Countdown to Bliss

Michelle Cutler and Peter Loureiro

Met: September 1998

Engaged: Jan. 3, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: June 21, 2006

Peter Loureiro, an actor who has built a career on his eerie resemblance to Christopher Walken (he has a one-man play called Citizen Walken and re-creates Annie Hall’s creepy brother Duane in the long-running Off Broadway show Who Killed Woody Allen? ), is marrying Michelle Cutler, a graduate student in film direction at N.Y.U.

Both are yoga nuts and both put in time “finding themselves” in Berlin during their twenties. They were fixed up by Poodles, the receptionist of Screw publisher Al Goldstein and a longtime friend of Ms. Cutler, who is 33. Mr. Loureiro, who is “34 or 44″ depending on the part, is a seasoned waiter who also spent a decade as an off-and-on producer for Mr. Goldstein’s weekly sexcentric one-hour cable program, Midnight Blue .

They first locked eyes on 23rd Street, outside the Screw offices, where Ms. Cutler was going to visit Poodles. Alone in the elevator, an aroused Ms. Cutler thinking she might see the cute guy again upstairs wriggled out of her baggy T-shirt and into a clingier striped one that she happened to have in her handbag. Five minutes later, Mr. Loureiro approached her at Poodles’desk.”You switched shirts?” he said. Busted!

Before meeting for a threesome with Poodles at the Lower East Side bar Max Fish, Ms. Cutler committed another sartorial flub. She had just gone to the gym and didn’t have time to change. “I was like, Eww, I’m going to meet this guy and I’m all gross! ” she remembered. “But then I’m like, ‘You know, if this is the guy for me, he won’t care! I don’t want to have to go home and put on makeup and the whole thing just to have a beer !'” You go , sister girlfriend!

After a few rounds, Poodles tootled off, and the duo went for sushi and sake at Sapporo, then repaired to Ñ, the Soho tapas bar where Ms. Cutler tends for extra cash. Later, they made out in the foyer of her apartment building-but her roommate had a strict “no sleepover” policy. “Why don’t we get together tomorrow night, and I’ll come over to your house?” Ms. Cutler suggested. Gee, that’s fast , Mr. Loureiro thought. “O.K.!” he said.

Six months later, she moved into his East Village two-bedroom. The relatives approved. “My mom said the other day that having dinner with us is like dining with Elaine May and Mike Nichols,” Ms. Cutler said. “Can’t get a word in edgewise.” They were with his siblings at a waterfront restaurant in New Hampshire near his sister’s house when she suddenly experienced a public love surge. “I was like, ‘God! I’m so in love with you! I want everyone to know!'” By the end of the evening they were engaged, and are currently shopping for engagement rings-for both of them. “I hate that just women are supposed to wear an engagement ring,” said Ms. Cutler, possibly the last feminist in Manhattan.

Because of a mutual interest in Vikings, they’re considering a pagan ceremony in Scandinavia near the Arctic Circle on midsummer’s night. Don’t count on any Saturday Night Live “the Continental”–style antics on the honeymoon. “Christopher Walken has to stay out of the bedroom,” said the bride-to-be.

Dan Shanoff and Margery Miller

Met: July 2001

Engaged: Sept. 30, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 3, 2004

ESPN.com columnist Dan Shanoff, 31, is planning to marry Fordham Law student Margery Miller, 30, at a nature and beach resort in her native Florida-but not without some consternation.

“When it came to Florida teams,” said Mr. Shanoff, a loyal fan of his home state Maryland, “I grew up anywhere from agnostic to hostile.”

The sporty twosome met on a blind date when Mr. Shanoff-having not yet discovered the lucrative world of journalism-was getting his M.B.A. from Harvard. He was summer-interning at ESPN when a female classmate recommended that he call the dark-haired, sweet and peppy Ms. Miller, a longtime friend of hers from her Harvard undergraduate years.

Mr. Shanoff suggested that they meet for dinner at the early-bird hour of 5:30, which you’d think a Floridian would be into, but nooo …. “He was on old-person time,” said Ms. Miller, “because he was living with his grandma in Midwood.”

“I just wanted to meet early to ease into the date!” protested Mr. Shanoff.

All was forgiven, however, when the handsome, big-cheeked guy strode into the lobby of her West Village building. “I was just like, ‘Yeah, O.K., that’s it, I’m done,'” Ms. Miller said. “It wasn’t like some bad romance novel; I didn’t swoon . There was just something about him that was right for me-something correct about it.”

Before dinner at Malatesta Trattoria, she asked if he’d mind going to watch a pickup game at the basketball court on West Fourth Street. Would he! “I lucked out,” Mr. Shanoff said.

Two weeks later, when he left to bum around Europe for three weeks, he sent her lots of “Wish you were here”–type e-mails. One day, she replied with the news that she was flying into Milan for an impromptu five-day visit. “I told him it was a cheap ticket,” Ms. Miller said. “But actually what happened was that my mom was so excited that I was so excited about this guy-after being pretty bummed out about the dating scene in New York-that she was like, ‘Well, don’t tell anyone, but I’ll pay for half of it.”

They met on an Italian train platform. “For lack of a better cliché, it was so Casablanca ,” said the aspiring Jimmy Breslin. “It just turbocharged the relationship. Five days together in Italy was like 1,000 dates in normal life.”

After nabbing his M.B.A., Mr. Shanoff returned to New York; a few months later he moved into a Columbus Circle one-bedroom with Ms. Miller and decided their living room would be the best place to drop to one knee. This was before the arrival of Whole Foods, however, so the poor bloke had to travel all the way downtown to find the perfect proposal dish (Chinese cashew chicken and broccoli with beef from Charlie Mom). He loaded up on wedding magazines, then donned a suit and sat around waiting.

When Ms. Miller returned from class, she spotted a telltale copy of Martha Stewart Weddings in the corner. Giggles. Tears. “It was the coolest reaction I’d ever seen,” said Mr. Shanoff, who then sunk a two-carat round diamond with baguettes in a platinum setting (from Mom) onto his beloved’s ring finger. Double, double!