Countdown to Bliss

110606 article engage Countdown to BlissDemetria Collins and Joshua Irwin

Met: July 2005

Engaged: Oct. 2, 2006

Projected Wedding Date: June 3, 2007

If the ring fits, you must get hitched! Joshua Irwin, 34, a personal injury attorney at the Cochran Firm, founded by the late Johnnie Cochran, is betrothed to Demetria Collins, 27, an urban planner for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. The ceremony will take place at a private villa in the Dominican Republic.

D.J. D-Nice was spinning the night the happy couple met at Canal Room. “I’m a hip-hop head,” said Ms. Collins, a slender, coffee-complected, high cheek-boned gal who hails from Detroit. She and a girlfriend were screaming for the bartender to hook them up with a couple of apple martinis.

“Courtesy of the man over there,” he said, plunking down two glasses. Ms. Collins looked over to see the green-eyed, goateed Mr. Irwin wearing a goofy yet confident grin.

“You can fall in love at the club,” he told the Love Beat.

“Want to come outside with me to smoke a cigarette?” he asked her.

“I don’t like smokers,” she said.

“Then I’ll quit.” (He did, a couple of months later.) After an evening of small talk, Mr. Irwin gave Ms. Collins his phone number but didn’t bother asking for hers. “He was assuming ‘no,’ I guess,” she said.

Two days later, they went to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at the Battery Park Cinema. “Not as good as the original,” Ms. Collins said. “The original creeps me out—Gene Wilder is creepy.”

“No,” Mr. Irwin disagreed. “Johnny Depp as a Michael Jackson–esque … you know. Now that’s creepy!”

After the flick, they returned to his one-bedroom apartment in Battery Park to pick up Cain, his 13-year old German Shepard (R.I.P.), for a walk around the Hudson River Promenade. Cain marked time while Ms. Collins and Mr. Irwin smooched passionately.

Daily phone convos, e-mails and texts followed. One day, picking Mr. Irwin up for lunch at his office, Ms. Collins noticed him making goo-goo eyes at her. “It’s O.K., you can say it,” she said boldly. “I love you too.”

They spent their first Valentine’s Day at a Wu-Tang Clan concert at Hammerstein Ballroom, and two months later Ms. Collins abandoned her apartment in Greenwood Heights and moved a few choice vintage pieces into Mr. Irwin’s Spartan Ikea-decorated space. But he was the one who felt that they should make it official. “My blanket rule is that you should know someone for at least four seasons before you propose,” she declared.

As season five approached, Mr. Irwin planned to fly her family and friends in for a public proposal, but then impulsively decided to do it a deux on the promenade instead, dropping to one knee and asking: “Demetria, will you ma—”

“Yes!” Ms. Collins blurted, plucking the ring from his hand and putting it on herself.

ruleLong Countdown to Bliss

Betsy Stewart and Andrew Cohen

Met: 1998

Engaged: Aug. 25, 2006

Projected Wedding Date: July 14, 2007

It was a dank November dawn, and Betsy Stewart had left her boyfriend Andrew Cohen’s Union Square apartment early to catch a flight to Florida, where she was going to Thanksgiving at a friend’s house. Ten minutes after Ms. Stewart was out the door, Mr. Cohen got a frantic call from her traveling companion.

“Betsy’s been hit by a car!” she screamed.

Mr. Cohen, a sweet, handsome and muscular man, ran downstairs and found Ms. Stewart lying in the middle of the street, shivering from the rain. An ambulance arrived, and the paramedics prepared to cut off her jeans to assess the damage. “Not these jeans,” she protested. “I love these jeans.” (They were Sevens.)

“What, are you crazy?” Mr. Cohen bellowed. “Rip the goddamn jeans!”

He spent the rest of the day in the Cabrini Hospital waiting room with Ms. Stewart’s parents and older sister. “What was she doing on 14th Street at 6 in the morning?” Mom inquired. Someone had forgotten to tell her that the couple, who had been “on hiatus” for a spell, were back together.

They first met at a party while attending Duke University. Mr. Cohen was a junior majoring in public policy; Ms. Stewart, a sophomore psychology major, had a pale, freckled complexion and soft, hay-colored hair.

“You remind me of a girl I used to know,” was Mr. Cohen’s opening line.

“She must have been really cute,” Ms. Stewart replied saucily.

“Not really,” Mr. Cohen said, and off she stormed.

It took another party to make them discover that they couldn’t get enough of each other.

After Mr. Cohen graduated, he took a job at Thomas Weisel, an investment bank based in San Francisco, and he and Ms. Stewart agreed to take a break. “We were just in different places,” he said. “Here I was, working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and she’d call me drunk from a party at 2 in the morning. You couldn’t have two more opposite lifestyles.”

Then his company announced that they were hoping to build up their New York office. Mr. Cohen immediately dialed Ms. Stewart. “Sit down,” he said. “I have big news.” There followed a joyful reunion at Il Cantinori.

Six months later came the accident, in which Ms. Stewart suffered a broken pelvis, fibula and tibia. She went to Greenwich, Conn., to recuperate with her family, and Mr. Cohen would drive up there with a box of cupcakes. “It was hard,” he said. “There wasn’t much we could do but sit and talk or watch a movie.”

On New Year’s Eve, they went to a party at the cavernous restaurant Guastavino’s under the 59th Street Bridge. Mr. Cohen thoughtfully propped Ms. Stewart’s leg up at a corner table. “I couldn’t dance, but every now and then I’d stand up and move my upper body,” she said.

After she healed, Ms. Stewart jetted off—alone—to an accelerated year-long M.B.A. program at the Cass Business School in London. “I said, ‘Go ahead, go do it, we’ll make it work,’” Mr. Cohen said. Awww, what a trouper! When his high-powered girlfriend returned, she got a job in development at the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, a program founded by Mr. Cohen’s mother, and the two young people moved to a one-bedroom in the West Village. His Muhammad Ali poster makes for an interesting juxtaposition with her purple shower curtain.

They will marry at Mr. Cohen’s mother’s house in Southampton, after Mr. Cohen acquired a radiant-cut, platinum-set diamond flanked by two side stones from his aunt and gave it to Ms. Stewart at … Il Cantorini, naturalmente!