Countdown to Bliss

Anthony Coln and Elena Iaffa

Met: Jan. 30, 2001

Engaged: December 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 10, 2004

Moscow on the East River! Elena Iaffa, who emigrated from Russia eight years ago to pursue an M.B.A. at Baruch, plans to marry Anthony Coln, a Brooklyn-bred radiographer, at St. Mark’s Church. The wedding band will be placed on her right index finger, because Russians think it should be on the “dominant” hand.

In her mermaid-style, gold-flecked wedding gown from Demetrios Couture, Ms. Iaffa should look as come-hither as she did when Mr. Coln heeded her first siren call on the dance floor of the Lansky Lounge. “Something said, ‘Look toward your left,'” recalled the tall, slim Mr. Coln, 37, who had been on his way out the door of the Lower East Side boîte after a night helping a D.J. friend. “That’s when it happened.” He sashayed over to Ms. Iaffa, a petite brunette with big eyes, and began dancing with her to the thumping house music. “It was really inviting,” said Ms. Iaffa, 29, a marketing manager at DK Publishing. “He wasn’t pulling at me and tugging like some people that night.”

When Mr. Coln called a few days later, it dawned on him that his dance partner was not Latina, as he had thought. That’s not Spanish-that’s something else! he thought, taking in Ms. Iaffa’s slight accent.

On their first official date, at Velvet Lounge, he amused her by doing Russian imitations.

A few months later, they took a vacation together in Cancun. On the way home, Ms. Iaffa started worrying aloud that he was about to break up with her (Slavs tend to get a bit emotional). Fortunately, Mr. Coln read this mini-tantrum as “zaniness.”

“She has a flair for the dramatic,” he said. “I recognized it for what it was: that we had a good time and she didn’t want it to end.”

After a year of dating, Ms. Iaffa moved from her share on Ninth Street to a studio in Astoria, to which Mr. Coln moved a few months later. A subsequent trip to her homeland was a big success. “He got my grandfather to sing military songs,” Ms. Iaffa said. “He’s very charming. He charms everyone.”

Snuggled on their couch the next winter, with the first snow of the year fluttering romantically outside the window and a drained bottle of “Soviet champagne” at their side, Mr. Coln offered his paramour a large platinum-set ruby ring from DVVS, a modern jeweler in Chelsea. Ms. Iaffa was touched, having frequently told Mr. Coln that she thought diamonds were becoming too commonplace. “I know that he listened to me,” she said. “I know that he heard what I’m saying.” Enjoy it while it lasts, sweetie ….

During their wedding reception, at the restaurant Provence in Soho, the couple will smash their glasses for good luck, per Russian tradition, to rousing yelps of Prost! (cheers).

“We were born and raised in different worlds,” Ms. Iaffa said, “but it all came together in New York.”

Elizabeth Borod and Brian Wright

Met: October 2001

Engaged: Sept. 30, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 14, 2004

There must be something in the water over there at Folio magazine. Liz Borod, 26, an associate editor there, is following her colleague Michael Rovner (see last week’s Love Beat) into wedlock. Ms. Borod’s Mr. Right is Brian Wright, 29, an equity research associate at Bear Stearns. Who’s next-Simon Dumenco?

The couple met amidst a panicked crowd in Washington, D.C.’s Union Station. Anthrax had just been discovered in the Capitol, and plenty of anxious people were trying to flee town. Mr. Wright, a Midwesterner with a friendly smile and sparkling hazel eyes, approached Ms. Borod, a comely brunette, and asked if his ticket was valid for an earlier train. She told him no and advised him to get another. “I thought he was cute,” she said. “I wanted to look out for him.”

Mr. Wright scurried over to the ticket window, then tracked down Ms. Borod on the Metroliner and boldly seized the seat next to her. They proceeded to chit-chat for the entire three-and-a-half hour trip into Penn Station. He told her he was from Omaha, Neb. “That somewhat floored me,” said Ms. Borod, a born-and-bred New Yorker. Before disembarking, she forked over her number- chugga chugga choo choo!

Their first date was at the (now-defunct) Russian Tea Room, where Ms. Borod, like most born-and-bred New Yorkers, had never been. “I liked her a lot, so I wanted to make a good impression,” Mr. Wright said. And soon enough, he was playing Vronsky to her Anna.

Make that Kevin Federline to her Britney: After Ms. Borod tore a knee ligament playing tennis on Cape Cod, Mr. Wright nursed her back to health, letting her stay at his place when she couldn’t make it up the stairs to her Upper West Side apartment and walking her through her rehabilitation exercises. “He was a great caretaker,” she gushed.

The young man was particularly moved after meeting her paternal grandfather, who praised Ms. Borod’s “incredible spirit.”

“I knew just what he was talking about,” Mr. Wright said. “She’s very enthusiastic. She just has an excitement about life about her.”

They moved into a modern one-bedroom in Chelsea together. When they went to a friend’s black-tie wedding, Mr. Wright told Ms. Borod it made more sense for him to buy a tuxedo than to rent one for a friend’s black-tie wedding, sending her heart all aflutter.

He finally proposed after dinner at a classy Italian restaurant called Campo de Fiori in Vail, Colo: coming around to her chair, lowering himself to one knee and presenting a squeal-provoking emerald-cut diamond ring with three channel-set baguettes on either side of the stone. Mama mia!

The next day, her mother went over to the University Club to book the ceremony, to which Ms. Borod will wear a white empire-waisted gown with floral-patterned beading by Reem Acra.

She and Mr. Wright recently moved again, to her childhood ‘hood, the Upper East Side-you’re not in Omaha anymore, honey ….

“When you think of the odds … ,” mused the bride-to-be. “That’s what gets me.”

Stephen Echikson and Tracy Scammell

Met: November 2000

Engaged: June 28, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 23, 2004

When Dartmouth’s founders coined the motto Vox Clamantis in Deserto (the voice of one crying out in the wilderness), could they ever have guessed it might apply to a restless single girl in Hoboken, N.J.?

Class of 1992 Dartmouth grad Tracy Scammell, a self-described “go-getter,” had been dating a fair amount in the New York City area, with little luck. With an eye toward relocating, she decided to visit a girlfriend in San Francisco, who brought her to a dot-com office party (needless to say, this was before the big crasheroo). Among the eligible bachelors present was Stephen Echikson, a business developer working at, a Web site for the armed services. He was 5-foot-10, with sandy hair and a picture of Ms. Scammell’s alma mater above his desk. “When I saw Dartmouth Hall, I knew I had my in,” she said.

Though he had a date after the party (“I knew it wasn’t going anywhere but couldn’t get out of it,” he said), Mr. Echikson, class of ’97, was thoroughly bowled over by the leggy, blond Ms. Scammell. “She was so stunning, I was fairly speechless,” he said. Soon, however, the two were happily talking Ivy.

The conversation continued the next night at her hostess’ house, where they learned they were both from the East Coast (he from South Orange, N.J., she from Westhampton), bonding over tri-state area nostalgia for WPIX programming and a shared love of cartoons from the 70’s, specifically SuperFriends . “It wasn’t so much what he said,” Ms. Scammell said. “The chemistry was just sort of overwhelming.”

So much so that it drew Ms. Scammell, along with her 120-pound Great Pyrenees, Ike, to relocate out West in a matter of months. After two years of crunchy Bay Area cohabitation, Mr. Echikson drove her to Tilden Park, dropped to one knee and busted out a sparkly three-diamond and platinum ring totaling a little over three carats. “I spent months researching the three c’s,” he said.

“He said a bunch of things I can’t remember now,” Ms. Scammell said, “but I do remember feeling dorky, ’cause my voice came out all high when I answered him.”

Luckily, she had held onto her 900-square-foot condo in Hoboken, to which they returned in November 2003. Mr. Echikson, 29, has joined his family’s paper-manufacturing business, while Ms. Scammell, 34, will keep the connubial medicine cabinets well-stocked as a senior product manager for Robitussin.

The bride will wear a dress designed by Melissa Sweet to their wedding in Westhampton. “I just want people to have fun and get drunk ,” said Ms. Scammell, who was recently not chosen as a contestant for The Apprentice 2 but rationalizes in hindsight that the experience would have interfered with her wedding planning.

“She’s larger than life,” Mr. Echikson said. “I remain in awe of her.”

-Sara Vilkomerson Countdown to Bliss