loved us and imbued not only our wedding day but our transition into marriage with heart, wisdom and care. We didn’t want to hire vendors, per se; we wanted a village. And through fate and Facebook, we found one.

An acquaintance posted wedding pictures while on her honeymoon and I was instantly besotted by Kristina Hill’s gift. She told the story of this couple, their love, and their families and friends, all through the lens of her camera. When she sat on our couch a short while later, I didn’t need to look through her portfolio to know I wanted her to be a) our photographer and b) my friend.

A last minute Facebook plea: “Does anyone know of a great make-up artist?” led me to Anni Bruno.  She was radiant, kind, patient and laughed with me, not at me, when I told her that what she was seeing when I arrived was my idea of full make-up. She made me a brighter, shinier me, and I left thinking: is it normal to want to be friends with every vendor I hire?!

Turns out it’s not. I scored with these women. Soon after the wedding that brought us together, my now-friend Kristina and I talked about creating a networking group for Brooklyn-based wedding industry professionals. With Anni and Carissa on board, Kristina recruited floral designer Rebecca Shepherd, a friend she’d made the old-fashioned way: at their neighborhood bar. Rebecca brought her boundless energy, passion and creativity to our first meeting; she even brought our name: Brooklyn Betrothed.

The five of us explored restaurants and bars throughout our beloved borough as we talked shop, swapped ideas, and came to realize that with our combined strengths and talents we made a formidable team. A wedding collective was born.

In early 2011 Rebecca introduced us to “the missing piece” of Brooklyn Betrothed: wedding planner Tammy Golson and visual artist Ruth Irving. Tammy’s a born planner, with an endless trove of brilliant ideas and an ability to hold the big picture vision while managing the gazillion details that go into making the final product seem effortless. And Ruth, the creator of our beautiful logo, is the walking embodiment of the “vintage” romantic art she creates each day at her drafting table.

Today we collaborate on weddings, guiding couples through the early days of engagement through the day of their nuptials to their newly wedded life. Our mission is to be a resource for couples (in our “hometown” of Brooklyn, and beyond) who are looking to create a beautiful wedding day and an even more beautiful marriage. Each one of us will share our experiences as wedding professionals through our blogs, expert tips, and the questions we answer in our Ask an Expert column every Friday.

We welcome you to Brooklyn Betrothed, and we look forward to being part of your story!