Countdown to Bliss

Tim Harrington and Anna Schwebel

Met: May 1999

Engaged: Jan. 26, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: July 3, 2004

When Tim Harrington’s future mother-in-law first saw him perform in his punk-rock band, Les Savy Fav, she had a most unmother-in-lawish reaction. “She was like, ‘He’s the Messiah!'” said his fiancée, Anna Schwebel.

“She’s European ,” Mr. Harrington explained-specifically, Swedish. A Web designer by day, he makes an impressive sight onstage, jumping around half-naked with his bushy golden beard and bristling eyebrows to match. “I like to examine space,” he said.

Ms. Schwebel, 28, an abstract painter who works under her mother’s maiden name, Killander, first saw him perform at Tramps (a pal of hers was dating the band’s scruffy drummer). “I was just like, ‘Yeah, he’s a kooky guy. What ever ,'” she said. But Mr. Harrington, 29, was quickly smitten by the cherubic, ponytailed blonde, a Columbia grad. “I thought she was stone-cold fox,” he said.

They became friendly, and when Mr. Harrington had an empty spot in a five-person share in Williamsburg, Ms. Schwebel moved in. Ah, la vie bohème …. Mr. Harrington, simmering with desire, would sing Bad Company’s guttural “Feel Like Making Love” around the apartment, hoping she’d take the hint. But she remained oblivious until this woman Ivy began calling the house for him. Turned out Ivy was every New York woman’s nightmare: a gorgeous Rockette. “I got really jealous,” Ms. Schwebel said. “I hadn’t understood how great he was, but then one day I woke up and was like, ‘Oh! Oh my God, I’m in love with Tim!'”

They began sharing a loft bed, eventually moving to a private apartment in a Williamsburg townhouse, and it sounds like they’re having a wild time behind closed doors. “He’s really good at pretending to be animals. Really good,” Ms. Schwebel said. “Like Gorillas and tigers. And lions, too!” Grrrrr .

Mr. Harrington consulted his female kinfolk for advice on how to propose. “They gave me all these cockamamie ideas-straight from the WB,” he said. “And I did them all .”

But the chunky diamond ring he ordered was all wrong. “It was like it belonged to the Bride of Frankenstein,” he said.

And the week before they jetted off on a surprise trip to Paris, Ms. Schwebel broke her wrist snowboarding.

Dying to get the damn thing over with, Mr. Harrington dropped to one knee in the middle of the night at a Rive Gauche hotel when she slipped out of bed for some water, offering up the ugly ring and promising he’d replace it with a nicer one later. Ms. Schwebel responded by erupting in giggles.

They’ll be married at an inn near her family’s country house in Vermont. The bride will wear a Reem Acra gown she got from a sample sale and a new rose-gold ring with 10 small diamonds. The groom is writing a love song for the reception-something along the lines of “We’ll Make a Lover Out of You,” Les Savy Fav’s only existing love song. “It’s about how we have enough love,” he said, “so that everyone else can get some of it, too.” Groovy, man.

Doug Gordon and Leora Kaye

Met: June 2001

Engaged: Aug. 28, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 29, 2004

Doug Gordon, a longtime writer for Who Wants to Be A Millionaire -it still exists?-is marrying Leora Kaye, a rabbi. “I haven’t watched his show in a really long time,” she said. “O.K., sometimes I watch it. But it’s usually just so I can see his name at the end.”

A religious ceremony is planned at a Jewish summer camp run by her father in Oconomowoc, Wis., despite the inveterate agnosticism of the (technically Jewish) groom. “He’ll be like, ‘I don’t understand how you can believe that,'” Rabbi Kaye said.

“We might as well be an interfaith couple,” Mr. Gordon said.

They met in the hot ‘n’ horny New York City cycling circuit while preparing for the Boston–New York AIDS ride. It was the sweet-faced, 5-foot-8 Mr. Gordon’s second year doing the 250-mile traverse; he was coaching a novice group, and one freckled, brunette babe on a bike stood out from the rest: Ms. Kaye. “It’s funny,” he said, “because I was usually attracted to girls who look a little more Jewish-whatever that means.” Har- rumph . Meanwhile, those tight spandex training shorts were affording the prize pupil a good look at her teacher’s, er, assets. “There was something about him being the leader,” she said. “He was in charge .”

After she surged to the front of a training ride to the end of Long Island, the two of them wound up unwinding together in the back room at the kitschy Cowgirl Hall of Fame, eyeing each other over glasses of beer. “She was good at conversation,” said Mr. Gordon, 29. “She was so different from other people I’d met-she wasn’t a lawyer, she wasn’t a banker.” Ms. Kaye was impressed, too. “He has the quickest mind in the world,” she said. “He’s so funny.”

The next week, they went to see A.I ., bonding later over how much it sucked.

Two years after they finished the charity race in sweaty style, they moved into a two-bedroom in Park Slope, agreeing that their kitchen would be perfectly parve . However, Mr. Gordon said, “she won’t stand over me if we go out and I want to eat bacon.”

Ye olde “Where is this going?” conversation swiftly followed; Ms. Kaye turned 30 this year. Mars happened to be looming particularly large and red in the sky on the eve of her birthday, and so after dinner at Balthazar, Mr. Gordon cajoled his sweetie up to their roof to have a look. Once there, she found a blanket set up with champagne, candles, roses and the inevitable Magnolia cupcakes.

As she took in the scene, the Millionaire writer suddenly plopped down on one knee and produced a two-carat diamond surrounded by two baguettes in an Art Deco–style platinum setting that had belonged to his grandmother.

Ms. Kaye said yes, of course. Happily, he resisted asking if that was her “final answer.”

Lori Blackman and Rob Master

Met: June 9, 2002

Engaged: May 9, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Dec. 13, 2003

Lori Blackman, 33, a celebrity booker for The Ellen DeGeneres Show , is marrying Rob Master, 32, a marketing director for Unilever, at Loft Eleven, on West 37th Street. Ms. Blackman will wear a gown from Paula Varsalona, the first store she visited, but “I don’t care what dress I’m wearing,” she said. “We want a really fun party. I’ve been dating for 10 years in the city. The fact that I found someone who I’m madly in love with is all I care about.”

They were fixed up by that rare entity, a male friend who dabbles in matchmaking. Ms. Blackman, who is 5-foot-3 with sharp hazel eyes, dragged a female friend with her as a sort of shield, then quickly ditched her when the dark-haired, 5-foot-10 hot prospect strode into Shalel, a dive bar on the Upper West Side. “I was like, ‘Forget it! You’re on your own,'” she said.

Mr. Master, initially chary of the blind date, got jazzed super-quick. “She was very energetic,” he said. “We were both on the edge of our seats.” He walked her home. When he called the next day to ask her to some boring benefit, she pulled out the “I work in a glam bicoastal job” card, suggesting they instead attend the premiere of The Bourne Identity , the Matt Damon flick about a man trying to figure out why people are obsessed with him. “I thought he would be awkward or starstruck, but it was so effortless,” Ms. Blackman gushed.

“I’m not the starstruck type,” Mr. Master said. Watching the Chicago Cubs, he added, is “more my speed.”

It turns out that their lives were a veritable Friendster graph. “Our paths had crossed in all these random places,” Ms. Blackman said. “We found out we were at the same New Year’s Eve parties. I would make out with one of his friends, he would make out with one of mine.”

Last January, she lured him out of his sublet into her cheery one-bedroom on Columbus Avenue and 67th Street. After a few months of cohabitation, she opened their apartment door to find a trail of rose petals leading up Columbus. “I was like ‘Oh my God, he’s definitely proposing!'” she said.

She followed the path, giggling like a madwoman, to Shalel. A bartender pointed Ms. Blackman to the back of the bar, where Mr. Master was waiting with a 2.5-carat, brilliant-cut yellow diamond in a princess setting, flanked by two diamond trillions on a platinum band. The guests she books for Ellen should have such wattage!

– Ronda Kaysen Countdown to Bliss