OnLove Wedding: Jen Psaki and Gregory Mecher get married in Maryland
Sunday, May 16, 2010
The day Jen Psaki met Gregory Mecher, she was focused on another man.
Psaki was six weeks into a new communications gig with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Rahm Emanuel, then chairman of the DCCC, was traveling to Philadelphia to speak at an event where she would be handling the media.
As Psaki, a Luddite, scrambled to set up a Web video for Emanuel, a call came on her cellphone -- the chairman's driver was lost and needed directions.
"And I have no sense of direction. I didn't know even where we were, but I was like 'Oh, I think you take a left,' " recalls Psaki, now 31.
Mecher, a deputy finance director at the DCCC who regularly traveled in "a very small entourage" with Emanuel, was on the other end of the line that January 2006 day, taking instructions from Psaki that led them even further afield. Finally they reached the event site, and once Mecher moved on from thinking, "Why did she get us lost?" he thought: "She's cute."
Psaki, meanwhile, was just glad "he wasn't visibly upset" by her misdirection. And compared with Emanuel, who was dropping four-letter words from the moment he walked in the door, Mecher "seemed like the nice, calm person."
The two both had heavy travel schedules, but occasionally found themselves at DCCC headquarters at the same time. Mecher would make a point of regularly trying to walk by Psaki's desk, which was 20 feet from his own.
"But when she's at work, she's very focused -- it's like tunnel vision," says Mecher, 33. "Whenever I would do it, she had the headset on, talking on the phone, the BlackBerry she was typing on and the actual computer in front of her where she was talking to someone else . . . so there was no way to accidentally get her attention."
Psaki, who grew up in Connecticut and got into politics after signing up for a Democratic campaign program that led to a two-year post-college stint in Iowa, concentrated largely on her job. But when she heard other women at the office mention Mecher's attractiveness, she'd perk up -- and get a little jealous.
After a shared cab ride one night and some flirting at 18th Amendment bar on Capitol Hill another evening, Mecher made up his mind to ask for a date. "I actually got really nervous," he recalls. "Which was really weird. I was 30 years old. I've asked a few girls out before. I've never been nervous about it in my life."
The last Friday in September, he sent Psaki an e-mail asking her to dinner. She quickly wrote back saying yes. The next Monday they met in the elevator so their colleagues wouldn't see them leave together -- "we thought we were so slick," Psaki says.
At Logan Tavern they talked about their parents and siblings and shared high school swimming careers. And the next weekend they went out again. The two tried to keep their romance out of the office gossip mills but weren't worried about intra-office dating awkwardness: The November 2006 elections were coming soon, and they'd both be moving on.