Countdown to Bliss

Chiara Berti and Ross Borzykowski

Met: January 2003

Engaged: Oct. 31, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: June 18, 2005

Chiara Berti, 27, a long-haired Italian-American publicist who was the sixth contestant eliminated from the reality-TV show Big Brother 3 , is marrying Ross Borzykowski, 26, a Jewish radiologist who she said looks like “Patrick Dempsey, with a little bit of Ralph Macchio Jr.”

During their initial phone conversation, arranged by a mutual friend, Ms. Berti was immediately taken with the then–medical student’s manly “sports announcer”-esque voice, though “I always felt like if a guy has a really good voice, he’s really ugly,” she said. “So I was like, ‘Oh, shoot.’”

Being Catholic, she was also concerned about their religious differences. “I’m not converting,” Ms. Berti blurted into the receiver.

They met for dinner the following week at Elmo in Chelsea, and he showed that he wasn’t too obsessive about the Jewish thing by sharing a plate of shellfish. “I was like, ‘Mussels?’” she said.

There were two more consecutive evenings out, and when Dr. Borzykowski arrived in the city a few months later to begin his residency at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., he moved forthwith into Ms. Berti’s Upper East Side studio. “It’s nice to have someone to come home to who’s usually happy and in a good mood,” he said. “She makes the best of situations.”

They couple created a joint checking account and upgraded to a one-bedroom by the end of the summer. “He keeps me so grounded,” said Ms. Berti, who has a weakness for Gucci handbags. “He took over a lot of bad habits I have.”

Dr. Borzykowski proposed under the West Hall Arch at his alma mater, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, as students clapped around them and Pee-Wee Herman impersonator snapped their picture; the Gothic structure is reputed to have magical marriage-inducing powers. Her suitor “said all these amazing things,” Ms. Berti reported. “It mustered up every amount of courage he had. It wasn’t very Ross at all; it was very anti-Ross. He’s very private.”

And decorous enough to decline revealing the carat weight of Ms. Berti’s radiant-cut solitaire ring, which her girlfriends estimate to be a little over two carats. Bada-bing!

Soon after this exchange, the couple enrolled in conversion classes at the 92nd Street Y.

Their wedding will take place under a chuppah at the Hall of Springs, the site of the original Saratoga Spring wells in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (plenty of bottled water will be available), slightly before sundown in order to help guests avoid local concert-related traffic. “Sometimes she feels guiltier about it than me,” Dr. Borzykowski said proudly.

Faye Bankler and Jason Casell

Met: September 1985

Engaged: Jan. 17, 2004

Projected wedding date: Jan. 9, 2005

Yes, Virginia, there are Jews in Texas …. Faye Bankler and Jason Casell, 29-year-old Heebs from San Antonio who now live in New York City’s theater district, will marry at the lone conservative synagogue in their hometown.

That’s where they first met and fell in love almost two decades ago, while attending Castle Hills Elementary School. But after a promising start involving a screening of The Money Pit , the relationship ended badly when li’l Ms. Bankler showed up to class one Monday with what her fiancé remembers as a “boy’s” haircut. “You’re much more shallow in fifth grade than you are when you get older,” he said. Oh, we don’t know-thousands of Manhattan men have ended relationships over far less!

The couple maintained a civil distance from one another all the way up through their graduation from 12th grade. A student-council, National Honor Society–type with a soft voice and brown eyes, Mr. Casell went on to law school, clerking for a federal judge in Philadelphia and going on to a litigation-associate position at a firm in Manhattan. Meanwhile, the vivacious Ms. Bankler was pursuing acting and training to practice massage therapy (taking care to keep her auburn ringlets at shoulder length).

When they met again at their 10th high-school reunion, they instantly rubbed each other the right way. “What surprised me was how warm and open he was,” Mr. Bankler said.

Mr. Casell suddenly remembered his childhood sweetheart’s “deep, boisterous” laugh. “She was very sweet,” he said.

The next morning Ms. Bankler, who was living in “hipster” Austin at the time, raced over to a friend’s house declaring that she’d met the man she was going to marry. “I felt alive and charged,” she said. She e-mailed Mr. Casell, inviting him to visit her there to “continue our conversation.”

He accepted, figuring at least he’d get a Swedish massage out of the deal. “No funny business!” insisted Ms. Bankler, who has since enrolled at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Her suspicions were aroused during a visit to New York, when the couple went by cab to One If By Land, Two If By Sea, a notorious proposal chuckwagon whose reputation extends even to Texas. But the 5:30 reservation threw her off. “It was like the early-bird special,” she said. But just before dessert, a waiter brought over a tray bearing Mr. Casell’s paternal grandmother’s 100-year-old 1.2-carat center diamond, with a sunburst-style ring guard containing 24 smaller diamonds. Meanwhile, her sweetheart had started spouting tender words while on bended knee, a position he had spent considerable time perfecting in the shower. “That’s why he took so long,” Ms. Bankler said.

Rob Dalven and Nicole Profis

Met: May 14, 2001

Engaged: March 5, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 22, 2004

Rob Dalven, 29, a hazel-eyed advertising account executive for MTV Network’s Country Music Television, is marrying Nicole Profis, 28, an olive-skinned Bambi who works in marketing for Saks Fifth Avenue’s personal-shopping club. Yee-haw , employee discount!

Mr. Dalven had spotted Ms. Profis in conversation with some elderly ladies in the lobby of his West 55th Street low-rise while walking her Maltese, Bella. She had recently moved to the city from Tampa. “In New York, where you don’t know your neighbor and you walk with your head down, she was this ray of sunshine,” he said.

During one of the building’s monthly mixers, a sympathetic doorman named Tony buzzed Ms. Profis to ask if she wouldn’t mind giving Bella a spin- right now : Mr. Dalven was conveniently lurking near his ground-floor one-bedroom. As the mixer wound down, he invited some of his neighbors, including Ms. Profis, to a little after-party. They drank wine and chatted. She was impressed (enough to let him smooch her goodnight), but not blown away. “I go for the Europeans, drenched in cologne, and here was this preppy, New York–y fraternity guy,” she said.

The next day, Mr. Dalven dropped by Ms. Profis’ apartment with a purple Gerber daisy and a note asking her to dinner. She played it casual, stopping by with a six-pack on a Sunday night. “I was like, ‘This is New York-there are millions of older investment bankers for me to meet,’” she said. The reticence continued for a few months. “I was too scared to call him my boyfriend.”

After Sept. 11, 2001, however, she was too scared not to call him her boyfriend. Still, for a while she insisted they use the back stairwell as a conduit to their assignations. The other residents weren’t fooled, and Tony kept getting queries of “So, who else is available?”

Last March, Ms. Profis bit the bullet and moved downstairs. She proved a bit of a snoop. Once, when she came across a receipt from Saks, she looked up the item number on her work computer and found that Mr. Dalven had bought her Stuart Weitzman stilettos. When he got her a ring, he put a note inside the box it came in that read “Sorry, keep looking.”

The bauble, a round-cut diamond solitaire with some antique-looking etching along the band, was taped to the inside of an old snow boot at the back of a closet. It emerged from hiding during dessert at a local Italian restaurant, Anna’s, along with a platter of 10 dozen white roses, the night before a long-planned trip to Europe. When Ms. Profis returned, she did some personal shopping for herself, buying a custom-designed Kenneth Pool ballgown.

The wedding will be at the Carltun, a 1920′s-style estate in Eisenhower Park on Long Island. Tony and another doorman from West 55th Street have been invited to attend, though the couple recently moved to a larger apartment near Lincoln Center. “In a city of seven million people, in a building like that-to meet the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with is amazing,” Mr. Dalven said.