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Meant to be together

A chance meeting leads to a wedding

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Sep 26, 2021

Blake Boran and Katelyn Kuechenmeister are shown at the football field in Waterville. Their wedding date is shown on the scoreboard: 7-17-2021. The couple now resides in Blue Earth where Blake is a teacher at Blue Earth Area School and Katelyn is employed by United Hospital District as a social worker. They met by chance in 2018 when they were both at the American Legion in Blue Earth.

Some might call it fate. Others might say it was just meant to be.

But, no matter what one calls it, there is no doubt that a chance meeting, in March of 2018, changed the lives of Katelyn Kuechenmeister and Blake Boran and set them on a course which would lead to the couple getting married in the summer of 2021.

“It was late March, right before Easter,” Katelyn, a 2008 graduate of Blue Earth Area High School, says. “Normally, my brother Joe and I would have been in Luverne visiting our grandparents for the holiday. But Joe wanted to hang around for a BEA alumni basketball game so we were in Blue Earth.”

While the decision not to visit their grandparents kept Katelyn and Joe in Blue Earth, the decision to visit his grandparents brought Blake, a 2011 graduate of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, to the city.

“My grandparents are Terry and Jane Armon and I was in town to see them for the Easter holiday,” Blake comments.

The evening of March 30, Joe and Katelyn, along with many of their BEA friends, ended up at the American Legion on Sixth Street, which just happened to be the same place where Blake was hanging out.

“Joe and Blake actually knew each other but my brother did not introduce us that night,” Katelyn mentions. “Blake and I just happened to end up talking and it was the beginning of our relationship.”

Even though Blake was originally from Waterville, he has many ties to this area.

“My parents, Jeff and Jill (Armon), both were 1984 Blue Earth graduates,” Blake says. “I know my grandfather Dick Boran was a sports editor for the Blue Earth Post and Terry and Jane, and now their son Matt, operate Armon Decorating.”

Blake’s parents actually left the area two years before Katelyn’s parents, Randy and Kris Kuechenmeister, came to the city.

“My dad took a teaching job at BEA in the fall of 1986,” Katelyn comments.

Randy would eventually become the school’s head football coach, a position he still holds today.

“I had two younger brothers, Ben and Brody, who played football for WEM against Randy’s BEA teams but I never had the chance,” Blake explains.

After their chance meeting, the couple began a long-distance relationship.

“I received my bachelor’s degree in social work from Minnesota State in Mankato and was working in the St. Paul/Arden Hills area at the time,” Katelyn shares.

Blake had attended St. John’s University in Collegeville and graduated with an education degree.

“I taught for two years at Kimball and then two years at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton before becoming the activities and community education director at Staples/Motley, which is where I was employed when I met Katelyn,” Blake explains.

A little less than two years after they began dating, Blake asked Katelyn to marry him.

“I had been planning on how to ask her for quite some time,” Blake says. “Then, two weeks before I was going to ask her we were up north at a resort with family members and somebody had written ‘Will you marry me’ in the sand. It was not me but a different group of people who were at the resort.”

But, on March 6, 2020, Blake did pop the question. He had taken Katelyn to the gazebo right to the east of the American Legion where they had first met.

“I dropped on one knee. Katelyn had her back to the street,” Blake explains. “After she said yes I told her to turn around. Our families had gathered in the upstairs of the Armon Decorating building and had witnessed the scene as it played out before them.”

It took Katelyn by surprise.

“I was totally shocked,” she exclaims. “I was not expecting it then.”

Two weeks after becoming engaged, the COVID-19 lockdown began.

“We had decisions to make,” Blake notes. “We had talked about having a New Year’s Eve wedding but were concerned about the possible COVID restrictions.

Eventually, the couple made the decision to get married in July of this year.

“We originally sent out ‘Save the Date” cards to family members,” Blake comments. “Then, when things opened up in May, we sent out the rest of the invitations.”

The couple had some other big decisions to make after becoming engaged, namely, where to live.

“We decided we wanted to be in the Blue Earth area,” Katelyn says. “I was able to get a job at United Hospital District as a social worker. I started on Aug. 24, 2020.”

Blake also took a step to cut down the distance he had to travel to see Katelyn.

“I took a job at WEM knowing it might not be for long,” Blake notes. “Then I was fortunate to be hired this past spring as a fourth-grade teacher for BEA beginning this fall.”

Their wedding day was on July 17 at the Catholic church in Waterville.

“The ceremony was performed by the same priest who baptized me, heard my first confession, gave me my first communion and confirmed me,” Blake explains. “He is retiring and our wedding was his last official duty.”

When it came to selecting who would stand up with the couple, Katelyn says they did things a little differently.

“We had three best men. They were my brother Joe and Blake’s brothers, Ben and Brody,” she comments. “And I had three matrons of honor who were Kali Erichsrud, Erin Milbrandt and Samantha Lansteiner.”

The couple has been busy since their wedding day, and not only with their jobs and adjusting to married life.

“We just bought a house in town and the closing date was Sept. 17,” Katelyn shares. “We are so excited. It is move-in ready. We are just doing a little painting and replacing some flooring. Fortunately, we know a place (Armon Decorating) where we can get everything we need.”

She says the home is a three-story house with a basement.

“It is the perfect house to start a family,” Katelyn says. “It also has a big yard.”

Blake already has an idea for the lawn.

“I think Katelyn’s dad will be able to mow it so it looks like a football field,” he comments. “Then we can put little goal posts on each end. It could work.”

As they share their dreams for the future, it becomes clear just what a priority family is to the couple.

“We enjoy doing things with each other, whether it’s golfing or watching college football,” Katelyn says. “Spending time with our families is very important to us and something we look forward to.”

Katelyn jokes there has been one other advantage to getting married.

“I used to have 14 letters in my last name,” she says smiling. “Now, I only have five.”