Gabrielle Alyse Neimand caught a glimpse of a tiger the length of Micah Lennon McEachen’s forearm as they shared a tray full of cupcakes at their friend’s cupcake tasting in Los Angeles on Feb. 13, 2015.
He likes to think of it as Friday the 13th, while she likes to say the day before Valentine’s Day.
“He has full sleeve tattoos,” said Ms. Neimand, who goes by Brie, and tried not to stare. “He has a lot of beautiful work, a gorgeous Tiki Polynesian totem and a ship at sea.”
After she arrived a few minutes late, she took the only seat left, next to his, at the restaurant Kitchen24, where their friend Romy Orantes, the executive chef, used feedback of 10 tasters that day to tweak cupcake recipes.
Ms. Neimand’s take on her favorite cupcake, chocolate peanut butter pretzel — it needed more crunch. His on strawberry lemon curd — “very lemony, creamy and delicious.”
“She was outgoing and clearly intelligent,” said Mr. McEachen, 40, then working nights as a restaurant manager in Hollywood.
As they chatted, they also found out they were each just out of a long-term relationship.
“He was the day’s U.P.S., an unexpected pleasant surprise,” said Ms. Neimand, 42, a television producer who is now working as a scripted executive at Fremantle Media in Los Angeles. She graduated from Northwestern.
An hour after the tasting, right after their friend tagged a photo thank-you Facebook post to all the tasters, Mr. McEachen reached out to Ms. Neimand via Facebook messenger.
“Do you like fireworks?” he asked.
“Literal or figurative,” she replied.
“Both,” he said without skipping a beat.
A week later they went to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Later, under Disney’s nightly fireworks they had their first kiss by the giant Lego statues of Belle and the Beast.
On Sundays, his day off, they soon went to baseball games, concerts and outdoor movies, or saw each other after his shift around 3 a.m.
“We were in a relationship without acknowledging we were in a relationship,” she said, and in October when she was ready for one, he was not. So they broke up.
In Summer 2016, after they hung out and played air hockey at Santa Monica Pier, they started a “real” relationship, but broke up again in April 2017.
“As much as we loved each other, we were on different pages,” she said.
During a year of “soul searching,” he said, he left the restaurant scene for a daytime job at Servpro of North Hollywood, a home restoration and remediation service, where he is the manager. He is also pursuing a degree in psychology at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.
To her surprise he asked her to dinner on May 5, 2018, a Saturday night, and told her he was ready to date with “an eye toward forever.” They soon decided to go for counseling to see if they were crazy to give it a third try.
In August 2019, during a trip to Scotland, he got down on one knee in the mud at the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye.
Three months later, Ms. Neimand found out she was pregnant.
“We were totally ecstatic,” she said.
They planned to get married November 2020 at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica Calif., with 250 guests, but amid Covid, Mr. McEachen’s unexpected cancer surgery in March 2020, which was successful, and the arrival of the baby, James Eron McEachen, in June, plans shifted.
On April 10, Rabbi Sari Laufer officiated at the Casa di Pietra, a mansion by the beach in Malibu, Calif., before immediate family, and about 300 guests livestreaming from around the world.
Their huppah was sewn with pieces of fabric bearing messages and decorated by 150 friends and family (mama, papa and baby cupcakes by Ms. Orantes). The groom’s blue, green and red Clanranald tartan showed up too — on kilts worn by him, his brother and father, the baby’s romper and masks.