Countdown to Bliss

Dareh Gregorian and Maggie Haberman Met: Winter 1996 Engaged: May 5, 2003 Projected Wedding Date: November 2003 Dareh Gregorian, 33,

Dareh Gregorian and Maggie Haberman

Met: Winter 1996

Engaged: May 5, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: November 2003

Dareh Gregorian, 33, a reporter for the New York Post and a son of historian Vartan Gregorian, the former president of both Brown University and the New York Public Library, is marrying Maggie Haberman, 29, a reporter for the Daily News and a daughter of New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman. “We’re both very proud of our fathers,” Ms. Haberman said over one of the two cell phones she owns. “But I’ve spent a lifetime being known as Clyde’s daughter, and Dareh has always been known as Vartan’s son, so it’s sort of nice that we can both understand how that is.”

On Ms. Haberman’s left ring finger is the princess-cut, platinum-set diamond that young Mr. Gregorian gave her on the observation deck of the Empire State Building (Windows on the World had formerly been their “romantic location”), jettisoning his prepared speech for a hastily improvised yet effective “Oh, hey-I forgot to ask you something …. ”

They met at the Post in a kind of postmodern His Girl Friday scenario. Ms. Haberman, a supple, bespectacled graduate of Fieldston and Sarah Lawrence, was working there as a copy girl and cub reporter. The dark-haired, cleft-chinned Mr. Gregorian (Trinity, Boston U.) was a rewrite man and publicly flayed her for failing to attribute another newspaper’s item properly. “He was like, ‘You can’t just lift stuff from The Washington Post !'” Ms. Haberman recalled. “And I said, ‘Oh, O.K.,’ but I didn’t really know what he was talking about. I was really embarrassed. I didn’t like him.”

Yet they bonded in the Post ‘s now-defunct 10th-floor smoking room during night shifts. “I’m attracted to talented people, and she’s incredibly talented-crackerjack and on the ball,” Mr. Gregorian said. “Very enthusiastic, very dogged. She had a natural ability that came out very quickly.” And her big brown eyes didn’t hurt, either. “I spent a lot of time watching what he did, because he was really good,” Ms. Haberman said.

She told her father about the strapping coworker, and he praised Gregorian senior, whom he’d met on the Manhattan dinner-party circuit throughout the years (Ms. Haberman had never heard of him). Then, one night, it occurred to her that when it came to her feelings for her comely co-worker-well, as her Dad might’ve put it, she’d buried the lead. “I was just seized with the wind to call him,” she said. “I told him that I adored him.” Fortunately, young Mr. Gregorian reciprocated her feelings. “I knew I wanted to marry her even before we started going out,” he said.

They’re planning the wedding, at an as-yet-to-be-determined downtown location, from their east midtown one-bedroom, where his comic-book collection- Captain America is his favorite-takes up half the closet. When Ms. Haberman left the Post last fall, she brought with her a Wonder Woman desk figurine that Mr. Gregorian had given her. “It’s funny now, because she’ll come home and say: ‘This thing happened today! But I can’t tell you about it till tomorrow,'” he said. “We have a little Hepburn-Tracy thing going on.”

Indeed, they’re both still puffin’ away on cancer sticks as if it were the 1940’s. “The Mayor has given me repeated crap about it,” Ms. Haberman said with a sigh. “I smoke Marlboro Ultra Lights; he smokes Camel Ultra Lights. It’s so cute. We’ll die together.”

Ben Park and Mimi Roh

Met: Fall 1999

Engaged: Sept. 20, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 20, 2003

This wedding will be Ben Park’s second, to his new mother-in-law’s chagrin. “Koreans in general are horrified by divorce, especially in our parents’ generation,” said Mr. Park, 32, a lawyer in private practice with thick Superman arms, an Upper East Side apartment and a personal office in the Empire State Building. Adding to the horror: His current intended, Mimi Roh, 28, was a bridesmaid at his first wedding.

It was a lavish affair at the Puck Building. Ms. Roh and the bride had been undergraduates together at Mount Holyoke. “She asked me to be in the wedding. I was honored,” said the wide-eyed, rosy-cheeked Ms. Roh the other day over a yogurt-and-fruit breakfast. “I met Ben and thought he was the sweetest guy in the world. I thought she was so lucky-he was such a catch, such a doll.”

However the marriage didn’t last the year, Mr. Park explained, whacking his brown hard-boiled egg with a butter knife. By late 2001 he found himself growing ever closer to Ms. Roh (a resident of the same Edgewater, N.J., block as the first Mrs. Park). She’s planning to take a position as a New York Teaching Fellow come fall, but at that point was working for her family’s import-export firm.

At first, “it was like we were kids that weren’t supposed to be dating,” Mr. Park said. “But my friends, who had all told me that I was F-ing crazy when I said I was going to marry my first wife, they all loved Mimi.”

Mr. Park eventually slipped a Harry Winston ring covered in diamond pave on Ms. Roh’s fried-chicken-greased finger during an intimate picnic in Central Park. Ma and Pa Roh have softened up somewhat, agreeing to buy their future son-in-law a Vacheron Constantin watch (a Korean marriage custom, it seems). Ms. Roh is already wearing the diamond-encrusted Rolex from Mr. Park’s parents. Bling-bling ! “He’s not what I thought I would marry when I was growing up,” she said. “I thought I’d marry a doctor from Yale or something-something that looked good on a piece of paper. What Ben always says is: ‘I’m not the best-looking, I’m not the richest, I’m not the tallest, but I’ll grow on you like a fungus.’ Right, honey? You’re my little fungus!”

This wedding will be a low-key affair for 100 at a Sagaponack vineyard. Manhattanite painter Anne Watkins will document the event with impromptu watercolors of mingling guests. We suggested that the bride, who will wear flowing Yumi Katsura, choose her attendants with care. “I just hope she doesn’t catch me talking to any of them alone,” Mr. Park said.

Molly Hood and Stephen Hoyt

Met: Spring 1996

Engaged: May 10, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: July 9, 2004

Steve Hoyt is the 27-year-old director of ad sales at The L Magazine , a sort of pocket-sized, free biweekly Time Out for “downtown,” which it defines as Manhattan neighborhoods below 23rd Street, as well as DUMBO and Williamsburg. “The ‘L’ is for listings, for the subway line, and we also like to say the ‘L’ is for ‘love,'” said Mr. Hoyt. “We’re a bit more low-key,” he added, thoughtfully choosing another L-word to compare it with some other publications. (Ahem.) Mr. Hoyt is marrying Molly Hood, 26, a fifth-grade teacher at P.S. 250 in Flatbush. “She’s awesome!” he said over a beer at DUMBO’s Superfine (yes, the Love Beat dined well this week … ). “She’s different. She’s an individual.”

Ms. Hood certainly had an “individual” way of introducing herself to this lanky, laid-back lad, leaving 27 drunken messages on his answering machine one night when they were both freshmen at Union College. A lesser man might have called the cops, but Mr. Hoyt said he was flattered. “She was very good at putting out the word that she liked me,” he said. “She was kind of a really cute character.”

“I just loved … his hair. It was long and curly,” said Ms. Hood, a wide-eyed pixie of a girl whose own locks are feathered, short, and brown. “And he was different from all the other guys I knew-more innocent, I think.”

They were formally introduced at a party by a mutual friend named Scott Stedman (now L ‘s editor in chief), and except for what she calls some “college bumps and bruises,” they’ve been together ever since. He went to Japan for the requisite year of teaching English abroad. She got a master’s in education from Boston College. And last year they moved into a one-bedroom in Brooklyn Heights, a home base for them to enjoy jogging, yoga and other wholesome, Generation Y–type pursuits. The presentation of the ring-a round one-carat diamond in a four-prong platinum setting-came during a hike near Ms. Hood’s childhood New Hampshire home. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, are you serious?'” she said. “We were both so nervous and awkward-I gave him my right hand, and he put in on my middle finger.” They then went out with her family and indulged in a steak.

Weary, perhaps, of “the carnival we experience each day” in New York City, to borrow a phrase from L ‘s mission statement, they’re marrying at an inn at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. It’s a bit of a joke around the magazine’s offices that Mr. Hoyt-who now wears his hair short-is such a tremendous homebody. “Here I work at this publication that is a source of information of things you can do,” he said, “and yet I never go out!”

Lori Smerechniak and Jonathan Woodcock

Met: August 1993

Engaged: Aug. 10, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: November 2004

Lori Smerechniak ( Gesundheit !), a raven-haired business analyst at the ad agency McCann-Erickson, intends to take the surname of Jon Woodcock, an assistant vice president at UBS Paine Webber. We leave it to you to decide whether this is a blessing or a curse.

Both 27, they met on the first day of freshman year at Fordham University, while playing hacky-sack on the quad. “We just clicked right away,” said Mr. Woodcock, who has red hair, freckles and a goofy smile. “All our friends told us, ‘You guys should get together! You’re crazy!’ And we’d be like, ‘No, we’re just friends.'”

Ms. Smerechniak spent three years dating a computer programmer, which for some reason made Mr. Woodcock bristle. “They didn’t care for each other,” she said. “There was some rivalry.” After she ditched the geek, the two so-called friends started taking ballroom-dancing classes together, and things began to get a little, well, weird. “I remember not wanting other guys to dance with her,” Mr. Woodcock said.

One night, dining at Lupa, he asked if she’d like a taste of his ravioli-then fed it to her himself. “I was like, ‘ Whoa !'” Ms. Smerechniak said. “I was a little freaked out. I went and called my friends and was like, ‘I don’t know what the hell is going on!'”

They began walking down the street hand-in-hand, which felt funny, but good. At Christmas, he bought her a light-blue cashmere turtleneck. She e-mailed her thanks. “I know you don’t wear that color blue often,” he replied, “but I thought it would look nice with your eyes.” (More proof men are colorblind: Ms. Smerechniak’s eyes are green.)

“I was like, ‘Oh! That is definitely not a friend comment!'” she said.

“I was in love with her by then,” Mr. Woodcock said. “I was always in love with her, but it was a different kind of love. It grew and evolved.”

The moment of truth came over tapas and red wine at Pipa, the candlelit restaurant in ABC Carpet & Home.

“He said, ‘You are my best friend, and I think you’re gorgeous,'” Ms. Smerechniak said. “And I was like, ‘You think I’m gorgeous? Are you the same person I’ve known for nine years?’ And then we went back to my apartment and had this monumental first kiss. It was very scary.”

“She attacked me,” Mr. Woodcock said proudly.

They were strolling hand-in-hand-by now old pros at it-on a Montauk beach when Ms. Smerechniak tripped on a clam shell, which her boyfriend had secured from the Clam Broth House in Hoboken, where they live. Inside was a 1.6-carat round solitaire diamond surrounded by two smaller round ones and two baguettes, set in platinum. After the hugs and squeals subsided, they enjoyed some Dom Perignon on a gray and burgundy Fordham blanket.

It continues to be a very collegial, Learning Annex sort of relationship: They took a wine class last fall and will be serving a homemade Cabernet-Merlot blend at their wedding ceremony in Oakdale, Long Island. “If things ever get weird, we know we can just talk about it,” Mr. Woodcock said. “Just like as if we were still best friends.”

Countdown to Bliss