Countdown to Bliss

112006 article lovebeat Countdown to BlissUrsula Lang and James Lee

Met: Spring 2001

Engaged: May 19, 2006

Projected Wedding Date: May 18, 2008

It was a big day for James Lee when the new Apple store opened on Fifth Avenue. “I’m a big Mac fan,” he said, “of the really ultra-geeky variety.” But Mr. Lee, a medical student at Yale, was stuck in New Haven when the line started to form, so he pleaded with his girlfriend, Ursula Lang, to hold him a spot for three hours while he was en route to the city.

“That’s when I realized how much I loved him,” said the brown-eyed, full-lipped, honey-skinned Ms. Lang, likewise a med student (at Mount Sinai, where she’s also pursuing a Ph.D. in molecular biology), sardonically.

“And how much I loved the company,” Mr. Lee said.

The couple met as juniors at the University of Washington. They were friends at first, growing closer as they consoled each other over failed relationships. That summer, Mr. Lee, 27, went home to Hawaii while Ms. Lang, 26, who is half-German and half-Peruvian (and predictably stunning), studied epidemiology in Ecuador. When they returned to school, he ran to her room, and they embraced for several minutes. “It was the best and longest hug that either of us ever had in our lifetimes,” Mr. Lee said.

After graduation, Ms. Lang took a year off researching breast cancer at the National Institutes of Health in D.C. before moving to New York. The night that Mr. Lee asked her to line up at Apple, she was studying for an exam. Still, she stuck around for two hours after he arrived. As Ms. Lang reviewed her flashcards, Mr. Lee noticed time-lapse cameras filming the proceedings, gathering content for a live feed to the Apple Web site.

At dawn the next morning, he snuck out of his sweetie’s Upper East Side apartment (med-school housing, baby) and stood in front of the store with three poster boards that read: Uschi Lang (“Uschi” is his nickname for her) / I love you / Will you marry me?

“I thought, since I was doing it so early in the a.m., that I would have all the control,” Mr. Lee said. “I thought I could go back and think if this is the most romantic, special way to do this—and if I do feel like it is, then I could show her any time I want.”

Then he got a call from a fellow Apple obsessive. “Dude, did you propose to someone?”

“How could you possibly know?” Mr. Lee asked.

“You’re all over the Web,” said the friend, e-mailing a dozen links to prove it. The Internet was positively atwitter. Did she say yes? One blogger “outed” the thus-far-oblivious Ms. Lang as a Macy’s fashion consultant.

“I envisioned we would be in Hawaii and I would be on bended knee,” Mr. Lee said. “Now I’d done this thing, and I was racing against time.”

Two days later, Ms. Lang was exiting the bathroom in his New Haven apartment when she noticed a trail of candles leading toward Mr. Lee’s computer. The lights were low and Van Morrison was playing on iTunes. “There’s something I really want to tell you,” he said, dropping to one knee and pulling up the Apple Web site.

ruleLong Countdown to Bliss

Brian Christopher Goodwin and Monique Chantelle Leigh

Met: Nov. 26, 2005

Engaged: June 28, 2006

Projected Wedding Date: May 5, 2007

Brian Goodwin was in his apartment in Hoboken—yes, Hoboken; deal with it, O.K.?—boogying to Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” with a new girlfriend, Monique Leigh, when he first felt the sting of Cupid’s arrow. “That was the moment it kind of hit me that I love her,” he said.

Ms. Leigh, 31, a stylish, chocolate-complexioned senior analyst for product development and supply management at Tiffany’s (how conveeenient), had discovered Mr. Goodwin, 33, a sweet, husky senior analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, on trusty old Match.com. “He said he wanted a relationship where he and the other person would do anything for each other,” she said. “That’s what brought me in; I could tell he was the real deal.”

After a brief e-mail exchange, Ms. Leigh gave Mr. Goodwin circuitous directions to meet her at Evelyn Lounge, near her Upper West Side one-bedroom. (“She’s been pretty consistent—pretty bad—with the directions ever since,” he said fondly.) When he finally arrived, Train’s “Meet Virginia” was playing on the stereo. “I always loved that song,” Ms. Leigh said. “I knew that was a good sign.”

They went on a long Upper West Side pub crawl (yes, Virginia, it is possible), culminating at Prohibition, where they danced to a cover band playing 80’s-style jazz and enjoyed their first kiss. “At 10:32,” Mr. Goodwin said.

“I laid one on him,” Ms. Leigh said with a chuckle.

A few dates later, they ventured onto Wollman Rink.

“I have ankles like a chicken,” said Mr. Goodwin. “I almost killed myself on the ice.”

“And he took me down with him,” Ms. Leigh put in.

“She knows how to skate; she was my support.”

At a St. Patrick’s Day party at his apartment, Mr. Goodwin took Ms. Leigh to a back room and quietly told her that he loved her. “I’ve been thinking about getting engaged and moving in together,” he added for good measure.

“I was in shock,” she recalled. “But in a good way.”

The couple browsed for rings and even picked out a reception site (the Butler Mansion in Buffalo, N.Y.—Ms. Leigh’s hometown).

One day, trembling with anticipation, Mr. Goodwin hid in some bushes near a local high school outside her apartment, then changed his mind—“It just didn’t look on the up-and-up,” he said—and asked to be buzzed in.

Ms. Leigh opened the door and found him on one knee holding a bouquet, speechless. Finally, he held out a telltale robin’s-egg-blue box containing a platinum-set, radiant-cut diamond flanked by trillions on either side and stuttered a formal proposal.

Shortly afterward, the bride-to-be packed up and moved to Hoboken. “I lived in the city for seven years, and I thought I would miss it,” she said. “But I don’t. It’s nice to come home to quiet.”