“You fine like wine.”
Those are the four words Cody Fondahn first said to Ashley Bell when they first met—though “met” and “said” could be used loosely, as the two actually found each other through the dating app, Hinge, in October of 2018. At the time, they were both living in Pensacola, Florida, where Cody was stationed with the U.S. Air Force, while Ashley worked there as a nurse. The two began dating, and a year later, said four more words that changed their lives forever. “Cody and I had gone out for Halloween on October 26th and came home late in the morning,” Ashley recalls. “After getting out of our costumes, I drunkenly told Cody how much I loved him. Cody replied with, ‘If you love me, then propose to me.’ He was joking, of course. But I got down on one knee and pretended to propose—to which he laughed and replied, ‘I can do better than that.’ He went to our closet and got out a ring that he’d had custom-designed, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I cried like a baby.”
Nearly two years later, on September 4, 2021, Ashley wore a fitted gown of ivory lace with a keyhole back as she walked down the aisle at Airlie in Warrenton to exchange vows with Cody. After being pronounced married, they joined their guests for a reception on the grounds at the pavilion, where they dined on a seated dinner of farm-to-table fare. After cutting into a three-tiered half-naked almond raspberry cake decorated with small rose blossoms and eucalyptus bundles, the newly married Fondahns were sent off to honeymoon in Miami and are now back home, looking forward to a new addition in September.
Story by -Liesel Schmidt