Countdown to Bliss

Kathleen Conkey and Elizabeth Savicz

Met: July 2, 2003

Engaged: April 5, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 2, 2004

When Kathleen Conkey and Elizabeth Savicz met for dinner and drinks with mutual friends at Pipa, the tapas nook tucked inside ABC Carpet & Home, they got the kind of frisson that usually only happens during the store’s winter clearance sale. “It was a perfect moment,” said Ms. Conkey, 46, a media and entertainment lawyer for CBS who can thank Irish–Native American heritage for her striking bone structure.

“Because we’re over 30 and we live in New York City, I think we were reluctant to admit it was love at first sight, ” said Ms. Savicz, 39, a public-school teacher in Red Hook, Brooklyn, who commutes from the West Village. And, technically, it wasn’t: The two women had been aware of each other since the 1980’s. “I’d see her in the neighborhood and think she was this gorgeous, untouchable kind of person,” Ms. Savicz said. “She has the kind of face you only need to see once to never forget.”

Ms. Savicz is no slouch herself, with deep, clear brown eyes and a body toned from daily five-mile runs. “She’s beautiful and sexy and stylish,” said Ms. Conkey. “As good a reason as any to stay away from her.”

Their first real date started promisingly, with a lively dinner at Jane Restaurant, then quickly imploded after Ms. Conkey turned down Ms. Savicz’s invitation for an after-dinner drink. “I walked her home and we had a disastrous first kiss,” the former groaned. “I don’t know what happened. We just sort of missed, our teeth clinked together-everything was off!”

“Oh yes, the kiss was horrible,” Ms. Savicz agreed. “I was feeling dejected …. I didn’t know what was happening.”

The next day, Ms. Conkey called to apologize for the subpar smooch. “You have to give me a chance to redeem myself,” she begged.

“It’s everything that I love about Kathleen,” Ms. Savicz said. “She’s so open and she’ll tell you everything that she’s feeling.”

They hurtled headfirst into a committed relationship: hiking, biking and tending to the 93 acres (containing nine separate gardens) at Ms. Conkey’s country house in the Catskills. “I knew within the first three months of being with her that I wanted it to be for forever,” Ms. Savicz said.

The couple mulled making a pilgrimage to the mass marriages while in San Francisco, but the plan fell through, and Ms. Conkey simply dropped to one knee after they went shopping for matching gold bands at Tiffany. They were declared domestic partners in New York City on July 23 and are planning a nominal ceremony in front of about 50 people at Ms. Conkey’s aforementioned Catskills spread, with original vows and a refreshing absence of white bridal froufrou. “We just want to look hot,” Ms. Savicz said.

Recently, Ms. Conkey and her 15-year-old cat, Carmelita, moved from their apartment in Chelsea to the place Ms. Savicz shares with her 15-year-old cats, Gaby and Moon. “Typical lesbian love story, right?” Ms. Savicz joked.

“We’re hoping because all the cats are female, it might work out. The same sex gets along better,” Ms. Conkey said. “At least that’s how it works with Liz and me.”

David Brinker and Elyse Kazam

Met: 1997

Engaged: March 26, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 1, 2005

It was easy for Elyse Kazam to introduce entertainment consultant David Brinker into her life: She’s never had a steady who didn’t share his first name. “I’ve had seven Davids in my life,” giggled the fetching, brunette Ms. Kazam, 28, who develops pay packages for Time Warner executives and is quite a package herself, if you know what we mean. “All of my serious boyfriends have been named David,” she said. “It’s sort of biblical.”

Indeed, Ms. Kazam first met Mr. Brinker while dating a pal of his-another David-right after she’d graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and moved to New York City. Five years (and yet another David) later, they reconnected while waiting for the bathroom at a mutual friend’s Halloween party on Bleecker Street. The aptly named Ms. Kazam was wearing boxing shorts, a tank top and headgear-a costume that would prove prophetic. “When she and I get into an argument, she’s not afraid to back up against a wall and come back swinging, so she’s a good match for me,” said Mr. Brinker, 30.

He had dropped about 50 pounds training for triathalons since they’d last seen each other, and was flaunting his new physique in a Hugh Hefner–esque bathrobe.

A few days later, they met for beers at the Auction House bar in Yorkville, near the apartment Ms. Kazam was sharing with a roommate. Mr. Brinker left a briefcase in the cab on the way home and immediately phoned his date to commiserate. “He is big on calling,” she said. “He’s a big talker.”

She moved into his modern one-bedroom on East 57th Street after her roomie jumped ship. Situation comedy alert: Mr. Brinker lives a few floors below his maternal grandmother, Adele. “When I was first dating him and would spend the night, we would bump into her, which was kind of uncomfortable,” Ms. Kazam said.

One Friday, after dinner at a vegetarian Korean place of her choice, Mr. Brinker got a “phone call” telling him that two out-of-town friends of his had just gotten engaged.

He suddenly whisked his sweetie to the W Union Square, telling her that both of the friends were inside a room he’d gotten for them. “I just had, like, zero clue,” Ms. Kazam said.

The room had views and a vase overflowing with roses. Mr. Brinker mumbled something about this amounting to a “vacation for the two of us.” Then he vanished, reappearing with a gigantic 1900’s miner’s-cut diamond in a pavé setting.

” Nooo! ” exclaimed Ms. Kazam.

“She was really confused,” Mr. Brinker said.

They are currently trying to plan a New York City wedding. “It’s incredibly hard-he has like a bazillion friends,” Ms. Kazam said. Not to mention that Mr. Brinker’s line of work often takes him out of town during the week. “I don’t worry about her, because she’s got a career,” he said of his bride-to-be. “I love her drive to have a life of its own.”

Jonathan Koplovitz and Cathy Lin

Met: June 7, 2003

Engaged: May 1, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: May 14, 2005

“How you ladies doing tonight?” said Jonathan Koplovitz. The place was the Taj Lounge on 21st Street, and the target of his come-on was Cathy Lin, who was hanging out there with a bunch of her pals.

“I thought he was just another sleazy guy in a bar,” remembered Ms. Lin, 27, a consultant for MetLife who resembles the ass-kicking Lucy Liu. “I don’t remember what I actually said, but I know I was pretty mean.”

Yet Mr. Koplovitz, who resembles the nebbishy Ben Stiller, was undeterred. “He wouldn’t go away,” she said. “He stayed even after all his friends left. And he danced to hip-hop! He’s really cute but … let’s just say he’s not really the hip-hop-dancing type.”

“I wore her down,” said Mr. Koplovitz, 35, a banker with the Blackstone Group.

“My friends were like, ‘Get away from that guy!'” Ms. Lin said. But she decided to reward his efforts with her phone number (no fool, Mr. Koplovitz called immediately to check that it was real).

They had their first official date 10 days later at Brasserie. Ms. Lin showed up a diva-esque 30 minutes late, “looking absolutely beautiful,” said Mr. Koplovitz, who’d been nervously waiting at the bar, clad in a suit.

“I had never seen him in a suit before,” said Ms. Lin-somewhat obviously, since this was only the second time they’d met. “He seemed so mature and self-assured.” After their upscale bistro meal, he walked her home to the Upper East Side, depositing a smooch at the door.

Over the next 11 months, they slowly but surely became inseparable. If Ms. Lin wasn’t serenading Mr. Koplovitz on the harp she keeps in her apartment, they were taking romantic walks in Tribeca (he has a 2,000-square-foot loft on Duane Park, to which she’ll move following their wedding at Cipriani 42nd Street). There were ski trips to Chamonix and a romantic weekend in Napa Valley. When the couple began planning a summer trip to Paris, Ms. Lin started to anticipate a proposal. “I knew he was up to something,” she said.

But for some reason, her antennae were down the night he oh-so-spontaneously suggested they walk into Bouley and try to get a table.

It just so happened that the restaurant had something available-and in the center of the room, yet.

“I thought I was totally hosed,” Mr. Koplovitz said.

A waiter brought over complimentary champagne. Ms. Lin remained oblivious. “I was still thinking it was going to be Paris,” she said. Mais non ….

At the end of the four-star dinner, two telltale silver platters arrived at the table. Under the lid of Ms. Lin’s was a velvet box and the words “Will You Marry Me?” spelled out in chocolate. Mr. Koplovitz lunged forth on one knee before the tolerant, moneyed gaze of the other Bouley diners and uncorked a two-carat diamond in a platinum band that her older sister had helped him select at Graff. After some confusion about which finger the thing went on, Ms. Lin spelled the word Y-E-S on his plate. (We’re sure the dishwashers were charmed …. )

“And then we went home, and he passed out,” she laughed, “and I stayed up all night staring at my ring.”

Countdown to Bliss