Countdown to Bliss

Elisabeth Cohen and Paul Roland Met: Fall 1997 Engaged: July 25, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: May 31, 2003 Move over,

Elisabeth Cohen and Paul Roland

Met: Fall 1997

Engaged: July 25, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: May 31, 2003

Move over, Rocco DiSpirito! While still an undergraduate at Columbia, Paul Roland seduced Elisabeth Cohen, then a perky former Barnard co-ed, with homemade stuffed shells and a pint of Breyer’s mint chocolate-chip ice cream. “When he left,” she said, “all my friends came by and were like, ‘Wow, he went out on a limb. He could’ve just done chocolate or vanilla. We like him!'”

The couple met following a “Screw Your Sister” party arranged by her sorority, Delta Gamma ( down , Mr. DiSpirito!). Before their fateful ice-cream snack, the 5-foot-11 Ms. Cohen had turned up her freckled nose at the husky Lions linebacker and member of Zeta Beta Tau. “I thought he was your stereotypical big football player,” she said. “With super-short hair and a thick neck.”

But within two months, they were inseparable in that way only collegians can be, mainlining mystery meat and scrawling endearments on each other’s rippling backs. “We’d been wanting to say ‘I love you’ to each other for a few weeks, and I was getting really antsy, but I didn’t want to say it first,” said Ms. Cohen, 26. “So I told him about a dream I had where, after I told him I loved him, he gave me a big banana split. Then, the next day, he came to my dorm and said ‘I love you,’ and I said it back, and he suddenly took out the biggest banana split I’d ever seen in my life. It was great .”

Upon graduation, Mr. Roland got a job at Bloomberg, where he now works in the equities-trading department. Ms. Cohen found work as a human-resources manager at CRC, an information-technology consulting firm. They moved into a sweet Upper West Side duplex with a well-stocked fridge.

One night, the 25-year-old Mr. Roland left work early to prepare a special repast of homemade clam chowder, steak au poivre and his honey’s favorite, artichokes. She returned relaxed after yoga class at Om, sitting down at the dinner table in her underwear.

“Put on some pants!” he scolded.

Then he indicated three roses he’d put on the table, explaining that they represented three important points in their relationship.

“I’m like, ‘What is all this mush ?'” Ms. Cohen said.

The first was the banana-split incident. The second was the moment he knew he wanted to marry her, while walking on 110th Street the summer after they met. The third he hammered home from one knee with a 2.3-carat emerald-cut diamond set in platinum. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Are you kidding? Are you kidding?'” Ms. Cohen said.

They then aided digestion by rolling around on the floor for 45 minutes.

The wedding will be at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, where Ms. Cohen plans to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology starting this fall. Guests better scurry when she hits the buffet. “She’ll battle me for food,” Mr. Roland said of his surprisingly svelte bride. “We’ll go to a restaurant and we’ll co-order and we’ll both shovel the food down. She wants to eat it as much as I do. I love it.”

Amanda Kraus and Michael Smith

Met: Summer 1994

Engaged: May 27, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: June 21, 2003

Amanda Kraus and Michael Smith were swaying in a hammock at her mother’s East Hampton horse farm when he suddenly blurted out, “I can’t take it any more! I think we should get married!” Then he shoved a Reinstein/Ross platinum band embedded with sapphires on her right ring finger. “It was very cute,” she said. “His hands were cold.”

It was a fittingly blunt, sporty proposal for a couple that met on the East Coast college sculling circuit. Ms. Kraus (U. Mass, Amherst) was waiting on a Connecticut dock for a crewmate, her straight blond hair tucked under a baseball cap, when the square-jawed Mr. Smith (College of the Holy Cross, Worcester) sauntered by and struck up a conversation.

The relationship took a while to “push off,” though. She hadn’t exactly made a practice of dating oarsmen. “Just weren’t my type,” she said. “It’s an amazing sport, but …. ”

Mr. Smith said this “type” can be arrogant and tedious. “They get obsessed with the sport and talk endlessly about how the boat felt today compared to yesterday,” he said. As if to prove his eclecticism, Mr. Smith went to the University of Chicago to get a master’s degree in chemistry, then backpaddled to Boston for the fine-arts program at Tufts (“I know: chemistry, art-it doesn’t make sense,” he said). Ms. Kraus, who’d moved on to the education school at Harvard, was waiting with open arms.

In 2000, they moved to New York to be closer to her family, shacking up in an East Village two-bedroom. The broad-shouldered Ms. Kraus, 29, founded Row New York, a nonprofit group that teaches crew to inner-city high-school girls, and now supervises practice four days a week in Flushing Meadows. The couple recently worked together building a 700-pound barge for the group. “She’s so smart and so ambitious,” said Mr. Smith, 31. “She is my defender …. I’m just so shy and nervous. I maybe don’t seem that way, but when it comes down to personal interaction, she’s the only person I’m not shy around.”

He heads up the television-studio division at York College, also in Queens. Ms. Kraus called him something of an absent-minded professor. “He’s a brilliant, brilliant guy,” she said, “but he’ll forget to brush his teeth.”

Their wedding, at the aforementioned farmhouse, will be dense with tanned, sporty early risers.

“The joy of rowing is that you cannot succeed as an individual,” said Mr. Smith, showing his philosophical side. “You can only succeed when you work perfectly together. And I guess that’s what Amanda and I try and do in our relationship.”

Countdown to Bliss