Countdown to Bliss

Michael Beerman and Jennifer Firestone

Met: Aug. 6, 1999

Engaged: Oct. 3, 2001

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 24, 2002

Jennifer Firestone, 33, the sleek, blue-eyed vice president at the Manhattan baking empire Sarabeth’s Bakery-and the younger daughter of its co-founder, Sarabeth Levine-is marrying tall, dark-haired Michael Beerman, 32, a partner at the money-management company Eminence Capital. The uptown Harry Cipriani will cater.

But Mom is very busy.

Ms. Levine, who describes herself as “picky, picky, picky,” is preparing a scrumptious and comprehensive dessert buffet for the nuptials: petit fours, miniature apple tarts, tiny cheesecakes, dwarf-sized crème brûlées, sugar cookies made to look like little wedding cakes, and an actual five-tiered wedding cake iced in white buttercream. Then there are the hand-rolled, orange-zest-flavored ice-cream cones for the rehearsal dinner, which will take place in the roof garden above Sarabeth’s Hotel Wales location. Ms. Levine has also been taking an hour of calligraphy per week for the last few months, so she can get the place cards just right. (She let Vera Wang handle the dress.)

Ms. Firestone, who has a penchant for ordering in, tends to dress all in black, without a hint of flour on her person. She met her fiancé at Cyril’s Fish House, a dive bar in Amagansett. “I thought he was cute and nice and all that, but I didn’t really go for it,” she said. “I was honestly not in a ‘boyfriend mode.’ It’s the summertime! Guys aren’t looking for anything serious!”

But then fall came, and they both wanted to find someone to burrow with. They ran into each other again at a Halloween party. She was in street clothes; he wore a Mexican poncho and sombrero. They went to see The Lion King the next day. A bit later in their courtship, she ended up in a cast after a snowboarding mishap. He would cut her food for her.

Now they live in a two-bedroom on the Upper East Side. Every so often, she’ll motivate in the morning and make him eggs or French toast

“She’s mastered breakfast, but there’s work to be done on dinner,” said Mr. Beerman, who is deeply tanned from frequent golf weekends.

Ms. Firestone refers to her swain as a “financial head.”

“I’m more open and spiritual,” she said. “It makes a good match. I need to be a little straighter sometimes, and he needs to open up a little. He’s not a ‘softy-poo,’ but he is privately with me.”

On the eve of her most recent birthday, they dined at Erminia, a romantic little Italian restaurant, and he handed her a silver-checked, lavender-beribboned Bloomingdale’s parcel the size of a punch bowl. She pawed through dozens of white tissue balls and found a little velvet.

“I got that feeling in my stomach like, ‘Oh my God! I think there’s a ring in there!’” she said.

And there was. She refused to reveal the number of carats, but The Love Beat was dazzled by the size of the rock, an emerald-cut diamond appropriately ringed with baguettes.

Engagement gifts thus far have included a cookie spatula, a copy of Baking with Julia , a set of measuring spoons and a white KitchenAid mixer.

“She has good hands. She could be a great baker,” said Ms. Levine.

Mr. Beerman says he gained eight pounds when he first got to know the family Sarabeth. He has a particular weakness for Chocolate Chubbies.

“I have no will power when it comes to sweets,” he said.

Marni Mayerson and Randy Winslow

Met: Summer 1998

Engaged: Dec. 15, 2001

Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 2, 2002

They’re one of those boppy, happy, almost aerobically huggy-kissy couples. They leave each other private communiqués around the apartment signed with lots of X’s and O’s. “You are my love, you are my life. Sandwich in the toaster. XOXO”-that kind of thing. Her engagement ring lets the world in on this secret code: It’s a platinum band with 2.2 carats’ worth of diamonds set in an X and O shape.

Love wasn’t always this easy for Marni Mayerson, an attractive blonde who used to work in public relations for Peconika Vodka (a Hamptons brand). She was dating someone who worked with boats and getting pretty fed up, if you must know. “He just wasn’t the marrying kind,” said Ms. Mayerson, 32, “and I really wanted to get married and have kids, and I was frustrated. “

Peconika sent her on a P.R. mission to China Grill, the noisy Pan-Asian restaurant in midtown, and she started hitting it off with one of the bartenders, a buff, half-Korean fellow named Randy Winslow. “I thought he was really nice … and in great shape,” she said. “He’s lean, with big muscles. He would wear short-sleeved shirts, and he had these great arms.”

Mr. Winslow would pour Ms. Mayerson glass after glass of chardonnay and listen to her bitch about the boating boyfriend. “I thought the guy sounded foolish, because he had this great girl in front of him and he just didn’t see!” he said. “I thought she was extremely hot -she has a tight, athletic body …. She glows from a hundred feet away!” Mr. Winslow was moonlighting as a personal trainer, and he encouraged the fit Ms. Mayerson to earn her certification as well.

After a few months, she stopped working for Peconika and lost touch with Mr. Winslow. She got licensed as a personal trainer ( getting stronger … ) and dumped the go-nowhere boyfriend. Meanwhile, Mr. Winslow was, he said, just “bouncing around and enjoying the bartending lifestyle. You party with people and help people party.”

When the freshly single Ms. Mayerson returned to China Grill one night to celebrate her sister’s birthday, though, he pounced. He told her that he had a date on the following Saturday night with a Budweiser promotional model, but he would gladly cancel it. She said she would also gladly cancel her Saturday-night date (with another personal trainer).

Then the two of them went nuts: carbo-loading in Little Italy, boinging around bars in Soho, finally collapsing in sweaty embraces at his place. “Our first date was 36 hours long,” Mr. Winslow said.

They now live together in Fort Lee, N.J., working out frequently at a nearby New York Sports Club. Ms. Mayerson, 32, is the northeastern-area manager for Boutinot Wine Estates, and Mr. Winslow, 35, is general manager at Coda, a club near Herald Square.

They’ll be married at City Hall, a restaurant in Tribeca. In lieu of flowers, there will be candles in the shape of mixed drinks, and guests will sip a special “Winslow wedding cocktail” concocted with apple liquor. Hic !

On the wedding invitation, Ms. Mayerson is depicted pouring herself wine. Mr. Winslow shakes a martini behind a bar. Their three cats-Sega, Ricky and Xoe-regard them affectionately from bar stools.

Cara Pellicano and Chip Sviokla

Met: November 1998

Engaged: Jan. 5, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: May 24, 2003

Cara Pellicano was an English major at Georgetown who enjoyed curling up in her dorm with Victorian novels. She wasn’t particularly into jocks. But something about blond, blue-eyed Chip Sviokla, a 6-foot-2 guard on the football team, stirred her loins. “I just thought he was amazing-looking,” she said. “Unbelievably tan.”

“I’d seen her around a whole lot, and I thought she was very beautiful,” said Mr. Sviokla, 26, now a law student at Cardozo. Specifically, he was attracted to her long, thick dirty-blond hair, brown eyes and the dimple on her right cheek. “No matching one on the other side,” he said. “I love that …. All I could think about was asking her out on a date.”

He walked her home one night after a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and she wrote her number down with a yellow highlighter. He went back to his dorm and copied it down in five different places, because he was afraid he’d lose it. Then he called right before going to bed and asked her to go see Rushmore the following evening. “I don’t want to sound like a snob,” said Mr. Sviokla, a smarty-pants who once worked as a writer, researcher and producer for The McLaughlin Group , but “we both enjoy more intellectual-entertainment pursuits …. I’ve never been in love with anyone else. She’s brilliant.”

“I love that he’s like my best friend,” said Ms. Pellicano, 24, a client administrator at the money-management concern Neuburger Berman. “I can’t go out without him! If I am out without him, I have to keep a running list of things to tell him when I get home.”

Mr. Sviokla is not quite so loose-lipped. Indeed, he bought her an Art Deco antique ring with four sapphires and five diamonds, and then held onto it secretly for an entire year while he anxiously mulled proposal ideas. Finally he just busted it out in the eat-in kitchen of their Upper East Side one-bedroom. “I didn’t want to do it at a baseball game or in a hansom cab,” he said. “It’s just not me .”

They went to Markt in the meatpacking district to celebrate and start planning their married life together, which will commence at Fiddler’s Elbow, a country club in Jersey, and be nicely outfitted with All Clad pots from Bloomingdales.

“I really love him,” said Ms. Pellicano. “I feel so lucky! He’s really, really smart. He’s my walking encyclopedia.”

The Love Beat may be reached via email at engagements@observer.com.