Countdown to Bliss

Sasha Lazard and Michael Mailer

Met: March 2000|

Engaged: April 12, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Summer 2004

Michael Mailer, a Hollywood film producer ( Harvard Man, Black and White and the forthcoming Loverboy , starring Kevin Bacon), is engaged to marry Sasha Lazard, a classically trained singer who calls her latest album, The Myth of Red , a mix of “electronic music, opera and Russian folk songs.”

Mr. Mailer, 39, is the fifth child of Norman Mailer, the writer and father of nine; his mother is Beverly Bentley, a former model on The Price Is Right . The golden-haired, pouty-lipped Ms. Lazard, who would admit only to being in her “early 30’s,” hails from the Lazard banking family. The wedding will be at her family’s summer home on Seven Hundred Acre Island in Maine. “It’s more like 640 acres,” she said.

The couple was speaking from a chauffeured car just outside the Holland Tunnel, on their way to São Paulo, Brazil, where Ms. Lazard was due to perform at the opening of a Bulgari store. They described how they met en route to Las Vegas, where there was a launch party for Cristina Greeven’s now-defunct magazine, Vegas File . Mr. Mailer, himself a Harvard man who was previously engaged to Donald Trump’s ex, Marla Maples, had written an article for the magazine; Ms. Lazard was slated to sing at the party. Stepping into first-class en route to the party, she got one look at his “very very beautiful, very kind, very very bright blue eyes” and the “very beautiful mole” on his left cheek and felt just … very very .

“I just thought she was this charismatic, stunning and mysterious-looking beauty,” Mr. Mailer said. “But, you know, we’re both a little shy, so we really didn’t talk that much.” (Another teensy impediment: Ms. Lazard had brought a “short-term” boyfriend on the trip.)

They met again the following year at Diane von Furstenberg’s studio, at a party celebrating Ms. Greeven’s engagement to Mario Cuomo’s son Chris, and again at that wedding. “There was this really cheesy wedding music,” Mr. Mailer said. “But it didn’t matter because we were generating our own music.”

Somehow, despite being educated at Nightingale-Bamford and Bennington, Ms. Lazard had-gasp!-never read anything by Norman Mailer. “But I went and picked up The Executioner’s Song pretty quickly after that,” she said.

After two years of dating, they moved into a Chelsea one-bedroom, where he cooks her breakfasts of fried tofu and onion ( yum ). “There’s a magnetism to her,” Mr. Mailer said, “an ethereal aura that just fascinates me and seduces me.”

“He lets me be myself,” Ms. Lazard said. “I’ve been with so many guys who’ve tried to pull me back in my career. I don’t know why men like Michael are so unusual.”

One starry night, he cajoled her on board a helicopter and they whirred on over to Brooklyn Heights, where the words “Will you marry me?” were spelled out in 32 feet of Christmas lights on the roof of Mr. Mailer’s old building. “My initial reaction was, ‘Why is there a “Will you marry me?” sign on the roof of your building?'” Ms. Lazard said.

Upon landing, he gave her a 3.5-diamond surrounded by two one-carat smaller ones set in platinum and then it was off to the River Café.

And what was Pa Mailer’s reaction? “He said he couldn’t recall ever proposing so elaborately,” his son said. “But then he said, ‘Maybe that’s why I’ve been married six times.'”

Carolyn Cantor and David Korins

Met: June 1998

Engaged: Dec. 24, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Dec. 20, 2003

Meet the Yule Jews! Carolyn Cantor and DavidKorinsarebothSemites unashamed to wallow in the materialistic muck of Chrismastime. Last Christmas Eve, he gave her a gift certificate for a massage, a selection of teas from around the world and a diamond surrounded by two baguettes set in platinum, weighing in at over two carats. Oh, holy night ….

“I asked Carolyn something to the effect of ‘If you married me … ‘, and she said, ‘You have to make this into a question, you know.’ I kind of flubbed it,” Mr. Korins said. Ms. Cantor remembers things differently. “Actually, what happened is that he hid the ring in the couch and then said, ‘I want you to take this, it’s the best present of all-me!'” she recalled. “Such a typical Leo: He loves himself.”

They met at the Williamstown Theater Festival during a production of Paul Rudnick’s The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told . He was assistant designer-“totally hot,” she said. She was assistant director-5-foot-8, blond, with a fair complexion he calls “the most beautiful skin in the world.” “I thought he was really cute, but I also thought he was really young,” said Ms. Cantor, 32. (Mr. Korins is 27.) “I remember he asked all these really great questions that made me think of the play in a new way. Like ‘What color is the play? What material is the play?'”

They went to the local pan-Asian joint, Chopsticks, and she told him about living with an Amish family while doing research for a PBS documentary. “She just struck me as an amazing person,” Mr. Korins said.

“I think he was nervous because we’re in the same field, and he’d just moved [to New York] and was trying to make his way on his own,” Ms. Cantor said. “He was apprehensive.” But astute enough to realize that one rent is cheaper than two. They moved to the East Village together last fall, a year after starting the Edge Theater Company, which this year produced Adam Rapp’s Stone Cold Dead Serious . Ms. Cantor is also currently directing an Off Broadway play called Now That’s What I Call a Storm while Mr. Korins toils on Winter Passing , a movie starring Elf ‘s peerless Will Farrell.

The bride will wear embroidered Reem Acra and the groom Armani when they are wed, on the first day of Hanukkah at the Angel Orensanz Foundation building, a secularized former synagogue on the Lower East Side. It’s a de rigueur party spot for Manhattan’s Yule Jews.

Lauren Apolito and Frank Bonura

Met: Jan. 30, 2003

Engaged: Aug. 30, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: May 2, 2004

Frank Bonura, 32, lives on Sutton Place, and his 36-year-old fiancée, Lauren Apolito, lives in Hell’s Kitchen. “He’s an East Side snob ,” she said. “Before we met, he’d never dated a girl from either the West Side or from below 14th Street. He called it the ‘no-fly zone.'”

“I guess you just feel comfortable with certain things,” Mr. Bonura said. “Some people like bars, some people like lounges. I like the East Side.”

They met during a networking party at the Rainbow Room, where guests wore colored badges indicating their occupation. Ms. Apolito, the vice president of business development at the Harry Fox Agency, an agency representing music publishers, was “green.” Mr. Bonura, an architect at Brennan Beer Gorman, was “gray.” But she found the swarthy, hazel-eyed bloke red-hot . “I hadn’t ever met an architect before!” she said. “I was very intrigued.”

Mr. Bonura took in her petite bod and brown eyes and got pretty excited himself. “There was something special about her from the beginning. It just felt right,” he said. “I mean, she didn’t look like she was from the West Side. West Siders are, like, bohemian.”

He demanded her number and punched it into his cell phone, announcing “You’re in there now! You’re No. 21!”

“I thought that was kind of weird,” Ms. Apolito said. “So I said, ‘Well, if I’m not No. 1, then forget it,’ and I turned on my heels.”

Intrigued by her sass, he called her from the bathroom at Go Sushi that very night, leaving a voice mail confirming that she was, in fact, “No. 1.” The next morning, he plowed home the point with a card and a dozen red roses. “When they saw the flowers, everyone at work was saying, ‘Oh, he’s such a player,” but I’d gotten the sense that he was genuine,” she said. “It was cheesy. But again, I was intrigued.”

On their first date at Cascina in Hell’s Kitchen, he charmed her with his knowledge of cabinetry-“I’d never met a man who knew so much about home décor,” she said-and by bringing Pup-a-roni dog treats for Jack, her seven-pound Chihuahua.

A whirlwind seven months after they’d met, Mr. Bonura took her in a rowboat on the lake in Central Park and stopped it under a bridge. “I was like, ‘Um, I feel like a troll. Can we move?'” Ms. Apolito recalled.

But then he pulled out a radiant-cut two-carat diamond in platinum. “He couldn’t get on one knee because we were in a boat, but I was so excited I almost tipped the thing over,” she said. “I was screaming to people in the middle of the lake, and so all these strangers rowed over to say ‘Congratulations!'”

The couple is debating where they’ll live following their wedding at the Westmont Country Club, near Ms. Apolito’s native North Caldwell, N.J. She thinks his current neighborhood is “boring”; Mr. Bonura calls hers “dirty.”

“I used to be a swinging East Side bachelor, and now I’m with a West Side girl with a small dog,” he’s fond of saying. “How the hell did this happen?”

Countdown to Bliss