Countdown to Bliss

Barbara Sigrid Allen and Merlin Meyer-Mitchell

Met: April 2002

Engaged: Aug. 1, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 7, 2004

Barbara Sigrid Allen, 32, a freelance opera singer (mezzo soprano), is engaged to Merlin Meyer-Mitchell, 30, a software developer who was named for the wizard in Mary Stewart’s fantasy trilogy. “The truth is, he’s just a geek,” trilled Ms. Allen. “I love the geeks.”

Let’s hope this turns out more The Marriage of Figaro than La Bohème ….

The couple met at a mutual friend’s puppet show in Soho. On the way to a group dinner afterwards, the six-foot Ms. Allen noticed that Mr. Meyer-Mitchell, a struggling actor, was not only shivering, but tall. “Like Rupert Everett, but straight,” she said. “I have a nose fetish, and he has a really great nose. I like good, long, solid noses. That, and brains.” She lent him her sparkly cardigan.

While eating at the Ear Inn, Ms. Allen and some other women began discussing a girls’ night out to see the lipstick-lesbian movie Kissing Jessica Stein . Mr. Mitchell eagerly invited himself along; the ladies insisted that he come in drag.

He suited up at Ms. Allen’s Chelsea apartment: orange wig, sequined zebra-striped halter top and bangle bracelet. “He’s just really game for anything,” she said. “That’s wonderful for me, because I’m like that, too.” It was a boisterous evening, documented by snapshots. “At the beginning, he was looking at this other girl, and at the end he was totally not,” she said. “It was really cute.”

He first kissed her after her 30th-birthday picnic in Central Park, when they got lost together in the Ramble. “It was kind of an unconscious Zen New York moment,” Ms. Allen said.

During their courtship, they attended a lot of other people’s weddings. Some bachelors might’ve been spooked by this, but Mr. Meyer-Mitchell just kept thinking, I love spending time with this woman .

Ms. Allen was browsing though a jewelry sale at Macy’s when she came across a sunburst-style ring that looked like Princess Di’s, with a blue sapphire and 16 star diamonds. She immediately dialed Mr. Meyer-Mitchell’s cell phone. “I think you better get down here,” she said. Luckily, he had just abandoned acting and taken a job at a software firm.

That weekend, they drove up to visit her mother in Wood’s Hole. Ms. Allen fell asleep in the passenger seat, and Mr. Meyer-Mitchell took a surreptitious detour to the nearby Lighthouse at Nobska Point, where Ms. Allen’s father’s ashes had been scattered after he died almost 20 years earlier. Walking along the water‘s edge, he called out, asking her dad to give a sign if he objected to this marriage. No hail. No locusts. He dropped to one knee.

“It was so lovingly done,” Ms. Allen said.

Less than two weeks later, the couple found a two-bedroom brownstone apartment in Jersey City (the new Williamsburg), with a bathtub “big enough for two people if they’re friendly,” as Mr. Meyer-Mitchell put it. Rub-a-dub-dub!

They’ll be married at a church in Falmouth, Mass., with a reception to follow at the Woods Hole Golf Club. The bride will sport an ivory-satin Paula Varsalova gown with a dramatic cathedral-length veil and a melodious new moniker: “Barbara Sigrid Allen Meyer-Mitchell,” she said, singing it to the tune of “John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith.”

Michael Christopher Carroll and Betty Leyva

Met: December 2002

Engaged: June 4, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Jan. 22, 2005

Michael Carroll and Betty Leyva met while touring the library of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, the white-shoe firm where both had recently taken staff jobs. But Ms. Leyva found the baby-faced Mr. Carroll “Eddie Haskell–ish,” and he thought she, an elegant brunette, was aloof. Oh, gee-it’s that one , he thought after they were assigned to share an office.

Before long, though, Mr. Carroll, 32, discovered a vibrant intellectual behind Ms. Leyva’s stately good manners, and she started to see him as a smart go-getter rather than a goofball: a guy who’d run for state legislature in Nassau County (O.K., so he lost); had written an exposé of Plum Island, the secret United States biological research facility off of Long Island ( Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory , William Morrow); and was still getting phone calls from his former employer (one Mario Cuomo). “I was wondering, ‘Who is this kid?'” said Ms. Leyva, who declined to state her age. “He has incredible energy. His brain never stops working.”

Within two months, Mr. Carroll left Paul Weiss to take a job as general counsel at a financial firm. He stayed in touch with his old office mate, though they were both dating other people. By summer, however, this was no longer the case. One night, after watching The Majestic in his apartment on East 53rd Street, they shared a passionate kiss.

Their first official date was at Bond Street, where an overly friendly fellow diner-“this little turd from Washington, D.C.,” Mr. Carroll said-dropped off his number at the table for Ms. Leyva. “I was like, ‘Am I not doing a good job here?'” said the disgruntled attorney. “I thought we were on a date .”

The great blackout of 2003 hurried matters along. On their way to meet each other, Mr. Carroll and Ms. Leyva both ran into their exes, prompting a mutual epiphany. “There were all these people who had been in our lives, but what was most important was each other,” Ms. Leyva said.

Mr. Carroll, meanwhile, loved that his honey not only knew her way around a brief, but wasn’t above running out for ice cream in her jammies. “She’s just sort of right for every moment,” he said, adding meditatively: “We weren’t pushed on each other. It grew entirely out of happenstance.”

That winter, she moved from her Upper West Side studio into his one-bedroom co-op, and one night the following summer she found that bedroom filled with bouquets of sunflowers, tulips, orchids and a path of rose petals leading up the bed to Clyde, a stuffed beagle her roomie had owned since he was 3. With Clyde as their “witness,” Mr. Carroll plunged to one knee, giving Ms. Leyva a ring with a round-cut solitaire weighing more than two carats. Motion to accept!

The couple celebrated at that old standby, One if by Land, Two if by Sea-“I don’t think I even ate,” she said-and are planning a small wedding in Marina Del Rey, Calif., where Ms. Leyva’s parents live, and a honeymoon in Bora Bora. When they get back, they’ll host a sure-to-be-wild party at the Women’s National Republican Club in midtown, where Ms. Leyva is a member.

Carrie Elliott and H. Michael Rovner

Met: April 26, 2001

Engaged: October 2003

Projected Wedding Date: July 17, 2004

O Canada! Mike Rovner, 33, the blue-eyed, long-lashed, gregarious news editor at Folio magazine, is marrying foxy brunette Carrie Elliott, 29, a former coat-check girl who manages a private art collection in her hometown of Toronto.

The couple met as Mr. Rovner, something of a media gadabout, was exiting a Condé Nast Traveler Gold List party (Boy George was D.J.-ing) at Town in the Chambers Hotel. Ms. Elliott had misplaced his scruffy corduroy jacket and invited him into her coatroom to paw through the garments there. She found him “very striking …. He has a real personality that comes across immediately,” she said. They struck up a conversation and exchanged numbers after realizing they lived around the corner from one another in Williamsburg.

Mr. Rovner called the next day, and the pair went on a walk through their hipster-luxe nabe, sipping iced coffees and sharing a chocolate-chip cookie. “It was so not New York–sceney,” she said. “It seemed really honest and genuine.”

Theirs was a Brooklyn romance: picnics in Prospect Park, weekend jaunts to Coney Island …. “We joked that it was where we ‘summered,'” said Mr. Rovner, who was freelancing at the time for the New York Post .

Ms. Elliott, who had just graduated from Bard with a master’s in decorative arts, tried to help her new boyfriend convert his shower into an outdoor shower. At this stage of the relationship, everything felt “very possible and exciting,” he explained. Their videotape of this ill-fated project, One Idea and a Scrappy Shower , was later shown at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater as a send-up of home-improvement programs. (Mr. Rovner wound up paying a plumber about $1,500 to undo the job.)

That wasn’t the only glitch they faced. Ms. Elliott moved to Toronto, her hometown, in the fall, and the couple was on again and off again until she moved back to New York for a few months of blissful cohabitation. When Ms. Elliott returned to Toronto, the now thoroughly lovestruck Mr. Rovner promptly started hinting at marriage.

He flew up there for an autumn weekend-a time when the foliage is simply smashing-and staged a couple of fakeouts (bending down to tie his shoelaces, then gazing up at her lovingly- psych! ) before proposing for real: bounding out of bed after a nap, dropping to one knee and handing over an engagement ring with a large round diamond donated by his 81-year-old maternal grandmother, who’d had it converted into a cocktail ring in 1975. Mr. Rovner suggested that Ms. Elliott alter the chunky piece to her tastes, but she found it perfect just as it was.

They’ve purchased a one-bedroom in Clinton Hill and will settle there after their wedding at the Elliott family cottage in Muskoka, Ontario. The bride plans to arrive with her maid of honor in a speedboat piloted by her father across Muskoka Lake; she’ll wear a diaphanous Shelli Segal evening gown from Holt Renfrew (the Bergdorf Goodman of Toronto) and 1940’s-style boudoir slippers. “She’s very reserved and very, very proper,” Mr. Rovner said, “but at the same time she’s incredibly silly.” Countdown to Bliss