Countdown to Bliss

Jodi Kaplan and Aaron Lipman

Met: June 1989

Engaged: Feb. 27, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Spring 2004

Ocean-to-ocean emotion! Jodi Kaplan, 36, a sexily gap-toothed Upper West Side filmmaker, has found bicoastal bliss with Aaron Lipman, 32, a resident of Beverly Hills, Calif., and a partner in Entertainment Earth, a collectible-toy company. “He just shines,” said Ms. Kaplan, whose work has been shown at Lincoln Center. “He’s full of a lot of light.”

They were under a tree in Pasadena when Mr. Lipman-bearded, blue-eyed, broad-shouldered-plopped to one knee and blurted the magic words while proffering a gold-and-platinum Malcom Betts diamond ring from Barneys. Ms. Kaplan was still wearing the chunky velvet scarf she’d donned in chilly New York.

They first met under that same tree 14 years earlier, when Mr. Lipman was an undergraduate at Cal Tech with Ms. Kaplan’s two younger brothers (she studied at Smith). “They never mentioned much about her. Then, when I met her, I was surprised two guys like them could have such a good-looking sister,” Mr. Lipman said. Years of cordial pleasantries followed. Mr. Lipman went to Harvard to get a Ph.D. in computer engineering, but got “burned out from burning microchips.” So he got a job writing jokes for a short-lived Game Show Network program called Burt Luddin’s Love Buffet -think The Newlywed Game meets Murphy Brown . Meanwhile, Ms. Kaplan went to Columbia’s film school and began making movies of people dancing underwater or on trampolines, while also cultivating a business representing dance troupes. She told friends she was entering a nesting mode and was beginning to research Internet dating sites.

Then, just in time, Mr. Lipman re-entered the picture. Ms. Kaplan was stopping in L.A. to visit friends on her way back from dance-troupe business in Australia and needed a place to crash. After much prodding, she warily contacted her brothers’ old college acquaintance. “We clicked on the phone,” she said. After she arrived at his house, they stayed up talking until 4 a.m. “I really liked her,” Mr. Lipman said. “After she left, I thought, You know, jeez, she’s really terrific. It’d be nice if I could meet someone like that here. ” When Ms. Kaplan returned west for a wedding in the spring, she asked him to be her date, borrowed his inflatable mattress again, then cannily vamoosed solo to San Luis Obispo to visit a friend. Men love it when you disappear, right, girls? “When she was gone, I really felt on the inside that being with her was the right thing to do, and when she came back, that was it,” he said.

Their wedding will be modest, and they’re not sure yet which coast will play host. But Ms. Kaplan- gasp! -has decided to ditch her Manhattan pad and move to Los Angeles with her two kitties, Beaux Beaux and Esmerelda. Mr. Lipman isn’t entirely psyched about the feline company. “He says if he’d found my profile online and it said I liked cats, he would’ve ruled me out,” Ms. Kaplan said. But with typical “California mellow,” he’s shrugging off this issue for the big character picture. “She’s just not as laid-back as everyone else,” he said. “She always has very definite notions, and everyone in L.A. is just like, ‘Um, O.K.'”

Adam Pacelli and Rita Parikh

Met: February 1998

Engaged: May 30, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 28, 2003

The pop group Five was shooting a video for its song “When the Lights Go Out” in a Brooklyn bowling alley. Rita Parikh was the production manager. Adam Pacelli was the art director. “She walked in and was wearing these tight leather pants, and she was just the cutest thing ever,” said Mr. Pacelli, who is 32, “bald by choice” and rather dapper himself. “I saw her and knew almost right away that I wanted to marry her …. I think she thought I was gay.”

“I did not think he was gay,” said Ms. Parikh, a slight, black-haired beauty of 28 with Indian heritage and degrees from Yale and Duke. “But, you know, he was an art director, he was well-dressed, he was from Brooklyn-he was all these things that I didn’t imagine for myself. Quite frankly, I’d always imagined myself with an Indian husband.” She has 49 cousins, all of whom have married within their culture. So although she began hanging out with Mr. Pacelli a lot after the video wrapped-finding him “charismatic” and “lovable”-she kept him tightly shut in the “just friends” compartment of her brain.

“Every six months or so,” she said, “I would wake up and think to myself, Oh my God! I can’t be spending this much time with someone! I’ll never find an Indian husband! ”

Time passed. Mr. Pacelli valiantly hung in there. She began calling him “Jads,” a loving nickname that roughly translates to “Fatty” in Hindi. (He calls her “Dobie,” or “Idiot Girl.”) The two jettisoned their “creative” careers and started playing golf. He became a real-estate agent for Corcoran in Park Slope; she founded Nexserver, an Internet company. “And then one day I woke up and realized that I was so lucky to have him in my life, and I had to start cherishing that,” Ms. Parikh said. “I practically proposed to him then. I told him, ‘Look, I’m sorry I’ve been so difficult, but I know now that you’re it.’ My friends always say that Adam basically sat on my couch for a couple of years, waiting for me to come to my senses.”

Now that couch is in a large Park Slope two-bedroom, accompanied by lots of furniture made by Mr. Pacelli (an amateur carpenter who majored in philosophy at SUNY Albany) and crammed closets. “I have twice as many shoes as she has,” he said. “She’s very low-maintenance.” Over dinner one night at Geido, a local sushi place, he announced that he’d made an appointment for the following day to have her sized for a ring at Paul Stuart in Soho-a thick platinum band with one large sapphire. “He got all flustered, and I was like, ‘What, are you proposing ?'” Ms. Parikh said.

“Her ability to grasp abstract concepts is much greater than mine,” Mr. Pacelli said.

Recently, her family threw them a large engagement party in Ohio, where Ms. Parikh grew up, with an 11-course vegetarian feast and lots of traditional Indian folk dancing. The wedding itself will be a more intimate affair, at the Riviera Maya in Mexico. The bride will have her hands painted with henna and wear a white-and-crimson sari. The groom is planning a “custom hybrid Western-Indian outfit” made of blood-red and camel-colored raw silk. He’s very excited about it.

Maureen Langan and Peter McDermott

Met: June 1996

Engaged: March 1, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 28, 2003

Maureen Langan, a stand-up comic, is marrying Peter McDermott, a civil engineer-and all we can say, baby, is that those Seinfelds better watch their back! “I’m very to the point, and he’s very detail-oriented,” Ms. Langan said, fortifying herself with a large glass of Red Bull before a set at the Duplex in the West Village. “It makes me want to shoot myself.” Her graying “lover,” as she calls him, was sitting nearby with a tolerant smile. “I tell her she can dump all over me if it’ll get laughs,” he said.

Mr. McDermott is 44. Ms. Langan, who is featured in national commercials for Estroven, a hormone-balancing pill, doesn’t want her age printed: “Say I’m 112,” she said. They live in an east midtown one-bedroom and hail from New Jersey-Yonkers and Lake Hiawatha, respectively. “Where there is no lake,” she said.

The russet-haired, raspy-voiced Ms. Langan used to cover entertainment and satirize world news for Bloomberg Media. Fabio was a regular guest (“He wanted me,” she said), as was her Irish-born mother, whom she used to refer to as “the immigrant.” This brand of humor didn’t jibe with the Bloomberg Mayoral campaign, so Ms. Langan took herself and her genital-mutilation jokes to the stand-up circuit full time. No hard feelings: The Mayor is invited to their wedding, at the Lake Valhalla Club in Montville, N.J. “There really is a lake there,” she said.

Likewise at Spring Lake, N.J., where the couple first met at a bar. “He shoved his way to me through a crowd,” Ms. Langan said. “I just saw this big happy red face. He looked like a grounded person, and I liked that. I just couldn’t take the rage and the freaks anymore, you know?” We hear you, sister!

On their first date, Mr. McDermott blurted that he didn’t go out with “pretty” women. “I go, ‘Well, why don’t you just let me order some Alpo and we’ll pay the bill and go,'” Ms. Langan recalled. “I was in zero-tolerance mode. You know when you’re young, you let guys off the hook if they say something rude? Well, I’d just gotten to the point where I was like, ‘No, he really does mean it, so I’m going to move on.'”

Her suitor felt misunderstood. “I thought she had a great look,” he said. Mr. McDermott spent the rest of the summer trying to win back her favor, once sending her a dozen red roses and then calling to tell her that it’d cost him $90. “After a while, I’d see him on the beach and I’d say ‘hi,’ and he’d say, ‘No Maureen, I can’t talk to you. I need to cultivate new friendships,'” Ms. Langan said. “That would make me laugh. I liked how secure he was with the fact that I was rejecting him.”

So one evening, she vroomed by his house on her red Suzuki motorcycle and rode off with him into the New Jersey fog.

He proposed on a boardwalk near that same shore. The punchline was a platinum ring containing a round diamond flanked by two baguettes-two carats total. Her response: “Yeah? Well, I don’t see someone in front of me on his knee .”

Then the lady-clown cried.


  Countdown to Bliss