Countdown to Bliss

Colin Miner and Amy Solomonson

Met: May 1, 2003

Engaged: Nov. 3, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 5, 2004

Colin Miner is one of Manhattan’s many pack rats. “He collects things-he has thousands of books,” said his fiancée and roommate, Amy Solomonson, 34, a senior communications manager for NYC & Company, the city’s tourism marketing outfit.

One night Ms. Solomonson came home, exhausted from a week prepping for a stressful press conference, to find Mr. Miner waiting with a homemade surprise: a special scrapbook containing movie-ticket stubs, playbills, party invitations, etc., from their six months of courtship, each page annotated with the date and a brief description. “I was so tired that I didn’t even really think about it,” she said.

“I had been saving everything,” said Mr. Miner, 37.

On the last page of the book, he had pasted an envelope reading “What’s Next.” Inside was a round diamond in a white-gold antique setting, an heirloom from his maternal grandmother. The next morning, Ms. Solomonson went to work with the ring on her finger, and her boss-former Rudy Giuliani attaché Cristyne Nicholas-announced the engagement at the press conference.

They’ll be married on the New York medallion under the pergola at Central Park’s Conservatory Garden. Guests will then be conveyed by double-decker bus to Ouest, on the Upper West Side, the site of their first date. The couple will honeymoon in St. John. “I just gave Amy another scrapbook for her birthday,” Mr. Miner said. “Volume 2. I could talk about her forever .”

“I knew during the first few weeks that he was someone I could spend my life with,” Ms. Solomonson gushed.

This mad, mad love affair began when Mr. Miner, then city editor for The New York Sun , was regularly calling Ms. Nicholas’ office and getting her assistant instead. “I absolutely fell in love with her voice,” he gushed. “She’s got the sweetest, most wonderful voice.”

“He kept asking me out, but I never took him seriously,” Ms. Solomonson said.

But Mr. Miner persisted. “I’m a reporter!” he said. (Actually, he’s now crossed over to the dark side and works as a vice president at the public-relations firm Linden Alschuler & Kaplan.) After Ms. Nicholas vouched for his good character, Ms. Solomonson agreed to a meeting.

“He was wearing what I remember calling his ‘reporter garb’-big coat with a lot of pockets-and he had this giant smile and sparkly hazel eyes,” she said.

“I saw her walk into the restaurant, and she was much more beautiful than I even could have hoped to imagine,” said Mr. Miner of the petite, long-haired brunette. “I think I was grinning through dinner.”

He proved a total old-fashioned romantic: sending flowers to her office every Thursday and taking cabs after dates to drop her off in her Long Island City apartment, then turning around to go back to his on the Upper West Side. He’s since bravely made the leap to the 718 area code. “I had to give up a lot of my books,” Mr. Miner said. “Relationships are about compromise.”

Tim Biggins and Sarah Cole

Met: 2002

Engaged: Nov. 28, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 23, 2004

Tim Biggins was enjoying a little après-ski on a Columbia Business School trip to Telluride when he was approached by Sarah Cole, a fellow student who had admired him from afar for awhile. “He just sort of smiled, nodded and walked away,” said Ms. Cole, a petite, blue-eyed blond bombshell of 30. “A total blow-off.”

“When a beautiful girl walks up to you, you’re taken by surprise,” explained the freckled, sandy-haired and handsome Mr. Biggins, also 30. “It’s basic survival: You can walk away and look cool, or you can stay and end up saying something stupid and being that guy.” Hmmm ….

A few nights later, at an “Around the World” party (each condo “sponsors” a different drink-glad to know those Ivy League minds are being put to good use!), Mr. Biggins himself found the liquid courage to approach Ms. Cole, who was having a ciggie in the freezing cold. “I didn’t even really smoke,” she said. “I think I was trying to be coy and sophisticated.” A couple of hours later, after failing to break into a local hot tub, they kicked a roommate out of his condo and made out.

Back on campus, Ms. Cole committed swiftly and completely to her Mr. Biggins, who got his M.B.A. that spring, started selling stocks at Lehman Brothers and moved to a sixth floor walk-up on Christopher Street. Ms. Cole, who had a summer internship at Goldman Sachs, soon arrived for a semi-permanent sleepover arrangement on the air mattress. “She didn’t want to go all the way uptown,” he said.

“Everything with Tim was easy,” said Ms. Cole. “It was amazingly easy. All of a sudden, life was more fun.”

After she graduated, the couple upgraded to a one-bedroom on Hudson Street with a real bed, and Mr. Biggins began shopping for a ring. “I knew I wanted to marry Sarah when I realized that it was when I was the maddest at her that I loved her most,” he said. He secured her father’s blessing on Thanksgiving, cornering him in the laundry room at the family compound in Philadelphia.

One night, the pair went to see Mystic River and then had dinner at Gascogne. Ms. Cole was tucking into dessert (“I think it was crème brûlée,” she said. “Chocolate tart,” Mr. Biggins corrected) when her spoon hit an oval-cut, 1.5-carat diamond ring set in platinum. “I think I was in shock,” she said.

“She was freaked-out-like just-saw-a-car-accident freaked-out,” Mr. Biggins said. The two were also fairly soused, having been treated like royalty by the restaurant staff. “I was getting bombed … worrying if I was going to be able to do it,” he said.

The actual proposal was succinct.

“Well?” Mr. Biggins asked.

“Of course!” hiccuped Ms. Cole.

The next morning, they shared a romantic (if slightly hung-over) stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge.

The ceremony will be at a chapel in Georgetown, where Ms. Cole matriculated, to be followed by a honeymoon in the Maldives and a lifetime of quiet domestic contentment.

“You know when you’re home on a Saturday night watching Walker, Texas Ranger , and you’re wondering what all the fun people are doing?” asked Mr. Biggins. “Every time I’m with Sarah, I feel like I’m with the fun person.”

Ethel Catherine Ibanez and David Zimmerman

Met: December 2002

Engaged: Oct. 20, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 10, 2004

David Zimmerman, 31, a radiologist in his fourth year of residency at Beth Israel Medical Center, will marry Ethel Catherine Ibanez, 31, a nurse at a private endoscopy center (that’s gastrointestinal, folks). The ceremony will take place at a Sheraton in Stamford, Conn. where his parents found a good deal.

Ms. Ibanez had sworn off all stethoscope-wielding suitors. “I didn’t want to fall into that; I can’t stand doctor-nurse relationships,” she said.

She was working as a receptionist at Beth Israel’s Union Square ambulatory center when Dr. Zimmerman strode in and dropped his bag loudly behind the counter. What a jerk , she thought.

The doc had noticed the full-lipped Filipina filly at the hospital holiday party, glowing and “looking poised” among a crowd of friends. Wow, I could marry someone who looks like her , he thought, but kept this to himself.

“It was a good thing,” he said earnestly, “because her boyfriend was there.”

Standing before the Beth Israel reception desk, he introduced himself and started chatting about 80’s music. Ms. Ibanez helped him identify one song-“It Might Be You” by Steven Bishop-and later accompanied him to Discorama to buy the CD. “There’s this whole stereotype that girls who are pretty are going to be bitchy,” Dr. Zimmerman said. “She just seemed very laid-back and nice.”

He handed over his number. “In case you dump your boyfriend, give me a call,” he said. Ms. Ibanez, thinking this “pretty ballsy,” shot him a withering look and shoved the slip of paper in her pocket.

A week later, she phoned to tell him she wanted to set him up with a friend, but then reneged on the plans. Another week later, she dialed his apartment in Gramercy Park. She was killing time in the nabe before meeting friends for dinner; would he like to get a drink?

“Why not?” Dr. Zimmerman responded.

“I’d been doing barium enemas all day,” he said.

Still in his scrubs, he bounded up Third Avenue to Coppola’s. Ms. Ibanez, having bid adios to her boyfriend of four years, fairly melted at the sight of the good doctor. “I was attracted to his smile,” she said. “There’s some innocence to it-it’s inviting and warm and genuine.”

After their first real date-dinner at Park Avalon-the couple was fooling around in Dr. Zimmerman’s pad when Ms. Ibanez suddenly blurted out that she loved him. “I knew it was too soon to feel, but I had this gut feeling,” she said (and remember, she works at an endoscopy center).

“Calm down,” he told her, suddenly as gun-shy as any Manhattan male.

“I don’t blame him,” Ms. Ibanez said.

The relationship prognosis improved after she tore a knee ligament skiing in Banff, forcing her to leave a new job at Cornell, where she hadn’t worked long enough to qualify for sick leave. She moved in with Dr. Zimmerman, where she came to enjoy some extra-special health-care benefits, including a palliative one-plus-carat round-cut diamond inherited from his paternal grandfather and reset in antique-looking pavé.

The groom-to-be is psyched to have a naughty nurse on call for eternity. “She is her greatest fan,” he said. “She will say something and start laughing hysterically. She’s so cute!” Countdown to Bliss