Countdown to Bliss

Alexandra Haggiag and Christopher Dean

Met: Summer 1999

Engaged: Jan. 1, 2006

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 16, 2006

Alexandra Haggiag, a toothsome blond Brit, was on summer vacation from Harvard, lounging on the balcony of her parents’ house in Gigaro (in the South of France) and having a total Bridget Jones moment. “You should meet this boy,” they told her, describing Christopher Dean, the son of some fellow English people they’d met on Christmas Eve. “He goes to Oxford, and he’s lovely.” Oh God, thought Ms. Haggiag, 19 at the time. Utter pomp!

Then the athletic, floppy-haired Mr. Dean pulled up on his Vespa and took her to a nearby club, where Ms. Haggiag, who was wearing a leopard-print miniskirt, met several of his childhood friends. “They were all bamboozled by her,” said Mr. Dean, who has a certain Hugh Grantish mien. By the end of the evening, the two were dancing energetically to “Mambo No. 5.” “I’m not going to lie to you,” he said. “It wasn’t a classy club.”

They were but flirtatious friends for a couple of years, and then Ms. Haggiag’s brother was seriously injured after skiing off a 40-foot cliff in the Alps. Mr. Dean’s family was skiing in a neighboring valley, and she visited them for comfort. “I think that was another major turning point of our relationship,” Mr. Dean said. “It moved into something quite serious—more profound.”

After graduating, Ms. Haggiag returned to England to work in comedy television. One night, Mr. Dean called and invited her and her brother to a movie.

“Actually, my brother’s very busy,” she told him.

“I’m not busy!” her brother piped up from the background.

“Yes,” she said brightly. “ Quite busy.”

They went à deux to see Cold Mountain. Inside the theater, however, things were warm and toasty. “I think his thumb reached over and touched my thumb,” Ms. Haggiag said. Afterward, he walked her home and “bussed” her, as the Brits say.

Six months later, Ms. Haggiag, who’d been plotting a move into television news, got an acceptance letter from the Columbia School of Journalism. “A lifelong dream,” she said. Off she went to New York, where she found a one-bedroom on the Upper West Side and, eventually, a job as production associate at PBS. Mr. Dean, meanwhile, started working freelance at his job, in production at ESPN Europe, so that he could visit her regularly and eventually move into her apartment. “It’s completely our city,” said Ms. Haggiag, who is 27, like her beau.

They will wed on the beach in Gigaro. Mr. Dean proposed on a barren, snowy Alpine road as last New Year’s Day wound to a close, dropping to one knee and presenting Ms. Haggiag with a brilliant-cut, half-carat diamond set in gold. “Will you be my wife?” he said. Instead of answering, she launched a discussion about the institution of marriage, passing out at 4 a.m.

A few hours later, Ms. Haggiag bounced down the stairs, wearing the ring and little else, to find Mr. Dean waiting anxiously in the kitchen.

“Let’s get married!” she announced.

Rochelle Heller and David Silver

Met: Sept. 5, 1999

Engaged: Feb. 14, 2006

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 18, 2007

It was a chilly Valentine’s Day evening, and as David Silver, a lanky archaeologist with a cleft chin, and Rochelle Heller, a raven-haired N.Y.U. dental student, awaited their after-dinner chocolate-mousse cake at Tavern on the Green (tooth decay be damned!), Mr. Silver handed over a card depicting a rather frumpy royal couple.

The prince wakes up and has morning breath, it read, the princess wakes up and her makeup’s smudged. It’s the day after, and they’re still together. Inside the card was a scratch-off lottery ticket and the words: I want to give you the world. I hope this helps.

Ms. Heller scratched off, with disappointing results.

“Turn it over,” her boyfriend instructed her.

If not … , continued the written message. Mr. Silver, who works for the RBA Group, an urban-planning firm in New Jersey, promptly completed the ellipses by bringing her to the middle of the room and falling to one knee. “Will you marry me?” he asked, brandishing a 1.6-carat round-cut, white-gold-set solitaire diamond from the Jewelry Patch.

“Yes!” Ms. Heller squealed three times.

“I was wondering if anyone was going to get engaged tonight,” said a nearby patron, offering his congratulations.

As the happy pair eased back into their seats, they were approached by Dr. Scott Haltzman, a relationship expert and Brown University professor who’s been written about in The Washington Post.

“I’m probably the last guy you want to hear from right now,” he said, and informed them of his role in a restaurant promotion: assessing the evening’s betrothed to find the “Best Matched” and award them a weekend trip to Bermuda.

The next day, Mr. Silver got a call on his cell phone at work. “I won?” he asked. And then: “I won!”

How validating.

Ms. Heller postponed her finals, and the best-matched couple hopped on a plane the following evening. Even without the added bonus of the trip, she said, the proposal was “very unexpected.”

This despite the fact the couple had been together for over six years, having met on an orientation-week cruise their freshman year at Brandeis. They danced and locked lips to the saccharine strains of “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.

A couple of weeks later, Mr. Silver dropped the “L” bomb.

“We need to talk,” Ms. Heller said sternly.

“I said, ‘You’re funny, you’re smart’—I had this whole long list,” Mr. Silver told the Love Beat. “She was like, ‘Oh.’”

A month later, she told him that she loved him too.

After graduation, they moved to a one-bedroom near Gramercy Park. Though Mr. Silver works late most nights, they enjoy going for super-long walks on the weekend and exploring the city’s culinary delights. He is 25, she is 24, and they will marry at Capitale. Countdown to Bliss