Countdown to Bliss

Jacob Organek and Alyson Scherling

Met: March 1998

Engaged: July 15, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 12, 2005

Alyson Scherling, 24, a bubbly, wavy-haired junior market editor at Saks Fifth Avenue, plans to marry Jacob Organek, 26, a rosy-cheeked private equity associate.

This is a couple that likes to play dress-up. “When I wore a poncho for the first time, he called me ‘Poncho Villa,’” Ms. Scherling said. “When I wore this white top, he called me a nurse all day because I looked like a nurse in it.”

They met through mutual friends as undergraduates at the University of Michigan, at the local “cool” bar, Liquid Lounge. She was a self-described “freshman running around like crazy.” He was a sophomore stud.

“She was a very attractive young girl,” said the actually quite reserved Mr. Organek. “I guess I was young then, too.” Oh, to be a world-weary 26-year-old ….

On their first real date, they drove to a sushi restaurant in a screechy 1983 white Buick Cutlass belonging to Mr. Organek’s grandfather. Surprisingly, Ms. Scherling managed to keep her opinion of the car to herself. “She was high-maintenance then and she’s high-maintenance now,” said Mr. Organek, almost proudly.

He was no slouch himself.

“He was very attractive,” Ms. Scherling said. “He was a good dresser. He takes a lot of pride in his clothes.”

Mr. Organek shot her a look.

“Why?” she said with a giggle. “It’s not a lie.”

Mr. Organek didn’t want to elaborate on his passion for fashion just then, but Ms. Scherling made up for it later. “We’re always the last ones in the store,” she said. “The last ones trying on things. Always, always—in the stores for like five hours. It’s funny I found someone who likes to do what I like to do.”

The couple dated throughout college. While she was studying in London, he sent her containers of the “to-die-for” honey mustard from the Mr. Greeks restaurant in Ann Arbor. (It’s not the Silver Palate, but what are ya gonna do?)

Upon graduating, they each tried New York City with roommates (him in the East Village, her in Murray Hill) before moving in together to a spacious one-bedroom apartment on 12th Street. “I can’t wait for him to come home at night so I can snuggle with him,” Ms. Scherling gloated.

Mr. Organek proposed in a suite on the 40th floor of the Time Warner Center—after conspiring with Ms. Scherling’s boss, who’d sent her there on a fake work errand—and then swooped her off to Daniel (Per Se hadn’t yet gotten its four stars). The ring is a substantial radiant-cut diamond set in platinum alongside two trapezoids, purchased from his grandfather’s cousin, a former diamond dealer.

Mr. Organek’s rabbi from Farmington Hills, Mich., will preside over the ceremony, to be held at the Glen Island Harbor Club, near Ms. Scherling’s hometown of Scarsdale, N.Y.

After that, they’re hoping for many little U. Michigan Wolverines. “We want to send our kids there,” Ms. Scherling said.

“Well, we’re going to be living so close!” Mr. Organek said.

“No, we’re not,” she said. “He needs to joke that we’re going to move back to Michigan—but we’re not.”

Stephen Clasby and Stefanie Grupp

Met: October 2001

Engaged: August 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 27, 2004

On a scholarship from the German government to study North American studies at N.Y.U., Stefani (Steffi) Grupp arrived two weeks before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. One month later, she reluctantly ventured out to a Jewish short-film screening at Galapagos, the hipper-than-thou Williamsburg bar. “I didn’t even want to go out that night,” said Ms. Grupp, 26, a tall brunette. “Being a newly arrived German girl, I was having a lot of complex feelings.”

She was beckoned by a new acquaintance to a table that included Stephen Clasby, an architectural designer who resembles the actor Mark Ruffalo. “I listened to her talk, although I didn’t say much, and was totally taken with her,” said Mr. Clasby, 38.

“I looked at him and had a silent knowledge that something grand was going to happen,” Ms. Grupp said in her cute accent.

They agreed to meet the following week at the Paramount. The date took an unexpected Euro twist when Ms. Grupp brought along an ex-boyfriend. “He was there as my big brother!” she protested.

After one round of drinks, Mr. Clasby had had enough of this threesome and grabbed Ms. Grupp away for a long, romantic walking tour of “urban spaces.” They shared a cab back to Brooklyn and kissed one another goodnight chastely on the cheek.

Less than a week later, he called and asked if she wanted to meet his 100-pound Great Dane, Ursula. Ms. Grupp arrived for a Friday-night dinner at his two-bedroom in Billyburg with fresh flowers and a cut of beef. “I was sort of scared of dogs,” she said.

“We never made it to dinner,” Mr. Clasby reported happily.

Several weeks later, Ms. Grupp flew home to her native Oberkochen for Christmas. “It was clear to me that it was not just going to be an exchange-student love affair,” she said. “But I perhaps wasn’t very good at verbalizing it.”

Depressed back in New York, sitting watching television with the sound turned off, Mr. Clasby was startled to see his foxy fraulein’s face staring at him, part of a montage of post-9/11 images featured in the country-music video “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Flies,” by Aaron Tippin. “I decided it was a sign,” he said.

(“I didn’t even know I was in it,” Ms. Grupp groused. “That song is terrible!”)

She plans to return to the United States permanently after finishing her studies and getting her papers in order. In the meantime, Mr. Clasby is studying German. He proposed after many months of long-distance wooing, under a full moon in Shakertown, Ky (he hails from the state). “I couldn’t say no, but I couldn’t say yes either,” said Mrs. Grupp, explaining that in Germany people tend to marry a lot later and she was feeling unsure. “It was incredibly tough,” Mr. Clasby said.

That Christmas, she presented him with his-and-hers matching rings in the midst of a family gathering. “What do they mean?” he asked. “I don’t know,” said the angst-ridden Ms. Grupp. O Tanenbaum!

Six months later, she began arranging a reception for 50 friends at a local castle with crisp, Germanic efficiency.

Countdown to Bliss