Countdown to Bliss

Ian Faring and Britta Steiner

Met: Aug. 26, 2000

Engaged: Dec. 23, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: March 21, 2004

Is there room for two aspiring novelists in one marriage? Britta Steiner, 27, is a literary agent at Soho’s Ned Leavitt Agency who’s getting her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Vermont. Ian Faring, 33, supports his own fiction-writing habit with computer programming and high-end construction. “He went to a Montessori school,” Ms. Steiner said. “He pushes me to be more creative in my thinking.”

She had moved from the Upper East Side into a 3,000-square-foot Williamsburg loft also inhabited by a French anarchist trombone player and a cross-dressing clown, beating out 30 other women for the spot because the trombonist liked that she played the violin. “It was a shithole,” she said. “There were drips everywhere, but to me it was so interesting and exciting. Very artistic.” The creamy-complected, curly-haired, almond-eyed Ms. Steiner had been there for several weeks before she came across a third mystery roommate-Mr. Faring-cooking a grand repast on the communal hot plate. She was instantly drawn to his green eyes, freckled arms and carefully groomed light-brown facial scruff. “We used crates for chairs and sat and had the most incredible conversation,” Ms. Steiner said.

They took it slow, spending entire evenings holding hands and listening to Brian Eno’s Music for Airports . One day, Mr. Faring overheard her practicing some Bach on the other side of the loft. “I remember just sitting and listening to her with my ear to the wall, and I just felt she had such a pure heart,” he said.

The bohemian living space flooded four months later, and the new couple moved into a one-bedroom duplex in the same neighborhood, where they like to switch laptops and edit each other’s first novels, Colin and Kathryn Harrison style. “It’s good because we both sort of know what’s going on when you’re in the writing process,” Ms. Steiner said. “You can understand when the other person is sort of detaching.” Ah, the lit’ry life!

The budding authoress also fiddles for Edison Woods, a “dreamy orchestral rock” band. When she returned to J.F.K. from one of their tour stops in Berlin, a suit-clad Mr. Faring was there to greet her, holding two dozen red roses and a blinding diamond ring: five stones in a Van Craeynest–designed setting from the Clay Pot. “I’d played out the scene of getting engaged in my head, and it was nothing like I’d imagined,” she said. “It was so ungraceful. I just stood there with my hands in front of my face for the longest time.”

A Town Car driver rescued them, and they whooshed home for an engagement supper of tuna fish sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese and champagne.

The wedding will be at the Crosley Estate in the bride’s native Sarasota, Fla., with a surprise marching band (why not )? The couple is thinking of taking Alexander, Mr. Faring’s middle name, as their surname. “I just have no connection to my family at all, so I wanted to start a new clan,” he said. But Ms. Steiner has her concerns. “I looked on the shelf at a bookstore the other day to see where I would be if I ever publish a novel,” she said, “and I’d either be next to John Steinbeck … or next to V.C. Andrews.”

Shoshana Grodin and Blake Zidell

Met: Summer 2000

Engaged: Jan. 11, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Jan. 3, 2004

It’s time for our Pulitzer: We found two Jews from Texas!

A Lubavitch rabbi will marry Clinton Hill residents Blake Zidell, 26, and Shoshana Grodin, 25, before 400 witnesses in Dallas. Expect bluegrass tunes and kosher fixin’s.

The two met when Mr. Zidell was fresh out of Dartmouth and back South waiting tables at a restaurant called Breadwinners. Ms. Grodin (no relation to dashing actor Charles, alas), an N.Y.U. senior majoring in history, came in one night with her mother. He thought the freckled, petite, curly-haired young lady looked familiar and, with her mom’s help, they figured out that they’d actually attended the same grammar school for a spell. Also, that her mother’s aunt was married to his grandmother’s brother, which we don’t think will produce two-headed kids, but ….

Ms. Grodin found her old classmate a bit too friendly, even by Texas standards. “I figured he was gay,” she said. “He’s small-boned and he speaks with his hands.”

“Girls have always thought that about me,” pouted Mr. Zidell, a bushy-browed music publicist with thick-rimmed glasses. “Like in grade school, girls always wanted me to sit on their laps. I was unthreatening.”

He moved back to New York soon after, and they reunited one evening at the Belmont Lounge. Mr. Zidell perked up when his date stuck to Sprite; his mother is in A.A. “I have a whole history of addiction and recovery in my family,” he said. The bonding began when Ms. Grodin divulged that she’d spent time in rehab after getting into drugs in high school. “It was when I was in suburbia,” she said. “There was little else to entertain myself.”

“I thought she was really hot,” Mr. Zidell said. “I started daydreaming about what it would be like to make out.” A few months later, they returned to her South Street Seaport dorm after attending an Al-Anon meeting together, and the Texas tongue-twirling began in earnest as an episode of Will & Grace blared in the background.

A couple of years and apartments later, he dragged her away from The Sopranos so he could give her a prepared spiel about basherts (Yiddish for “soulmates”), along with a half-carat diamond surrounded by four smaller ones in platinum that had belonged to his great-grandmother. “I was like totally shocked,” said Ms. Grodin, who works for the New Israel Fund. “I didn’t have a clue.”

She told Mr. Zidell that she needed time to think about it. “I had some sort of sad, nasty concept about marriage that I had to dispel,” she said. “So few couples I’d ever seen had something that I wanted. The images that were conjured when I heard the word were all negative.”

Six months later, her patient beau reproposed in Madison Square Park, handing over a beefed-up version of the bauble. “It’s the same style as before, but has a little more bling to it,” he said. Ms. Grodin found herself ready at last. “Of course I will!” she trilled. Then they tucked into some ravioli at Danny Meyer’s Eleven Madison Park restaurant.

The good news caused some serious kvelling in Dallas, where their moms ran into each other at a Jewish community center. His drawled to hers: “I ah -lways knew we’d be mishpucha !”

Ana Echeverri and Kevan Huston

Met: Dec. 9, 2001

Engaged: June 12, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 30, 2003

Ready, set, wed: Ana Echeverri, 32, a nurse practitioner at Memorial Sloan-Kettering who runs eight miles daily, is marrying Kevan Huston, 31, a librarian and researcher at UBS Securites who logs about twice that. The pair has completed 10 marathons between them, which bodes well for whatever’s going on behind their bedroom door. “I think running provides an outlet for stress and tension for us,” she said.

Mr. Huston is redheaded, weighs 148 pounds, has a body-mass index of 20 and hails from Canada (“but I look like a normal person,” he said). Two years ago, however, the six-foot-tall hunk was tipping the scales at 207 pounds-which seems fine to us, but then again so does a 16-minute mile. “I was a whale ,” he said. He would hang out at pubs and smoke a pack of cigarettes per day. “Now I just run,” he said. “Running has really become the center of my social world.”

Indeed, he discovered his half-Colombian, half-Chinese future fiancée while loping through a group 10K organized by the Central Park Track Club. “I hate to use the word ‘exotic’ to describe her, because it’s kind of not politically correct,” he said. “But she’s gorgeous-bronzed, beautiful, warm skin. And here I am, Scotch-Irish-you can’t tell when I’m wearing a white shirt.”

He bore down upon her at a party for a fellow runner at Grace, a restaurant in Tribeca. “I thought he was interesting-very, very charming,” Ms. Echeverri said. “But sort of awkward. He kept saying that he couldn’t stay out late because he had to go out and run with a friend the next morning at 6:30. He was so focused on his training that I thought he couldn’t be romantically interested in me .”

Nonetheless, she agreed to accompany him for a carbo load at Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown the next week, followed by tiramisu in Little Italy for her (Mr. Huston-we’re concerned to say-abstained).

Soon after, they enjoyed that hollow-eyed swingers’ rite of passage, the New Year’s Eve midnight run in Central Park. He was falling fast. “She has the most amazing smile,” he gushed. “It’s radiant. It’s the cause of global warming.”

They tend to complete their daily slogs alone, at different paces (though they’re about the same level if you adjust for generic gender differences). “When we get together after a run, we’re both in a good space,” Ms. Echeverri said.

Eight months and Lord knows how many miles after meeting, they moved into a one-bedroom off Central Park West, where his habit of using the same knife in both the peanut butter and the jelly has caused them to resort to his-and-her jars.

But everything else has gone well, and after a 5K cross-country contest in Van Cortlandt-she came in third in the ladies’ division; he kindly brought up the rear-they began discussing that other M-word. “It was very egalitarian,” Mr. Huston said. “We got home after the race and the whole idea just started gaining traction.” And so he bought a white-gold ring with a Toronto-purchased, Canadian-mined diamond. At just under one carat, it’s not gonna slow down his Atalanta.

Better bring Neosporin to the nuptials: Their ceremony, to be held in Alberta, will be preceded by an optional two-mile road race.

Countdown to Bliss