Cathy Riva and
Met: Spring Break 1997
Engaged: Jan. 1, 2002
Projected Wedding Date:
Marc Bloomgarden met his future wife in a Panama City, Fla., hot
tub. She was wearing a pink pleather bikini.
“I believe ‘Wow!’ was my first impression,” said Mr. Bloomgarden,
a 33-year-old Long Island native with long, wavy tresses and a laid-back
The woman in the bikini was Cathy
Riva, a 29-year-old production coordinator for MTV who hails from Mobile, Ala.
Ms. Riva had hired Mr. Bloomgarden’s production team to film the mayhem
of “Spring Break 1997,” a gig which left him with plenty of time for bantering
with his boss.
“He was a big flirt, and I love that because I can reciprocate,”
Ms. Riva said. “And being from the South as I am, I was impressed that a
Northerner could do a shot of Jack Daniels with ease.”
They spent that summer bouncing from beach to beach, shooting
film for MTV and relaxing in the sun.
Back in New York, Mr. Bloomgarden met Ms. Riva’s girlfriends and
wowed them with a pair of leather pants. “Girls have labels for guys,” she
said. “Marc was ‘Leather Pants Guy’ for a few weeks at least.”
He further impressed her at the club Cheetah, where he danced
solo on a deserted dance floor for three hours.
“I was so impressed by his balls,” she told The Observer .
“That came later,” Mr. Bloomgarden interjected saucily.
” Much later,” she
agreed. “Months later.”
They’d been dating for four
years when a friend’s wedding took them to Hawaii. On New Year’s Day, 2002,
Leather Pants Guy chartered a day trip to a desolate beach on the island of
Kuai-the same patch of sand where Harrison Ford and Anne Heche crashed-landed
in Six Days Seven Nights .
On a bamboo mat, surrounded by a picnic lunch of lobster-tail
sushi, Mr. Bloomgarden pulled out a ring that he-and his family in the jewelry
business-had designed from scratch. It was a radiant-cut stone with two
emerald-cut stones on the side, further flanked by two diamond baguettes. A row
of diamonds lined the platinum band.
Their boat ride back to civilization was cinematic almost to the
point of sappiness, with dolphins leaping in their wake.
“It was like, ‘Cue the sunset, bring in the dolphins!'” Ms. Riva
said. “As a director, he did that very well.”
Gary Lowitt and
Met: Jan. 24, 2000
Engaged: April 21, 2001
Projected Wedding Date:
May 4, 2002
Gary Lowitt was at an Upper West Side speed dating shindig-seven mini blind dates in 49
minutes-and had already plowed through six
women, none of whom had interested him. But on his last “date” of the evening,
he was paired with Gwen Fernich, a woman he’d been eyeing all night.
Mr. Lowitt, 36, a residential real-estate developer for Lincoln
Property, turned out to have much in common with Ms. Fernich, 33, a practicing
veterinarian. They’d both studied at the University of Pennsylvania and they’d
gone to the same summer camps.
“She was thrilled by the coincidences,” Mr. Lowitt said. “I just
thought she was cute and smart and interesting and engaging and seemed like a
nice, normal person.”
He was puzzled, however, by Ms. Fernich’s hair. There was
something about it that looked slightly off.
Ms. Fernich cleared up the mystery on their second date. She was
determined to give Mr. Lowitt an easy out if the truth was too much for him to
handle. She told him she had cancer of the thymus, and chemotherapy had made
her hair fall out. She was wearing a wig. speed dating was Ms. Fernich’s first social foray in almost nine months.
Mr. Lowitt was a bit startled, but he took the revelation in
“Maybe I like bald women,” he told her.
“My point in saying that was that I was not going to disqualify
her based on her cancer,” he told The
It was a slow courtship. Ms. Fernich had to undergo several major surgeries, which made intimacy
difficult. “I was always super-concerned about my wig falling off,” she said.
They exchanged I love you ‘s
for the first time while Ms. Fernich lay on a gurney awaiting her last surgery.
And though there are no guarantees that the cancer is gone for good, Mr. Lowitt
isn’t going anywhere.
“I opted in. I knew what I was getting myself into,” he said.
“The way I look at it is, I’ll take as much as I can get for as long as I can
He took her to Hudson Place, a restaurant on Third Avenue, for
her birthday in April 2001. For dessert, he gave her a strawberry shortcake
that read “Will you marry me?”
She had to ask him if he was serious three times before she
finally replied, “Sure.”
She’s now sporting a 1.5-carat princess-cut center stone with
0.68 carats of side stone in a platinum setting. They’ll be wed on May 4 at
Cipriani 42nd Street and honeymoon in Paris and the Seychelles. They’re not
registering anywhere, they say; they already have everything they need.
and Brian Gregory
Met: Sept. 12, 2000
Engaged: Sept. 19, 2001
Projected Wedding Date:
July 20, 2002
Kristina Finlay was at a downtown dot-com launch party when she
spotted Brian Gregory across the proverbial crowded room. He was talking to
some tart named Roxy. Ms. Finlay distracted him by shooting over a rubber band.
Mr. Gregory quickly snapped to attention. “Brian had the whole gun thing down,”
Ms. Finlay said. “He was wrapping it around his finger like a gun and launching it at me.” They shared their
first kiss before the night was out.
Mr. Gregory, 30, is a corporate lawyer at Debevoise &
Plimpton. He’s solidly built with fine, sandy hair and boy-band eyes. Ms.
Finlay, 33, is a publicist for Random House Audio books. She’s got short blond
locks, an athletic frame and is currently hyping the Julia Roberts–narrated
version of The Nanny Diaries .
Mr. Gregory likes that Ms. Finlay is an unabashed,
low-maintenance tomboy who prefers the volleyball court to Scoop. “I don’t have
a lot of tolerance for people who take three hours to get ready to go out,” he
“I know so many women who’ve
got a carat minimum,” added Ms. Finlay. “Well, that’s a shame. I’ve got a fun minimum.”
Mr. Gregory and Ms. Finlay met on Sept. 12, 2000. It had been his
plan to propose on their one-year anniversary-which obviously didn’t happen.
“After 9/11, we sat in shock for the next week, as everyone did,”
he said. “But meanwhile, I had this rock burning a hole in my pocket.”
So he ditched Plan A-a romantic night out on the town-and instead
surprised her by coming home early from work. “I’ve got a few surprises,” he
told her, “one of which won’t keep.”
Said Ms. Finlay, “I’m thinking, ‘O.K., that’s probably cheesecake
or some sort of food that’s rotting.'”
He knelt down and brought out a 1.5-carat, round-cut stone on a
That was fun! They’ll be wed on July 20 in Avon, Conn.
And Ms. Finlay’s parents will finally allow them to sleep in the
same room during visits.
The Love Beat can be
reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.