Countdown to Bliss

Joshua Siegel and Laurie Stattler

Met: Fall 1998 Engaged: June 15, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 10, 2003 Two flacks in love-and somehow, they got us to write about it. Josh Siegel, 29, is a senior account executive at Alan Taylor Communications, a firm with “masculine” accounts like the Xbox game system and Gillette. Laurie Stattler, 25, is an event coordinator at the Susan Magrino Agency, which handles femme -y affairs for Martha Stewart Living magazine and Coach leather goods. So the couple is amply prepared to mount the massive P.R. blitz that is a modern wedding. They told their story over shrimp and spicy pumpkin soup at-here comes the product placement-Strip House, a steakhouse and Susan Magrino client downtown. You can guess who picked up the check. Before they crossed over to the dark side, they were journalism majors in the same media-ethics class at Indiana University, the Princeton Review ‘s No. 1 party school of 2002 (all press is good press, yes?). “All I knew about him was that he was from L.A.,” said Ms. Stattler, who grew up in Wisconsin, “and I thought he was just like-who’s that actor?-James Dean. Everyday he would wear jeans, a white T-shirt and a leather jacket.” When he asked her to a holiday party with his buddies from his job at the university’s athletic department, she jumped, and soon after returning from winter break they were a publicly recognized item. “People always say, ‘Are you guys brother and sister?'” said Ms. Stattler, who shares her fiancé’s dark coloring, meticulous grooming and fondness for clothes from Banana Republic. “He is like a brother, in that I can push him around, and cuddle with him.” Arriving home with her arms full of laundry one rainy day at their Upper East Side one-bedroom apartment, Ms. Stattler found her boyfriend clad in a suit and tie and kneeling in a pile of red rose petals, proffering a 1.52-carat diamond solitaire set in platinum. “What the hell is going on in here?” she said. They’ll be married at a resort near the bride’s hometown, where the likes of Lizzie Grubman have never set foot. Colors: white and green. Flowers: hydrangeas. Theme: “personal and natural.” Ms. Stattler has already secured a white organza strapless gown from Vera Wang’s Madison Avenue boutique. “We just want everyone to have a good time,” she said. “We don’t want it to be stuffy.” “We want people to walk away from our wedding and say, ‘You know what, that was a really great event,'” said Mr. Siegel. Carrie Chapman and Andrew Childs Met: Winter 2000 Engaged: Sept. 3, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 6, 2003 They met at Barneys, the Holy Grail of retail, where Carrie Chapman is a buyer for women’s Co-op accessories and Andrew Childs, the son of a buyer for Sears, was working as an assistant planner for Barneys’ outlet stores. “One day I was leaving for lunch,” said Ms. Chapman, 26-lunch was peanut butter and jelly, also favored by the late fashion legend Diana Vreeland-“and he got on the elevator and held the door so that these elderly French women who work at L’Oreal in our building could get on, and I just thought that was so nice . He seemed very gentlemanly.” She batted her big, brown Betty Boop eyes. “I liked her smile,” said Mr. Childs, 28, who is 6-foot-3 with blue eyes and a fashionably shaved head. “I dunno. She was just different from a lot of other people who worked at Barneys. She was more down to earth. She wasn’t just about the clothes .” On their first date, he thoughtfully took the statuesque brunette to Peanut Butter and Co., a snack shop in the West Village. Sauntering together around downtown afterward, he told her that in high school he’d mentally count to 10 if he was nervous about kissing a girl on a date for the first time. When they ended up that night under a blanket in a Central Park hansom cab, he announced he’d counted to 412 already. Mr. Childs left Barneys in the spring of 2001 (“I just realized retail wasn’t for me,” he said), meandered for a year in information technology, and then decided to enroll in the city’s police academy. He proposed in the couple’s Cobble Hill one-bedroom with a sparkling cluster of diamonds set in an 1820 sterling-silver and gold setting bought through the antique jewelry buyer at Barneys. “I was a mess,” Ms. Chapman said. “I was a blubbering fool . I had him do it over again, and then I made him do it again everyday for like a week.” They’ll wed amid bagpipers in Saratoga, N.Y., where she grew up. The bride plans to wear a veil designed for her by a Barneys hat supplier. “She’s just the most beautiful thing,” said Mr. Childs. Ms. Chapman is proudly toting around a small medallion embossed with the words “Officer’s Girlfriend” and her intended’s badge number. “The NYPD has such great accessories!” she said. Michael Levine and Traci Joy Werner Met: Aug. 27, 1998 Engaged: April 17, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: April 26, 2003 Big proposal dilemma! Michael Levine, the NBA’s manager of entertainment and player marketing, wanted to ask Penguin Putnam children’s books designer Traci Werner to be his wife at the top of the Empire State Building-the site of their first kiss. But he also though it would be nice to pop the question in the privacy of their brand-new Columbus Circle one-bedroom. (Bedrooms seem to be increasingly popular proposal spots …. ) The problem was easily solved with a little Scotch tape. If only the Knicks’ “issues” could be so easily remedied. With the help of his mother and aunt, Mr. Levine crafted a four-foot-tall model of the Empire State Building out of cardboard boxes and aluminum foil and hauled the mini-skyscraper into their new building a week before move-in. When he got to the apartment, though, he panicked. “I took one step and realized the floors had just been shellacked,” he said. “If I had gotten down on one knee, I’d still be there.” But once a proposal has momentum, it can be hard to stop, and so Mr. Levine set up his little project in the realtor’s office, where Ms. Werner had agreed to meet him, believing she had to sign some papers. When she arrived, said Mr. Levine, “I didn’t know what to say, so I just kept saying, ‘Look! It’s the Empire State Building!'” “I just thought it was a model that the building owners had on a table,” Ms. Werner said-until her boyfriend lifted a white-gold band holding a round diamond off the aluminum-foil “antenna,” that is. The couple, both 26, will wed at Lake Success country club in Great Neck, N.Y. Ma Levine is decorating wire Empire State Building models to be used as centerpieces at the rehearsal dinner (her son’s aluminum-foil version remains in the realtor’s office). “He makes me laugh to the point where I can’t breathe and I’m wheezing and my face is bright red,” said Ms. Werner, who has a large smile and long brown hair that she wears parted in the middle. They met while barhopping on Second Avenue with a mutual friend. “I thought she was cute as a button,” said Mr. Levine, who has some nice blue eyes himself. “She was a little shy, but she just seemed sweet and innocent.” Indeed, Ms. Werner seems a veritable Manhattan Pollyanna: She is currently designing scented Strawberry Shortcake books and owns a yellow and white cockatiel named Casey. “Casey sings!” she said. “Casey shits ,” said Mr. Levine. Nor is he a fan of the yellow gingham baby blanket and pillow his fiancée insists on keeping on their bed. Maggie Kiley and Matthew Puckett Met: September 1995 Engaged: Feb. 20, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: June 7, 2003 Maggie Kiley is an actress. A pale, pretty dark-haired 29 (get used to being 29 for a looong time, honey, if you want to succeed in showbiz!), she’s the youngest member of David Mamet’s Atlantic Theater Company, where she recently auditioned for Woody Allen, hoping for a part in a selection of his plays they’re putting on in the spring. She is set to marry Matthew Puckett, a scruffy and sexy 32-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist with gaunt cheeks, at his family’s country house in Rhinebeck, N.Y. His eponymous, Dave Matthews–esque band is expected to perform at the wedding, and then the bride and groom will make their getaway in her dad’s green Miata convertible, which happens to match her right eye (the left one is brown). The couple met when they were in their struggling-artist- cum -waiter phase at Le Marais, a Kosher French steakhouse on West 46th Street. “There’d be people yelling and it’d get really wild when it was busy, but she always moved at the same slow speed,” said Mr. Puckett. “I just had a tremendous infatuation with her.” “I loved the way he dressed,” Ms. Kiley said. “He was a hipster, but he wasn’t trying too hard. And his eyes were like chocolate … so brown and gooey .” The sexual tension began to mount. “The first time I went to see his band he had this total rocker thing which I’d never seen when we were at work,” said Ms. Kiley. “I thought, Wow !” Mr. Puckett enjoyed watching her perform as well and always made sure to bring a bouquet to the stage door. Then one night they were at a wedding at the 24 Fifth Avenue ballroom and suddenly began smooching. “It was amazing,” Ms. Kiley said. “It was like a whole curtain opened up and there was my life.” They moved into a one-bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen. “She’ll dance around the apartment sometimes, doing this dance with her head where she won’t move the rest of her body,” said Mr. Puckett affectionately. Not long after Valentine’s Day, he got temporary access to 24 Fifth, which is under renovation, filled the place with candles and presented Ms. Kiley with a wide white-gold ring holding 10 small star-shaped diamonds and a large round-cut center stone, made from the bands and stones accumulated during his grandmother’s three marriages. “I have fat little fingers,” she said-those actresses and their body-image issues!-“so I couldn’t believe that the ring fit me.”

Countdown to Bliss