Countdown to Bliss

Hailey Lustig and Stephen Prince

Met: July 2002

Engaged: Feb. 26, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 5, 2004

Steve Prince has plenty of WASP credentials (Exeter ’92, Princeton ’96, owner of several Griffin and Howe rifles), but when it came to courting Hailey Lustig, he relied on the good old-fashioned Jewish guilt that sluices through his veins. “I’m looking forward to taking you out, but I was sort of bummed out that you canceled on the day of our date,” he told the sassy, olive-skinned blonde, who had bailed because she felt like extending her stay in the Hamptons.

“I don’t want to be lectured ,” Ms. Lustig bellowed into the phone. “Lose my number.”

How did they get from this inauspicious beginning to planning a Labor Day weekend wedding romp in Muskoka, Ontario, where Ms. Lustig’s parents have run a summer camp for 33 years?

“I admired it. You knew what you wanted,” said Mr. Prince from Greenwich, Conn., where he’s a portfolio manager at a hedge fund. His disembodied voice was floating out of the speakerphone in Ms. Lustig’s Times Square office, where she works as the publisher of Show People , a lifestyle magazine for the theater industry.

Both 30, the couple first shared ceviche on the roof of Seventh Avenue’s Sushi Samba, after being set up by a mutual friend. Ms. Lustig was enjoying the single life and far from bedazzled by the curly-haired, bespectacled Mr. Prince-hence the telephone testiness when he called for date No. 2. But when he tried again in the winter, she remembered he was funny. “Call me back in a month,” she ordered.

After a long-delayed rendezvous at Roc in Tribeca, Ms. Lustig kissed Mr. Prince on the cheek and said, “You can call me again.” After that, “everything just unfolded,” he said. In December, he moved from the Upper East Side to the Archive Building on Christopher Street, where Ms. Lustig had lived for a year, enabling an upgrade to a two-bedroom.

The pair was casually browsing at the Fred Leighton boutique during the Christmas season ( danger! danger! ) when Mr. Prince asked the counterman what kind of ring he thought Ms. Lustig might like. That counterman, who turned out to be Mr. Fred Leighton himself, took in Ms. Lustig’s pink Polo cable-knit sweater and corduroys with a practiced eye. “She’s a classic girl, so she would want a classic ring,” he said, producing a 3.3-emerald-cut diamond with substantial trapezoids.

“Me and Fred had a moment,” she said.

Soon after, Mr. Prince began bombarding his sweetie with e-mails from “topsecretadmirer@yahoo.com,” telling her to ditch the “boring live-in.” One cryptic message led her back to Roc, where Mr. Prince formally proposed, giving her a version of the Fred Leighton ring he’d found in the Diamond District, and announced that they were leaving for St. Bart’s on the morrow.

The bride-to-be, who has been known to accost Broadway stars in the Pax Wholesome Foods across the street from her office, waving her quarterly publication in their faces and telling them, “We have this great magazine and you need to be in it,” said Mr. Prince has made her nicer. “He is the guy that everybody likes,” she said. “I am not that person.”

“Hailey has a tough exterior,” said her fiancé. “But inside, she’s like oatmeal.”

-Anna Schneider-Mayerson

Alison Albeck and Joshua Lindland

Met: January 2003

Engaged: Oct. 5, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: June 26, 2004

Love in one act! Nonprofit theater wonks Alison Albeck, 25, and Joshua Lindland, 27, got engaged after a mere 30 days of dating. “When you know, you know,” said Mr. Lindland, a board member of the Subjective Theatre Company who ponied up a 1.4-carat emerald-cut diamond flanked with 14 baguettes while the couple was skating at Rockefeller Center.

They first became acquainted at the opening of Love/Sad , an Off Off Broadway “performance piece” based on The Little Prince and produced by the sleek-haired, svelte Ms. Albeck’s theater company, Studio 42 (she’s also a senior executive at TheaterMania). “He’s the kind of person who, when he looks you in the eye, you feel like you’re being noticed,” she said.

At a meeting of the Off-Off Community Dish four months later, Ms. Albeck was intrigued to see the chiseled, dirty-blond-haired Mr. Lindland carrying a motorcyle helmet and talking about money and financial planning in a way that sounded … like he had some. “I thought maybe he was an actor with a trust fund,” she said. (In fact, Mr. Lindland works in product management at Fiduciary Trust Company International.)

Nine months later, she was at Joe’s Pub-a major theater-wonk hangout-when her drinking companion’s boyfriend’s roommate dropped by: Mr. Lindland encore ! He sat down super-close. “I remember my knee was touching his, and I had to concentrate really hard to just make sentences ,” Ms. Albeck said. From the bathroom, she tipsily called an old Vassar classmate to gush. The drinking companion left. The new twosome smooched. They compared their Scandinavian heritage-she’s half-Danish, he’s half-Norwegian. They had so much in common that they didn’t realize Ms. Albeck’s Coach pocketbook was being lifted. In it were her keys to her Murray Hill pad … which meant she had little choice but to return with Mr. Lindland to his place in “whatever that hipster part of Brooklyn is,” she said. (Williamsburg, we think .) They “just talked” all night, and then he gallantly bought her a MetroCard so she could get to work the next day. “Neither one of us wanted the other to think it was going to be some kind of one-night stand.” he said.

“I thought I’d just chalk it up to a good New York story.” Ms. Albeck said.

Seventeen days later, as he was feeding her Norwegian chocolates, they concluded that they should really spend the rest of their lives together (even though they hadn’t yet been through one menstrual cycle). They moved into a West Village one-bedroom duplex the following month and are planning a ceremony at St. John’s Episcopal Church in the bride’s native Larchmont, with a reception to follow at the Larchmont Yacht Club.

“I think both of us are getting more than we ever thought we’d get,” said Ms. Albeck of the swifty union, adding, “I think people are scared of giving up their freedom, but I think you should only be scared if you’re not getting what you want .”

“She’s someone I can imagine doing anything with,” Mr. Lindland said. “If I got a job offer to go to Cambodia, I know that as long as it were with her, it’d be fun.”

-Anna Jane Grossman