Lori Galasso and Kenneth Halperin-Novie
Met: February 2000
Engaged: February 2002
Projected Wedding Date: July 25, 2002
It might be horrifying to the Free to Be You and Me generation, but Barbie as Princess Bride is the absolute favorite CD-ROM of Lori Galasso’s 4-year-old daughter, Allie.
One night the petite, brunette Ms. Galasso, 34, pointed to the blond bride on their iMac’s monitor and said, “That’s going to be Mommy.”
Ken will be played by Ken Halperin-Novie, a brawny, blue-eyed trial lawyer at Wingate, Russotti & Shapiro.
Mr. Halperin-Novie, also 34, first met Allie and her mom two winters ago at the birthday party for a mutual friend’s 1-year-old. A man in an Elmo costume was there frightening the toddlers. When Allie started to cry, Mr. Halperin-Novie gallantly wiped her tears and located a piece of cake.
The following week, a Tickle Me Elmo arrived in the mail for Allie with a note that read, “I hope, because I’m small, you won’t be so scared of me.”
“I knew, after that, that the mom would love everything I did,” said Mr. Halperin-Novie.
The savvy suitor started sneaking quality time with Ms. Galasso by setting up play dates between Allie and his three Boston terriers. At the time, Ms. Galasso-a first-grade teacher at Rodeph Sholom on the Upper West Side-was in the throes of difficult divorce proceedings with the man she’d dated since junior high. Mr. Halperin-Novie had gone through a divorce of his own in 1999. After an April 2000 date- sans Allie-at Blue Water Grill, Ms. Galasso knew she’d found her prince.
Early this year, Mr. Halperin-Novie invited Ms. Galasso and Allie to move into his Upper East Side two-bed, two-bath castle. With a kid already in the picture, marriage seemed like the best way to kick off cohabitation, so early one February morning the couple flipped through their Filofaxes and picked a date. An intimate ceremony will be held at Temple Beth Torah in the bride’s hometown of Melville, Long Island. The reception will be held the following Saturday at Bouterin, a restaurant near the 59th Street Bridge. Bride-besotted Allie is going to wear a veil with her white flower-girl dress; Mom hasn’t finished shopping yet.
But wait, Ken! Princess Barbie needs a diamond!
Fortunately, Ms. Galasso’s mother is in the jewelry business, and she’s helping Mr. Halperin-Novie find the perfect stones for the platinum setting. When the little velvet box arrives, a “real” proposal will follow.
“It’ll be hard to be creative, because she knows it’s coming,” said Mr. Halperin-Novie, “and I’m not very good on my knees.”
– Anna Jane Grossman
Janna Baty and Doug Wamble
Met: Sept. 20, 2000
Engaged: Oct. 9, 2001
Projected Wedding Date: October 2002
When freelance jazz musician Doug Wamble placed an ad on the now-defunct online dating service Swoon.com, he weeded out all the techno/electronica lovers immediately . But Janna Baty, a freelance opera singer and former Yale music professor, passed muster.
She broke Internet protocol by asking him out after minimal e-mail contact. “We were supposed to e-mail for three months, speak on the phone for three months, and then meet in a secure location near a police precinct!” said Mr. Wamble, 29.
Instead, they chose the corner of 91st Street and Broadway. The curvy, 5-foot-7 Ms. Baty walked up in a black leather jacket and boots, swished her brown hair, batted eyes that the burly, 6-foot-5 Mr. Wamble would later describe as “dangerous,” and purred, “You must be you.”
Over coffee, the pair bonded over their respective struggles with the music business.
“It’s a big roller coaster,” said Ms. Baty, 34. “It’s nice to be with someone who understands why it twists the way it does.”
“She knows what it’s like to play music that only a fraction of the human population wants to hear,” said Mr. Wamble.
He was entranced within a week, but feared he might be falling into the “friend zone” when Ms. Baty started talking about her last relationship. So after dinner at Basta Pasta in the East Village one night, he took her in a surprise embrace. Her initial shock wore off quickly, and they ended up making out beside every lamppost on the way home.
A little over a year later, Mr. Wamble asked Ms. Baty to meet him once again at 91st and Broadway at 10 p.m. Her eyes started to tear on the way over.
Mr. Wamble got a bit weepy himself as he got down on one knee and proposed. As the happy couple embraced in the street, a homeless man serenaded them with a Luther Vandross–style rendition of “Always and Forever.” They tipped him $5.
Jacki Easlick and David Vogler
Met: Oct. 4, 1998
Engaged: Aug. 20, 2001
Projected Wedding Date: Late July or early August 2002
For the past seven years, David Vogler, 40, has given dozens of Nickelodeon shows like Ren & Stimpy and Nick at Nite spiffy new looks in cyberspace. He was the keynote speaker at a graphic-design conference at the Millennium hotel in 1998, where he caught the eye of audience member Jacki Easlick.
“I was really blown away by David’s presentation,” she said. “I was also curious to know if he was single.”
Ms. Easlick, 34, had flown in for the conference from Grand Rapids, Mich., where she worked as an image designer for Steelcase Furniture, the company that outfitted the offices of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and the set of the soon-to-be-defunct Ally McBeal .
Ms. Easlick sought out the 6-foot, slim, bespectacled and brown-haired Mr. Vogler after his speech and scored his e-mail address. When she returned to Michigan, they began to flirt over e-mail, but she kept her location a secret.
“I didn’t want him to hold Michigan against me,” she said.
“I would struggle to find Michigan on a map,” he said. “It’s the mitten state, right?”
When she finally confessed about Grand Rapids, Mr. Vogel was smitten enough to allow fate to take over. They arranged a date for a few months later, when she would be in town on business.
Mr. Vogel arrived at Ms. Easlick’s hotel near Lincoln Center and, not knowing quite what to expect, was relieved-nay, overjoyed -to find a 5-foot-6 blond stunner with sparkling blue eyes and just a hint of Midwestern wholesomeness.
“It was a Jimmy Stewart–esque moment,” Mr. Vogler said. “The place went silent and the camera focus got soft, and suddenly the whole world came to a standstill.”
They shook hands upon meeting and headed off to dinner at the Saloon. Their food grew cold during a three-hour conversation.
For the next year and a half, they swapped visits between Grand Rapids and Manhattan. He took her on walks across the Brooklyn Bridge; she took him to pumpkin patches.
This “forced us to fall in love with our minds before hopping in the sack,” said Mr. Vogler.
She finally moved into Mr. Vogler’s Tribeca one-bedroom in June 2001, and he proposed to her at midnight on a Cape Cod beach.
Ms. Easlick is now launching a new upscale neck gaiter called a “Hickee.” It snaps on rather than pulls over, so as not to muss the hair and makeup. Her patent is pending.