Countdown to Bliss

Geoffrey Feldkamp and Lisa Slutsky

Met: December 1998

Engaged: March 15, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: January 2004

More proof that we’re reliving the 1950’s yet again : Bergdorf Goodman is stocking customized charm bracelets made by C.H.A.R.M., a company started by Upper East Side native Lisa Slutsky and her mother. Dangling from the young Ms. Slutsky’s own bracelet is a cash register (she worked for seven years in philanthropyat Bloomberg), a lion (she’s a Leo), a small Buddha (she loves yoga) and a medallion from Crested Butte, Colo. (the ski resort where Geoffrey Feldkamp, a vice president at Lehmann Brothers, recently proposed to her over dinner).

Ms. Slutsky, an enterprising lass of 30, is designing her own setting for the 2.5-carat cushion-cut diamond he gave her. Meanwhile, Mr. Feldkamp, like many men his age (31), is sweating a bit about the prospect of wearing his own wedding ring all the time. If he were to sport a charm bracelet, he told the Love Beat over a stiff martini at the Plaza’s Oak Room, it would have a bottle of Jack Daniels, a wolverine, a pair of skis and a profile of Ms. Slutsky. “I love charms!” he said.

The couple met at a holiday party thrown by Ms. Slutsky, a graduate of Manhattan’s Trinity school and Cornell. Mr. Feldkamp was drawn to his hostess’ large brown eyes, cute freckles and sharp cheekbones … not to mention certain other attributes. “I said something about her Marilyn Monroe figure,” he said. “It was a little too much Playboy Forum and not enough GQ .”

“It was a boob thing,” Ms. Slutsky said. “I harrumphed and walked away.” Her type, she said, was Latin men and “metropolitan assholes.” Mr. Feldkamp is a cowlicked blond and Grateful Dead fan who got his M.B.A. from Dartmouth. “As a kid, my neighbor’s grandfather used to say he couldn’t figure out if I was going to look like Dennis the Menace when I grew up, or Robert Redford,” he said. “And I think I had some sort of breakdown on my path to Redford.”

However, Mr. Feldkamp shares one thing with the matinee idol: a passion for festivals. It was while organizing a group adventure to Jazzfest in New Orleans that he got a second swipe at his lust object, who visited his apartment to discuss the travel plans. “He picked me up and twirled me around, and I was like, ‘That was kind of fun!'” Ms. Slutsky said. Later, they went to hear some funk music at Irving Plaza. “I walked her home and got a little something-something outside her apartment before we said good night,” he said. And during the trip South, he got a little something more. “We were the inspiration to all the old jaded couples,” he said.

“I love his laugh lines,” Ms. Slutsky said. “You see them and you realize he’s a happy person. He’s so happy and nice. This is what happens when you don’t grow up in New York.”

Mr. Feldkamp (raised in Michigan) affectionately calls his bride-to-be “a 6-year-old trapped in a 30-year-old’s body …. She’s a little gamine at heart,” he said. “She gets grouchy sometimes and becomes a little hellion. She’ll say, ‘I’m bored!’ And the next thing you know, she’s poking me, like ‘Attention: Me! Play with me!'”

They recently bought a loft in Tribeca and are seeking a “jazzy, sophisticated” Manhattan wedding venue. Don’t expect charms à-go-go: “I don’t want lots of doodads,” Ms. Slutsky said. “I want it simple, not bullshitty.”

Brenda Alzadon and Rob Kunzweiler

Met: August 2001

Engaged: July 16, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 8, 2003

In the tattered pictures that Brenda Alzadon carries of Rob Kunzweiler in her wallet, he’s about 3 years old, has a yellow bowl cut, an ain’t-the-70’s-grand grin and huge green eyes. Now a 27-year-old investment banker at a French bank called CDC, he hasn’t changed much. “My friends used to ask me to describe him, and I’d say he sort of looks like a human yellow Lab, because he’s so warm and fuzzy-not slick and cool,” said Ms. Alzadon, 26, a Manhattan litigator. “He’s just a happy guy.”

They met after they both showed up dateless to a wedding at Cipriani 42nd Street. The bride, like Ms. Alzadon, was a Barnard girl. The groom, a buddy of Mr. Kunzweiler’s, was from his Columbia days. Ms. Alzadon “didn’t want to feed into the whole meat-market thing-you know, when you’re single at a wedding,” and plunked herself down between two couples. Mr. Kunzweiler found her striking (she’s Filipino and has one light brown eye and one dark brown eye), and asked her to dance from across the table. “She did like a Daisy Duck-type dance!” he said. “And Daisy Duck was like the hottest duck of all time.”

Ms. Alzadon was leaving the next day for a three-week backpacking trip in Europe, which never fails to enhance one’s desirability. “I want to live vicariously through you,” Mr. Kunzweiler told her sexily. They corresponded by e-mail (she stopped in at a lot of Internet cafés) and hooked up when she got back. She lived in D.C. then, and her romantic life hadn’t been so sparkling. “I always dated lawyers, and it was just awful, because you’re doing the same thing and you both have opinions about it, and there’s competition involved,” Ms. Alzadon said. “For a while, I was like: ‘Oh, no one wants to marry a lawyer!'”

Less than a year later, Mr. Kunzweiler defied expectations and proposed in her Van Ness apartment, giving her a 2.25-carat round-cut diamond set in platinum. ( Bada bing !) They proceeded to an expensive restaurant nearby where, midway into dinner, he spotted a cockroach crawling up the wall behind the ceiling. He gallantly pretended not to see it, but couldn’t ignore the one that landed in his venison. “They started falling from the ceiling,” he said.

The incident only increased the zeal with which Ms. Alzadon decided to join her beau in Manhattan (there are no cockroaches here, after all). The two now share a prewar one-bedroom on the Upper West Side and will soon move into a Tudor house they’ve bought in spanking-clean Llewellyn Park, N.J. The wedding will be a black-tie affair for 200 at a New Jersey reception hall, with a Catholic ceremony incorporating some Filipino traditions-like a particularly fun one where the bride’s three sisters will wrap rope around her neck.

“Brenda’s a go-getter. I look up to her,” Mr. Kunzweiler said.

“Everyone laughs because, before I met Rob, I was like: ‘I’m never getting married until I’m 30! No earlier!'” Ms. Alzadon said. “I was very cynical; I would date people and be like, ‘Whatever.’ I was Ms. Ice Queen. I’m a high-strung person … but he’s so calm and happy-go-lucky.”

Tina Alzadon and Brian Hillman

Met: July 1993

Engaged: Dec. 28, 2001

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 23, 2003

Apparently, this marriage bug is more pernicious than SARS: Brenda Alzadon’s older sister Tina, 28, a social worker at the city’s Department of Homeless Services, has also succumbed. “Brenda and I are kind of opposites,” she said. “She’s very on the ball about, like, everything. And I’m not. I’m a lot more laid-back than she is … and I don’t make a lot of money.”

She’s marrying Brian Hillman, also 28, an aspiring screenwriter working on an ensemble drama set in the city. “It’s my feeble attempt at doing Magnolia on the East Coast,” he said.

They first met during a résumé-padding Boston University summer community-service program. She was doing AIDS awareness; he was investigating women’s studies. “Everyone thought I was gay, but I knew I wasn’t,” Mr. Hillman said. “Brian used to be Sensitive Ponytail Man,” explained Ms. Alzadon. “He had really long hair, earrings in both ears and a wallet on a chain.” She preferred his more macho best friend. “She totally ignored me,” Mr. Hillman said. “I thought she was a total bitch.”

Three summers later, they were both in London doing film-production (him) and social-services (her) internships. And suddenly, when surrounded by loud, pub-crawling Englishmen with poor dental hygiene, Sensitive Ponytail Man didn’t seem so bad.

They had their first smooch at Heaven, a gay club. “I kissed him-I guess I can ‘fess up to that,” Ms. Alzadon said. “It was obvious that I was after him.”

Two years later, they moved in together and now live in a renovated armory in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where Mr. Hillman eventually sheared his dirty blond locks and removed the earrings.

“I always say I blew my luck wad on her,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine being more compatible with someone. We could just sit in the middle of Afghanistan for years, and if it were just the two of us, it would be fine. It’d be perfect.”

“He’s a very goofy guy,” Ms. Alzadon said. “He has this childlike quality. He’ll just dance in front of me sometimes, and he has no rhythm. He’s like a Muppet on crack.”

“She nags,” Mr. Hillman retorted. “But it’s like a comforting sort of nag.”

He picked out a ring-a round-cut, one-carat diamond set in a white-gold tension setting with two baguettes-in his hometown of Atlanta and presented it to her one morning in their apartment’s sunroom, while they were both still in their pajamas. “I screamed at the top of my lungs,” Ms. Alzadon said. “And then I made him do it again.”

She’s been slower than her younger sister to refine wedding details. “Mine’s going to be much smaller and more intimate than Brenda’s,” Ms. Alzadon said. “More me.” It’ll be at an old mansion in her parents’ town of Bloomfield, N.J., and the bride plans to do a traditional Filipino dance in which the guests pin money to her veil.

“I never thought I’d get married,” she said. “We were kind of raised to be tough girls-independent girls who didn’t need men.”

She said that the idea of a double wedding never crossed her mind. “Two strong-headed people like me and Brenda in a double wedding would be an ugly nightmare,” she said. “We’d kill each other.” Countdown to Bliss