Countdown to Bliss

David Cheng and Jocelynn Hyde

Met: September 1995 Engaged: July 11, 2004 Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 13, 2005

Jocelynn Hyde, 27, an administrator at the Museum of Modern Art, is giving a lifetime membership of sorts to David Cheng, 28, an associate at the real-estate investment firm Stonewater Partners.

The couple lives in a modern, loft-like, two-bedroom condo on Astor Place, propelled into premarital cohabitation by … historically low interest rates. “For us, it wasn’t that big of a deal,” Mr. Cheng said. “We’d dated for seven and a half years, so we didn’t even need an engagement ring.”

They met as undergraduates at Tufts, where they were buddies for about a year before Mr. Cheng, an engineering student, engineered Ms. Hyde into a stairwell after a few late-night kisses. “I’m really into you,” he told her. “I definitely felt the same way,” Ms. Hyde told the Love Beat, who thought him “sweet” and “charming.”

Their first real date was at Chez Henri, a romantic restaurant in Cambridge. “It was like being with a really good friend-but better,” Ms. Hyde said.

Before long, they were living together in an off-campus house with about a dozen friends (she on the second floor, he on the third). After graduation, they pared down to two and moved to a one-bedroom walk-up on the Upper East Side above a tanning salon. Ms. Hyde worked in a technology public-relations firm and Mr. Cheng toiled as an analyst for Citibank, whose dress code allowed Ms. Hyde to learn about his-how shall we put it?-attention to detail. “If the knot on his tie doesn’t have the right dimple, he gets upset,” she said with a laugh.

“She knows my faults pretty well,” Mr. Cheng allowed. “I think Jocelynn and I have a relationship where we always try to improve.”

After a year and a half of living together in New York, they upgraded to a one-bedroom on Park Avenue South and, after two and a half more years, to the place on Astor Place. Despite his professed nonchalance about a ring, Mr. Cheng actually spent a year conducting a search for the perfect stone, canvassing jewelers from Hong Kong (where he grew up) to Vancouver (where his parents now live). He settled on a round stone of the highest-grade cut, purchased through a member of his roller-hockey league. He insisted on getting a diagram first. “I’m a little psychotic that way when it comes to something I really want,” he said.

On an extremely sunny summer’s day (approved by his mother’s fortuneteller), Mr. Cheng lugged his sweetie and a picnic basket south of the Great Lawn. “I didn’t want to sit next to 30 people clad in their swimming suits and bikinis,” he explained.

Lying down to digest after lunch, Mr. Cheng-fortified by red wine-reached into his duffel bag and retrieved the long-sought bauble, now gripped in a six-prong Tiffany setting. “Will you be my Buddy forever?” he asked Ms. Hyde, using her pet name.

Buddy will wear a strapless, lacy Vera Wang gown with a four-foot train to their wedding at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, with a reception to follow at the Fairmont (the Plaza of the Great White North). “He can be really serious, like a real gentleman,” she said delightedly of her groom-to-be, “but at the same time, we can be total goofballs together.” Sounds good, toots!

Michele Cosentino and Ari Greenman

Met: 2002 Engaged: Dec. 3, 2004 Projected Wedding Date: Fall of 2005

When Michele Cosentino was first introduced to Ari Greenman by a mutual friend, she was less than impressed. “I really thought he was an asshole,” said Ms. Cosentino, 31, a petite, blond and blue-eyed art director for cosmetics and fragrance at Victoria’s Secret Beauty ( hellooo, discount). Mr. Greenman had just come back from a two-year backpacking adventure through Southeast Asia, Australia and South America. “He was totally in that whole ‘I’ve discovered myself’ thing,” Ms. Cosentino said. “I thought he was terrible.” But attractive, kinda like Patrick Dempsey ( Sweet Home Alabama). “It was like, ‘Who does this arrogant guy think he is-and why isn’t he talking to me?'” she said.

“It did not go well,” conceded Mr. Greenman, 29, a financial advisor for the Wealth Advisory Group who lives on the Upper East Side. “I thought she was this really cute New York City girl. I may have been a little intimidated.”

They met again at the same friend’s birthday party two weeks later, and things went much better- so much better that, after the party moved to Automatic Slims in the West Village, the pair found themselves the last ones standing … on a bar. “It was one of those crazy, rock-out New York City nights,” Mr. Greenman said. The evening ended with a brief make-out session outside Ms. Consentino’s apartment nearby.

On their first real date at Gascogne, Ms. Cosentino was suffering from laryngitis. “She could barely speak,” said Mr. Greenman, who had to act as translator for the waiter. “I was forced into being really attentive.”

Their mutual attraction survived her taking a nine-month freelance gig in Richmond, Va. “I didn’t want things to end,” said Mr. Greenman, who began secretly saving for a ring almost as soon as she moved back.

Arriving at his family home in Nantucket for the Christmas Stroll this year, the couple discovered that they didn’t have a car-or any real food in the house. They sat in front of a fire, drinking a bottle of wine and eating frozen egg rolls. Mr. Greenman, looking sick to his stomach, began thanking Ms. Cosentino for all her support since he’d known her. She promptly burst into tears. “I’m sorry if I’ve been tough on you,” she sobbed.

“Michele,” Mr. Greenman said, “I’m trying to say something nice here.” He tried to slide gracefully to one knee.

“I thought he fell off the couch,” Ms. Cosentino said.

“It was like, ‘No, I’m trying to ask you to marry me,'” Mr. Greenman said. “It really is never like the way you see in the movies.”

He fished an emerald-cut, platinum-set solitaire diamond ring from the crevices of the couch. “All these subjects we had sort of always tiptoed around came up,” Ms. Cosentino said. “I was like, ‘I want to have your children! I want a dog!’

“Ari is a better person than I am-but I think he makes me a fantastic person,” she added, starting to cry again.

They are planning a Nantucket wedding and will celebrate their engagement over Christmas at surf school in Costa Rica-just another pit stop for Mr. Greenman, the cosmopolitan world traveler. “When I first got back from my trip, I didn’t think any opportunity was good enough for me,” he said. “Until I met Michele.”

Countdown to Bliss