Countdown to Bliss

Michael Leonhart and Jamie Obstbaum

Met: November 1993

Engaged: Nov. 8, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: September 2003

Michael Leonhart is the son of New York City jazz fixtures Jay and Donna Leonhart. He grew up taking long walks on the beach with Liza Minnelli and sitting on the lap of “Uncle” Mel Tormé. Now a goateed, ponytailed trumpet player, he plays in clubs around town almost every night and has toured extensively with Steely Dan (along with his sister Carolyn, a sultry chanteuse who sucked all the attention away from the Love Beat’s editor when she performed at the latter’s wedding).

So it’s no shocker that Mr. Leonhart is marrying another musician: a jazz singer named Jamie Obstbaum with long dark tresses, a raspy alto voice and two CD’s to her credit. “I get a crush on him all over again every time I see him play,” said Ms. Obstbaum, 31. “He’s just magical. He has so much warmth, and you can see how much he loves what he’s doing. He belongs onstage.”

The couple met in the Morningside Heights music “scene” when he was at Columbia and she was at Barnard. “I thought she was the cutest, most gorgeous thing I’d ever seen,” said Mr. Leonhart, 28. But he kept his smoldering lust to himself, assuring suspicious girlfriends that there was no reason to get catty just because flyers about Ms. Obstbaum’s concerts papered every inch of his fridge.

“We didn’t see each other all the time, but we’d go on occasional long walks, and it was never bizarre or strangely sexual,” he said.

But then about a year ago, things got a little funky when he agreed to co-produce and play backup on one of her albums, Area . “The first time we kissed, it was like, ‘Of course! This is what we’ve been missing all of our lives!'” said Ms. Obstbaum.

“We were having a great collaborative time, and I didn’t want it to end,” Mr. Leonhart said.

He and a few thousand of his CD’s can be found in her lower Fifth Avenue parlor-floor apartment, where they enjoy an idyllic jazz ménage, playing music and writing songs together. His Chelsea one-bedroom seconds as a recording studio.

One evening, he bought her a bunch of pink roses and then started jumping on their bed. “He was suddenly like an insane person!” Ms. Obstbaum said. He leapt from the mattress to the ground, landed on one knee (with a resounding crunch ) and then uncovered a velvet box that had been camouflaged by one of her shoes under the nightstand. The round diamond therein had belonged to his grandmother and was set by the designers at Fassbinder in Greenwich Village in a thick white-gold band.

Ms. Obstbaum later bought him an iPod as an engagement gift.

Naturally, there’s a risk that their wedding-which will take place at an as-yet-to-be-determined location downtown-may turn into an overheated jam session. “We don’t want it to be a cacophony,” Mr. Leonhart said. “We’re definitely not going to have any sort of wedding singer. No ‘YMCA’!”

Randy Plotnitzky and Diana Tilles

Met: Dec. 31, 1999

Engaged: Nov. 1, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 6, 2003

It’s Zagat time of year! And if a custom-printed copy of the ubiquitous restaurant-survey guide landed on your office desk, you can thank Diana Tilles, 27, who works in corporate sales there. She and Randy Plotnitzky ( Gesundheit! ), 27, an epicurean financial advisor at UBS Paine Webber, are planning a black-tie wedding in Oyster Bay, Long Island.

Ms. Tilles studied art history at Northwestern. Mr. Plotnitzky went to West Point-“I like the principles of it,” he said-then joined the Army and was stationed at Fort Bliss, Tex. They met when he was on leave and arrived with a group of her sister’s friends at a big New Year’s party at her family’s house. Starved for female contact after months on the barracks, his eyes bugged out at her “great figure” and “perfect” teeth. “She was wearing jeans and a ‘Happy New Year’ thing on her head, and she was jumping all around,” he said. Boing, boing, boing ….

Meanwhile, Ms. Tilles’ loins were stirred by this dark, dimpled man in uniform. “He had a different perspective on life, being in the Army,” she said. “I found him sooo interesting.” They ended up in the hot tub and shared a kiss at midnight.

Later, Mr. Plotnitzky was sent to Saudi Arabia to work in Patriot missile defense. He achieved the rank of captain. “He had a cute little beret and stuff!” Ms. Tilles said. And he lacked the “commitment issues” of the civilian male. “In the military, you have to identify very quickly if this is a person who is worth spending time with,” he said, “because it takes a lot of time if you’re going to be sent away. When you’re not sure if you’ll see someone again, there’s no reason to hold back.”

Having completed his five-year tour of duty, he now reports only to the missus. “She definitely keeps me in line,” he said. “She’s the boss. She’s adorable.”

One evening, he sprinkled their Murray Hill apartment with rose petals and candles. Ms. Tilles came home from a long day at the Zagat offices and found her fella wearing a suit and hoping to play a maître d’/customer role-playing game. Mr. Plotnitzky led her to the dining-room table, where he’d laid out a sumptuous repast of homemade honey-Dijon herb-crusted salmon.

After dinner, he produced a 1.5-carat round diamond with baguettes in platinum, and a big cannoli.

Jenny Green and Steven Ovadia

Met: September 1998

Engaged: Sept. 27, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: April 2004

“Jenny’s like a haiku,” said bespectacled, toothy librarian and poetry enthusiast Steven Ovadia, 26, of his one and only, Jenny Green. “She’s simple and powerful, but not stupid …. Or maybe she’s more like a sonnet: longer and more complex.” Hmmm .

“Steven has a really cutting wit,” said Ms. Green, 30, a curly-haired copywriter for a pharmaceutical ad company. “He’s honestly the best person I’ve ever met. He’s very good-hearted. He has a strong moral compass, and at the same time he has a wicked sense of humor.” Take that hilarious haiku he wrote when her cat was losing its fur and needed cortisone, for example.

“I tend to get most of the attention because people think I’m funny, and then they don’t notice how funny she is,” Mr. Ovadia said modestly. “She’s a good mimic. She does a good Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman .”

Like Ms. Roberts, Ms. Green enjoys knitting in her spare time. Mr. Ovadia, meanwhile, is a big ice-hockey fan. He has his own hockey blog,, which he updates daily in grand techno-dork style.

They met while they were working as editors at a company that published psychiatric journals. But Mr. Ovadia had bigger dreams: After interning at the New York Post , he became interested in archiving, enrolled in a library-science master’s program, and got a job in the telephone-reference department of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. He works answering questions for those who valiantly refuse to go Google.

There’s a certain street corner near Rockefeller Center where they first realized that they really felt something for one another. That was where, one rainy afternoon, he took out a sparkling diamond in a platinum Tiffany setting from Simon Korn Inc. on Fifth Avenue. “He just got this big, goofy grin on his face, and he was like, ‘Hey, do you wanna get married?'” Ms. Green said.

She’s planning to move into his Astoria apartment after the wedding, which will be one of those hybrid Jewish-Southern deals (bagels and grits) in her hometown of Florence, S.C. In lieu of wedding planning, Mr. Ovadia has been spending a lot of time on another Web site,, where 3,000 people per month drop by and see his daily diaries and haikus. He wrote one for this item:

Yay! I am engaged.

It is in The Observer .

Rex Reed blesses us.

Ah, literature … Countdown to Bliss