06/22/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT
Frank Sinatra was right: Love and marriage do go together. So in this year's celebrity romance issue, we've included a peek at the newly smitten (like Gwyneth Paltrow
and Ben Affleck
) and perennially passionate (Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson) along with our fifth celebration of the year in weddings.
And what's a wedding without music? Inspired by Adam Sandler's surprise big-screen hit, The Wedding Singer, we asked staff writer Lisa Russell and photographer Andy Levin to trip the light fantastic with a real-life reception band, the New York City octet Sound of Infinity. "In their own separate universe, they are kings," says Russell of the group, which has been playing weddings and bar mitzvahs for 18 years.
Since joining PEOPLE as a reporter in 1980 after graduating from Boston's Simmons College, Russell, 39, has carved out a niche for herself as well. After contributing to the magazine's coverage of pop music for 16 years, she joined our staff of Special Issues, where her quick wit and hip sensibility are a perfect match for the likes of "The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World" and the "Best and Worst Dressed." "She keeps up with the freshest faces and latest trends," says senior editor Elizabeth Sporkin. "If you want to know who's who and who's hot, Lisa's the person to ask."
Russell's pop background made her the obvious choice to accompany the Sound of Infinity on a series of weekend gigs. "She's a rocker so she fit right in," says vocalist Cookie Gonzalez. "She knew a lot about what we were doing, and she really dug the music." So much so, in fact, that the unmarried Russell, who has always considered herself the "run-off-to-Vegas-type," is rethinking things. "When the time comes, there's at least one detail I won't have to worry about," she says. "I've found my band."