Nine years ago, Rainy met her cousin, Aunt Jody, and Jody's co-worker at Santa Margarita Water District, Kenny for dinner after a mountain bike ride.
Rainy was excited to see her visiting cousin. She put on a cute outfit and four-inch-high heels and headed to the San Clemente restaurant near her home. It was a decision and a wardrobe choice that changed the course of her life – and Kenny’s.
“We still joke about that dinner,” Rainy said. In bare feet, Rainy is just a bit taller than Kenny. The four-inch heels made the difference more pronounced when they met, but it also didn’t matter. They caught one another’s eyes.
That dinner sparked a nine-year-long love affair solemnized in marriage on September 1, 2021.
Santa Margarita Water District is at the heart of their connection. Aunt Jodey worked there as a fleet mechanic. Kenny joined SMWD in 2008, and currently works in water distribution. Rainy joined SMWD in 2014 and works on the valve and hydrant crew.
As SMWD employees, they make time for lunch together when they can. Rainy relishes the rare occasions their job functions require them to work together. “It’s so satisfying to be able to help one another at work,” she said.
Plans for a big wedding celebration with family and friends got postponed due to health precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. “After a few false starts, we just decided we needed to just do it,” Rainy said.
They decided to combine their planned vacation with an elopement including just a few loved ones. The couple embarked on a road trip from their southern California home to Montana at the end of August, modifying a few plans due to the California wildfires, such as visiting Mt. Shasta. Included in the trip were their two Australian cattle dogs, Radar and Porter.
The night before the wedding, smoke from California’s wildfires filled the sky in Hungry Horse, Montana, where the ceremony was to take place. Rainy, Kenny and the two dogs rose early that morning to drive to the top of Firefighter Mountain, where an accommodating officiant and seven loved ones gathered as witnesses. Overnight, winds swept the smoke away, leaving clear skies for their special day.
“The story of our meeting is in the wedding vows we wrote,” Rainy said. Part of that story was also found in the shoes she wore: cowboy boots under a white gown and denim jacket. The low-heeled boots were not only practical for the rustic location, but also a fun reminder of the heels she wore on the day they met—and how love finds its way no matter what.
Rainy and Kenny took time for a honeymoon before returning to their home and careers at SMWD, ready to transform from a couple to a family of three (baby due in December) plus two fur pups.