Lauren Newman and Evan Isaacs first met on a date that really wasn’t much of a date.
A casual dinner was planned by their mutual friend Melissa in the spring of 2011 after she’d been whispering to both of them how good they would be together.
“She had been telling me about Lauren for a few weeks,” Evan says. “But then one day [Melissa] sprung this dinner on me to meet Lauren at BGR.”
With Evan, Lauren and Melissa all dining together at the Dupont burger spot that night, the date turned more into a conversation among friends and less about the budding chemistry between Evan and Lauren.
“First impression wasn’t really much, to be honest,” Evan says. “I was busy with work, and so I just thought she was really cool and she seemed social and hardworking. Family was apparently really important to her, and we just got that sense that we got along really well.”
They left without thinking about a future together.
Evan thought he’d be seeing Lauren soon since she was in charge of a going away party for Melissa in the following weeks. But once that party was put on hold, he decided to add her on Facebook. They began messaging and, soon enough, a real date was planned.
They decided on the Darlington House, a favorite neighborhood restaurant of theirs, and spent the date learning things about each other that they couldn’t at their first meeting. After a few hours, it was obvious that there was something special between them.
“Ever since that first date, we just felt like it was so easy,” Lauren says. “I remember liking that feeling a lot and being really informal with each other, and we started to hang out every weekend soon after since we lived only eight blocks apart.”
“Neither one of us were in a hurry to escalate it,” Evan says. “Neither one of us wanted to move things quickly and we wanted to get to know one another, and since there was no pressure, that happened in a really nice way.”
What became obvious almost immediately was that both had extremely close relationships with their families. Sooner rather than later, Evan would be introduced to hers.
About a month after their first date, they realized that they were both scheduled to be visiting friends and family in Chicago around the same time. On the day that Lauren was due to go to two of her cousins’ graduation parties, Evan was due to fly back to the District, but his flight was canceled.
“I called her from O’Hare and said, ‘Hey, you’re never going to believe this but is there any chance that the invitation is still there to meet your family?’ ” Evan says with a laugh. “She drove all the way out to pick me up, and I met probably 10 members of her family that day. It was a game of 20 questions for about 30 percent of the time, but they liked me and that’s when I knew that I was a keeper.”
He would meet more of Lauren’s family later that summer in Colorado for her sister’s wedding, a time both of them pinpoint as being a turning point in their relationship, and when Lauren finally had the realization that Evan was someone to hold on to for a while.
“That summer after we met, we really opened up each other to one another’s families and it just felt natural,” Lauren says. “I had never met someone as passionate about family as I am, and to have a partner like that is incredible.”
“From the beginning and even in all the wedding insanity that I saw, I kept on looking at Lauren and her family thinking, ‘These are the people that I really want to be around,’” Evan says.
After a year of living in the same neighborhood, they made the leap and moved into the same apartment.
“We really just genuinely like each other’s company,” Lauren says. “There’s like this sort of connection where we always feel comfortable around one another, so the move made sense and at the time was something we were both thrilled about.”
For Thanksgiving 2012, Lauren’s mom invited Evan’s mom and family to dinner in Philadelphia, and he thought the Wednesday before the holiday was just the right day to propose.
The couple walked around the city that morning and ended up in front of Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture in JFK Plaza. Evan asked someone on the street to take a photo of the two of them and on the second take, Evan got down on one knee. The stranger who was taking the photo said, “Wait, that wasn’t real, was it?” It was, and she said yes.
After the proposal, the couple went down to Reading Terminal and stopped in the French restaurant Le Bec-Fin, where the hostess was ready with a sport coat for Evan and a custom iPad menu for the table that read, “Congratulations on Your Engagement!”
“Every girl knows when it’s headed in that direction,” Lauren says. “But it was just so special with it being in my home town and us being together right before our two families reunited for Thanksgiving.”
Lauren Newman, 31, and Evan Isaacs, 29, married Jan. 18 in front of 140 family members and friends in a traditional Jewish ceremony at the Westin Georgetown. The couple reinforced their ideas about family and togetherness during the ceremony by mixing up the traditional seating arrangements.
“We didn’t have the bride’s side and the groom’s side for a really specific reason,” Lauren said after the wedding. “I really wanted it to feel like everybody was on the same team — our team.”
“I think marriage for us is mostly a continuation of going on this journey with somebody that I love,” Evan added. “She makes the highs all the better and the lows not as bad, and that’s just about the most wonderful thing a person can do.”