Countdown to Bliss

Vanessa Rosen and Jeff Soloway

Met: October 1997 Engaged: Aug. 1, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 6, 2003

“I always hoped I’d marry an English major,” said Vanessa Rosen the other day at Café Mozart. “I love having a guy who is well-versed in literature.” Beside her sat her fiancé, Jeff Soloway, 30, a tall Harvard grad with mussed dark hair and glasses who edits the Princeton Review standardized-test-preparation guides. You might call him inconspicuously handsome. “I’m a nerd,” he said. There was cappuccino foam on his lip.

Ms. Rosen, 29, a graduate of Dalton and Northwestern, has deep-set dark eyes, unruly dark hair and a nervous giggle. She works for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, investigating complaints against the NYPD. At home, Mr. Soloway likes to call her “Investigator Rosen”-one can only imagine how this figures into their erotic play. “She can figure out exactly where I left a magazine!” he said. “She’ll go, ‘Aha! It’s right here under this cushion!'”

When he casually e-mailed one day suggesting they walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to have pizza at Grimaldi’s, her detective’s instinct kicked in. “We’ve had so many dinners together, and he’s never, ever had a creative idea a few hours ahead of time,” she said. “He said he just wanted to look at the skyline before they rebuild the new World Trade Center …. We have like 30 years before that’ll happen!”

On the bridge’s first viewing platform, Mr. Soloway kissed her, then dropped to one knee and read a poem.

“It was about love and the meaning of love. It was very complicated,” said Ms. Rosen.

He gave her a white-gold ring set with a diamond that had belonged to her mother. Then he pulled out a camera and a bottle of champagne, warm from being stored in his backpack. After celebrating with tourists, they stumbled the rest of the way to Grimaldi’s, where they demolished a large pie. Back at their Upper West Side apartment, he presented her with a Baskin-Robbins chocolate-chip ice-cream cake with vanilla frosting, her favorite treat. On it was written, with sweet presumption, “Thanks for saying yes.”

They’ll be married at the Rainbow Room.

The couple first met when they were working as assistant editors at Frommer’s, the travel-guide publishing company. (They both spent a lot of time trekking “abroad” after college.)

She thought he was geeky when he first asked her out, but reconsidered a year later and asked him to go hear Victoria Roberts, a cartoonist for The New Yorker , speak at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Then “the magic more or less happened,” said Mr. Soloway.

The brainy pair enjoys playing badminton in Central Park.

“I’m pretty neurotic,” said Ms. Rosen. “I live in my own world and I have these crazy thoughts all the time, and he’s the only person who knows what I’m thinking and doesn’t think I’m crazy.”

Dominic Fumusa and Ilana Levine

Met: May 29, 2001 Engaged: May 17, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 13, 2002

Two actors!

Perhaps you remember Ilana Levine, 34, as the aerobics teacher who sets Elaine up with J.F.K. Jr. in the “Master of Your Domain” episode of Seinfeld , or as a lipstick lesbian in Kissing Jessica Stein ? Maybe you’ve heard her sultry voice in ads for Red Bull, the energy drink? She also played Lucy on Broadway three years ago in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown .

As for Dominic Fumusa, 31, he’s played opposite Marisa Tomei in Wait Until Dark on Broadway and was a guest star in an episode of The Sopranos . Another notable television role was on Sex and the City , where he played “Jim the Asshole,” who briefly dated Miranda after picking her up at a funeral. Currently he’s parading around naked with several other men on the stage of the Public Theater in Take Me Out , a play about a gay man on a baseball team.

According to Ms. Levine, this 6-foot-1, burly-shouldered former college-football player from Madison, Wis., is quite the Italian stallion.

They met when they starred opposite one another in Surviving Grace , a play at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. They had to do a big make-out scene. “I thought he was incredibly handsome, and at first I felt very shy, so I barely spoke to him,” said Ms. Levine, a brunette from New Jersey with milky skin and full lips. “He played this brilliant, handsome Jewish doctor, and it was like my complete male fantasy-or maybe my mother’s complete male fantasy.”

She had never dated a co-star before, but by the end of the play’s run, they were inseparable.

They returned to New York, where he landed a part in the Off Broadway show ” [sic]” , and she appeared in the short-lived courtroom drama 100 Centre Street . They found a two-bedroom in Chelsea.

It was raining when he proposed to her beneath her childhood bedroom window in Teaneck, N.J., with a vintage 1920’s ring: three diamond-encrusted platinum eternity bands that she’d picked out in a jewelry store in Los Angeles. “We have a rule in our house,” she said. “If I haven’t pointed to it in a window, you probably shouldn’t buy it.”

They could sell tickets to their forthcoming wedding at Loft Eleven, a party space on West 37th Street. Bridesmaids will include the very tall West Wing star Allison Janney and Sex and the City ‘s Cynthia Nixon, Ms. Levine’s best friend since they both played teenagers in Tanner ’88 , HBO’s satirical 1988 Presidential-campaign series, directed by Robert Altman. Tony winners Anthony Rapp ( Rent ), B.D. Wong ( M. Butterfly ) and Kristen Chenoweth (Ms. Levine’s peppy co-star in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown ) are expected to do some numbers. Ms. Levine will wear a Vera Wang gown from the costume department of On the Rocks , an independent film she worked on last year. (In the movie, she has sex in the gown after walking down the aisle.)

“We have very non-show-businessy attitudes about family,” said Mr. Fumusa, “and that’s why I’m not worried about marrying an actress. I’m marrying a really good person who happens to be an actress.”

Elizabeth Chambers and Ronald Mooney

Met: Feb. 25, 2001 Engaged: Dec. 15, 2001 Projected Wedding Date: Dec. 14, 2002

Libby Chambers was shivering in a quilt in the passenger seat of her Lexus convertible, practically catatonic on cold medicine. Her boyfriend, Ron Mooney, had taken her on a winter getaway to Cape May, N.J. He’d grown up near there, working the boardwalk where his father owned carnival games, and now he was on some big nostalgia trip, wanting to take a walk down the beach, and she was having none of it.

At last, an exasperated Mr. Mooney went around to her side of the car, opened the door, dropped to one knee and handed her a three-and-a-half-carat brilliant-cut diamond set in platinum with two baguettes.

“Suddenly,” said Ms. Chambers, “my health improved!” We know just what you mean, honey!

The couple, now planning a Yule-themed wedding at the University Club (no poinsettias; she hates them), met under similarly frigid straits in Park City, Utah. Mr. Mooney, 44, a freelance sportswriter, was working for The Salt Lake City Tribune and rose early to go see a World Cup race on the new Olympic bobsled track. Ms. Chambers, 39, a senior vice president at Reader’s Digest in New York who loves to ski, was dragged to the race by a friend she was visiting. On the shuttle bus, Mr. Mooney saw this blue-eyed blonde, heard her talking about an ex-boyfriend-“I thought she was being very nice and very kind talking about this failed relationship,” he said-and nabbed her number.

Ms. Chambers wasn’t necessarily looking for love. “I had all these single friends who were desperate to get married, and I wasn’t like that,” she said. “I was very comfortable with my life the way it was.”

She added: “When you meet someone in another state, you assume that you’re being polite by exchanging numbers, but you don’t think they’re really going to call.”

But he did.

Mr. Mooney, 44, who has salt-and-pepper hair and very straight teeth, had been planning to move back East and rent a house in Cape May. Their first date lasted four days, and by the end of the summer he had his own bathroom in the East 20’s penthouse duplex Ms. Chambers shares with her Shih-Tzu, Chloe.

The couple likes to talk football. He has a slight snoring problem, but she doesn’t dwell on the negative. “I love the fact that he can talk sports with my dad and my brother!” she said. It does come in handy. Countdown to Bliss