Countdown to Bliss

Claire Evans and Glenn Kenny

Met: August 2002

Engaged: June 14, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: May 2006

Hollywood ending! Glenn Kenny, 45, Premiere magazine’s towering film critic and a longtime bachelor, is marrying Claire Evans, 27, a beautiful, flame-haired aspiring actress from Independence, Mo., who first spotted him holding forth on The Charlie Rose Show. “I always felt like I was holding out for a reason,” Mr. Kenny said, “and now I know why.”

A mutual friend made the introduction and accompanied the pair to drinks at the Red Cat, followed by the premiere bash for 24 Hour Party People at the Roxy. “Because I am a critic and I need to remain pure, I don’t normally go to those parties,” Mr. Kenny said. “But I had already filed my review, so I decided I wouldn’t be prejudiced.” Nor did he let Ms. Evans’ good looks blind him to her inner character. “When she started asking me all these intelligent and intuitive questions about film, I realized that this was something worth pursuing,” he said.

A few weeks later, they met for brunch at Banania Cafe in Brooklyn-he lives in Carroll Gardens, she in Boerum Hill-then subwayed up to Central Park and sprawled on a blanket for a Sonic Youth concert. “I was enchanted right away,” Mr. Kenny said. And the feeling was mutual. “Glenn has such personality,” Ms. Evans said. “A lot of times, I’m bashful or feel intimidated on first dates. But he was so warm and interesting.”

The 18-year-age difference between them was never really a problem (after all, it never is on the silver screen). “Once we discussed the issues, it ceased to be an issue,” Mr. Kenny said. “He takes care of me, but I never feel condescended to. Which is pretty wonderful,” Ms. Evans said. She allowed that she “was a little worried about what my parents would say.” But luckily, their social circle-which in Manhattan can be quite bitchy about such things-embraced the match. “The more people I introduced her to, the more I had friends saying to me, ‘If you let this one get away, then you are the No. 1 dunce of all time,'” said Mr. Kenny.

“Just do it,” advised one pal, re proposing.

The long-haunched Mr. Kenny took the plunge to one knee during dinner at Bar Tabac, the Balthazar of Smith Street, offering Ms. Evans a white gold filigreed band adorned with diamond fragments and a brilliant-cut diamond solitaire before the wine even arrived. “I couldn’t wait till dessert,” he said. “It was like the kiss thing in Annie Hall-like, let me propose now so we can have our meal in peace.”

They are planning an “ambitious” wedding while continuing to maintain separate residences (Ms. Evans is trying to overcome her allergies to Mr. Kenny’s cat, Pinky) and, of course, watching lots of films together. “It started as a joke,” she said, “like a ‘Hey, baby-want to come over and see my DVD collection sometime?’ But we really do just both love watching and talking about movies.”

Garrett Baker and Melissa Chang

Met: February 2001

Engaged: September 2004

Projected Wedding Date: June 4, 2005

Garrett Baker first noticed Melissa Chang slurping on a mysterious pale green liquid during a party at the Royalton (it was an apple martini, then not yet available at TGI Fridays). She’s “very striking,” said Mr. Baker-quite striking himself with brown hair and piercing blue eyes-“tall for a Korean,” with “a great butt.” They struck up a conversation and made plans to go see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Two dates and several group dinners went nowhere-but then, one autumn evening, while eating dinner at Pearl Oyster Bar in the West Village, something shifted in Ms. Chang. “I just felt so comfortable,” she said. “I felt like me when I was with him.” She’d spent the summer hitting the clubs, dating an Italian lawyer. “There was that language barrier,” she said. “It was nice to talk to someone without having to figure out what they were saying.”

That weekend, they went to the Gunks in upstate New York with friends to go hiking. Mr. Baker was impressed when Ms. Chang began scaling rock walls way out of his league-“like a little spider,” he said. “I was really impressed. She’s always so put together-that was the only way I had seen her, with heels, makeup, earrings.” Ms. Chang, 31, has to look sharp as an associate at Focus Investment Group, an investment firm; Mr. Baker, 30, is a principal at Waller Capital Corp., an investment bank. But “when we’re away from our jobs, we’re just like little country kids,” he said.

Ms. Chang is also an accomplished cellist, and when she debuted with her chamber-music ensemble at the 92nd Street Y, Mr. Baker rallied all their friends. “We ended up being two-thirds of the audience,” she said proudly.

They were in a cab en route to the airport for a trip to Savannah, Ga. (Mr. Baker is a Southern boy, a native of Hickory, N.C.), when he suddenly handed her a few guidebooks for Venice and announced that they were going there instead. Ms. Chang was thrilled: Her ring-dar was beeping off the charts, but it quieted down when she observed Mr. Baker being careless with his suitcase. Turned out the bauble-a brilliant-cut round diamond set in a slender platinum band-was safely nestled in the toe of his boot. He gave it to her on the third night of vacation, over dinner at a local restaurant called Antico Pignolo, asking, “Melissa Hyunju Chang, will you marry me and be my best friend forever?”-a reference to string friendship bracelets they’d bought together in Jamaica.

They will marry in Harrisburg, Penn., about 20 minutes away from Ms. Chang’s rural hometown of Carlisle. The bride will wear a Vera Wang gown with spaghetti straps and patches of lace. “She has the purest heart. She can’t help but be as sweet as possible,” Mr. Baker said. “It sort of carries me back to the way I was before I moved to New York and started working on Wall Street. Plus, she’s hot.”

Countdown to Bliss