Countdown to Bliss

Nevil Dwek and Amy Raiter

Met: September 2002 Engaged: July 17, 2004 Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 16, 2005

At an Americans for the Arts fund-raiser at Cipriani on 42nd Street, Nevil Dwek observed a cheerful-looking, green-eyed blonde switching her place card with a friend’s, apparently so that she didn’t have to sit next to him. But, hey-it wasn’t personal. “I was kind of getting over a bad breakup,” said the woman, Amy Raiter, “and I felt like I had been on so many ‘interview’ dates lately.”

Turned out the girl to her right was bor-ing, so she began chatting with Mr. Dwek, a director-photographer, over her friend’s lap. He was “sweet, charming, nice,” she realized. And “he looks really good in a tuxedo. He looks kind of Old World–distinguished.”

They ran into each other a lot during the fall social whirl-birthday parties, Bungalow 8-and then, finally, Mr. Dwek screwed up his courage and asked Ms. Raiter to an intimate New Year’s Eve dinner at his apartment on East 74th Street. Afterward, they went to a party on the Upper East Side, where they proceeded to the kitchen to fix a drink.

“Can I kiss you?” he suddenly asked.

Flushed with the excitement of the holiday, Ms. Raiter acquiesced.

Their first proper date took place three weeks later, at Il Buco. “I felt very comfortable, like there was nothing to worry about,” said Ms. Raiter, 31, the director of public relations for Moschino. “I just felt like he really liked me and wanted to get to know me.”

Their glamorous urban careers provided a swish background for early courtship: Mr. Dwek accompanied Ms. Raiter to Milan for the Moschino show, and she joined him for film festivals in California and Florida (he wrote and directed the 2003 psychological thriller Undermind). “It was a totally stressful time,” Ms. Raiter said. “The fact that he wanted me to be there was a real sign that we were going to be together.”

After a year and a half of dating, Mr. Dwek, who is 37, began speaking in a tongue foreign to many male New Yorkers: “You know where this is going-I want to be with you, let’s continue moving forward.” Ms. Raiter abandoned her studio apartment, conveniently just blocks away, for his two-bedroom condo. Her parents had always insisted that she keep a separate apartment until marriage, but surprisingly, they didn’t kick up a fuss. “They were like, ‘We love Nevil!'” Ms. Raiter said. (It turned out Mr. Dwek asked her dad for her hand when he was helping them move.)

It was a misty day at her family summer place in Kennebunk Beach, Me., when he approached from behind, showed her his great-aunt’s 1920’s emerald-cut diamond, flanked by a half-dozen cascading baguettes, and declared: “Look what I found!” Yup, the ol’ “searching for seashells” trick.

“I held the pause for, like, 10 seconds,” said Mr. Dwek, ever the director. (He didn’t drop to his knee, though, because they were standing in a muddy cove.)

They’ll marry in the garden of the Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport; then, because of a local ordinance that prohibits public partying after 9 p.m., their guests will be shuttled to her parent’s four-story barn for the reception. Ms. Raiter plans to wear a long dress with a train that is a “mix of sexy and conservative,” from Carolina Herrera or Monique Lhuillier, since Moschino doesn’t have a bridal line.

Steve Schultz and Andrea Werbel

Met: Nov. 2, 2003 Engaged: Oct. 21, 2004 Projected Wedding Date: Fall 2005

Andrea Werbel had to be convinced by her friend Cecile to attend the party late on Marathon Sunday. “She kept saying that there would be lots of French people there, and I’d be able to speak French,” said Ms. Werbel, a petite, dark-eyed beauty of 39 who spent eight years in Paris after college. “I figured if nothing else, there’d be some good red wine.”

Bien sur, the party was impeccably catered, and one of the tastiest hors d’oeuvres on offer was Steve Schultz, a rugged, dark-haired technology consultant. “I hadn’t even wanted to go to the party that night,” Mr. Schultz said. “But then I told myself to suck it up and get out there.”

In fact, the host had planned to fix Mr. Schultz up with … Cecile. “But the second I started talking to Andy, that was just it,” Mr. Schultz said.

“Talking to Steve was like reading a book,” said Ms. Werbel, who owns the Parasol Marketing Group (yes, that’s two publicists in the Love Beat this week-deal with it, O.K.?). “With every new conversation topic, I was like ‘oh!’ and getting more excited.” He had spent time in France, too-and they were both Jewish, but not kosher. “We were both eating the prosciutto and melon and talking about how we couldn’t imagine giving it up,” Ms. Werbel said.

When the evening ended, however, Mr. Schultz failed to ask for her number. “I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to meet someone,” he said. “I really wasn’t in that relationship place.”

But Ms. Werbel wasn’t going to give up so easily. “I had really felt like there was a real connection between us,” she said. She e-mailed him an invitation to a cocktail party thrown by the Manhattan Jewish Experience. They decided to meet first for a drink at Demarchelier on the Upper East Side. One drink turned into two with appetizers, followed by a very special amuse-bouche: a smooch on a street corner. “I didn’t realize it was a date until the date turned into the date, if that makes sense,” Mr. Schultz said.

“We never made it to the cocktail party,” Ms. Werbel added.

“It was one of those things that felt so different that it scared me a little bit,” Mr. Schultz said. “But I kept with it.” The following September, the couple moved into a one-bedroom in the West Village, which they also use as a full-time office for their respective businesses-yikes! “I knew if we could make this work, we could make anything work,” Mr. Schultz laughed.

He proposed on her birthday at a cozy corner table at the Place, a charming restaurant in their neighborhood, busting out antique diamonds from his paternal great-grandmother’s ring along with a 1985 bottle of Dom Perignon smuggled out of their fridge (a gift from his paternal grandmother). “It was only later that I realized that he never actually asked, ‘Will you marry me?'” Ms. Werbel said.

They’re still mulling how to mount the family jewels as plans develop for a wedding in either the city or the Berkshires. “It’s funny, because I had sort of given up on the idea of a soul mate,” the bride-to-be said. “I thought I’d just be happy to meet someone who could be a great companion. But then I did meet my soul mate, and I feel so fortunate.”

Countdown to Bliss