His Better Banter Won Her Over

Blair Bryant Dawson would be chatted up by many patrons when she worked as a bartender at Catfish in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. But her banter with Daniel Sean Ogorzalek was always a cut above the rest.

“You have to have an impeccable repartee to stand out to a bartender who’s chatting with funny patrons regularly,” she said.

Mr. Ogorzalek first met Ms. Dawson at Catfish in August 2016. Then working as a freelance production assistant in film and television, he was between projects at the time, allowing him to visit the bar in the middle of the day.

“It was always a pleasant surprise to see Blair when I’d stroll in — like a little jolt,” Mr. Ogorzalek said. “Along with being strikingly beautiful, I was drawn to her quick wit and alert energy.”

Though he soon became smitten with her, their relationship remained casual until that October, when the two ran into each other on Halloween at the Nostrand Avenue Pub, just a few blocks from Catfish. At the pub, they took a booth to themselves and talked long into the night.

“Neither of us could stop smiling,” Mr. Ogorzalek said. “We were completely fixated, ignoring all of our friends and buzzing with excitement at getting a chance to focus on each other.”

Said Ms. Dawson, “Our conversation was easy,” adding, “We talked about art, our families and what we do in New York.”

As they talked, Mr. Ogorzalek revealed his feelings to Ms. Dawson. “I had to convince her to love me back,” he said, but was well on his way. “Dan was so cute and spectacularly charming,” Ms. Dawson said. After that evening, they started to spend much of their free time together.

From Katonah, N.Y., Ms. Dawson, 30, graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is now a senior director at Jennifer Bett Communications in Manhattan, where her work focuses on publicity for start-up companies.

Mr. Ogorzalek, 37, is from Schaumburg, Ill., and graduated from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Now an independent assistant director in film and television, he is currently working on the production of the television series “Hightown,” which is filming its third season. His past credits include the TV series “Orange is the New Black” and “Severance,” and the film “In the Heights.”

In January 2018, the couple moved in together, into an apartment in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Two years later, after the pandemic set in, they spent much of their time holed up in that apartment making pasta from scratch, relearning how to paint and doing needlepoint. The couple also adopted a rescue dog named Abbott during that period and, soon after, started discussing marriage.

“Abbott was where the conversations about family really started to come into play,” Ms. Dawson said. “We had started our own little family, and it was time to make it official.”

In February 2021, they left Brooklyn for their current home in the NoHo section of Manhattan. Though Mr. Ogorzalek “was hard-pressed to be convinced to leave his favorite borough,” Ms. Dawson said, “he did it for me to live in her favorite Manhattan neighborhood.”

That November, he proposed to her during a group hike at Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskill Mountains.

Dan pulled me off to a slightly private area beneath the waterfall, got on one knee, and told me he loved me, asking if I would marry him,” Ms. Dawson said.

“It was short and sweet, dripping in sentiment,” she added. “My reaction was an enormous amount of tears, a yes and then a sudden realization that our six friends were watching and jumping up and down, cheering.”

On July 9, they were married before 58 vaccinated guests at the Castle by Marlow Events in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Rusty Zimmerman, a friend of the couple and Universal Life Church minister, officiated. Instead of being accompanied down the aisle, Ms. Dawson sauntered into the venue alone to the song “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” by Outkast.

“I thought this would set the tone that this is a fun wedding,” the bride said.

“At the end of the day, we both think life should be fun above all else,” she added. “Laughter is an integral ever-presence and underscores every aspect of our relationship.”