Countdown to Bliss

013006 article lovebeat Countdown to BlissCristina Casciano and Nathan King

Met: Sept. 25, 2005

Engaged: Dec. 24, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 2, 2006

Cristina Casciano, 25, a jewelry designer for Bergdorf Goodman, plans to wed Nathan King, 33, who covers the U.N. for the South African Broadcasting Association, after a courtship shorter than anything that’s ever moved through the U.N. The ceremony will be held in Brooklyn Bridge Park overlooking the Manhattan skyline, followed by a reception at the Blue Mill Tavern on Commerce Street.

The couple met at Nova Zembla, a furniture store in Brooklyn Heights. Mr. King, who is sharp, cherub-cheeked and British, was in the market for a mirror. “Which of those two do you like better?” he asked, turning to the stylish, brunette Ms. Casciano, who happened to be sitting next to him on a couch. “The brown or the yellow?” Ms. Casciano sized him up. Well-dressed, British accent, alone in a furniture store. Could he be ….

“The brown one looks less gay—um, more manly,” she said. Mr. King laughed, bought it, got her business card and waited till the middle of the week to call, on the advice of a friend. “Because I’m English, I didn’t really know the rules of dating that much in the U.S.,” he said, sitting with Ms. Casciano and the Love Beat at Sweet Melissa’s in Carroll Gardens, a few blocks from their one-bedroom apartment.

Their first assignation was at the Cubana Café on Smith Street. The following weekend, they dashed through Brooklyn, checking out different art galleries. “I thought, I could marry this man,” Ms. Casciano said.

Mr. King had similar thoughts after she cooked him a batch of lamb with mint pesto. “It completely blew me away,” he said. “I think I’m falling in love with you,” he told her. “In fact, I do love you.”

Burnt from a previous relationship that was supposed to end in wedlock and didn’t, Ms. Casciano took a while to respond, eventually text-messaging him “Ditto,” à la Patrick Swayze in Ghost. She uttered the words for the first time while they were lying in bed watching The Sunday Morning Show and reading The New York Times over croissants. Croissants will do that to ya!

Their mutual affection has managed to blossom despite a difference in politics (Ms. Casciano is more Fox News Channel, Mr. King more NPR). “My father was Republican—the English version—and my mother was a Democrat. Very to the right and very to the left. And they loved each other all the time,” Mr. King said. “It’s always good to have that sort of sparring thing in a relationship.”

Three months into their affair, they took a Christmas trip to London to meet his ’rents. On Christmas Eve, the couple found an airport cart in the street and took turns riding it, wheeling each other around the city. “We were behaving like kids, which is what we do most of the time generally,” Mr. King said, turning toward Ms. Casciano. “You make me feel 5 years old half the time!” Awwww.

When they tired of these high jinks, the pair began walking along the north bank of the Thames. When they reached St. Paul’s Cathedral, Mr. King dropped to one knee.

“Will you marry me?” he said.

“You’re asking me now?” Ms. Casciano said.

Later, Mr. King graced her stocking with a foam ring (“grows five times bigger in water”) from Urban Outfitters. He’s currently shopping for a real chunk of ice so he can duplicate the proposal on this side of the pond.

ruleLong Countdown to Bliss

Benjamin Malinsky and Rebecca Slater

Met: August 2002

Engaged: Dec. 31, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: June 4, 2006

Benjamin Malinsky, 29, a dark and husky real-estate developer, plans to marry Rebecca Slater, 27, a candidate for a master’s in social work at N.Y.U. with streaky blond hair and bright eyes, probably in Central Park.

The couple first met at Tribeca Tavern, near the restaurant Sugar, where Mr. Malinsky was working as a chef. “I pretended that I watched Sports Center, and I think he was pretending the same thing,” Ms. Slater said. When she announced that she worked at Home Depot’s foundation, Ken’s Kids, teaching life skills to mentally disabled adults, Mr. Malinsky perked up considerably. “Most of the women that I had been with before were restaurant people, or late-night people, or in the partying business,” he said. “Rebecca was a good person, doing good things for others. I saw that as an irregularity in the city. I was more to the side of evil.”

Perhaps sensing this, Ms. Slater balked at handing over her digits. “Everybody takes my number, no one ever calls,” she told him.

“Trust me, I’ll call,” Mr. Malinsky said. And two days later, he did.

Their first official assignation was at a techno-themed bowling night at Bowlmor Lanes (she kicked his butt) where, Mr. Malinsky said, “A lot of industry people would bowl and get wasted.” A week later, following dinner at Calle Ocho, the sexy Upper West Side tapas restaurant, smooches were exchanged at Amsterdam Billiards.

“It got kind of passionate on the pool table,” Mr. Malinsky said.

“Don’t say that,” Ms. Slater protested. “It’s not like you laid me down on the pool table!”

After a year of schlepping between her Upper West Side share and Mr. Malinksy’s midtown one-bedroom, she was ready for cohabitation, and the pair found a one-bedroom in Murray Hill. While Ms. Slater loved the chef, she wasn’t nuts about his schedule, and she was pleased when he switched careers. “It was a difficult lifestyle,” she said. “Now we’re just like a normal couple, and it’s nice.”

Mr. Malinsky proposed after a picnic on a rainy day in a lighthouse in Montauk, dropping to one knee and giving Ms. Slater a radiant-cut, platinum-set solitaire diamond, which he’d selected from the midtown jeweler DeNatale with the help of his parents. “Then we went back to the bed-and-breakfast for a little room-service party,” he said.

Ms. Slater said that taking up with a foodie fellow—they still enjoy dining at places like Nobu and David Burke & Donatella—has permanently altered her palate. “I used to just like cereal and tuna—and I mean tuna fish out of the can, of course,” she said. “Now I’m spoiled.”