Countdown to Bliss

Debra Richman and Jeffrey Selden

Met: September 2002

Engaged: Aug. 28, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Feb. 14, 2004

Jeffrey Selden, 34, director of catering at the New York Palace, plans to marry Debra Richman, 38, the deputy P.R. director of Time magazine, at the hotel. They were fixed up after a fateful Rosh Hashana shared by their parents, who belong to the same tight Semitic clique in Connecticut. “It’s basically a modern arranged marriage,” Mr. Selden said.

When they first met at Chin Chin in east midtown, Mr. Selden immediately pounced on the sultry brunette, kissing her on both cheeks, which he calls “typical of the hospitality industry” and “European.” Ms. Richman, on the other hand, called it “terrifying” and felt “accosted.” Nor was she impressed when her date insisted that they sit side by side at the table, Parisian style. “Can you imagine?” she said. “We were, like, on top of each other.”

They bonded quickly, however, after she told him about how her zaftig housekeeper liked to clean wearing only a bathing suit. “Not a pretty picture,” Ms. Richman said. She was concerned that he’d find her “high-maintenance” after she divulged that her hairdresser makes house calls, but then the green-eyed metrosexual told her about his own passion for being coiffed and shaved at Paul Labrecque, his penchant for anything Gucci and his collection of over 50 pairs of glasses. “And I couldn’t even count how many ties and pocket scarves he has,” she said.

“There was a good energy,” Mr. Selden said. “We just gelled about so many things.”

When describing the other, each used the word “fun.”

“There are a few times when everyone agrees someone is great, hands down-and he’s one of those people,” Ms. Richman said. “And he’s mine .”

“She has the greatest smile,” Mr. Selden gushed. “She’s the kind of person who can have a conversation with anyone, whether they’re smart or simple.”

He decided to make it official soon after she moved into his pad near the hotel last year. His grandfather had proposed to his grandmother by putting a ring inside a handbag (“A woman will always want to look inside,” said the sage), so Mr. Selden pranced on over to Prada to procure a satin tulip-printed pouch with a silver handle. It was almost too small to contain the bauble, which he’d designed himself at M. Fabrikant and Sons: an octagonal-shaped, radiant-cut 4.2-carat diamond, encircled by two and a half carats of diamonds and set in a diamond-pavé platinum band. Ms. Richman was pleased when she popped open the purse on the terrace of a New York Palace suite, fortified by champagne, caviar and canapés-gotta love that company discount-but not exactly surprised; she’d had a premonition the moment was coming and had gotten a manicure that very day, just in case.

Their nuptials are going to feel something like a coronation at Versailles: flowers everywhere, long communal tables and two tall, interconnected, paisley-shaped cakes by Ron Ben-Israel. Bentley Meeker will light the place Broadway style and scantily clad body-painted “archers” will pose in corners, occasionally pelting party guests with roses. The bride will wear Vera Wang, with beaded Badgley Mischka shoes. Not to be outdone, the groom will sport an Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo, a crimson-colored velvet tie and custom-made diamond cufflinks-very “continental.”

Peter Grossman and Statia Molewski

Met: September 2000

Engaged: Feb. 21, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: April 10, 2004

Take solace, Ben and Jen: Shutterbugs philander just like Us !

Peter Grossman, a senior photo editor at Us magazine (no relation to this reporter), and Statia Molewski, a portrait photographer whose work is seen in Spin , Blender and Rolling Stone , first met as agents at the photo agency Retna. At the time, Ms. Molewski, 25, was still seeing a college flame, and Mr. Grossman was planning to marry someone he’d known since high school.

“I thought he was very cute, but he just wasn’t like anyone else I’d dated,” said the Kewpie-doll-like Ms. Molewski the other day at a Starbucks near Us ‘ midtown offices, her tongue ring and highlighted locks glinting in the light. “I kind of always went for bad-boy guys.”

“I’m not bad?” whimpered the plaid-clad, curly-haired, coffee-cake-eating Mr. Grossman, 28.

“No, no, you’re bad. You’re bad! Just a different kind of ‘bad’!” Ms. Molewksi said, stroking him reassuringly. “Anyway, I totally fell for him right away. But then he’d be like, ‘Well, I’m engaged ,’ and I’d be like, ‘And I’m dating someone-but I like you!’ And he’d be like, ‘And I like you, too!’”

So it went for about two months. “I must’ve said to her three dozen times in that period, ‘I’m getting married!’” Mr. Grossman said. “I think I was trying to convince myself more than I was trying to convince her.” He began walking his attractive colleague to Penn Station; she was living with her mother on Long Island at the time. “And one day he just got on the train,” she said.

They finally hooked up at the release party of Jews Who Rock by Maverick Records honcho Guy Oseary, barely noticing the presence of Gwynnie and Madonna. In a matter of months, he had dumped his fiancé and moved in with Ms. Molewski and her mom. Ms. Molewski, meanwhile, called things off with her college flame over the phone. Who’s bad?

In July 2001, the couple traded up to a Park Slope one-bedroom with a big backyard. Mr. Grossman proposed while they were wandering around a Reform church on her namesake isle of Statia in the Dutch Antilles (Ms. Molewski’s grandparents retired there from Long Island 30 years ago, and she spent much of her youth there-the lucky wench). The ring was a 1.1-carat Asscher-cut diamond set in a platinum pavé band that he’d bought in Chinatown using the extra cash on hand from his tax refunds. “There was a lot of ‘Oh my God!’-ing going on,” he said of her reaction, “and ‘I’m like, ‘Look, I just need a yes .’”

They’ll be married in that same church, the bride walking down the aisle to the beat of a steel drum and then promising to honor and obey, as per island custom.

“In all my former relationships, I was kind of the dominant person, but I guess that can get old,” she said. “He’s the first person I’ve met who is actually my equal.” She paused. “He’s definitely more of the girl.”

Mr. Grossman wasn’t arguing. “I’m far more emotional,” he said. “I think she’s just starting to realize her inner softy-ness.”

Amanda Birns and Mark Roth

Met: Dec. 15, 2002

Engaged: July 2, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 16, 2004

Two children of divorce gamely give it a go! Amanda Birns, 23, and Mark Roth, 25, were both 12 when their respective parents split up. “Given that fact, I think it’s great that we can both be so confident and want to do it right,” said Mr. Roth, referring to their impending union at the Mount Pleasant Country Club (site of her parents’ wedding).

The couple met on Jdate.com, the online Jewish dating service. Ms. Birns had never before dated a man of “the brotherhood,” and indeed was having trouble finding a man of any stripe after graduating from Middlebury College and moving to the city to work in special events at the WASP outpost Hermès. “It’s hard to meet people here, especially the kind of people your mommy and daddy want you to meet,” she said. Well, sure, hon, but what are Mommy and Daddy doing giving love advice?

Mr. Roth, a 5-foot-11 asset manager at Sherwood Equities, was having an equally rough time. “I’d meet girls, but no one quality ,” he said. “When you meet someone out at 2 in the morning drunk, it doesn’t feel like it’ll be long-term.” Not that the World Wide Web proved to be such a hotbed of quality. “After a few dates, I saw that the ones on the Internet had as many disturbing characteristics as the ones at bars,” he said. “They were just maybe more introverted.”

But when he noticed the profile of the nubile, chestnut-haired Ms. Birns, his interest was piqued, and he composed a mash note about his love for music, etc. “He didn’t have any typos in his e-mail, so I figured he must have reread it and therefore really was interested,” Ms. Birns said. Ah, millennial romance!

They met at Luca for dinner. Afterward, he walked her home to the Upper East Side and she boldly invited him up. “My body took over,” she said. “I leaned in and kissed him and didn’t even realize what I had done till afterward. And then I thought, ‘Well, if my body and my heart are feeling this, it must be right.’” (Mr. Roth said he loves how she has “no reserve.”)

The next day, he realized he’d left his credit card at the restaurant.

The couple reached a major milestone when she got stuck at his apartment in Murray Hill during a February blizzard, sans makeup or deodorant. “I had nothing that could make a girl feel comfortable, and I realized with him, it didn’t matter,” she said. She moved in for good shortly thereafter.

Mr. Roth refuses to wear Hermès because he’s jealous of how much time she spends working there. “He dreams of the day when he’ll come home and I’ll be there waiting for him,” Ms. Birns said.

He proposed by a hot tub when they were vacationing in Puerto Rico, handing over a filigreed white-gold ring containing three square diamonds. And wedding plans seem to be going smoothly-relatively speaking. “I just want to have the deal sealed,” said the young groom. “I want the planning part over with, because it’s all she ever talks about and I can only take so much. It’ll be nice when the bickering ends.”