With a push from her mother, a first date leads to a lifelong commitment

When Courtney Elizabeth Dec attended her brother’s high school graduation party in the summer of 2016, she wasn’t the only one to notice her brother’s friend, Brett Alexander Lanham. So is her mother.

“She politely told me to start dating her daughter,” said Lanham, 31, who has been friends with Dec’s brother, David, since 2012, when the two worked together. working at a restaurant in Buffalo, NY.

Before the party, held at Town Place Park in Clarence, NY, 26-year-old Dec, a student at Syracuse University at the time, had only seen photos of Mr. Lanham on social media. “I always joke with David‌, for no real reason‌, about how hot his friend Brett is,” she said. ‌ “I was like, ‘I’m going to date Brett.’”

Her mother, Jacki Dec, also seemed to think it was a good idea, so she went to see Mr. Lanham amid a crowd of 180 guests.

Soon after, Mr. Lanham inquired about her via social media. “He messaged me on Facebook after the party – while we were all at my parents house,” Ms. Dec said. “He’s in the basement and I’m in the kitchen.”

On August 6, 2016, the two had their first date at Canalside, an entertainment district in downtown Buffalo, where they walked around and kayaked. “We knew that if we were to date it would have to be serious because we couldn’t mess with their friendship,” Ms Dec said, referring to her brother’s relationship with Mr Lanham.

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Mr Lanham said that dating his best friend’s sister did not change their friendship. “I have not only his blessing but also the blessing of his father and mother,” he said. “There’s always mutual respect and understanding, so David and I still get along like we did before.”

Yet another obstacle in a relationship is distance. Shortly after they started dating that summer, Ms. Dec returned to college. “You would think it was the wrong time,” she said. But Mr. Lanham “visits me in Syracuse almost every weekend. I graduated half a year early, and returned home. It worked best. “

In October 2019, the couple adopted Gigi, a small labradoodle, and in March 2020 they began living together in Clarence, NY, the Buffalo suburb where Ms. Dec grew up. She holds a law degree from the University of Buffalo‌ with a bachelor’s degree in public health from Syracuse and currently works as general counsel for Bundle, a legal documents provider founded by her father based in St. Clarence.

Mr. Lanham, from Williamsville, NY, is a project manager for Brawdy Construction, a commercial construction company incorporated in Buffalo. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

On 28 August 2020, Mr Lanham proposed to Mrs Dec at Canalside, the same location as their first date. “He said we were going to have ice cream with his family,” Ms. Dec said. “We showed up and there wasn’t a single soul in sight across the entire boardwalk. It was surprising. I don’t even know if the ice cream shop is open yet.”

On September 24, they were married in front of 220 guests at St. Louis in Buffalo. Father Bryan Zielenieski, a Roman Catholic priest from St. Mary of Swormville, NY, led the ceremony. The reception was held in the Admiralty Room, an event space at the Marin Building in Buffalo.

Ms Dec’s brother David, who was once one of the best men, raised a toast to the couple.

He said, “A guy couldn’t ask for a better friend, and now brother, than you, Brett.”


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