From Lawyer to Matchmaker: Marni Galison and the Art of the Fix-Up
Nancy Rotenier: Have you always been a matchmaker?
Marni Galison: I’m an attorney by trade. I grew up on Long Island, went to Georgetown undergrad, and Emory Law School. After practicing law for 10 years, I spent my last year feeling there was something else I should be doing.
NR: Why did you decide to start Sunday at Noon?
MG: I lived like my current clients. I was in the office all the time. I had tried online dating, but it wasn’t for me. So, I fell into matchmaking when I realized my own need for it. Sunday at Noon started 2 years ago. At a dinner party, I was talking to a friend who was in his mid-40s who said he wanted a family. I said, “I know people I could set you up with.” He suggested I do it professionally—and he was right. I knew this was something I could do, would be good at, and would be able to help people with. It’s hard for career-minded people, even those who are attractive and well-educated.
NR: Are you married?
MG: No. When I decided to leave law, I realized that since I’m not married and have no children, it was time to do this. I’m 37 years old, so I’m in the trenches with my clients.
NR: Who comes to you for matchmaking?
MG: My clients are well-educated, professional, career-minded people looking to meet someone, but they have left it to the end. For clients in their 40s, I say: “You need to focus on this.” They are at a stage where they want something real. For clients in their 20s, these girls are smart and beautiful and they are getting started, but they don’t want to be the 39-year-olds feeling pressure. And I tell everyone: “Use your time wisely.” It’s being strategic without being desperate.
NR: What do you charge?
MG: The price range is $5,000 to $20,000, and caters to specific needs and budgets. There is no guarantee of marriage, but I do guarantee you will meet quality people that you want to date.
NR: Why are you good at finding Mr. Right?
MG: There is a lack of honesty in a lot of forums. A lot of people are straying from online—it has too many options. But I love helping, and I really care. Many clients don’t want to tell people they met through a matchmaker. I wish I could invent another word for matchmaking; it does have that elderly babushka feel. And it doesn’t help the stigma that caring is totally missing from a lot of matchmaking services. Having a legal background also helps—relationships are a negotiation.
NR: How do you compare with other matchmakers?
MG: I have a different personality from a lot of other matchmakers. I like to take time to get to know my clients, to learn their personalities, to know what they like and dislike. People need to know similarities to find dates more attractive. I also plan the dates to make them as easy as possible, given career-minded people’s schedules. Differences—not everyone loves the Sunday brunch, and many other matchmakers don’t arrange dates.
NR: Do you throw singles parties?
MG: They do not feel like singles events. I threw 1 big launch party for the company, and everyone had such a great time, I decided to do it once a month. They are invitation-only, so people meet like-minded people. There is no meat-market feeling, and guests who meet at my events are still dating.
NR: What’s your edge over a blind date with the neighbor’s grandson?
MG: I get to ask all the tough questions that you shouldn’t ask on the first few dates, then I give clients the background information on potential matches. It’s gathering general information, like who this person is, prior relationship information, were they immediately attracted to the person in their last relationship. I ask about their families, what they are looking for. I explore both prior history and a person’s forward thinking. I get truly excited when I find people to match, and it takes a year to work with each client.
NR: Is everyone ready for love?
MG: The people I work with are usually late 20s to mid 40s. Every matchmaker has a different style. Mine is very subtle. It starts with a phone conversation to see if the person is someone I can work with. I ask: Who are you? What are you looking for? What is going to make you happy? And some people need makeovers, some need to learn manners. Then, I help people to see the patterns in past failed relationships. I’ve seen a lot “Eureka!” moments.
And if you missed it in your inbox, read Matchmaker Marni Galison’s Dating Do’s & Don’ts: How to Land Your Love Match.
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