Countdown to Bliss

Hali Brindel and Evan Forman

Met: April 2003

Engaged: Feb. 13, 2004

Projected Wedding Date: June 17, 2006

It was a brisk spring morning, and Evan Forman was in a state of bewilderment, staring at the 10 fresh e-mails that graced his inbox. Soon there were 20 … and 30. All were in response to his posting on the saucy Internet dating Web site What the … , thought the bleary-eyed freelance art director, a candidate for a master’s degree in art history at Hunter College.

Further investigation revealed that his profile had been featured as “Personal of the Day” on several Web sites. Women across the nation were charmed at this self-purported cross between Fozzie Bear and Jack Osbourne. “Hey, Jack Osbourne was all the rage then,” said Mr. Forman, 31, who with his dark hair and thick, black-framed glasses more closely resembles Elvis Costello.

The message that most piqued his interest was from Hali Brindel, a slender program assistant at the nonprofit organization Libraries for the Future, who has delicate, bird-like features enhanced by a short pixie ’do. Ms. Brindel had been impressed by Mr. Osbourne’s response to the prompt “Favorite Sex Scene in a Movie”: The Big Lebowski.

“If you look at enough of guys’ ads, half of them say Mulholland Drive,” she said, alluding to Naomi Watts’ widely savored lesbian make-out sequence.

The two agreed to meet for drinks at the East Village beer bar d.b.a. Lest it didn’t go well, Mr. Forman also set up a later rendezvous with a friend at the Angelika. “He planned an out for our first date!” complained Ms. Brindel, also 31 and a master’s candidate at Hunter (in English lit).

The pair discussed relationships, God and food. Ms. Brindel declared that she was a vegetarian. “If God had wanted us to be vegetarian, he wouldn’t have made animals out of meat,” Mr. Forman said.

Regardless, Ms. Brindel agreed to join him for a second date: dinner at Max Restaurant followed by drinks at 2A. Afterward, Mr. Forman walked her to the subway station, where the formerly forward lass turned suddenly skittish. “We’ll talk,” she yelled behind her, running down the steps. “I don’t know—I was nervous,” she told the Love Beat. “I really liked him.”

That night, returning to her dungeon-like apartment in Astoria, Ms. Brindel found a ray of light in the form of an e-mail from Mr. Forman. I really like you, he wrote.

Date No. 3: Drinks, back at d.b.a. This time, Mr. Forman boldly leaned in for a kiss outside the bar.

Six months later, Ms. Brindel’s cat, Scruffy, was diagnosed with diabetes, and she moved him (and a second cat, Cecil) into Mr. Forman’s one-bedroom in Brooklyn Heights. Mrrrow! Unfortunately, Scruffy expired a month later, but the couple soon acquired a replacement: Dugan. Mr. Forman keeps pictures of both their “children” in his wallet.

Meanwhile, Ms. Brindel’s ring finger was beginning to itch—literally. “Especially if I had a few drinks,” she said. Sometimes she would start scratching it against her face.

One day, she was doing homework in the kitchen when Mr. Forman walked in with a giant novelty ring in a velvet box. “So, you wanna get married?” he said.

“Um, yeah?” said Ms. Brindel, puzzled.

Mr. Forman dug into his pocket and extracted a 1920’s 1.25-carat oval diamond ring set in an embroidered white-gold band that he’d bought from Doyle and Doyle on the Lower East Side. “Will you marry me?” he said, opting to sit on the floor rather than the traditional knee plunge.

“He’s uncomfortable with the cliché,” explained Ms. Brindel, who responded with a teary: “Oh, honey! Oh, God!”

Their Quaker-inflected wedding ceremony will take place at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture.

Susan Shin and Dan Lee

Met: April 2004

Engaged: May 2, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: June 17, 2006

Susan Shin, 34, a ravishing, black-haired jewelry designer who toils by day as a senior administrative assistant at a private-equities firm, the Riverside Company, is set to marry Dan Lee, 33, the dashing director of Dymas, a capital-management firm. Always a Bridesmaid, a Brooklyn-based wedding planner, is helping organize the couple’s wedding ceremony at All Souls Church on the Upper East Side, to be followed by a reception at Studio 450 in Chelsea.

The couple first met at Opia, a midtown restaurant, after being fixed up by a mutual friend as a sort of practical joke. “Susan had a reputation around her office of being … can I say an ‘ice queen’?” Mr. Lee said. “He had the idea of putting the ice queen together with the nice Midwestern guy and seeing what happened.”

What happened was that the ice queen and the nice Midwestern guy exchanged phone numbers, albeit through a vodka haze. “I didn’t know if he liked me or not,” Ms. Shin said. “I didn’t know if I liked him or not.”

After Mr. Lee’s cell phone mysteriously ate her digits, he had to implore their friend for her number. “Oh, she’s pissed that you haven’t called her yet,” tsked the Cupid.

For two weeks, Ms. Shin recalled, “we spoke for an hour or two each night. I didn’t even remember what he looked like.”

Finally, they met for drinks at Merc Bar, followed by dinner at Raoul’s, a nearby French bistro, and then more drinks at the Thompson Hotel ( hic). Ms. Shin, who is Korean-American and grew up in Glen Cove, didn’t quite know what to make of her date’s mild manners, which were bred in Minnesota. “I knew he liked me, but he was the perfect gentleman,” she said. “I was like, ‘God, is this guy going to do anything?’”

Mr. Lee sensed her anxiety. “I’m worried I’m starting to slip into the friend zone,” he told her teasingly over a plate of steak frites, eating his fries with mock sensuality.

At the end of the night, Ms. Shin pulled him toward her for a goodnight kiss. “I didn’t object,” Mr. Lee said.

Soon, she began schlepping regularly from her Upper East Side studio to his one-bedroom in Union Square, mentioning innocently after several months that her lease was about to expire. “You should just move in,” Mr. Lee told her. “You’re here all the time anyway.”

But as moving day approached, Ms. Shin’s boyfriend began to develop a case of amnesia. “He totally took it back!” she told the Love Beat, still incredulous. Undeterred, she began stealthily transporting her belongings downtown. “It was like a sneaky approach,” she said.

“I want you to notice—I brought two suitcases here,” she informed him, “which is enough to get me out in one trip.”

“I was like, ‘Wow, she’s letting me know if I don’t mind my P’s and Q��s, she’s outie!’” Mr. Lee said. He was also unnerved by Ms. Shin’s admission that she had changed her cell-phone number several times in the past to avoid messy breakups. “I always knew that one day I could come home and the bags would be gone and her phone would be off, and I’d say, ‘Wow, she swept in and swept out,’” he said.

Not surprisingly, they began talking wedlock pretty soon. “It might have been in the context of getting a dog,” Mr. Lee said.

A week before the couple was scheduled to travel to Israel for a wedding, he told her they had another set of nuptials to attend in Toronto. The trip fell over their birthdays, which are two days apart, and Ms. Shin was peeved. But once they got to the airport, Mr. Lee revealed that their actual destination was … Paris!

“He had done all this stuff to plan it,” Ms. Shin said. “I thought it was so sweet.”

She was resting by the Seine and rubbing her chafed feet (having packed only heels for the supposed “wedding”) when Mr. Lee sat down beside her, shaking visibly.

“You’re the most important thing in my life,” he announced, brandishing a 1.6-carat round-cut, platinum-set center diamond flanked by two smaller stones, from Philmar Jewelers. “Will you marry me?” Of course she said yes.

“I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe we’re about to have our biggest moment, and you’re rubbing your feet,’” said the groom-to-be. Countdown to Bliss