Their relationship began at a wedding shower when Erin Reeser’s mother noticed a nice, young man.
“My mom pointed him out to me,” said Reeser, who was in nursing school at the time. “She said, ‘You have to meet this guy.’ I said he was cute, but I didn’t know if he was single or what.”
It wasn’t until the subsequent 2006 wedding reception that Erin met her future husband, Jeff Brechtel, now 30.
“I was pretty much checking him out,” Erin, 27, said. “His cousin pointed me out. Jeff didn’t know who I was.”
It was an instant attraction, and they went on a date a week later.
“And here we are,” Jeff said.
First time in love for both
Neither had ever had a long-term relationship. He was the laid-back, single guy.
“And, I didn’t waste my time if I knew (the guy wasn’t right),” Erin said. “But, there was something about Jeff. I told my friend, ‘I think I like him.’ They said, ‘We’ll see next week.’”
They had common bonds, goals, similar values, similar personalities (laid back and not extravagant) and upbringings filled with large, extended families that were important to them. Jeff is the second of four children, and Erin is the youngest of three.
“We’re both Catholic and went to church every Sunday,” Erin added.
And, they realized there were many times when they were in the same place at the same time but didn’t know it. They are big LSU fans and now have season tickets. And, they loved to travel.
Jeff knew he wanted to marry Erin and decided to pop the question on a regular excursion – exploring New Orleans downtown. They had established a tradition of dinner after Erin completed each nursing semester. But, he decided he would ask Erin to marry him the day after dinner while walking along the Riverwalk.
“It was the most nerve-racking day of my life,” he said of that date in December 2007.
Jeff repeatedly asked Erin if she was tired and wanted to sit down – so he could propose quietly without a big scene – but she kept refusing. Erin started thinking something was wrong.
“So, we sat down, and he got down on his knee,” Erin said. She said yes.
They thought a year in advance would be adequate time for an engagement, but unbeknownst to Jeff, Erin had a preplanned wedding date in mind – her grandfather’s birth date of March 21. So, they had 15 months to plan, first booking St. Agnes Church, her parish, and then Magnolia Plantation, where they met. Jeff’s faith background was evident in selecting Father Michael Schneller, pastor of St. Ann, where Jeff attended grammar school, as the celebrant.
“We know we can lean on faith as a backup,” Jeff said. “Early on, we went to church together, and we would have lunch after at Erin’s grandmother’s house every Sunday. It was a chance for us to spend time together.”
“Marriage has more meaning to us being married in the Catholic Church,” Erin said.
Lived apart until wedding
They did not cohabitate before the wedding; both lived at home until Jeff bought a Metairie home a year before the wedding. Jeff became comfortable in his own space.
“Then, my roommate showed up – Erin,” Jeff laughed. “I had gotten accustomed to doing my own thing (after having lived at home his whole life) and had established a routine.”
“We didn’t know about each other’s personal habits,” Erin chimed in. “You don’t realize that until you are together 24 hours a day. Some of the quirks are funny. You just have to put some things aside. ”
“There were definitely some adjustments,” Jeff said. “There are times when you have to learn how to give and take unselfishly and do things that you’re not really that amped up to do. We’re gonna learn that even more next year.”
Just when they got comfortable together, they learned that they are expecting twin boys in January 2012.
Their common love of traveling – they went to St. Lucia on their honeymoon but each had traveled extensively before – will be curtailed a bit now that twins are on the way.
“We’ll now probably go to the zoo,” Jeff joked.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.