He Was Hungover, She Felt 'Awful' — But Then He Took the Empty Plane Seat: 'Love at First Sight' (Exclusive)

Although Tim Bruns thought Eleni Lazares was "really pretty" when he first saw her, he felt like he was in no position to talk — and had to work up his courage to speak to her

<p>Courtesy Eleni Lazares and Tim Bruns</p> Eleni Lazares and Tim Bruns

Courtesy Eleni Lazares and Tim Bruns

Eleni Lazares and Tim Bruns

It was 6 a.m. when Tim Bruns first spotted his future wife, Eleni Lazares, at JFK airport waiting to board Delta Flight 568 to Los Angeles.

But since it was so early, the groggy, slightly hungover bachelor felt he was in no position to talk. “‘Man, she’s really pretty,” Bruns, then 28, recalls thinking that morning in November 2018. “But I hope I don’t sit next to her.”

For Lazares, sleep was a higher priority. “I arrived at the airport with no makeup on. I looked awful,” she says.

That all changed when Bruns walked down the airplane aisle and took seat 23B next to Lazares. “I was like, ‘Oh he’s really cute,’” she says. 

Related: Love at First Flight: Woman Told Fellow Passenger She Thought They'd Marry. Now They're Engaged! (Exclusive)

Eventually working up his courage to speak, Bruns suggested Lazares try the cheese and crackers when the flight attendant came by with a selection of snacks.

Before long, the duo were talking nonstop and watching Oceans 8 and Deadpool 2 together. “We played it at the same time so if someone would go to the bathroom, we would pause it,” says Bruns, who was based in Los Angeles while Lazares lived in New York City.

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A coast-to-coast relationship ensued with Lazares relocating to California in 2021 and eventually switching jobs. "It was a lot of change, but Tim was super supportive the entire time," she says, "which I think made me love him more."

While on vacation in Cape Cod the following year, Bruns asked Lazares' father for his daughter's hand in marriage.

The next day the couple boarded a plane to Florence, Italy, and Bruns proposed to Lazares on bended knee on the famed Ponte Vecchio. "Everyone in the plaza started cheering and clapping," recalls Lazares. "I did not expect it that night. I remember I wore a dress that I was kind of like, 'He wouldn't propose to me in this.'"

"It was a beautiful moment," says Bruns.

<p>Courtesy Eleni Lazares & Tim Bruns</p> Eleni Lazares and Tim Bruns

Courtesy Eleni Lazares & Tim Bruns

Eleni Lazares and Tim Bruns

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On Sept. 22, 2023, the couple were married in a Greek orthodox ceremony officiated by Father Alex Karloutsos at The Muses in Southampton, New York.

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Paying tribute to the fortuitous circumstances of their first meeting, the couple placed gold airplane-shaped bottle openers and cocktail napkins imprinted with Delta Airlines' official logo on tables at the reception.

And for their honeymoon, they spent 10 days in Mallorca and Sardinia.

<p>Aaron & Whitney DuRall</p> Eleni Lazares and Tim Bruns

Aaron & Whitney DuRall

Eleni Lazares and Tim Bruns

Lazares marvels at how an early morning flight five years ago led her to marriage. “Every time I was with [Tim], I could never stop laughing,” says Lazares, now a 33-year-old digital content producer. “He just made me feel at home and safe.”

Her newly minted husband chalks it up to old-fashioned magic. “People like to say they don’t believe in love at first sight,” says Bruns, also 33, a solutions engineer. “I think some people do get lucky like that. In my opinion, it's still out there, because it happened to us.”

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