Countdown to Bliss

Dana Eigner and Jeffrey Lowe Met: December 2001 Engaged: July 2, 2004 Projected Wedding Date: June 25, 2005

Dana Eigner had planned to meet her best friend one afternoon at Dylan’s Candy Bar (the sweet spot owned by Ralph Lauren’s daughter) on Third Avenue and 60th Street, but when she arrived, the friend was mysteriously absent. Standing in the middle of the shop instead was Ms. Eigner’s boyfriend, Jeffrey Lowe. He took her around the corner to Serendipity III, the legendary dessert parlor. The couple had enjoyed “Frrrozen” hot chocolate there on their first-ever visit to New York, and they’d decided to make it “their” place-never mind that they’d both seen it featured in the horrendous John Cusack movie Serendipity with their respective exes.

Nervously, awkwardly and euphorically, in the midst of a crowd of tourists, Mr. Lowe dropped to his knee and handed Ms. Eigner a three-carat Tiffany Lucida ring set in platinum. She started shaking, staring at him, not knowing what to do.

“I really had no idea it was coming,” said Ms. Eigner, 25, a science and tumbling teacher at Kidville NY ( flip-flop, flip-flop). “Everyone on the street was laughing. I guess we gave some tourists a bit of New York romance.”

“There was the embarrassment of having strangers watching you do something that’s really important,” said Mr. Lowe, 28, a corporate lawyer currently interviewing with Manhattan firms. “But it went off without a hitch-exactly the way I wanted it to.”

The two sweethearts first spotted each other across a crowded bar while attending Syracuse University. Mr. Lowe was pouring drinks on weekends-a second-year law student and tall, brawny, athletic type from Atlanta. Ms. Eigner, who is under five feet tall, was a senior, a Jewish girl from Westchester who was fond of acting.

“We didn’t really have any fantastic dates or anything,” Mr. Lowe said.

Au contraire, said Ms. Eigner, who remembers every detail of their first formal rendezvous-at Rosalie’s, an Italian restaurant up there in the boonies. She had the chicken stuffed with lobster; he had the veal piccata. “The place was on a lake,” she said. “It was verrrrrry romantic.”

They went to Acapulco for spring break, which is when Mr. Lowe said he first realized that he really liked this girl. When Ms. Eigner graduated in 2002, he took her to Disney World, and that’s when she felt the first pulls of permanence. But he was still finishing the law degree, and she was headed to our fair city to work for an advertising firm. So they did the long-distance thing-with all the weekend back-and-forths, late-night phone conversations and tearful goodbyes-until Mr. Lowe finally joined her in New York.

They live in a junior four on the Upper East Side and are planning a “big Jewish wedding” at the Brae Burns Country Clubs in Purchase, N.Y. The bride will wear a Reem Acra gown. No word on the cake yet-but we’re trusting the guests will be positively awash in “Frrrozen” hot chocolate.

-Rebecca Dana

Michael Acito and Jennifer Brown Met: September 1990 Engaged: Feb. 14, 2005 Projected Wedding Date: June 2006

Mike Acito and Jennifer Brown first met in seventh-grade English class at Intermediate School 75 on Staten Island, thanks to the alphabetical proximity of their last names. She was a petite alterna-chick with brown hair to her shoulders (save for a braided “tail” snaking down her back). “Mike was a guido and wore a pinkie ring, and we thought he was in the mob,” said Ms. Brown, 26, a sales assistant at Tommy Hilfiger.

By freshman year of Tottenville High School, they had become best friends, watching Seinfeld and Letterman while on the phone together. The blue-eyed Mr. Acito had become a baseball player and a snappy dresser. “I loved everything about him,” crowed Ms. Brown. At age 16, she told her mother, “I’m going to marry Mike Acito one day!” But that day was a looong way away. “I relied on her for all my girl issues-I trusted her,” said Mr. Acito, also 26, who was voted “Best-Dressed” in his senior class and is now a systems analyst for SIAC, the computer system used on the New York Stock Exchange.

The two young people stayed in touch during college (SUNY Oneonta for her, Pace for him) and decided that if they eventually married (other people), Mr. Acito would be Ms. Brown’s “man of honor” and she would be his “best woman.” But the summer after graduation, Ms. Brown decided she wanted more, dammit. “Either we’re together as a couple or we’re nothing,” she told him after a fortifying afternoon of shopping with her girlfriends at Woodbury Common. “I didn’t want to listen to him talk about girls anymore,” she told The Love Beat. Alas, Mr. Acito wasn’t quite ready to reciprocate. “I was still enjoying my single life,” he said.

They didn’t speak for six months. On Valentine’s Day, Ms. Brown broke down and sent him an e-card, saying she “couldn’t let the day go by” without saying something. On the Jersey Shore that summer, Mr. Acito took a fresh look at his wind-tousled pal from Staten Island. “I’m a big fan of Jenn’s curly hair,” he said.

And so began their secret hook-ups. “It was like a Monica-Chandler thing,” Ms. Brown said, invoking characters on Friends, a sitcom that was popular in the 1990’s. During a weekend in Montreal, Mr. Acito actually held her hand in public. But when they got back, Ms. Brown lost it. She had been dating someone else, someone who wanted to be her boyfriend. “I can’t have you in my life if I’m going to give this guy a chance!” she said between tears.

Mr. Acito suggested they go to a diner, where he reversed course. “I don’t want to let you go,” he said.

Ms. Brown was stunned. “Do I make him wait because I waited for 10 years?” she asked herself. “Do I make him sweat it out?”

Needless to say, she didn’t, and they’re currently living in separate apartments four blocks apart in the East 40’s while planning a Long Island beach wedding. Mr. Acito proposed at Tavern on the Green with a cushion-cut diamond in a pavé setting, modeled on one that Ms. Brown had admired at Harry Winston.

“Did you ever see My Best Friend’s Wedding?” she said. “You know how Julia Roberts doesn’t end up with the guy? I was so worried that was going to be my life.” Phew! Countdown to Bliss