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Hand-in-Hand and Just Engaged! Clients Steven and Katie Share Their Story

Hand-in-Hand and Just Engaged! Clients Steven and Katie Share Their Story

Welcome back to our Hand-in-Hand blog post series, dedicated to our joyful just engaged/just married clients. This month, we interview Steven and Katie. They were generous enough to share their enchanting (read on to get-in-on the reference ;) engagement journey and, bonus -- they were the first to participate in our Just Engaged Photo-shoot Program. Our staff photographer, Bri McDaniel, met with the couple to take complimentary photos of these two happy people! See all the photos below. 

Are you just engaged clients of Aide-mémoire? Check out our Just Engaged Photo-shoot Program to take home a set of delightful photos of your own!

Aide-mémoire clients Steven and Katie

MK: How did you two first meet?
S&K: We met in a pretty unique way - working together on a trail crew! We both had previously worked for a nonprofit called the Student Conservation Association, separately leading high school students on month-long crews around the country to do trail building and environmental education, but had never crossed paths (despite being at the same training one summer!) Then in the fall of 2019, we both signed up for a short-term adult crew in Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota.  We were camping together with four other crew members, working together everyday, and cooking meals together. It's pretty easy to tell in those situations if you get along with someone or not, and it turns out that we really clicked. Plus we had a ton in commmon, and both really enjoyed getting to know each other! Katie had been living in Flagstaff, Arizona at the time, and Steven had been traveling through New Zealand, Chile, and the U.S. before the crew, and wasn't sure where he wanted to head next. After the crew Katie had been planning to take a few buses through the Upper Midwest to visit friends and then fly back to Arizona from Chicago, but Steven offered to drive with her, turning it into our first road trip (a true test of a relationship, right?!). We went to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, ate epic poutine, and saw friends of both of ours along the way. It was a super fun trip, and after a couple weeks after visitig friends and family back in Ohio, Steven decided to come out to Flagstaff to see how he liked it and if we still liked each other. Turned out we did, and having met in the close quarters of a trail crew, we were well equipped to get along in the COVID lockdowns that started a few months later. We moved to Olympia together last summer and have loved getting to know Washington together!

Aide-mémoire clients Steven and Katie

MK: You got engaged this year - congratulations! What’s your favorite memory from your proposal day? 
S&K: Thank you! We had been talking about marriage for a while, and went to Aide-mémoire to look at ring options in the spring. By July, the ball was in Steven's court for a fun surprise. We got super lucky, and received permits in the lottery for backcountry camping in the Enchantments - a gorgeous and super popular section of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness outside Leavenworth. In early July we went backpacking with four other friends for a weekend and camped at Colchuck Lake, which is insanely gorgeous with beautiful mountain views behind it. In the evening after we swam in the lake and were getting ready to have drinks before dinner, Steve's friends suggested we go up to the rock outcrop behind our campsite that overlooked a small side lake and had great afternoon light. I (Katie) was a little confused as to why we were going up there instead of starting dinner, but once we got up to the spot and our friends suggested taking a couple photos I got a bit suspicious...and that mix of nervous excitement! Sure enough, Steven had brought the ring on the trip to pop the question there, and our friends took some amazing photos of the moment and shots after! Maybe our favorite moment of that day was getting to sit by the lake after the proposal to take a beat and just feel giddy together. It felt a lot like our first days getting to know each other by lakes in Minnesota.

Aide-mémoire clients Steven and Katie's engagement ring

MK: Katie’s engagement ring is stunning! It looks magical and so special. I believe you customized our Bezel-set Seven Stone Cluster Ring with an heirloom center stone, teal sapphires, and light champagne diamond accent stones. Can you share the story behind the ring? 
S&K: Thank you, we love the ring so much! The heirloom diamond was Steven's grandmother's. She had a brooch with three diamonds, which had been given to her by her father Robert, the namesake for Steven's middle name. After she passed away, the stones were given to her three grandchildren: Steven, his brother, and his cousin who he grew up closely with. Steven had been excited to use it in an engagement ring for Katie, but wasn't sure what style to go with. After we started talking more seriously about getting engaged, Katie started looking up nearby handmade jewelry with custom options, and really loved the unique style of the cluster ring with such a geometric pattern. We went to the store together for Steven to consult with Aran about the diamond, and together we looked at options for the accent stones, which neither of us had come in with strong ideas for. We started toying with the idea of blue or teal on the sides, mainly because we both like those shades, and Aran suggested a slightly darker diamond on the edge. We agreed that the champagne diamond with the teal looked really great, but Katie left the final decisions up to Steven. It was fun to have input on the style and ideas, but for her to not really know what to expect with the heirloom diamond and accent stones all together - it made the engagement all the more exciting! 

Aide-mémoire clients Steven and Katie

MK: I’m curious what your honeymoon plans are considering you both seem to have a love for the outdoors and perhaps a thirst for travel?
S&K: In our first few months together, in the pre-covid days, we would always talk about taking a trip to Thailand or Cambodia together. Neither of us have been to Asia yet and would love to explore that region more. Time has flown by, as it does, and covid made international travel fall farther down our list of plans over the last few years. But we're hoping a honeymoon might be a great time to try and reinvigorate our ideas for southeast Asia! We'd love to see the ecology and wildlife there, experience the culture, and eat lots of tasty food. But if we don't have time for that next year, we've also toyed with the idea of driving out to the wedding next summer (in our home state of Ohio), and having a fun road trip on the way back to explore national parks and forests together. We'll see what happens!

Aide-mémoire clients Steven and Katie

MK: Here's a fun question for both of you! Using a reference from nature what does your partner remind you of and why? 
S: It's hard for me to pick just one flower that reminds me of Katie, because they all do. She's an ecologist, and loves to look at, photograph, identify, and smell every different flower we see while on a hike. I cannot see a flower while hiking and not think of her.

K: I'd say Steven reminds me of a Ponderosa pine tree. Where we lived in Flagstaff was amongst the largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest in the world, so we got very used to hiking through them together. Steven loves trees and tree identification, and we'd jokingly, but also seriously, always stop to smell the butterscotch scent of their bark together and show visiting friends how magical they are. Now when I'm in an area of the Northwest that has Ponderosas I'm always excited to tell him, and it reminds me of our time together in Arizona!   

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Steven - my heart kind of melted when you said every flower reminds you of Katie! Thank you so much to both of you for participating in our Just Engaged Photo-shoot Program and Hand-in-Hand blog post. All of us at Aide-mémoire wish you a happy future filled with many memorable adventures! 

feature image photo credit:
courtesy Steven and Katie, and their friends; photo was taken in the majestic Washington State Enchantments