Countdown to Bliss

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Amy Brown and Robert Lanham

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Met: Spring 1998

Engaged: Aug. 15, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 20, 2003

We hear the ominous rumble of S.U.V.’s on Bedford Avenue: Longtime Williamsburg “rez” Robert Lanham, 32, author of The Hipster Handbook (Anchor Books) and creator of the four-year-old irony-laden Web ‘zine, is succumbing to tradition and walking down the aisle with Amy Brown, 28, a producer at documentarian Ric Burns’ Steeplechase Films, who likes to make shag rugs and paint her intended’s fingernails with Sharpie pens to keep him from biting them.

Just how hip is this pair? Ms. Brown went to Oberlin (“a student body that is 94.6 percent hipster,” according to page 95 of the Handbook ). Mr. Lanham, who has long blond sideburns and dimples, attended Virginia Commonwealth University (“Hipness grade: C-plus” he said), wears plaid and drinks water with a straw. They enjoy reading Don DeLillo and Haruki Murakami, listening to retro country music and watching “bad TV” like For Love or Money . “We’re addicts,” he said, adding, “I’m more an anthropologist or a satirist than a hipster.” Somewhere, Margaret Mead and Jonathan Swift are quietly weeping ….

They met at a party thrown by mutual friends who’d gone to Vassar (apparently the Harvard of hipsters). Attracted by Ms. Brown’s thick dark-golden hair, bonny blue eyes and big smile, Mr. Lanham made sure to show up at a Blonde Redhead concert she was attending the next night at Tramps. “I stalked her,” he said.

Months of shows and movies and dinners followed, but there was no liquid , as they say. “Neither of us were sure if the other one was thinking it was just a platonic relationship,” Ms. Brown said. “We were both very shy.”

“I think we were dating the whole time, and didn’t really know it because neither of us wanted to make the first move,” Mr. Lanham said. “But I was falling for her and she was falling for me, and then one night we went back to her apartment and talked about how we were falling for each other, and we kissed and took it from there.”

Alas, that apartment was in- gawsp -Park Slope. “There are a lot of baby carriages,” Mr. Lanham said with the air of a man who doesn’t quite grasp what he’s getting into. “I felt like we were having a long-distance relationship.”

Eventually he persuaded her to move to his Berry Street two-bedroom, where he brought up the charmingly retro idea of marriage one night as she was preparing for a nap on the sofa (a velour sectional with a floral design in purple and orange). They celebrated with “Bronsons,” a.k.a. beers, at the Blue Lounge.

A half-carat diamond in an undulating platinum setting was secured from her parents, Back to Eden farmer-jeweler-artisan types who live in Maine (the wedding will be there, on the blissfully ungentrified Bailey’s Island). There’s an e.e. cummings poem on the invitation-“His work really speaks to me,” Mr. Lanham said-and Ms. Brown has selected a white-and-crimson 1950’s-inspired silk dress. But apparently the hipness stops there.

“Everyone expects us to wear, like, mesh baseball caps at the wedding, but it’s really going to be pretty traditional,” said the groom. “There will be no Vespas.”

Caroline Carson and Tyson T. Halsey

Met: December 2001

Engaged: April 17, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 20, 2003

Financial analyst Tyson Halsey, 42, a descendant of the Halseys who settled Southampton in the 17th century (ooh, fancy! ), is marrying Caroline Carson, 32, a sales associate for American Silk Mills and former South Carolina debutante. “I’m not the typical New York woman, just looking for cha-ching ,” Ms. Carson said over tea at the St. Regis. “I was just happy to meet a nice, normal, mature guy for whom alcohol wasn’t the main thing.”

Mr. Halsey, a brawny, gap-toothed teetotaler with a penchant for goofily printed Burberry ties, was sipping tonic water when he spotted the slender, full-lipped Ms. Carson at a dinner party for the Junior Members of the New York Philharmonic at the Racquet Club on Park Avenue. “There was another man at the table bidding for Caroline’s attention,” he said. “At one point he said, ‘Well, I’m an investment banker,’ and he just smiled from ear to ear, and I thought that was nauseating . I couldn’t believe someone could be so crass !”

Perhaps the nausea was sharper because Mr. Halsey’s hedge fund was doing “horribly” in the post-9/11 bear market. “I was devastated about it,” he said. “I told her I was feeling broke. I don’t know what about that could’ve attracted her to me. But I thought the fact that she spent the rest of the evening talking to me instead of to the other guy seemed a clear sign she wasn’t interested in any money I had.”

Unlike her pursuer, whom she says “never loses his cool,” Ms. Carson likes to hit the sauce on occasion. A month after they began dating, she had a few too many martinis while out with friends and fell face-down in the lobby of her Upper East Side apartment building, breaking her nose. “She was all black and blue,” Mr. Halsey said. “The kisses had to be very gentle, because God knows I couldn’t touch that nose! It was a real test of the relationship.” There were other tests: “I went over to her apartment when we first started dating,” he said, “and she had on The Man Show .”

Ms. Carson countered that her swain likes to eat Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s Half-Baked by the pint, straight from the container-a habit that The Love Beat assures her will grow even more grating once they commence their post-nuptials cohabitation, near Washington Square.

An endlessly practical fellow, Mr. Halsey proposed when they were buying some secondhand furniture. “I just said, ‘Caroline, since we’re making all these decisions about furniture, I might as well ask you to marry me,'” he recalled.

The ring was a close copy of one they had chosen together at Tiffany: a round brilliant-cut diamond set between two yellow sapphires in yellow gold-four carats all told.

After the ceremony at St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue, 250 guests will be shuttled by double-decker bus to a lavender-and-chocolate-brown-trimmed reception at 37th Street’s Union League. Ms. Carson will wear a white satin Tomasina gown with mermaid styling from Saks-which should deflect attention from her still-swollen proboscis. “It’s a little crooked now, and bigger than it was,” she said mournfully. “He told me that if his business picked up, he’d pay for a nose job.”

“And it has picked up,” Mr. Halsey said. “But not that much.”

Arthur (Chip) Behal and Jo-Anne Sutton

Met: Jan. 28, 2000

Engaged: June 5, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 18, 2004

Jo-Anne Sutton was single and in her 40’s and happy , goddamnit. “I traveled the world for nine years and hadn’t found anyone I connected with,” said Ms. Sutton, an Australian native with Lana Turner hair who believes her current numerical age is not fit to print. “I was on a journey of self-discovery during that time, and I got out of it the realization that there’s more to life than what you see. I believe in fate, and that the universe will bring you where you need to be.”

In June 1999, the universe brought her to Manhattan, where, following a career as a hotel consultant, she founded Performance Development Solutions, a feel-good consulting firm that helps teens and businesses develop leadership skills. She was set up on a blind date at the York Grill with a friend’s sister-in-law’s friend’s cousin, Chip Behal, a security specialist at Verizon with a graying, rather studly goatee. Like Ms. Sutton, he was 5-foot-8 and had managed to hit the Big Four-O without getting hitched. “I was always hopeful that I would meet the right person and it would lead to marriage,” said Mr. Behal, who’s entirely comfortable admitting his current age, 45. (Ah, patriarchy!) “I always kind of thought it would’ve happened sooner than it did, but I also always thought there was no sense in trying to force it.”

Ms. Sutton found him dapper. Thoughtful. He took tin-whistle lessons, for God’s sake. “I thought he was a real gentleman,” she said. “He was nicely dressed in a suit and everything. But it took me a little while to know . He was so different than other guys I’d been out with. I was used to going out with guys who were more aggressive and self-centered. And then I thought, ‘Well Jo-Anne, the guys you go out with never work out anyway, so why not try something different?'”

That first evening ended at an Irish-music jam at the Village’s Blarney Star. She swooned at this sudden influx of cultural stimulation. “American men are so much more sensitive and considerate,” she said. “Australian men just want to hang out and drink beer with the boys.”

Mr. Behal, a sophisticate who prefers port or Coke to beer, was also turned on. “She seemed like someone who knew what she wanted, and she wasn’t going to put up with anything less,” he said. “I just liked the way she carried herself.”

After an intensive two-year courtship, he cajoled her from the Upper East Side to the Manhasset manse where he maintains an extensive rare-coin collection. “But Jo-Anne is the one who fills the empty spot in the coin album of my heart,” he said. He popped the question at the Italian restaurant Mad 28, handing her a mushily inscribed card and a ring that had belonged to his late mother: a 4.3-carat mine-cut yellow-tinted diamond set in platinum. Talk about coin! “I was quite delighted that she said yes very quickly,'” he said. They’re planning a wedding on the water somewhere in Long Island.

Recently, Ms. Sutton’s grateful family gave Mr. Behal a mint silver Australian kookaburra for his treasury. “It’s a lovely collector’s piece,” he said. “There’s a real thrill in finding an elusive coin.”

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