Countdown to Bliss

Rich Eisen and Suzy Shuster

Met: Feb. 3, 1997

Engaged: Feb. 14, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: June 7, 2003

When Suzy Shuster-5-foot-8, blond, athletic-strode through the doors of ESPN to start work as an associate producer, Rich Eisen’s tongue all but hit the floor. “I was kind of like, ‘Dang! Who’s that?'” said the anchor of Sports Center .

” Dang ?” said Ms. Shuster with a wince. The two where sitting in Cafe Luxembourg on 70th Street, their fave hangout. He was drinking diet Coke. She was spearing peas.

“Yes, ‘dang!'” repeated Mr. Eisen. “I thought she was completely hot. I sensed that she had attitude. And then I heard her last name was Jewish, and I thought, ‘This girl is a five-tool player!'” (This appears to be a baseball term.)

He got her phone number, but never rounded any bases. “We were definitely just friends, in quotes,” he said. Ms. Shuster thought Mr. Eisen was “goofy,” not her type. “I was busy with that typical early-to-mid-20’s thing where you look for a guy to treat you like crap,” she said. “I liked assholes.”

But while attending a sports awards ceremony at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the thunderbolt finally struck. “He was wearing a tuxedo, and everyone was saying ‘Rich! Rich! Rich!’ and asking him to sign autographs, and he just looked so composed and suave and handsome, and boom !” said Ms. Shuster, now 30. “All of the sudden, I thought: ‘This could be O.K.’ And we’ve been together ever since.”

Mr. Eisen is 33. “Moving into my final year in the important demographic of 18 to 34,” he said in sonorous tones. “Soon I’ll have to start wearing Depends and eating Rolaids.”

Ms. Shuster rolled her eyes. “Oh, that’s a great quote,” she said. A Columbia grad who took a job as a national reporter at Fox Sports Net in Southern California soon after their relationship’s kickoff-“He’d watch me at night and I’d watch him,” she said-Ms. Shuster moved back East last December. Currently, she’s nursing a knee injury from a ski accident (Marv Albert got her a top physical therapist) and weighing career options.

She and Mr. Eisen used to play air hockey together, but mutually decided that she was too competitive. “She’s a ball of fire,” he said. “Deep down, she has a very sweet center, and she doesn’t show it enough. But she’s evolving. Right now, she cares more about dogs than about people”-they live in an Upper West Side one-bedroom with a golden retriever, Teddy-“but we’re working on that.”

“My parents hate each other, and I think that’s why I never wanted anyone to get close to me,” Ms. Shuster said. “Rich always wanted to be so close that it freaked me out. I always thought it was weak of him that he liked me so much, but then I realized that he was strong to put up with me and stay with me when I kept trying to push him away.”

She’ll wear a sleek Vera Wang gown to their wedding at the Central Park Boathouse, along with a football-sized marquis-cut diamond he gave her after a wine-tasting in Napa Valley. (“That ring goes bling-bling!” Shaquille O’Neal told her at a recent Lakers practice.) Battling the bride for a turn on the rented Pop-a-Shot at the reception will be 200 guests, give or take. “It all depends on if the Devils and Nets make the Stanley Cup and the N.B.A. playoffs,” Mr. Eisen said.

Kelli Murray and Doug Turtz

Met: June 1, 2002

Engaged: Jan. 24, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 14, 2003

Some of us are cokeheads, some of us are coffee freaks-and some, like Kelli Murray, just can’t get enough … candy! “I’m obsessed,” said the 33-year-old ad saleswoman for (oh, the irony) Physicians Practice magazine. When the Mike and Ike line recently introduced its new “Buttered Popcorn” flavor, Ms. Murray-a freckled, svelte strawberry blonde with a certain frenetic energy-zoomed right out to try it. “I don’t like when there’s a new candy out that I don’t know about,” she said.

But though Ms. Murray’s charmingly regressive little habit may have been paying for her dentist’s summer home, she was having some trouble finding her very own Willy Wonka. “I never thought I’d meet the right person,” she said. “I was just convinced that it wasn’t in the cards for me. I’d had a lot of not-so-great experiences.” There was that jerk last summer who dumped her over Instant Messenger, for example, with brutal timing: She’d just been laid off without severance from a dot-com start-up.

She was in her Upper East Side studio sulking, listening to Led Zeppelin and nibbling on bonbons when the phone jangled. It was a friend inviting her to a birthday party at a bar called Sutton Place. “It took all the strength I had to get out of bed,” she said.

At the party she met Doug Turtz, a baby-faced, hazel-eyed national account manager at Metromedia Fiber Networks, who bought her the sugar-oholic’s cocktail of choice: Absolut and cranberry. A few dates later, Mr. Turtz returned from a business trip to London with a dozen red roses, a vintage 1977 Guitar Player magazine with Jimmy Page on its cover, and a big box of chocolate rock candy from Harrods. He’d moved in by the fall. “I had a rule that I didn’t date guys younger than me,” Ms. Murray said. (Mr. Turtz is 29.) “I thought a younger guy wouldn’t be ‘where I was’-but I was wrong. Pleasantly surprised.”

Our sweet-toothed sister and her sweetheart were stocking up on gummy bears at Dylan’s Candy Bar, the socialites’ confectionary on Third Avenue (her “favorite place” from opening day), when he suddenly whipped out an orange-flavored ring pop and dropped to one knee. “Sure, I’ll marry you,” she said. “Can I eat it now?” Excited salesladies showered the couple with Hershey’s Kisses. The gnawed plastic trinket was later replaced by a 1.5-carat princess-cut diamond in platinum from Fidelity Diamond Importers in Paramus-suck on that, baby!

The wedding will be at American Park at the Battery downtown, with “I Love New York” lollipops as favors. The ceremony will be Jewish: Ms. Murray, born Irish-Catholic, fortuitously converted to Judaism two years before meeting Mr. Turtz. “She’s the ‘-ish’ girl: Jewish, Irish and delish !” Mr. Turtz enthused.

They’ve already received a Nambé silver candy dish from their Bloomingdale’s registry and are keeping it well-stocked with caramels and Fun Dip. But the bride-to-be has a new favorite form of sugar. “I can’t get fat on Doug!” she said. “He’s like Tasti-D-Lite with sprinkles on top and on the bottom. He’s like Dubble Bubble that never loses its flavor. He just keeps going and going …. I just can’t believe how sweet he is!”

William Greenlay and Tiffany C. Johnson

Met: May 2000

Engaged: Aug. 3, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 15, 2003

Passion on the PATH train! PATHion, one might call it.

William Greenlay and Tiffany Johnson were both portfolio managers at Deutsche Bank, commuting daily to Hoboken, N.J. (which we understand is the new Rive Gauche ). They got a quickie introduction from a colleague at the old PATH station under the Twin Towers. Mr. Greenlay was intrigued by her heavy-lidded blue eyes and shy smile. A few weeks later, he glimpsed her in the Deutsche Bank elevator. “I said, ‘Oh, I forgot your name. I’m Will,'” he recalled.

“He knew exactly what my name was,” Ms. Johnson, 30, countered.

Mr. Greenlay, a clean-cut fellow three years her senior with wire-rimmed glasses, light brown hair and delicate hands, had never had an office romance, but was rarin’ to go. “The workplace is a good filter to meet people you’re compatible with, I thought,” he said. “But it was just a theory.” He began testing this theory with frequent pit stops at Ms. Johnson’s desk, to the amusement of her co-workers. “I was working hard, trying to get promoted,” she said. “I was focused on my work .”

But a year after this somewhat one-sided friendship began, Ms. Johnson came down with a terrible bug and suddenly found herself “disease-dialing” good ol’ dependable Will. He rushed to her door bearing orange juice, sorbet and a copy of Singin’ in the Rain . Suddenly, she said, “everything clicked.”

Ms. Johnson was born near San Diego but has lots of family from North Carolina, and this appeals to Mr. Greenlay, who comes from brash Irish-American blood. “She’s just a sweet little Southern belle,” he said. “She’s just so polite and respectful.”

“I never in a million years thought I’d marry Will ! In my high-school yearbook, I wrote that by 2000, I’d be living in New York and dancing on Broadway,” Ms. Johnson said wistfully. “And by 2000, I really was living in New York!” Well, not technically , sweetie … but now there’s more time than ever for those Broadway dreams! Laid off by Deutsche Bank in January, she’s working as a freelance corporate party planner and organizing her own nuptials at the Hotel del Coronado, where Some Like It Hot was filmed.

Mr. Greenlay popped the question at Anton’s at the Swan (the Chanterelle of Lambertville, N.J.), dropping to bended knee and giving her a 1930’s platinum ring from James Robinson on Park Avenue with two carats’ worth of diamonds: a big brilliant-cut one, a coupla marquise, a smattering of pave …. “I was so nervous-and as I was getting down, I heard the table behind us going: ‘Oh! He’s going to propose!” Mr. Greenlay said.

“I was like, ‘Don’t do this! Don’t do this !'” Ms. Johnson said. “But actually, I was really happy.” “Cheek to Cheek” was playing at the bed-and-breakfast after dinner, and the retro-loving couple quickly chose it for their first-dance song.

They’re valiantly PATHing it to and from a Hoboken one-bedroom, where they dote upon a black Pug, George, a loyal audience for the couple’s living-room musicals: Ms. Johnson sashays around the house while Mr. Greenlay belts out Frank Sinatra show tunes. “He’s always like, ‘La da de da,'” Ms. Johnson said. “It’s one of those little things you love about someone, but you also really hate.”

Countdown to Bliss