Katie Steps Out
updated 12/21/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/21/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST
On Nov. 24, Perlin, 35, accompanied Couric to a White House state dinner, and just two weeks later, the couple returned to Washington for the Kennedy Center Honors, where they struck their first pose together for photographers. "They took their time walking down the carpet," says a fellow guest. "Katie was smiling a lot and in a very good mood. They never left each other's side." Those who know the couple expect Perlin, a former hedge-fund partner turned entrepreneur (who also regularly competes in triathlons), will continue to make good use of his tux. "They're serious," says a friend of Couric's. "Brooks seems perfect for her. They make one another really happy."