Countdown to Bliss

Gitu Ramani and David Ruff

Met: August 1993

Engaged: Nov. 15, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Fall 2004

Gitu Ramani, 33, pashmina-wearing publicist by day and international party gal by night, is marrying David Ruff, 34, the well-groomed co-founder of Design Laboratories, an architecture firm. It will be a seven-day extravaganza in India with a three-hour ceremony, camels, horses, elephants and over 1,000 guests, including Page Six.

“And David will have to wear a gold turban,” Ms. Ramani said.

“Baby, I’m not going to look good in a turban,” Mr. Ruff said, pouting.

They met after he moved into the building next to Andy Warhol’s old Factory in Union Square. Ms. Ramani lived just downstairs with her Chihuahua, Sushi. “She’d come into the elevator and would just be this glamorous whir,” said Mr. Ruff. “She’s just so striking and has this fascinating way about her, this way of carrying herself.”

Whenever he had a girlfriend, “there’d be a lot of noise upstairs,” she said.

“That’s so not true!” he huffed.

When Ms. Ramani, who works at Infineon Technologies, a German company, was asked to collect designs for the company’s new Manhattan office last March, she suddenly remembered that she had an architect neighbor. He got the commission, and they began working closely together on the project.

Mr. Ruff, a former violin prodigy who was raised on the Upper East Side, seemed a bit of a forlorn workaholic to the raven-haired, caramel-skinned beauty, and she offered to take him to dinner. “I felt bad for him,” she said. “I kept thinking of him sitting alone in his office.”

They went to Pastis and were immediately mutually besotted. “Oysters will do that to you,” Mr. Ruff said.

“I just suddenly saw he had this inner sadness and seriousness about him,” said Ms. Ramani, who is the daughter of an Indian fashion-designer- cum -socialite and was schooled at a British military academy in the Himalayas. “And he had such kind eyes.”

She finished the date by bringing him to a raucous birthday party at the Park, but remained chaste afterward. Paneer wouldn’t melt in her mouth! “I was sooo well-behaved,” she said. “The next day, I told my sister that I met the guy I was going to marry and she was like, ‘Bullshit.’ I even told my waxing lady.”

After five months, Mr. Ruff built her a 100-square-foot closet in his apartment, trying to entice her into co-habitation. “He’s probably the kindest person I’ve ever met,” said Ms. Ramani, whose previous long-term relationship was with wine writer Jay McInerney.

One day, her new sweetie picked her up at work and brought her to the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History, followed by drinks at the Stanhope. When they returned to their pad, she found that little elves had come and transformed the place: Silk was draped everywhere, there were rose petals on the floor and candelabras on the tables, a chef in the kitchen whipping up a sea bass dinner, blah blah blah …. After serenading Ms. Ramani with a Bach partita, Mr. Ruff pushed her on the bed and proclaimed: “I don’t have anything more to give you, but I’ll give you my life. Will you marry me?”

Move over, Jason Binn: The couple’s friends are planning several engagement fêtes, including an engagement rave.

Donald Buda and Maria Fernandez

Met: 1996

Engaged: May 2002

Projected Wedding Date: May 30, 2004

It’s a tabloid twosome! Don Buda, 31, the New York Post retouching specialist who makes Michael Jackson look so darn good, is marrying Maria Fernandez, 28, a 5-foot-9, voluptuous photo editor at The Star who needs no retouching whatsoever. “She’s just sooo gorgeous,” gushed Mr. Buda, who met Ms. Fernandez when she was assistant to the Post ‘s features editor. “Big boobs. Everyone in the office said I was stalking her, so they moved my office to the back. But even so, if she dropped a pencil, I’d be right there to pick it up.”

But the attention didn’t faze her.

“I was there three years before I noticed him at all,” Ms. Fernandez said.

Eventually, they started taking cigarette breaks together. The blond, blue-eyed Mr. Buda, who drinks two pots of coffee per day, would approach his quarry’s desk and grunt the universal newsroom mating call: “Coffee? Coffee? Coffee! Coffee!”

“I’d hear people tell him that he should stop bothering me,” Ms. Fernandez said, “but I just didn’t really get it.”

When she took advantage of Rupert Murdoch’s exchange program and went to work at The Sun in London for two months in 2000, Mr. Buda rerouted a vacation to Ireland so he could visit her.

“Then I got her drunk and played Barry White, and the rest is history,” he said.

They got a St. Bernard, Lulu, and moved into an apartment in Queens, where Ms. Fernandez grew up. She left the Post for The Star three months ago, and the two must now save their canoodling for Saturdays, the only day off they share.

In their rare free time, they like to go to museums together, and so he proposed at the sculpture garden on the roof of the Met, with a 1.2-carat diamond in platinum with baguettes. “I think my exact words were: ‘You’re shitting me, right?'” said Ms. Fernandez, who’d been experimenting with self-tanner and so was a little orange on that auspicious day. But Mr. Buda didn’t think anything looked wrong. “He’s from Staten Island, you know?” she said.

They’ll be married at a Catholic church across the street from where they live, with a reception to follow at Caffe on the Green, the Tavern on the Green of Bayside.

Post photographer Michael Norcia will be there to document the occasion, along with plenty of other Post -Its (though no one from Page Six is expected). This represents something of a triumph for Mr. Buda. “At the office, everyone knew I’d been in love with her, so when we started dating, they were all like, ‘Oh, that poor, poor girl,'” he said. “It’s just that I’m very, very, very, very hyper.”

Carol Alvarez and Travis Cain

Met: Jan. 31, 2003

Engaged: March 12, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Dec. 30, 2003

Admit it! You’ve eyed those Lava Life ads on the subway, which show hip, androgynous types looking lustful, skinny and happy.

It was three years after divorcing a health-care administrator that Carol Alvarez, 32, an administrative assistant at New York Presbyterian Hospital with full lips and long black hair, bravely plunged into this dark tunnel of Internet dating. “I was a victim of marketing,” she said.

Her profile quickly attracted the attention of Travis Cain, also 32, a freelance graphic designer who’d arrived from Wisconsin to get his M.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts. Ms. Alvarez was intrigued by the juxtaposition of his picture (“He looked like he could be trouble, sort of cocky looking-like a bad boy,” she said) and his text, which professed a benign interest in meeting new people.

Mr. Cain proposed dinner at Ruby Foo’s, promising an “exotic atmosphere,” but showed up 15 minutes late. Ms. Alvarez, waiting outside, wasn’t amused. “I come from an island, so I’m not good with the cold weather, and when I finally saw him coming, I was just like, ‘Where the hell were you?!'” she said.

The green-eyed, hard-bodied Mr. Cain said this tirade marked the moment he knew she was “the one.” “I like strong-willed women who aren’t afraid to make a stand,” he explained. “She doesn’t put up with shit.”

And she warmed up considerably by dessert, ordering something with a chocolate-fudge dipping sauce and suggesting Mr. Cain lick it off her finger. Ms. Alvarez recalled: “I thought to myself, ‘You know, I really, really like this guy. He’s so, so, so great-so that probably means he won’t call me.'” She was also concerned about how the new guy and her 6-year-old son, David, would get along.

The tyke was a little jealous at first. “He’d lash out a lot at me when Travis slept over,” Ms. Alvarez said, “and he’d try to get into the bed with us, which was kind of weird.” Screen Kramer vs. Kramer for that kid, stat!

But Mr. Cain gradually earned David’s love, roughhousing and showing him how to draw Spider-Man, and by spring the three were living together in a Washington Heights two-bedroom-the Midwesterner introduced some very “American customs” into the household, like drinking milk with spaghetti-and spending blissful weekends at those places where you can paint pottery.

Mr. Cain proposed on a vacation in Ms. Alvarez’s native Santa Domingo with a silver and amber ring he’d gotten at a beach gift shop. They’ll be married on that same beach. The amber bauble has since been replaced with a princess-cut diamond in a white-gold setting, but Ms. Alvarez still feels sentimental about the original ring. “That ring cost maybe 12 bucks,” she said, “but I showed it off like it was the biggest rock from Tiffany.”

Countdown to Bliss