When Emily McMahan took a job at the Starbucks in Bowling Green, Ohio, she had no idea that’s where she’d meet her future husband. Co-worker Kale Bandy, who had been with the company for nearly two years, was debating hanging up his apron for good until McMahan crossed his path. Eleven months and a diamond ring later, the coffee-loving duo is happily engaged. To announce the new milestone, it only made sense to return to where it all began.
The couple’s engagement photos were taken by McMahan’s best friend Rebekah Martin at several locations that are important to them: Starbucks, where they met; the Toledo Art Museum, where they had their first date; and the Toledo Botanical Garden, where McMahan first realized she was in love with Bandy.
In the series of shots taken at Starbucks, McMahan and Bandy are seen intertwining fingers and cradling coffee cups. Perhaps each container is filled with the lovebirds’ favorite caffeinated drinks — the new Hazelnut Mocha Coconutmilk Macchiato and a Blonde Flat White.
“This Starbucks is special to us because it changed our lives,” McMahan told The Daily Meal. The 23-year-old had temporarily moved from her hometown of Strongsville to Bowling Green to help Martin with a sublease.
“It was about a year prior to my moving there that I had gotten out of an emotionally draining relationship,” McMahan continued. “Meeting Kale made me believe in love again.”
For three months, McMahan worked the Starbucks drive-thru, but says she spent most of her time in the back room doing dishes. The Kent State senior remembers that Bandy was “always making excuses” to see her, but she didn’t mind because his sense of humor brightened her mood on not-so-happy days.
“Kale would tell you it was love at first sight, but that wasn’t the case for me. He pursued me for the entire summer while I resisted,” McMahan said. “It wasn’t until the last full day I was there that I realized that I had been falling in love with him all along.”
McMahan’s fondest memory of working with her hubby-to-be is this scene that may or may not be straight out of a movie: “One night after close, Kale walked me to my car. After a short conversation, Kale asked me permission to kiss me. It was our first kiss and it was magical. It meant so much to me that he asked me to kiss me.”
The barista baes worked together for three months before McMahan moved back to Strongsville, which is about two hours away from Bowling Green and one hour from Ashland, where Bandy lives now. The 24-year-old currently works as a report administrator at Charles River Laboratories.
“We always say we know it was meant to be because a lot of things had to fall into place for us both to be at that Starbucks that summer,” McMahan said. “Kale got into a car accident that forced him to move back home and I didn’t even know I was spending the summer there until two weeks before moving. Everything just fell into place perfectly for us to meet.”
Even though much of the matchmaking has been credited to Starbucks, the couple admits they love music more than coffee. In March, Bandy brought his then-girlfriend to an Oh Hellos concert where he planned to get down on one knee. After mulling the idea over a bit more, the aspiring writer decided he’d pop the question at home instead.
“I was completely unaware he was planning this (obviously), so before we got home, I made him drive me around to three different McDonald’s to get me a Shamrock Shake while he continued to try to steer me toward home where he finally asked,” McMahan said.
The soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. will say “I do” on February 2, 2019 in front of about 150 people at their rustic-vintage wedding. The big day won’t be Starbucks-themed, but the bride-to-be is planning a coffee-centric bridal shower with a coffee bar and whole-bean party favors. Perhaps guests would benefit from thumbing through the 20 most popular wedding registry items for millennials. Congrats, Kale and Emily!