Countdown to Bliss

Eric Heuvel and Kimberly Pagan

Met: May 19, 2000

Engaged: June 8, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 4, 2003

Kim Pagan, a sultry Internet mogulette with green eyes and olive skin, was at the Union Bar near Gramercy Park with a group of “new media” friends. These were the still-heady days of 2000, and it seemed only natural that she lift her shirt to show off her opal navel ring to the assembled.

A few rounds later, one in their company-a sandy-haired, athletic fellow named Eric Heuvel-was eagerly using his tongue to dislodge a piece of popcorn from her belly button. “Plain, not buttered,” said Ms. Pagan, 31. “He gave my stomach a raspberry!” Excuse us, we’re feeling a bit queasy ….

Let’s settle our stomachs with the dry details of how the couple met: at a trade show in Chicago. She had approached his booth, peddling “data.” He thought she was a knockout but, he said, “she was more interested in trying to make a business connection.” That’s Manhattan women for you.

“He was cute,” Ms. Pagan said, “but he didn’t want to buy .”

They hooked up that summer at Union Bar. “Her frame of mind changed, I guess,” said Mr. Heuvel, 30. “She warmed up to me.”

The New Economy soured, but their love stayed strong. He got a job in corporate advertising. She became sales director at a company that sells newspaper ad space. They moved into an East Village three-bedroom with his brother and a friend. “I can be really wild and goofy,” Ms. Pagan said, “but he’s a little more calm.”

“We complete each other’s thoughts,” Mr. Heuvel said. “We even order the same food.”

One evening, they were enjoying lobster and wine together on a Montauk beach.

“My hands are cold,” she told him, pouting.

“Maybe this will warm them up,” he said, offering her a 1.5-carat princess-cut diamond set in platinum. You got that right, mister!

After she tearily accepted, he confessed that he was feeling a bit chilly as well, so they drove into town and he bought what he still refers to as his “engagement sweatshirt.”

They’ll marry in Garrison, N.Y., overlooking the Hudson Valley, and are considering providing guests with popcorn to throw in lieu of rice.

There will also be an Elvis impersonator; Ms. Pagan is a big fan. Sometimes her fiancé indulges her with his special private impersonation of the King

“He can’t sing,” she said. “But he can do the hips.”

Kevin Romero and Vivian Roston

Met: March 24, 2001

Engaged: Dec. 9, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: March 15, 2003

This couple also met at a trade show. (Who knew these dreary seas of booths and swag were such hotbeds of desire, such burrows of lust?) It was a Scuba expo at the Meadowlands in New Jersey called “Beneath the Sea.” Vivian Roston, an OB-GYN at St. Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital, was there with a group called the Sea Gypsies. The 5-foot-1, shapely doc was perusing the pamphlets of a rival organization, the Aquatic Voyages Scuba Club, and one of its members, Kevin Romero, sauntered over to see if she needed assistance.

“I saw her and thought, ‘Mmmmm-hmmmm! Wow!'” said Mr. Romero, 40, who has wavy black hair and one of those pencil-thin mustaches that are so bad, they’re good. He’s an assistant diving instructor-they call him the “Dive Master”-and part-time reservationist for Royal Olympic Cruises.

“I thought he was sort of cute,” said Dr. Roston, also 40, “but I was trying to read the information.”

“She looked very professional and serious,” Mr. Romero said. “I wanted to make her smile.”

That evening found them sharing the “Love Boat” special at Sushi Damo in midtown, followed by drinks at Saloon, on that Upper West Side block that has mysteriously gone the way of Atlantis. They found out they were both originally from Queens. “We were both looking for exactly the same things,” she said. “We were both at the same point in our lives at the same time.”

This relationship seems to have been blessed by Neptune himself. She likes taking photos of tropical specimens. He prefers spear fishing, sometimes cooking his prey for her in a nice butter sauce in her midtown one-bedroom. After a while, she began referring to him as “Kermit” because of his dead-on frog imitation. “I love the way he smiles at me,” she said. “It’s this little smirky kind of smile.”

For his part, Mr. Romero likes being hooked up with an obstetrician. “My friends call her ‘Johnny Bench,’ like the catcher!” he said.

Together, they picked out a platinum ring with a round brilliant-cut diamond and princess-cut side stones-a total of about three carats-at Pico Jewelry on 47th Street. He then presented it to her formally, along with a new Palm Pilot, at Sakagura, another sushi place. Fete Events is planning their wedding at St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue, with a reception to follow at the St. Regis and a honeymoon in Tahiti-a divers’ paradise. Their cake topper will be a blown-glass figure of a groom and bride in full scuba gear, but Dr. Roston promised that the madness will end there. “We’re not going with any sort of Little Mermaid theme here,” she said.

Roger Delaney and Sandra Frey

Met: November 1999

Engaged: Oct. 3, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 18, 2003

Irish guy, Southern girl-where else would they meet but deep in their cups in a tavern on the Upper East Side? Sandra Frey’s coat had fallen off her stool, and Roger Delaney gallantly picked it up.

“Instantly, I had the most interesting of all feelings,” said Ms. Frey, 32, an ad saleswoman for Microsoft from Spartanburg, N.C., “where you look at someone and you think to yourself, ‘I’ve never seen you before, and I want to talk to you and get to know you.'”

This though he was drinking Amstel, and she proclaims herself “the Antichrist of beer.”

Mr. Delaney, 31, a fair-skinned construction-firm senior estimator from the Bronx, took her to a Rangers game the next week. “I’d never been on a first date to a sporting event before!” she said. Wow!

After the game, they beelined for a nearby pub, where he told her that his parents had been born in Ireland and described some of the history behind the Celtic imagery decorating the bar. Ms. Frey, who has bouncy blond curls and a figure honed by marathons, appreciated that he didn’t immediately try to maul her. “I was raised in a family where it goes a long way when you have manners and you’re polite and you treat people with respect,” she said. “He’s an exceptionally kind person. He has a very soothing effect on me.”

Mr. Delaney is that rare entity: an Irishman who doesn’t talk very much. “She’s a little old-fashioned” is all he’ll say of his sweetheart. “She’s always very polite and ladylike.” Also: “She has a positive personality.” And: “She’s always trying to look on the bright side and not moan about things.” For example, she thinks it’s “cute” that he talks to the TV when he’s watching hockey games.

He proposed with a cushion-cut diamond set in platinum near a 600-foot precipice by the Cliffs of Moher on Ireland’s west coast-thank God she didn’t have the dropsies this time around-and will move on up from Teaneck, N.J., into her Upper East Side studio after the wedding. The reception at the Down Town Association near Wall Street will feature moony ballads (Irish) and a groom’s cake (Southern) and, of course, plenty of boozin’. Countdown to Bliss