Countdown to Bliss

Nicole Ross and Joseph Tammaro

Met: Dec. 25, 2001

Engaged: Aug. 5, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: June 18, 2005

Carbs be damned! Nicole Ross, 33, an auburn-haired, blue-eyed restaurant publicist at KB Network News, is marrying Joseph Tammaro, 29, who works in the banquet department at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The wedding will take place at Twenty Four Fifth, a venue owned by clients of Ms. Ross, who will wear a satin charmeuse Vera Wang dress she describes as “kind of antique meets Jean Harlow.” Mr. Tammaro is designing a multi-tiered chocolate and carrot cake, but not baking it personally. “I don’t want my groom sweating in the kitchen all day,” Ms. Ross said.

The couple met at a mutual friend’s Christmas party in Los Angeles. The friend was married to an Italian man, and the room was filled with talkative compatriots. Ms. Ross was at a loss until she came across the tall, dark and Roman-nosed Mr. Tammaro. Oh my God, you speak English! she thought, plopping herself down next to his “commanding presence.”

They chatted throughout the evening, Mr. Tammaro occasionally slipping into Italian. “It was very sexy to me,” Ms. Ross said. “Within about an hour, we were breathing each other’s air.” He walked her to her car (where the air was considerably smoggier), pecked her on the lips and called the next day.

“Oh my God, it’s you from last night!” Ms. Ross said, shocked. “L.A. is so flaky,” she explained.

It was off to dinner at Sushi Mon in West Hollywood. “I thought she was really smart, and had a real energy to her,” Mr. Tammaro said. “She was very hyper.”

“Don’t say ‘hyper,’” Ms. Ross corrected. “Vivacious.”

At the time, Mr. Tammaro was working at the Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton and meeting lots of flakes, but this woman was different. “Very grounded,” he said. “It was awesome, because you don’t get that too much out in California.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Ross, then an entertainment publicist, was sick of arrogant Hollywood types—a “sea of schmucks.”

“He represented something that was much, much slower and more genteel,” she said.

After a few weeks of passion, however, Mr. Tammaro was transferred to the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park City.

“It was hard because he didn’t have a desk job,” Ms. Ross said. “It wasn’t like you could I.M. all day.”

It wasn’t long before she started looking for work in New York.

After her swain got the Mandarin job, Ms. Ross began getting visions of sugarplums, a.k.a. sparkly baubles, in her head. “I don’t want to be rude, but I didn’t want the Long Island Special,” she said. “I didn’t want anything that Adriana from The Sopranos”—R.I.P.—”would have worn.”

Mr. Tammaro, who’d been impressed when she brought him Pepto-Bismol after he got a sickly tummy (a job hazard), was quick to receive the hint. He proposed casually in Central Park, presenting her with a radiant-cut diamond in a Victorian-looking band with eight little diamonds on either side.

They live in a large, sunny two-bedroom railroad apartment in the South Slope (Yuppiespeak for Sunset Park), where Ms. Ross has learned to mind her crumbs. “Coming from the Culinary Institute, he’s really into keeping everything sanitary,” she said. “Bleach, bleach, bleach …. He loves keeping everything clean—hospital clean. I learned just how gross the kitchen can be.”

Carey Flynn and Dan Thomasson

Met: March 7, 2003

Engaged: July 15, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Dec. 31, 2004

Sweet home, Alabama! Carey Flynn, 34, a private chef in Manhattan for high-profile clients whom she didn’t want to name, plans to marry Dan Thomasson, 32, who works in finance in … Birmingham, Ala. Now that’s love.

They met at the Miami wedding of a mutual friend. After an evening of schmoozing and dancing and flirting, Mr. Thomasson tried to plant a kiss on Ms. Flynn’s cheek and got the cold shoulder instead. You see, she already had a boyfriend—albeit an unemployed one—back in New York. “I ran away,” said the blond-haired, blue-eyed Ms. Flynn. “Not wanting to cheat on my now ex-boyfriend, and not wanting Dan to know I had one.”

About two months after she returned home, Ms. Flynn broke up with her beau. She’d been thinking of that dark-haired, dark-eyed, good ol’ boy from the South. “He’s very handsome,” she said. The mutual friend told her that Mr. Thomasson was still living in Alabama and only came north once in a while. Almost a year after their initial meeting, Ms. Flynn got wind of the fact that one of these visits was imminent.

At a group brunch at Serafina on 62nd Street, Ms. Flynn felt her pulse points tingling as she sat across from her hot prospect. “The second I sat across from him, I said to myself, ‘Wow, this is so weird—I am sitting across the table from my husband,’” she recalled. After the meal, the pair broke away from the herd. She apologized for the wedding-kiss debacle, and he finally got to smooch her.

Over the next few days, they lived out their own personal Comden and Green musical, hitting everywhere from Dominic’s on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to the Oak Room at the Plaza.

Two weeks later, Ms. Flynn visited Mr. Thomasson in Alabama and attended a Willie Nelson concert. Next came a blissful week together in Il Franc, Spain.

Mr. Thomasson secured her parents’ approval during a Fourth of July weekend at the latter’s house in Warren, Conn., while Ms. Flynn was in the shower. A week and a half later—they’d moved on to his parents’ Alabama beach house—he dropped to one knee and presented her with a three-stone diamond ring set in platinum. (Ms. Flynn refused to let The Love Beat interview her fiancé because she wants this item to be a surprise—and like the old softies we are, we agreed.)

They’ll be married at the Colony Club, with a black-tie reception to follow. Then Ms. Flynn, who currently lives in a studio apartment on the Upper East Side, will be Southern-bound. “I cook for Dan every night when I’m in Birmingham,” she said with touching optimism. “I don’t know anybody there, so I have really been reading a lot of Southern cookbooks, and I like to try new stuff on him every day. It is a great way to learn about a new place.”

—Shaina Feinberg Countdown to Bliss