Countdown to Bliss

Gregory Mendelson and Alyssa Shelasky

Met: July 14, 1999

Engaged: Aug. 30, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 10, 2004

Alyssa Shelasky, a part-time public-relations manager at ABC Carpet and Home, is marrying Greg Mendelson, a green-eyed investment-banking analyst at CIBC World Markets who also has a talent for spin. “People are always telling us that we’re the most amazing couple and they wish they had what we have,” he said. “I think I’m pretty charismatic and sociable, and she’s exactly the same way.”

“We’re two good eggs,” said Ms. Shelasky, a svelte Columbia grad who also writes freelance “lifestyle” articles for places like the New York Post and is planning a laid-back ceremony at Loft Eleven. “It’s a major deal that I found ‘the one,’ and that’s the great part to me,” she said. “The hors d’oeuvres and flowers are only going to be around for four hours of my life.”

Both 26, they met during her birthday party at the Potion Lounge on the Upper West Side. At the time, she was dating a pretty rotten egg. “A fancy-schmancy lawyer-this total prick, New York City prep-school kid. I was kind of wooed by that stuff,” she said. “But then I saw Greg, and his eyes were so pretty, and he was so handsome and so tan !”

Mr. Mendelson had been invited by Ms. Shelasky’s little sister, whom he knew at SUNY Binghamton. He liked Big Sis’ rosebud lips, big, doll-like brown eyes and outgoing personality. “Before we were together, I didn’t ever have serious girlfriends,” he said. “I was indecisive about everything and very picky about what I wanted a girlfriend to be. But I never had to think about all that with Alyssa, because it was just all there.”

The next week, they enjoyed a Guster concert at the now-defunct hippie-music spot Wetlands. On Date No. 2, she brought him to the bar Vermouth and introduced him to the pleasures of a good martini ( hic! ). “We were young,” she said. “I thought it was so cute. I was like, ‘Your first martini? There goes all your credibility in the banking world!’ I told him that in four or five years, he’d be having them every night. But you know what? He’s really not like that.” Just wait till you’re married, kiddo ….

Earlier this year, they moved into a Flatiron one-bedroom rental filled with a mélange of trash finds and ABC Carpet items at deep discount.

Mr. Mendelson proposed on Nantucket while on a trip with the family. “He just started saying the nicest, sweetest things, and I went to hug him, and suddenly I realized his heart was beating really, really hard,” Ms. Shelasky said.

The ring, a platinum band with three round diamonds totaling over two carats, came from her pals at ABC’s estate-jewelry department. And that will be the third and final time we suckers plug that store.

Noam Cooperstock and Amy Goldberg

Met: May 4, 2002

Engaged: June 28, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: May 22, 2004

Noam Cooperstock, 31, a lighting designer, plans to marry Amy Goldberg, 27, a bookkeeper for the mysterious market-research company Envirosell, at the Mark Hotel in front of 150 guests and a jazz band. Mr. Cooperstock has worked with musicians like Natalie Cole and Nine Inch Nails and with stand-up comic Colin Quinn, but he’s entrusting this particular production number to someone else. “If you work at the library, you don’t want to go to a bookstore on your day off,” he said.

Their meeting was sort of 1950’s-style: A friend of Mr. Cooperstock’s was going out with Ms. Goldberg’s roommate from her Barnard days, and they arranged for a double date at Beauty Bar. During the evening, the 5-foot-8, brunette Ms. Goldberg developed a “headache” from an enthusiastic bachelorette party nearby. Mr. Cooperstock offered to accompany her to the deli across the street for some Advil, and then to Pharmacy, Beauty Bar’s quieter cousin.

“I thought, ‘This is a beautiful girl who’s very intelligent, and I’d like to get to know her,'” he said. He was also psyched to discover that she drank Guinness-the Maxim generation loooves it when girls drink “guy drinks” and aren’t afraid to belch.

Ms. Goldberg liked his curly top and cherubic face. “He was very cute and very funny,” she said.

Two dates later, Mr. Cooperstock pulled some “industry strings” ( ploink! ) and scored tickets to a Moby album-release party at the Hammerstein Ballroom. They made out for most of the show.

But there was a hitch: He lived in inconvenient Park Slope!

Ms. Goldberg gave that long, creaky ride on the F train a shot for a brief spell and then convinced him to rent a nice one-bedroom on East 95th Street, a few blocks from her parents’ pad.

She told her psychologist mother that they were getting married before Mr. Cooperstock had fully committed to the idea. “I was a little surprised,” he said. “I thought we were just talking about it.” But he rallied, immediately calling his own mother, a former artist who lives on the Upper West Side, to announce the news. Before the line had gone cold, Ms. Goldberg suggested they move the date up by a full year. You go , sister girlfriend!

She’ll wear a Peter Langer dress to the affair, which is black-tie optional, along with a custom-made 1.4-carat brilliant-cut, platinum-set diamond from Frank Fabricatore.

Mr. Cooperstock has grown weary of the “grueling” rock-tour life lately, and has been spending a lot of time at home painting psychedelic acrylic creations. “He’s more creative than I am,” said his bride-to-be.

-Ronda Kaysen

Sohui Kim and Ben Schneider

Met: July 2001

Engaged: Oct. 31, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: June 2004

Sohui Kim, a professional chef, was sitting alone on the stoop of the Red Hook house she shares with Ben Schneider, passing out Halloween sweets, nibbling on the occasional Almond Joy and growing a bit pissed at her beau. “I was just kind of annoyed with him for having gotten a bag of candy that had no Snickers in it,” she said.

But then Mr. Schneider, an actor and part-time carpenter, pulled up in his manly black Toyota truck.

“Hey, young man, what are you supposed to be?” she called to him.

“A proletarian hero,” he replied. He parked, then got to one knee and proffered an extra-special treat: his grandmother’s engagement ring from the 1920’s, one round diamond surrounded by four emeralds and two little diamonds in platinum. “I had all these ideas, like proposing while I was in costume or spelling it out in Christmas lights on the roof,” he said. “But then I saw her and she looked so cute, I had to do it right away.”

They donned costumes (“slutty/sexy/drunken Big Bird” for her, pirate for him) and went to celebrate at Sunny’s Bar. “And he was ‘ aaaaaaarrrrrrrr ‘-ing all night long,” she said naughtily.

They met while Mr. Schneider was starring in a very artsy production of Jean Cocteau’s Orphée at the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre. He was Orpheus; Ms. Kim’s best friend from her Bronx childhood played Death. “I thought it was so awesomely funny,” said Ms. Kim, who sat in the front row. “I laughed my butt off the entire time. Someone actually asked me if I’d been hired to come and laugh.”

Mr. Schneider was pleased to see the silky-haired, brightly smiling babe enjoying the show. “It’s unusual when you’re doing a play and you notice someone in the audience,” he said. “She was just so cute .”

He asked Death if he could tag along after the show, and they ended up (oh, the irony) at Angel Share in the East Village, talking about food. Ms. Kim, 33, has worked at Annisa, currently recipe-tests at Beppe and has started her own catering company, Bestdish. Mr. Schneider, 35, is a big eater, and he’s not a food snob. “Osso buco, processed cheese-I like it all,” he said.

“He was just so witty and charming and genuinely sweet,” said Ms. Kim, our second Barnard gal this week. And she really fell for him two weeks later, when he made her a four-course meal (cooks love it when you cook for them). “No one had ever braised veal shanks for me before,” she marveled.

She later discovered the delights of living with a carpenter. “I can just point and- poof! -there’s a shelf,” she said.

For the wedding, Mr. Schneider wants to find a big raw warehouse space, build a round table that will seat 250 people and have the food-tapas and “decadent” dumplings, or so plans his lady love-rotating around a conveyer belt. We don’t think he’s kidding.

Countdown to Bliss