Countdown to Bliss

Elizabeth Dziadik and Brett Kiefer

Met: June 1999

Engaged: Aug. 28, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 21, 2006

Elizabeth Dziadik, 28, a sleek brunette resident in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, plans to marry Brett Kiefer, also 28, a boyish developer at Fog Creek Software, at the Union Theological Seminary on the Upper West Side.

Although the two were in the same class at Dartmouth, they didn’t meet until late senior year, when both were crammed in the back of a car on a road trip to Montreal. “I was basically totally smitten,” said Mr. Kiefer.

Ms. Dziadik dismissed him as a “nice guy.”

On the way to their hostel after a bunch of Molsons at a local “hotspot,” Mr. Kiefer boldly went in for a kiss. “She wasn’t having any of that,” he recalled.

“We had the same friends, and we were leaving,” Ms. Dziadik explained. “I didn’t want to complicate things.”

“I was all into complication,” Mr. Kiefer said.

The day after graduation, Ms. Dziadik stopped by Mr. Kiefer’s frat to say goodbye, and he gave her a kukui nut lei he’d picked up in Hawaii. He was moving to Seattle to work for Amazon—ah, the Internet gold rush!—and she was attending medical school at the University of Connecticut.

“Y’all know I’m going to marry Liz Dziadik,” he proclaimed drunkenly one night to a mutual friend. “Get her out of your head,” said the friend, rolling her eyes. “She’s thousands of miles away.”

Mr. Kiefer eventually schlepped to Farmington and took Ms. Dziadik to a dinner at a place called the Elbow Room. She was appalled to see him sporting a shoulder-length mane. “You’re doing the kind of laidback West Coast long-hair thing, I see,” she said disdainfully. Still, on this occasion she permitted a goodnight smooch.

Two months later, they met in Boston for another dinner date, during which Mr. Kiefer informed Ms. Dziadik that she was using the word “stodgy” incorrectly.

“I was like, ‘Who is this annoying guy correcting my vocabulary?’” she said. But Mr. Kiefer had cut his hair, at least, and she wound up going back to his hotel room. Hubba-hubba ….

They began a long-distance relationship, moving to New York after she was assigned to a residency here instead of in Seattle and finding an Upper West Side one-bedroom.

Mr. Kiefer proposed in a courtyard after a long day at the Cloisters, with a 2.1-carat princess-cut, platinum-set solitaire diamond from DeNatale, a jeweler near Wall Street. “She went from slightly cranky to giddy,” Mr. Kiefer said.

Ms. Dziadik positively floated through her rotation the next day. “It was the hardest of my entire life,” she said, “but it was O.K., because I had this nice ring on my finger.”

The bride-to-be said she first realized Mr. Kiefer was “the one” after he picked her up at baggage claim for a New Year’s Eve visit to Seattle brandishing a parking stub—instead of circling the airport to avoid paying for parking, like one callous ex.

“It sounds so cheesy,” she said, “but I was like, ‘Oh my God—this amazing, wonderful person had been under my nose all this time!’”

Adam Eckman and Noreen Mahon

Met: October 2000

Engaged: Dec. 10, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: October 2007

Every Tuesday, Noreen Mahon would stop in the Mike & Gerard Deli near her house in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, to pick up her weekly cold cuts and admire the sculpted arms of the six-foot-tall Boar’s Head delivery man, Adam Eckman. And he, in turn, would notice the beautiful brunette, a pharmacy technician at New York Hospital.

“Eventually, I had the guts to say hi,” said Mr. Eckman, 28.

The pair exchanged e-mail addresses and arranged a first date at Manhattan Beach. As they watched the gentle lapping of the waves, Mr. Eckman shyly turned to his escort and asked her if he could slip her some tongue (to use the cold-cuts parlance)—and she acquiesced. “I knew there was something about him,” said Ms. Mahon, 26. “That he was the one I was supposed to be with.”

However, she was still hurting from a bad breakup with someone else, so after three months of dating, the new couple cut it off. “She was in my life and all of a sudden she was gone,” Mr. Eckman said. “Even my mom said, ‘Where’s Noreen?’”

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, though, Ms. Mahon e-mailed her estranged deli darling. “I just wanted to make sure everybody on his end was okay,” she said.

They had a joyful reunion at Giordano’s, an Italian restaurant near the house he shares with his family in Whitestone, Queens. But it took him until the following summer to trot out the L-word (on a sunset-illuminated bench at the site of their first date), and two more months for her to reciprocate.

“I knew how he felt, and I knew that it was real, but I was nervous,” Ms. Mahon said. “I had felt it for so long, but I didn’t want to say it because I didn’t want anything bad to happen.”

The couple enjoys tennis, whitewater inner-tubing (and, we presume, hiding the salami) upstate in Lake George. Ms. Mahon likes reggae, but her hunk of man-meat has been able to turn her on to honky music (he loves James Taylor, and they’ve seen Coldplay live in concert) … up to a point. I really don’t care for Metallica,” Ms. Mahon said. “Luckily, he doesn’t really listen to it too often. It’s his workout music.” Yikes!

Mr. Eckman is also an avid ice-hockey enthusiast, and he proposed marriage during one of their many trips to the Wollman Rink in Central Park, dropping to one knee and brandishing a two-carat, princess-cut piece of ice set in a platinum band and embedded with pavé diamonds, from John Miele Jewelers on Bowery.

“Of course,” whispered Ms. Mahon, weak in the knees. “Of course.”

“You have to say ‘yes.’”

“Yes,” she said.

They’re choosing between the Riviera in Brooklyn and Jericho Terrace in Long Island for their wedding ceremony. In the meantime, Mr. Eckman, who now has his own Boar’s Head route, is looking for an apartment in Bayside. Because living with your folks … is the wurst! Countdown to Bliss