Countdown to Bliss

Column: Engagements

Hed: Countdown to Bliss

Author: Anna Jane Grossman

Page 12

Pq: none

Catherine Sardina and Sjors Tuithof

Met: October 2000

Engaged: June 2, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: May 17, 2003

Get out the cigars-and the clogs! Catherine Sardina is a hot-blooded, high-cheekboned Cuban chick, and she’s scheduled to wed Sjors Tuithof, a tall, pale, laconic Dutchman from Southern Holland. It’s a match even Benetton can bless.

Ms. Sardina’s family fled Castro in the early 60’s. She’s 25, a raven-haired beauty who works as an audio producer for Sirius Satellite Radio, a digital-radio system at Rockefeller Center. She plays trombone and flute (which doesn’t exactly hurt her abilities in the sack), and was a fan of Ozzy Osbourne long before he became the subject of a hit reality-TV show.

A mutual friend put her in e-mail contact with Mr. Tuithof when he was trying to figure out how to get from the Netherlands to Ozzfest 2000. They began a lively correspondence, and though he didn’t make it to the fest that year, he came to visit a few months later. She was waiting at Newark Airport. “Honestly, before we met, it was very much a ‘friend’ thing,” said Ms. Sardina, whose pals call her Opie. “It was not a romantic thing at all. I mean, he was older”-Mr. Tuithof is 30-“and he was Dutch , so I never really thought about it. But then, at the airport, it was like bam! “

After many transatlantic visits, Mr. Tuithof quit his job as a graphic and Web designer and moved here. He’s currently looking for work. “In Holland, you have one job and you keep it, and here people are always jumping around from job to job,” he said. “That’s new for me.” It’s called a recession, Hans ….

A few other American customs were lost on him as well. “At first I couldn’t understand why she wanted a ring,” Mr. Tuithof said. (They don’t call it “Dutch treat” for nothing.) Eventually, he forked over a white-gold number with a marquis diamond from Antwerp one morning while they were eating Frosted Flakes and working on visa papers. “He’s very loving, but not in a gooey-ooey kind of way,” Ms. Sardina said.

The pair is organizing a multicultural ceremony on the Binghamton Ferry, a boat docked on the Hudson. Mr. Tuithof has no plans for a raucous bachelor party-they’re not common in rural Holland. “I’m just very attracted to her,” he said of his future wife. “Dutch women are more reserved-not as loud. But I like the American girls!”

Sabrina Kleier and Rob Morgenstern

Met: Nov. 4, 2000

Engaged: Oct. 5, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: May 29, 2003

Sabrina Kleier’s parents are presidents of Gumley Haft Kleier, a Manhattan real-estate brokerage with a glittery clientele. As a Horace Mann kindergartner, young Sabrina tagged along when Mom and Dad showed apartments to Billy Joel and Neil Diamond. She clambered on top of John Travolta in the foyers of luxury buildings and was occasionally dropped off at ballet class by Christie Brinkley’s limo.

After she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Kleier became an associate producer at Access Hollywood . Then it hit her that she’d get far more access to Hollywood if she’d just join the family business.

This uptown girl, 26, will marry a backstreet guy, Rob Morgenstern, 28, who grew up in ( the horror, the horror ) New Jersey and does business development and account management for his father’s computer consulting company, Key Data Solutions. “I feel like he’s a prewar, charming gem,” she said, “as opposed to the places in the newer Trump buildings where everything is showy.”

Their wedding will take place at the Metropolitan Club (Sylvia Weinstock cake, beaded Badgley Mischka gown-the works).

The couple met at Tracy J’s Watering Hole on East 19th Street. Mr. Morgenstern, who has blue eyes, a cleft chin and a preppy-yet-mischievous charm that might be described as “Ferris Bueller–esque,” was attending a bachelor party and saw Ms. Kleier, a well-groomed blonde with an eerie resemblance to the Olsen twins, energetically singing backup to ABBA tunes at a friend’s karaoke birthday party elsewhere in the bar. He thought, She’s a hottie! -and immediately asked her to dinner.

At Bella Blu the next week, they discovered a mutual passion for Ayn Rand. “There were a lot of So do I ‘s!” Mr. Morgenstern said.

“He said at the end of the evening, ‘You’re so much smarter and so much better than any other girl I’ve gone out with!'” Ms. Kleier said.

“The being-smarter thing was a huge attraction for me,” Mr. Morgenstern said. “To get into any kind of conversation that even borders on the philosophical? It’s a nice change of pace to be able to talk about something other than ‘Where did you grow up? Who do you know?'”

The couple just moved into a one-bedroom rental on East 88th and enjoys quiet domestic evenings in their pajamas, cooking, playing board games and getting quietly drunk on a bottle of Merlot. Mr. Morgenstern proposed after a rousing bout of Connect Four on Atlantic Beach, where Ms. Kleier’s family has a vacation house, handing over a big, princess-cut diamond set in platinum that he’d bought on 47th Street. (He’d originally planned to pop the question in a hot-air balloon, but nixed the idea because of high winds.)

“We just have a compatibility that I never thought could be feasible,” he said. “We could be with each other forever and never get tired!” Also, he said, “she’s got the cutest nose in town!”

“I grew up in New York City, where people are really fast and into being social, and I’m not like that,” said Ms. Kleier. “So I love that he’s not into that whole New York City thing. He’s good and pure and honest.”

Ian Magid and Lisa Rogen

Met: May 5, 2000

Engaged: June 9, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 4, 2003

Sure, Bruce Springsteen may have milked Sept. 11 and its aftermath to boost his own popularity and album sales, but Ian Magid doesn’t mind. “He’s my idol,” said the dark-haired, dark-eyed, colorblind Mr. Magid, 28, who has bootlegged tapes of The Rising from more than a few dozen different countries and went to five of the tour’s 10 Manhattan shows. He’s watched the Boss’ Late Show appearance more times than he can count. His fiancée, Lisa Rogen, a dirty-blond, 29-year-old Madonna fan, has put a moratorium on how much Springsteen paraphernalia is allowed in their Turtle Bay one-bedroom, but one thing Mr. Magid insisted upon is a 4-by-2-foot framed collage featuring ticket stubs, newspaper clippings and backstage snapshots of him arm-in-arm with the singer. “It could be a lot worse,” she said. “I think it’s cool for people to have interests and hobbies.”

They met in passing through a mutual friend during a Cinco de Mayo party at Señor Swanky’s, a Mexican restaurant on Bleecker Street. The next week, Mr. Magid, a producer at a company that books music for events, tracked down Ms. Rogen’s number. “I always ask him what he thought of me, because I don’t really remember meeting him,” she said. “I’m like, ‘So, you thought I was cute?’ And he’s like, ‘Lisa, I didn’t think anything. I just thought you were single!'”

As one might expect, their first date involved scalping Springsteen tickets at Madison Square Garden. “We paid triple price for bad seats, but it didn’t matter,” Mr. Magid said. “She was really cute, really personable. I didn’t feel like I had to keep anything from her. And I thought it was cool that she wanted to eat Garden food instead of real food before the game.”

Ms. Rogen is a publicist for Metro TV, which enjoyably chronicles the urges of desperate, single Manhattanites in shows like Naked New York and Strictly Personals . She loves her beloved’s “perfect little ears” and his jovial demeanor. “I always ask him what it’s like to be happy all the time!” she said. “He wakes up singing!”

One night at Gonzalez y Gonzalez, another Mexican place downtown, Ms. Rogen was munching her way methodically through a basket of tortilla chips when she suddenly came upon a small velvet box containing a round diamond with two baguettes set in platinum from Best Jewelers on 47th Street. “She thought it would be cheesy to say yes,” Mr. Magid said, “so she said, ‘I’m not going to answer.'” The agreeable cheesiness continued: A limo was waiting outside to drive the couple to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel, where they met both sets of parents, and then the whole flock went to celebrate at media power hangout Michael’s.

The couple will be married before 300 guests at the Woodbury Jewish Center on Long Island. Mr. Magid’s father is one of the identical, singing Magid triplets of Forest Hills, who were often featured on The Ed Sullivan Show . They plan to perform “Proud Mary” at the wedding. “You just can’t really dance to Bruce Springsteen,” said Ms. Rogen.