Countdown to Bliss

Sanjay Bhatnagar and Andrea Miller

Met: January 1997

Engaged: September 2004

Projected Wedding Date: Fall 2006

Andrea Miller was reclining on her living-room sofa one evening, engrossed in Soul Mates, a treatise on relationships by the Catholic monk turned therapist Thomas Moore (not to be confused with the 16th-century Christian humanist Sir Thomas More). She read a particularly trenchant passage aloud to her boyfriend, Sanjay Bhatnagar, formerly one of India’s most eligible bachelors. “Hey, that’s pretty smart,” Mr. Bhatnagar said. “That makes a lot of sense.”

And that’s how Tango Media, a magazine company that Ms. Miller, 35, describes as having a “Sex and the City meets Oprah” approach to relationships, was born. She is the president; Mr. Bhatnagar, founder of the private equity firm Thot Capital and 10 years her senior, is an investor.

Let’s hope this isn’t a bad omen: The enterprising young couple met while working on the Dabhol power plant for Enron. Mr. Bhatnagar was managing the project, and Ms. Miller, petite and blond, was a financial analyst. And the “energy” between them was positively frenetic! “When I set eyes on Sanjay, I knew that I had a problem,” Ms. Miller said. Mr. Bhatnagar was intrigued, but dating someone else—not to mention very busy with work. “It wasn’t a 9-to-5 thing,” he said. “It was a project that occupied every living, breathing moment.” The two team members grew predictably close, and a few years later Mr. Bhatnagar, suddenly single, invited his colleague to a semi-private gathering with the Dalai Lama. “Andrea’s very much into Eastern religion and philosophy and things like that,” he explained.

“For me, at that moment, I felt like ‘This guy’s right on,’” Ms. Miller said.

A year before the doomed company that brought them together collapsed, she moved to New York, where she enrolled at Columbia University’s business school. He followed soon thereafter. “We both like to say we were prescient with regard to the Enron demise,” she said, but “we didn’t see it coming.” They found a nice two-bedroom on the Upper West Side and are planning a dual wedding in the mountains of Colorado and India (reminds one of that old Seinfeld episode … ).

The thoroughly modern Ms. Miller proposed spontaneously during a family reunion in Minnesota, while hiking in a gorgeous gorge near the shores of Lake Superior. “I was thinking, ‘This would be the perfect place to get engaged,’” she said. “Dropping hints right and left.” But Mr. Bhatnagar was speechless—not to mention ringless—so she picked up a souvenir rock, declaring: “I want you to marry me.” (They’re still ringless, though currently deliberating between emerald-cut rings from Cartier and Harry Winston. Ms. Miller said she was hoping for the Cartier.)

“My feeling is, once you come to the realization that you want to be with somebody,” said the groom-to-be, “you have to give it all that you’ve got.”

Joshua Scharback and Alecia White

Met: August 2003

Engaged: Dec. 31, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 3, 2006

Alecia White, 27, a pouty-lipped, brunette actress and part-time birth doula, plans to marry Joshua Scharback, 30, a paramedic-in-training with dark hair and a linebacker’s physique, at St. John’s United Methodist Church in her hometown ­of Davenport, Iowa—miles away from Astoria, Queens, where they plan to cohabitate.

They met in acting class while pursuing masters’ degrees in fine arts at the University of Tennessee. He smiled affably; she fell mute. “We turned into seventh-graders and ignored each other for the first three months,” Ms. White said. Then, one day, the instructor asked them to participate in a bit of “contact improv.”

“It was one of those grad-school, roll-around-on-the-floor, don’t-talk mirror exercises,” Mr. Scharback explained. Ooh—kinky!

After class, Ms. White invited Mr. Scharback to see her in a performance of The Secret Garden, in which she was playing Lily, albeit a bit hoarsely (she had strep throat). At the show’s after-party, she offered to drive him home, blowing off her parents, who’d come all the way from Iowa. Though she was under doctor’s orders to limit conversation, the two young people gabbed until her vocal cords gave out at 4 a.m., at which point they used their lips, for kissing. “I felt so peaceful,” Ms. White said. “In the car, there was this very holy feeling. It was as if God were right there with us saying, ‘Yes, this is the right thing.’”

The next morning, they sat in her apartment, passing notes back and forth.

Several days later, they drove to Thanksgiving dinner at a professor’s house, Peter, Paul and Mary’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” blasting on the car stereo.

“If you could play this song on the guitar, I’d marry you,” Ms. White announced.

“I can play this song on the guitar,” Mr. Scharback said.

He left the program soon after, eventually moving to the East Village with a close friend. She followed after graduating, bringing along her sister (also an actress). Mr. Scharback was from Boston and so familiar with our shores. “He was a lifesaver,” Ms. White said. “He knew all the trains and neighborhoods.”

“She would be like, ‘I know where I’m going.’ Then I’d get a call: ‘I don’t know where I am!’” Mr. Scharback recalled fondly. “She’s kind of stubborn.”

Everything went swimmingly until Mr. Scharback was commissioned to play Hamlet in the annual Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, at which point he felt he needed some space and instigated a “break.”

“Part of me thought, ‘If I could just have time for myself and not be so involved, and maybe just assess that this is where I want to go … ,’” he said, trailing off.

The break lasted six weeks.

At a New Year’s Eve dinner with her family at their local church in Iowa, Mr. Scharback announced that he wanted to give a toast. “Thank you for letting me be the impostor tonight,” he said. “I’d really like to do the concert next year, and the year after, but in order to do that, I have to really be a part of the family.” He then dropped to his knee and held up a row of three round-cut diamonds from the store Diamond and Dials, set in white gold.

“Yes!” Ms. White squealed dramatically. Countdown to Bliss