Countdown to Bliss

Heather Larson and Edward McPherson Met: Sept. 21, 2000 Engaged: Aug. 14, 2004 Projected Wedding Date: Fall 2005 Tina Brown,

Heather Larson and Edward McPherson

Met: Sept. 21, 2000

Engaged: Aug. 14, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Fall 2005

Tina Brown, unwitting Cupid! Heather Larson and Edward McPherson (please don’t hyphenate, guys) met as editorial assistants at the short-lived Talk magazine. Mr. McPherson, a 6-foot-1, chisel-cheeked former Williams soccer player, was fiddling with the coffeemaker in the kitchen when Ms. Larson, a plain-spoken Missouri native who had started two days earlier, strode in.

“I was not pleased to see another newcomer, because that made me no longer special,” said Ms. Larson, 28, now an associate editor at the music magazine Tracks. “And everyone was like, ‘Didja see the new guy? Didja see the new guy?’ And I was like, ‘Great.’

“Almost all the editorial assistants were women,” she continued. “I had heard them sort of fluttering about him. I remember specifically thinking I was not going to be one of those women.”

Mr. McPherson’s shoulder, recovering from an injury, was twitching spasmodically up and down. “I thought he had a tick,” Ms. Larson said, widening her inky blue eyes. “I thought he was nice. I was very quickly obsessed.”

He was smitten pretty quickly himself. “We spent a lot of time e-mailing—now that Talk is no more, it’s probably safe to say that,” said Mr. McPherson, 27, whose biography of Buster Keaton was published last week in Britain.

After about a month of long lunches, she came to his Upper West Side ’hood for a proper date: coffee at Café La Fortuna, followed by TV-watching back at the bachelor pad. Only when they walked outside to hail Ms. Larson a cab did Mr. McPherson swoop down for a peck.

“What are we going to tell everyone at work?” he then asked anxiously.

“I thought that was so cute—the fact that this one kiss automatically meant we were, like, ‘going together,’” said Ms. Larson, a jaded East Villager. “Edward was just fresh off the farm. He had moved here from Vermont a month before. It was appealing at first, but then it was worrisome. I really feared that we would date for a long time and then realize, ‘Oh, it was a big city and there were a million people out there,’ and he had just snagged the first one he came across, and that he would wise up.”

“Vastly underselling yourself,” said Mr. McPherson.

“It’s still possible,” said Ms. Larson.

“We’re going to come across as bitter or something,” worried Mr. McPherson.

They were vacationing in the Ozark mountains with her family when he suggested a hike à deux to a place called Lookout Point.

“The view really isn’t as nice as I remember it,” Ms. Larson told him at the end of the trail. Mr. McPherson promptly improved matters by dropping to one knee and handing over her maternal grandmother’s marquis-cut diamond solitaire ring, which he’d filched from her jewelry box.

Later, the couple bought a round-cut bezel-set diamond circled with deep blue sapphires at Roslyn on Columbus Avenue. A two-bedroom awaits them in Carroll Gardens. Their wedding will be in Gettysburg, Penn., hometown of the groom’s father. “I would like to have it in a barn,” Ms. Larson said.

She added: “A few people have actually said to us, ‘Well, at least one good thing came out of Talk.’”

Rachel Aligaen and Steve Angelo

Met: 1988

Engaged: Sept. 26, 2003

Projected Wedding Date: May 21, 2005

Reunited, and it feels so good! Steve Angelo caught Rachel Aligaen’s eye at the Brooklyn Technical High School class of ’91’s 10-year reunion. “It sounds so cheesy, but I clearly remember that moment of turning my head and seeing him,” said Ms. Aligaen, 31, a petite, shiny-brown-haired neonatal intensive-care nurse at N.Y.U.’s medical center.

The two had never really known each other in high school, despite sharing a shop class sophomore year. “I think she had eyes for someone else in that class, if memory serves,” said Mr. Angelo, 31, an in-house architect for Fountainhead Construction with an architect’s typical handsome-bespectacled look. But this time, he said, “we started chatting and hit it off right away.”

That night, the insanely overblown reunion festivities continued at the Westside Tavern. “I remember it actually beginning to feel like high school,” said Ms. Aligaen, who was living in Arizona ( zzzz) at the time. At the end of the evening, Mr. Angelo drove her to her parents’ house in Brooklyn and got her number before repairing to his own place in Bensonhurst.

They arranged for lunch at Chinatown’s Hop Kee before Ms. Aligaen left the city—”I remember the food wasn’t great, but the conversation was,” she said.

Mr. Angelo, however, was feeling a bit antsy. “I have a bit of a history when it comes to long-distance, phone-heavy relationships, and they were always painful,” he said. “But I didn’t know what to do, because I felt like I connected to her in a way I never had with anyone before.” (They are both first-generation Americans, he pointed out: His family is Italian, hers Filipino.) “The thing about Rachel is that she’s a nurse, but that’s not just her job, it’s who she is,” he continued. “She’s the most nurturing, warm person I’ve ever known.”

After four months of nurturing, warm phone calls and e-mails, Ms. Aligaen escaped the Southwest, returning to New York right after Sept. 11, 2001, and moving back to Brooklyn (she currently resides in Queens). “The first night back, we closed the bar down,” Mr. Angelo said. “From the beginning, we’ve never played games. We’ve always been able to say how we feel without reservation.”

When it came time for him to ask for Ms. Aligaen’s hand in marriage, he went old-school Sicilian, bringing his father with him. “I think my dad did a lot of the talking—I was sort of overwhelmed,” he said.

“My dad just said, ‘Whatever makes Rachel happy!’” Ms. Aligaen said.

A few days later, Mr. Angelo popped out a round, princess-cut diamond with two baguettes set in platinum during a marathon hike to Havasu Falls, deep in the Grand Canyon. “It was really stressful,” he said.

Out of cell-phone range, Ms. Aligaen was bouncing off the canyon walls with excitement. “The first person I told was the woman I randomly saw at the Port-O-Potty,” she said.

They will marry at St. Mary’s church in Brooklyn, followed by a reception in Oyster Bay and a honeymoon trek through Southeast Asia. “Of course, my mother always wanted me to marry a nice Italian girl,” Mr. Angelo said. “But this is New York, and they know the world is a much bigger place than that.” Countdown to Bliss