An elegant and rustic summer wedding in Blanchard, ID
Corinne and Aaron's July wedding at the StoneRidge Resort in northern Idaho was a beautiful celebration of love! Some of my favorite details are the pink ombre cake and the twinkling lights backdrop! Kimbry Studios captured their day. The groom shared their adorable love story – how they met and how he proposed – so you better grab some tissues!
9 years ago I had just finished my first year at Washington State University. It was summertime, I was living in a new city (Spokane, WA), working at a new internship, and living a new independent life, with an exciting immediate future. At the end of the summer I was leaving for Air Force 2A7X5 training, Aircraft Mechanic School, in Pensacola for six months as a member of the Washington Air National Guard. The only thing missing in my life was someone to love. Enter Corinne Amanda Kubena, and oh what an entrance she made.
The first weekend in July started off like every first weekend of the month, working on Fairchild Air Force Base as a member of the 141st Air Refueling Wing. The group of guys I worked with were the best in the business and I spent the weekend soaking up as much knowledge as I could while preparing for the training I would be leaving for in 6 weeks. During the morning briefing, MSgt. Peterson called out my name as he read the list of medical appointments. I had to get another shot. The Air Force hands these things out like candy at a parade, so it was nothing unusual.
Mid-morning rolled around and I cleaned up my work area so I could head over to the medical clinic for my appointment. I grabbed my cover (hat) and jumped in the white Ford pickup with U.S. Government plates to drive past the perfectly manicured lawns and industrial buildings that dotted the base. I had been to the clinic many times over my 16 months in the Guard, and I knew where all the best spots to park were. I put the truck in park and jumped out to hear the KC-135 Stratotankers charging up the runway in the distance as I breathed in the the warm summer air. I walked through the door, took off my cover, and took a few slow steps as my eyes adjusted to the indoor lighting. Now, up until this point, I could care less about coffee. I didn't drink the stuff, I didn't like the taste, and I saw the headaches my parents got when they didn't get their cup of joe in the mornings. So I had no intention on ever making it a part of my diet. So when I passed the tiny coffee stand in the medical building on my way to get my records I didn't think twice. But as I got closer something, or better yet, someone caught my eye.
She was youthful, had brown curly hair, bright green eyes, and a smile that lit up the clinic brighter than the early July sun outside. I had unknowingly almost stopped walking down the hallway in the moments after I saw her. Holy $**&. I barely managed to smile back as I stumbled down the hallway towards the records office. I know I went and got my records because I ended up walking back down the same hallway with the brown folder in my hand, but I could barely think because all I was thinking about was the beautiful barista behind the counter, just ahead. This time I managed to show some teeth in my smile as I made eye contact with this beautiful woman serving coffee. I continued down the hallway to the waiting room full of chairs and an assembly line at the front that pulled up your shirt sleeve, “step forward,” wipe your shoulder with a cold alcohol pad, “step forward,” squeezed your muscle twice to loosen it up, and jammed a needle in your arm like a dart at the bullseye, “step forward,” slap a bandaid on it and you're back out into the waiting room. They could process thousands of troops a day like Henry Ford pumping out Model T's in the early 1900's. “Yessssss,” I thought to myself. “Now I get to walk past Beautiful Barista to turn in my medical records,” with the new line item written down, probably anthrax or some exotic disease in a third world country that hopefully I didn't have to visit any time soon. This time I was going to talk to her since I was Mr. Handsome in a uniform today… Nope, I siezed up like a motor running without oil when I walked down the hallway, probably forgetting to even smile as I stared at Beautiful Barista.
Idiot, what the heck. She turned a man who spent 7 weeks in basic training being trained and molded into a fighting member of the U.S. armed forces into a cooked spaghetti noodle. Place the brown folder on the desk and say “thank you Sergant” as the medical assistant took my records and put them back into racks of thousands of others just like mine. Ok, I got this, c'mon man. This time I'm talking to her. I approach the coffee stand and to my disappointment I see about four others in line. My turn comes up and I give her my best “one drip coffee please.” Really! That's about all I could muster at that point! “Thanks, keep the change!” as I hand her a couple of bills and turn towards the exit and put the coffee to my mouth, stomach in my throat. I'm reminded why I don't like coffee and I drop it in the trash after I turn a couple of hallway corners. $3.00 for a “One drip coffee please” and a “Thanks, keep the change!” Ha, I even had to laugh at myself. I drove back towards the shop and kicked myself for not saying more. But I still have the rest of the day, it's not even lunch yet, I'll go back and talk to her more, maybe even ask for her number if it goes well.
I went back and got coffee from her 4 times that day. She must have thought I was addicted to the stuff like a drug, yet I didn't drink a single sip of the stuff. It took me until the end of the day and my last of those 4 trips to finally ask her for her number. She must have seen it coming from a mile away, like one of those KC-135's screaming and pulling at the air as it comes down onto the tarmac. I held onto her number, written down on a coffee cup napkin, like a gold doubloon from One-Eyed Willie's Spanish ship.
Our first date lasted almost 12 hours, spanned 2 states, included a “reckless parking” ticket, and a good scare from a man sleeping in his truck on a lake shore. There wasn't a single awkward silence in those entire 12 hours and we had more in common than some siblings do. THIS was different, and THIS was amazing. Over the next six weeks, until I left for my training, we spent a part of every single day together. On our second date, when I told her I had to leave for 6 months worth of Air Force training, I hadn't even finished my sentence when she blurted out “I'LL WAIT!” And every night during my training I would get out my wallet-picture of her, throw on some good music, and write her a letter, every single one of which she keeps in a shoebox in the closet, to this day.
The next seven years brought us a lot of good times and a lot of challenges. We found ourselves one year out of grad school, having both graduated from our master's programs, and moving from one side of the planet to the other. We had taken a job that moved us first to Texas, then to Australia. This year included many 80-hour working weeks and not much time for bigger plans. Plans that I had wanted to make reality (hint: it includes a ring) but had very little time for over the better part of the last two years. After a year, our time in Australia had come to an end and we were moving up to Alaska, where Beautiful Barista grew up. In 3 days we had flown for 18 hours, bought a new truck and trailer, emptied our apartment and storage unit into that trailer, and were on the road from Houston, TX to Anchorage, AK.
I had been conniving with her sister about buying a ring that she had once seen in a Spokane jewelry shop and had fallen in love with. With the help of her sister I was able to buy that ring and have it waiting in a little box for me when we made our 2-night stop in Spokane to see our family, which conveniently eclipsed our anniversary. Beautiful Barista had been sad that we wouldn't have enough time visit all of our many friends that lived in the area, but I assured her we would fly back down soon to visit them. But during the 3-day drive from Houston to Spokane I had been calling, texting, and emailing all of our friends in the area about some certain plans I had for our seven-year anniversary. I made reservations at a beautiful restaurant with balcony seating over the Spokane Falls, one reservation for an intimate two table setting and another, right next to it for a large party. The server would be in on the deal and knew I would ask for a photograph of us at the edge of the balcony. With a flurry of mass texts and calls, Beautiful Barista and I arrived at the restaurant and were seated as the rest of our family and friends amassed at the front of the restaurant. The evening air was warm as the last colors of sunset laid down at the horizon, soon to disappear. Our glasses of wine were filled and we talked softly reminiscing about that day 7 years ago that changed our lives. The hostess came up to get our order and I suggested we take a picture to remember this night. My heart…pounding. Stomach…churning, I was exploding inside with a rush of emotions. As my Beautiful Barista tilted her head towards my shoulder and lit up the night with her smile, I paused in a smile as I looked over the shoulder of our hostess where all of our family and friends began filing down the stairs to the balcony. The smile on her face quickly changed to a mix of happiness and confusion as I took her hand and dropped to one knee.
She began to turn to me, thinking I was still standing next to her, as her face was boiling with emotion. Her eyes looked down, her hands went to cover her mouth, her eyes filled with tears and her face showed all the love she had for me and all of our family and friends standing around us. I began saying the words I had written and memorized, describing my love for her and a promise I was about to make. When I finished with my words we all stood there in silence for a few seconds before everyone standing around us prompted her for an answer. Not realizing her mouth had not said what her heart was screaming, she nodded and let out an “of course” between sobs. The air was filled with elation as everyone on the balcony, not just our family and friends, clapped and congratulated us. The rest of the night we enjoyed the company of our family and friends as Beautiful Barista and I started our first night together as soon-to-be husband and wife.
We were married one year later, nearly to the day. Just in time to celebrate our 8-year anniversary. – Aaron