Countdown to Bliss

Heidi Albee and Daniel Holloway

Met: July 29, 2001

Engaged: July 6, 2006

Projected Wedding Date: Feb. 10, 2007

Ms. Pac-Man is becoming a Mrs.! Heidi Albee, 26, a striking brunette human-resources representative at Atari, plans to marry Daniel Holloway, 27, a lanky, sideburned staff writer at Metro. They live in a Park Slope one-bedroom and try not to indulge overmuch in her endless supply of free video games.

The couple met while attending Florida State University. Ms. Albee, no relation to playwright Edward—we think—had a major crush on Mr. Holloway, an indie-rock-lovin’ D.J. for the college radio station, but he was completely oblivious to her infectious, Julia Roberts–esque smile. One evening, they ran into one another while “dancing the Tennessee Waltz”—local lingo for bar-hopping on Main Street. “We’re having a party at my house next week!” improvised Ms. Albee, emboldened by the rum and Coke coursing through her veins. “You have to come.” Then she sprang the news of the party on her two housemates.

Their soirée was a big success, except that Mr. Holloway didn’t show up. Ms. Albee was crestfallen—until she saw his head of black curls appear in the doorway around 2 a.m.

“I have a crush on you,” she admitted a little later. After a sloppy make-out session on the street, they exchanged phone numbers. “Like Romeo and Juliet,” Ms. Albee said gaily.

The next day, the pair embarked on a road trip to Georgia to pick up some malt liquor for a mutual friend’s 21st-birthday party … before realizing it was a Sunday in the Bible Belt. They parked at a gas station and shared a cigarette and some relaxed conversation. “It was great,” Mr. Holloway said. “We were stone-cold sober and like, ‘Oh, I really do like you.’”

“Like” turned to “love” a month later, at his folks’ house in Tampa. “I know it’s really soon,” he said.

The relationship blossomed their senior year, even as Mr. Holloway was processing his parents’ divorce. “I could really relate to what he was going through, because I had lost my dad when I was a little girl,” Ms. Albee said. “I could recognize that he was having a hard time, and I think that really drew us together in a lot of ways.”

They postponed a decision to move to New York after graduation for one year so that Mr. Holloway could be near his mom. “He’s a really good son,” Ms. Albee said admiringly. She found work as a substitute teacher, and he worked at a U.P.S. call center. Just as they were packing up their belongings for the Big Apple, Ms. Albee received word that her mother had been diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer and needed to have a mastectomy. Mr. Holloway rose to the occasion, landing a copy-editing job at The Miami Herald, and moved in with her and her family. “It’s a terrifying thing,” she said, “and he was really there for me when the chips were down.”

Fortunately, her mother recovered, and the young couple was soon Brooklyn-bound, though Ms. Albee made frequent trips back South.

She was vacationing solo in North Carolina when Mr. Holloway showed up unannounced, with a little black dress he’d kidnapped from her closet. “We’re going out!” he informed her.

At a fancy restaurant overlooking the Appalachian mountain range, Mr. Holloway made several attempts to retrieve a mysterious object from his pocket, but was interrupted by the waitress every time. So, after dinner, he took Ms. Albee to a bench outside, near a putting green. “Did you ever think you’d get engaged on a golf course?” he asked, sending her into peals of nervous laughter. These stopped abruptly when he slid to one knee and teed up a brilliant-cut solitaire diamond, set in white gold with pavé, from I.D. Jewelers in the diamond district.

“Consider this your gold watch,” Mr. Holloway said. “It’s the company’s way of thanking you for five years of dedicated service.”

Caitlin Leffel and Alex Ostroy

Met: December 2004

Engaged: Dec. 19, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 26, 2006

Baking doesn’t come naturally to most New York women, but when Caitlin Leffel was invited to a party in the increasingly hip neighborhood of Clinton Hill, she rose to the occasion and produced a Champagne cake, which her hosts served alongside a selection of barbecued pork and Jell-O shots.

“You should really try the Champagne cake,” Ms. Leffel remarked to another guest, Alex Ostroy, a thin and handsome fellow with a shaved head.

“I could tell right away that she was bright and interesting,” he told the Love Beat. And her heart-shaped face, lovely figure and gentle demeanor didn’t hurt either.

At the end of the evening, Mr. Ostroy and Ms. Leffel shared a cab back to Manhattan with two of her friends. He got dropped in the East Village, and she scooted up to Chelsea.

A few days later, she noticed an e-mail in her junk-mail folder entitled “Hi Caitlin.” It was not the usual blandishment for penis enlargement, but a sweet note from Mr. Ostroy. “Don’t pork and Jell-O shots make a great combination?” he asked, suggesting dinner and drinks, perhaps with her pals.

“I was very confused,” Ms. Leffel said. “I wasn’t sure if he liked me or my friends.”

She went—alone—to meet him at Louis Inc., a bar on the Lower East Side, where Mr. Ostroy was gathered with some buddies of his own. Mercifully, he ditched the posse before they dined at Life Café. “And I know where we’re going on our next date,” he announced in the taxi home. Phew, thought Ms. Leffel, who’d wondered why he hadn’t gotten her phone number.

Next time they convened, at Tenement, Mr. Ostroy, a freelance art director, mentioned that he painted. “You have interesting gestures,” he said. “I’d like to draw you.”

Ms. Leffel, no stranger to the fine arts as an editor at Rizzoli, the publisher of fancy coffee-table books, was all too willing, and the relationship progressed quickly from there. (She is also the co-author of New York Unlimited: 1001 Things to Do in New York City.)

The couple is currently planning their wedding at the Troutbeck Inn in Amenia, N.Y. Mr. Holloway proposed at yet another party in Clinton Hill, in a deserted hallway, with a brilliant-cut canary diamond set in white gold. “Are you serious?” Ms. Leffel kept asking.

“I don’t know if she ever did say yes!” he said.

The bride-to-be, who is 25, said that she knew Mr. Holloway, 40, was the love of her life after he offered tireless emotional support early in their relationship, as her mother was dying of esophageal cancer. “It was strange,” she said. “I can’t think of one without thinking about the other. What can I say? You don’t get to choose the way things happen to you.”

Heidi Albee and Daniel Holloway

Met: July 29, 2001

Engaged: July 6, 2006

Projected Wedding Date: Feb. 10, 2007

Ms. Pac-Man is becoming a Mrs.! Heidi Albee, 26, a striking brunette human-resources representative at Atari, plans to marry Daniel Holloway, 27, a lanky, sideburned staff writer at Metro. They live in a Park Slope one-bedroom and try not to indulge overmuch in her endless supply of free video games.

The couple met while attending Florida State University. Ms. Albee, no relation to playwright Edward—we think—had a major crush on Mr. Holloway, an indie-rock-lovin’ D.J. for the college radio station, but he was completely oblivious to her infectious, Julia Roberts–esque smile. One evening, they ran into one another while “dancing the Tennessee Waltz”—local lingo for bar-hopping on Main Street. “We’re having a party at my house next week!” improvised Ms. Albee, emboldened by the rum and Coke coursing through her veins. “You have to come.” Then she sprang the news of the party on her two housemates.

Their soirée was a big success, except that Mr. Holloway didn’t show up. Ms. Albee was crestfallen—until she saw his head of black curls appear in the doorway around 2 a.m.

“I have a crush on you,” she admitted a little later. After a sloppy make-out session on the street, they exchanged phone numbers. “Like Romeo and Juliet,” Ms. Albee said gaily.

The next day, the pair embarked on a road trip to Georgia to pick up some malt liquor for a mutual friend’s 21st-birthday party … before realizing it was a Sunday in the Bible Belt. They parked at a gas station and shared a cigarette and some relaxed conversation. “It was great,” Mr. Holloway said. “We were stone-cold sober and like, ‘Oh, I really do like you.’”

“Like” turned to “love” a month later, at his folks’ house in Tampa. “I know it’s really soon,” he said.

The relationship blossomed their senior year, even as Mr. Holloway was processing his parents’ divorce. “I could really relate to what he was going through, because I had lost my dad when I was a little girl,” Ms. Albee said. “I could recognize that he was having a hard time, and I think that really drew us together in a lot of ways.”

They postponed a decision to move to New York after graduation for one year so that Mr. Holloway could be near his mom. “He’s a really good son,” Ms. Albee said admiringly. She found work as a substitute teacher, and he worked at a U.P.S. call center. Just as they were packing up their belongings for the Big Apple, Ms. Albee received word that her mother had been diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer and needed to have a mastectomy. Mr. Holloway rose to the occasion, landing a copy-editing job at The Miami Herald, and moved in with her and her family. “It’s a terrifying thing,” she said, “and he was really there for me when the chips were down.”

Fortunately, her mother recovered, and the young couple was soon Brooklyn-bound, though Ms. Albee made frequent trips back South.

She was vacationing solo in North Carolina when Mr. Holloway showed up unannounced, with a little black dress he’d kidnapped from her closet. “We’re going out!” he informed her.

At a fancy restaurant overlooking the Appalachian mountain range, Mr. Holloway made several attempts to retrieve a mysterious object from his pocket, but was interrupted by the waitress every time. So, after dinner, he took Ms. Albee to a bench outside, near a putting green. “Did you ever think you’d get engaged on a golf course?” he asked, sending her into peals of nervous laughter. These stopped abruptly when he slid to one knee and teed up a brilliant-cut solitaire diamond, set in white gold with pavé, from I.D. Jewelers in the diamond district.

“Consider this your gold watch,” Mr. Holloway said. “It’s the company’s way of thanking you for five years of dedicated service.”

Caitlin Leffel and Alex Ostroy

Met: December 2004

Engaged: Dec. 19, 2005

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 26, 2006

Baking doesn’t come naturally to most New York women, but when Caitlin Leffel was invited to a party in the increasingly hip neighborhood of Clinton Hill, she rose to the occasion and produced a Champagne cake, which her hosts served alongside a selection of barbecued pork and Jell-O shots.

“You should really try the Champagne cake,” Ms. Leffel remarked to another guest, Alex Ostroy, a thin and handsome fellow with a shaved head.

“I could tell right away that she was bright and interesting,” he told the Love Beat. And her heart-shaped face, lovely figure and gentle demeanor didn’t hurt either.

At the end of the evening, Mr. Ostroy and Ms. Leffel shared a cab back to Manhattan with two of her friends. He got dropped in the East Village, and she scooted up to Chelsea.

A few days later, she noticed an e-mail in her junk-mail folder entitled “Hi Caitlin.” It was not the usual blandishment for penis enlargement, but a sweet note from Mr. Ostroy. “Don’t pork and Jell-O shots make a great combination?” he asked, suggesting dinner and drinks, perhaps with her pals.

“I was very confused,” Ms. Leffel said. “I wasn’t sure if he liked me or my friends.”

She went—alone—to meet him at Louis Inc., a bar on the Lower East Side, where Mr. Ostroy was gathered with some buddies of his own. Mercifully, he ditched the posse before they dined at Life Café. “And I know where we’re going on our next date,” he announced in the taxi home. Phew, thought Ms. Leffel, who’d wondered why he hadn’t gotten her phone number.

Next time they convened, at Tenement, Mr. Ostroy, a freelance art director, mentioned that he painted. “You have interesting gestures,” he said. “I’d like to draw you.”

Ms. Leffel, no stranger to the fine arts as an editor at Rizzoli, the publisher of fancy coffee-table books, was all too willing, and the relationship progressed quickly from there. (She is also the co-author of New York Unlimited: 1001 Things to Do in New York City.)

The couple is currently planning their wedding at the Troutbeck Inn in Amenia, N.Y. Mr. Holloway proposed at yet another party in Clinton Hill, in a deserted hallway, with a brilliant-cut canary diamond set in white gold. “Are you serious?” Ms. Leffel kept asking.

“I don’t know if she ever did say yes!” he said.

The bride-to-be, who is 25, said that she knew Mr. Holloway, 40, was the love of her life after he offered tireless emotional support early in their relationship, as her mother was dying of esophageal cancer. “It was strange,” she said. “I can’t think of one without thinking about the other. What can I say? You don’t get to choose the way things happen to you.” Countdown to Bliss