Countdown to Bliss

Dave Riedy and Amy Territo

Met: July 1996 Engaged: Feb. 4, 2005 Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 16, 2005

Free massages for eternity! Dave Riedy, 35, a graphic designer, playwright and lucky stiff, is marrying Amy Territo, 31, a massage therapist. They met at a weeklong summer retreat hosted by the Ensemble Studio Theatre in Lexington, N.Y., where they were cast in a play as incestuous brother-and-sister leads. “It was a really good play,” deadpanned the dark-haired, dark-eyed, dimpled Ms. Territo, in a conference call from the couple’s three-bedroom apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. “She’s this beautiful Italian girl,” Mr. Riedy said. “What are you, 5-foot-3?” he asked his fiancée.

“Five- four-and-a-half,” she said.

The 6-foot-1, Nordic and buzz-cut Mr. Riedy also made a big first impression. “He’s got really good legs: muscular, nice, strong-looking,” Ms. Territo said. “I was definitely attracted to his creativity and artistry,” she added.

But Mr. Riedy was in the throes of a divorce from his college sweetheart, to whom he’d been married five years. On the last night of the retreat, the two co-stars stayed up until 4 a.m. and decided that this wasn’t the right time for them to embark on a romance.

That lasted about a week-after which Mr. Riedy showed up for dinner at the Upper East Side apartment Ms. Territo shared with a roommate, bearing a sunflower. I’m just going to enjoy this, she told herself, shushing inner qualms, because I’ve never felt this before.

The pair spent much time analyzing his previous relationship. “It was a lot of crying,” Mr. Riedy said. “Very passionate.” The night before his 28th birthday, while she was making him homemade ravioli, he called the whole thing off. “But “I thought about Amy all the time,” he said of the 18-month hiatus that ensued. “I always refer to that as our dark period.”

Eventually, he left a “stilted, embarrassing message” on her answering machine. They stayed in cautious touch for six months, then met for coffee at Xando on the Upper West Side. Soon they were furiously making out on the street by the bus stop. A few days later, they went ice-skating at Rockefeller Center. “It was like a first date,” Mr. Riedy said, “except you could say, ‘So how’s your brother?'”

She moved into his place two months after Sept. 11, 2001. After a couple of years co-habiting, Mr. Riedy began stashing cash in a hidden envelope, eventually buying a radiant-cut solitaire diamond set in white gold from Blue Nile, an online jeweler. He intended to propose during another ice-skating expedition, this time to Wollman Rink in Central Park, but Ms. Territo took so much time getting ready that there wasn’t enough time to skate. So he pulled her under a tree in a snowy bluff. “This is the tree under which I told you that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you,” he said.

“I think he continued, but all I heard was ‘ Wah, wah, wah,'” said Ms. Territo, imitating the nameless droning teacher from Peanuts.

After a surprise engagement party at a friend’s apartment on Central Park West, they began planning a wedding at the East Village restaurant Candela. Ms. Territo plants to wear a long, full cream-colored halter-necked gown from David’s Bridal.

It’s “pretty amazing,” Mr. Riedy said, “that Amy was willing to take a second chance on me.”

Pablo Castillo and Lisa Richmond

Met: September 2000 Engaged: June 12,2004 Wedding Date: May 6, 2005

Lisa Richmond grew up in Rockford, Ill., watching her younger brother’s BMX tournaments and craving something more, though she didn’t quite know what that was. She went to college in Milwaukee, but that only ratcheted the excitement up a notch, so she decided to spend junior year abroad at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. Suspiciously, the administration housed all the attractive foreign-exchange students in the men’s dorm. She still remembers the day that dozens of dreamy Mediterranean males spilled into the housing unit. “It was like, ‘Pick your Spaniard,'” said Ms. Richmond, a slender brunette.

The tallest, darkest and most handsome of all these men, one Pablo Castillo, was actually born and raised in the Canary Islands. “I didn’t really know about things like flamingo, tapas or siesta,” he said. “All those things she kind of taught me.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Richmond learned from Mr. Castillo what it meant to be an American in Spain in the new millennium-which is to say, hideously ashamed. “It was during the [Bush-Gore] election, and I felt, ‘How can I be an American?'” she said. “It kind of awakened my political sensibilities.”

After what she described as a “wild and crazy” love affair, Ms. Richmond returned to the States, convinced that the romance wouldn’t survive the transcontinental divide. Meanwhile, her Spanish stallion was fantasizing about meeting his young American ally in the land of opportunity. Unfortunately, that ultimately meant spending a year teaching Spanish at Wesleyan College.

Eventually, the couple relocated to Boerum Hill-where, with typical out-of-towners’ dumb luck, they found an apartment in a lovely brownstone with tons of closet space. “Our block was voted one of the greenest in Brooklyn,” cooed Ms. Richmond, 25, who provides economic education to the underprivileged through a Manhattan-based nonprofit organization.

The 25-year-old Mr. Castillo, meanwhile, is teaching a class on American foreign policy at Rutgers, in which students learn how to get in touch with their inner chagrin.

Ms. Richmond discovered her engagement ring-a round 1.25-carat brilliant-cut 1940’s diamond-at Court Jeweler in Brooklyn Heights. Mr. Castillo bought the bauble on the sly, then secreted it in his socks during a visit the couple paid to a Spanish beach. “He was nervous and quiet,” she said. “I knew it!”

They will marry in Prospect Park before family and then take their vows on tour, with stops in Rockford and Madrid. ¡Olé!

-Daisy Carrington

Born Yesterday

Sarah Cate Wolfson April 7, 200510: 38 p.m.7 pounds, 5 ounces Sibley Memorial Hospital (Washington, D.C.)Political pup! Hillary Clinton’s P.R. guru, Howard Wolfson, and Representative Nancy Pelosi’s chief of staff, Terri McCollough, are devoting themselves to a new campaign: the health and welfare of their ginger-haired firstborn. Married three years, the couple lives in Manhattan, but Ms. McCollough, 35, delivered in D.C. (where she works during the week) after a two-and-half-hour labor sans epidural. “I was never adequately prepared for the amount of pain,” she said. Sarah has a pouty mouth and big blue eyes and has already warmed to the Northeast Corridor commute. “She likes being in cars,” said Mr. Wolfson, 37.

Countdown to Bliss