Countdown to Bliss

Adam Cabezas and Tia Williams

Met: May 2002

Engaged: April 9, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: June 12, 2004

Tia Williams, 28, the willowy beauty director of Teen People and author of the forthcoming romance novel Accidental Diva , is marrying Adam Cabezas, 29, an information-technologies administrator at the N.Y.U. School of Medicine. “We’re opposites,” she said. “He’s a definite ‘boy’-loves sports, loves running around outside with his friends, likes movies with blood. And I’m this moody writer! I like sitting around and reading and going to the Angelika. But somehow, it works.”

Ms. Williams, a total fox with café-au-lait-colored skin and bright eyes, used to favor artsy boyfriends, until that dim day when she was dumped by a poet. “A creative type should never be with another creative type,” she said. “Horrible-only one drama queen at a time, please.” So when a friend wanted to set her up with a photographer, she was understandably wary.

The shutterbug took her to Etoile-and committed the fatal error of inviting along his roommate, Mr. Cabezas, a half-Dominican, half-Panamanian Benjamin Bratt look-alike with thick, dark brown hair and a cute little goatee. Guess who wound up salsa-ing all night long?

“He was just such a good dancer and was so cute!” Ms. Williams gushed. ” Sooooooo cute!” And “he was so humble. I was like, ‘Oh my God-this guy has no idea how cute he is!'”

“I’m usually kind of shy when I first meet someone. I’m no ladies’ man,” Mr. Cabezas said.

“It turned out it was just his line,” Ms. Williams said. “He said that to all the girls. Whatever. It worked!”

He began joining her on Rollerblades when she’d walk her kitten, Stevie, on a leash (yes, she’s one of those people) around her Fort Greene neighborhood. When he kissed her, she said, “it was so electric that I turned around and walked to the wrong brownstone.”

A few months later he moved in, and the two began enjoying Real World marathons and ice-cream sodas together. “I’m high-maintenance and stressed, but he can always bring me down,” Ms. Williams said. “He’s lithium.” Unfortunately, Stevie lost his own status as a stress reliever: He kept weeing on Mr. Cabezas’ side of the bed ( me-ow! ) and was eventually deported to a friend’s house nearby.

The catless couple was vacationing in Puerto Rico, snuggling on a dock, when Mr. Cabezas pulled out the ring-a 0.9-carat solitaire set in platinum that he’d been hiding in his Rollerblade for several months. “I started doing the running man,” Ms. Williams said.

“I just wanted her to sit down,” Mr. Cabezas said. “The ring wasn’t insured yet, and we were right on the water.”

They’ll be married at the McNair Officers’ Club on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., near the bride’s hometown of Fairfax, Va. The bridesmaids will wear “sparkly, golden-coral”-colored gowns with custom-made matching Urban Decay nail polish. Ms. Williams plans to do her own maquillage … and perhaps a couple of touch-ups on the groom as well. “She’s always playing with my hair and trying to put makeup on me, but I won’t let her-except maybe cover-up,” said Mr. Cabazas, who confessed that he’s now addicted to body washes and lotions from Kiehl’s.

“Once you use shower gels,” he said, “you can never go back to regular soap.”

Peter Colavito and Deirdre Schifeling

Met: August 1999

Engaged: March 2, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Feb. 14, 2004

When Peter Colavito was interviewing replacements for his job as director of a training institute for community organizers in Brooklyn, there was one particularly spirited candidate, a rosy-cheeked union organizer named Deirdre Schifeling, who told him he’d been working young people too hard for not enough money. “You don’t retain staff by treating them like shit!” she declared.

Needless to say, Ms. Schifeling didn’t get that job. But when she began a gig at the Working Families Party in Boerum Hill, it turned out that Mr. Colavito’s new employer, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), was in the same building. She flushed when the two crossed paths again, then quickly realized the swarthy, cherubic Mr. Colavito didn’t remember their incendiary interview. “I mean, I remember having that conversation with someone,” he said. “I just didn’t remember her.” Just what a girl wants to hear!

They were both seeing other people at the time, but he found the gazelle-like activist beautiful and intense. “The earliest memory I have is sitting in her office in a meeting while she was on the phone, and she was scathingly but lovingly reprimanding someone who’d stood her up for a meeting or something,” he said. “She was methodically and relentlessly taking them apart, but in a warm way, and I was like, ‘Wow, I could fall in love with this woman!'”

Ms. Schifeling, 29, was a bit more skeptical. “I thought he was smart, but I also thought he was charming, which made me not trust him,” she said.

By February 2002, they were no longer working in the same building but learned through mutual friends that they were both single. So they arranged to meet at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope.

“It was very nerve-wracking,” Ms. Schifeling said. But it went well, and they spent a delightful Fourth of July weekend vacationing in Ontario, biking through vineyards and singing Bob Dylan songs at the top of their lungs. “After that trip, I was like, ‘I’m done-cashing out. No more dating for me!'” said Mr. Colavito, 33.

One day after visiting his Grandma Colavito in West-chester, he pulled over the car at Orchard Beach in the Bronx and gingerly broached the topic of marriage. “It was a sweet proposal, but it was hard to understand,” Ms. Schifeling said. “He was just meandering. I was like, ‘Either he’s breaking up with me or we’re getting engaged.'”

The two both have plush new jobs: She’s the director of minority information services for the State Senate Democrats, and he’s chief of staff to City Councilman Bill de Blasio, who represents six Brooklyn neighborhoods, including the yuppie troika of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. Theirs will be a thoroughly Brooklyn-centric wedding at the Picnic House in Prospect Park. Catering by Movable Feast. Rings from the Clay Pot.

Last week, the feisty Ms. Schifeling managed to fling her silver-and-topaz engagement band across their Carroll Gardens apartment, knocking out the stone. “It was an accident-I swear!” she said. “I hope it’s not a bad sign.”

Mr. Colavito said her forceful persona turns him on. “She’s incredibly loving, but righteously angry,” he said. “She just has such a clear idea about what’s right and wrong, and I find it so sexy.”

Michael Levin and Jenny Rubinfeld

Met: Oct. 13, 2002

Engaged: Dec. 19, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 2, 2004

On the first night of Hanukkah, Harper’s Bazaar fashion writer Jenny Rubinfeld, 28, returned home to her West Village duplex with visions of her venture-capitalist snookums wearing the gray velour Juicy Couture leisure suit she’d gotten him dancing in her head.

She opened the door and found the place candlelit and littered with rose petals and mixed-flower bouquets. “I was like, ‘I think I should go change my clothes,” she said.

But there wasn’t time. All of a sudden the boyfriend, Michael Levin, bounded up and presented her with a hand-stitched leather-bound book. The couple’s initials were embossed on the cover, and inside, every single e-mail they had ever exchanged-fights, forwards, billets-doux-was printed on fine, cream-colored paper. Ms. Rubinfeld flipped to the final page and found an e-mail with the subject header “The most important email of all.” The text read: “Will you marry me?” Awwww .

The ring, a large cushion-cut stone in a platinum setting surrounded by smaller diamonds, was designed by Martin Katz. A similar Katz ring had appeared on Ashley Judd’s left hand on the cover of the April 2001 Harper’s Bazaar , and Ms. Rubinfeld had made a point of telling Mr. Levin how much she’d liked it. “When I got to my knee, she was going, ‘No way! No way!'” he said. “It was the best night of my life.”

Proposal completed, he swept her off to dine at Chanterelle (but not before unwrapping the leisure suit, which he claims to wear “all the time”).

The couple were fixed up by a male friend whom Ms. Rubinfeld had known since her Connecticut childhood and Mr. Levin had met after Wharton. “Successful! Smart! Jewish!” was the line on the dark-haired Mr. Levin, who is 31.

“And I kept hearing, ‘You have to meet this girl! She’s amazing!’ And I was like, ‘Eh, I’m not interested in blind dates,'” he said. “But then he’s like, ‘Trust me, you’re going to regret this-and you’ll be back asking me about her again in six months.”

It was true.

Their first date was a chaste Sunday-night drink at Orsay that ended before 9. Unbeknownst to both, Ms. Rubinfeld’s mother and sister were peeking through the window. “They saw he was totally cute, and me laughing and smiling,” she said. “I liked his boyishness and that he wasn’t too vain.”

Every date for the next six months, he’d go pick her up in her studio on the Upper East Side, hauling ass from his pad in the Village. “It was such a hard subway commute!” said Ms. Rubinfeld, who eventually moved in with him downtown. (Their wedding, however, will be at the Carlyle.)

You can take a girl out of Bloomies, but only for a great looking guy. “She’s helping me ‘adapt’ to her ways,” Mr. Levin said. “Like if we go shopping, she’ll be like: ‘Well, maybe instead of Levi’s you should try Marc Jacobs, because I get a discount.’ Or: ‘Look at these Prada shoes!’ I can’t even tell you where she has me getting my hair cut now.”

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