Countdown to Bliss

Matt Heindl and Breck Hostetter

Met: October 2000

Engaged: July 1, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: July 10, 2004

“It’s the land of the hot art chicks!” proclaimed Matt Heindl as he surveyed Thread Waxing Space, an art-exhibition studio and performance venue in Soho. He decided to book it for the launch party of AllTrue.com, the Jackass meets Girls Gone Wild streaming-video Internet start-up where he worked in marketing.

Breck Hostetter (named for the shampoo-long story) was one of the space’s and was unenthused about All-True employees. “It seemed such a lame company,” she said.

The day after the Miller High Life–soaked blowout, Ms. Hostetter faxed Mr. Heindl an itemized list of everything that had been broken and how much she and her fellow “chicks” had to be reimbursed. Whiny little artists , he thought.

Months passed. Mr. Heindl, a Wisconsin native raised on a rabbit farm, went to Kettle of Fish on Christopher Street to watch a Green Bay Packers game and was surprised to find Ms. Hostetter-layered brown locks, expressive eyes, petite-sitting on a stool chugging a beer. “She was the only girl there under 200 pounds and without a mustache,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine what she was doing there.” Turned out she grew up in Green Bay and was one of those diehard Packers fans, complete with a collection of foam fingers. “I found the more I was in the art world, the more it felt very grounding to sit and watch a football game, because it’s such a different world,” she said.

The shaggy, bespectacled Mr. Heindl trotted out the “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” line.

“I always had thought he was kind of cute,” Ms. Hostetter admitted. “And then when I saw him there, I was like, Ooooh! “

Their first date was at Boston Market, the chicken chain. “I thought that’d be the true test-if I can lure a woman there,” said Mr. Heindl, 31. Ms. Hostetter, a vegetarian with two pet bunnies and a parakeet at home, said she adored the place’s corn. Score!

Web site, performance space and the two bunnies all eventually perished, but this couple was in business. “I just knew he was it , because he was so nice to my rabbits,” said Ms. Hostetter, 34.

He got a job as a marketing director at Heavy, an ad agency and entertainment Web-site portal; she became assistant director at the Dieu Donne Paper Mill; and they moved to bourgeois comfort in Williamsburg. One night after work, he opened their silverware drawer and extracted a Tiffany box containing an Elsa Peretti–designed platinum band inlayed with a small diamond.

Their nuptials will take place at a colonial church in Marblehead, Mass., near where Ms. Hostetter’s parents now live. Her dotted Swiss dress, the invitations, the seersucker table runners, and the napkins and coasters will all be homemade (you gotta love that Midwestern work ethic).

And at Lambeau Field, home stadium of the Packers, one brick now reads: “Breck Hostetter, marry me in 2004? Matt Heindl, NYC.”

Sarah Green and Mark Spatz

Met: March 2000

Engaged: Jan. 17, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Dec. 4, 2004

Sarah Green, 25, a securities litigator at Weil, Gotshal and Manges, comes from the Elle Woods school of law: Achieve justice and look totally cute while doing it! While still an undergrad at Columbia, she arrived for a tour of the University of Pennsylvania’s law school in knee-high boots and a tight skirt, and quickly found herself surrounded by a group of male law students eager to check out her habeas corpus.

The least appealing of the bunch was this “grungy” (her word) guy, Mark Spatz. “He doesn’t tuck his shirt in, has messy hair,” said Ms. Green, practically spitting. “He was wearing cargo shorts! ” Say no more, sister …. Nor was Mr. Spatz particularly overwhelmed. “She seemed like a typical J.A.P., for lack of a better term,” he said.

But after she matriculated at U. Penn in the fall, the two found themselves strolling the Quad together a few times. “They were very forced dates,” Ms. Green said.

Theirs was a bland, brief coupling. “People would make jokes about seeing me walk down the street with her,” Mr. Spatz said. “She’d be dressed very prepared, and I’d be wearing whatever I could find on the floor.”

But the following year, he called again unexpectedly.

“It was like he was kind of bored again and liked me ‘enough,'” Ms. Green said. “It wasn’t a crazy, passionate attraction or anything.” But on New Year’s Eve, after a good game of Scrabble and a few glasses of wine, she realized that hey, maybe craziness and passion were overrated. “I wore sweats!” she marveled. ” Sweats! On a date! I’d never done that before.”

After graduation she joined him in Manhattan, where he’d gotten a job in general litigation at Kaye Scholer, and they moved into a Gramercy Park triplex with plenty of closets for her clothes and floor space for his.

Ms. Green began arguing the case for wedlock like the pro that she is. “She was bothering me and pressuring me, constantly saying, ‘When is it going to happen?'” said Mr. Spatz, 26.

They were walking to go see the movie Big Fish when he bent down-the ol’ “I gotta tie my shoe” maneuver-then reached up and asked Ms. Green if she could hold something. It was a round diamond with pear side stones in a platinum band. “I was like, ‘Oh my God!'” she said. “I had no idea.” (Otherwise she never would’ve been wearing jeans, sneakers and a North Face parka, natch.)

They’ll be married at the Crystal Plaza in Short Hills, N.J., near Ms. Green’s hometown. “I clean up good!” Mr. Spatz promised.

Erica Cohen and Rob Rosenfeld

Met: Jan. 1, 2002

Engaged: Jan. 1, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: December 2004

Erica Cohen, a senior publicist of national publicity for MGM, is very careful about what she puts into her mouth. “Pizza and hamburgers,” she said. “Those are the only things I’ll eat. Oh, and I’ll eat lettuce. But only if it’s with chicken.”

So when her boyfriend Rob Rosenfeld announced that he was going to make a tofu dish to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their meeting, she was none too pleased. When he threw some pineapple and soy sauce into the pan, it nearly set off her gag reflex. “The apartment smelled so bad,” said the freckled, strawberry-blond Ms. Cohen, 32, whimpering at the memory. “And then he garnished the plate with capers ! I just started to cry.”

“Would I give you a plate with nothing you like on it?” Mr. Rosenfeld then asked.

Through her tears, Ms Cohen spotted a special delicacy perched on a tofu slab-a radiant diamond with trillions, set in platinum-and suddenly she regained her appetite. She wiped the band clean, slipped it on the fourth finger of her left hand, and then the two of them went to dine at Firenze. “I’m good with Italian food,” she said. “It’s normal. ” Not for Chinese people, it ain’t!

She first met Mr. Rosenfeld, a vice president of management reporting at Nomura Securities, at a New Year’s Eve party at the crowd-pleasing Citrus Bar and Grill. He was 6-foot-1, with eyes of hazel and a certain appendage that looked good enough to eat. “My nose,” explained Mr. Rosenfeld, also 32. “It’s prominent. She says to me, ‘You’re either Italian or Jewish,’ and so I told her my name was Primo Rosenfeld.”

He ended up sleeping over at her studio apartment that night, but they both swear there was no hanky-panky, only talk. “Really, that’s all we did,” Ms. Cohen said. (And we believe her, because publicists never lie …. )

The next day, the big fella continued to lounge around.

“Maybe he’s homeless ,” suggested Ms. Cohen’s sister on the phone.

Well, no-but he was living with a bunch of roommates in Spanish Harlem and having trouble saying good-bye to her studio’s luxurious, clean marble bathroom.

Mr. Rosenfeld and his wok moved in two months later, and by the end of the year the couple had bought an Upper East Side two-bedroom, where they spend a lot of time snuggling and watching The Bachelorette . “Anything we do together is, most of the time, great-and at the very least, tolerable,” he said.

“He makes me a better person-I mean it,” Ms. Cohen said. “I used to be a big drama queen. Where he’d see good in a situation, I’d see drama. But he’s put an end to that.”

They’re envisioning one of those intimate “destination” weddings, but the cuisine probably won’t match the exotic setting. “If we do it her way, there will be a salad bar and chicken done 75 bland ways,” Mr. Rosenfeld said with resignation. “I’m never going to get to eat Thai food again.”

Countdown to Bliss