Their first date, engagement and wedding happened at the same coffee shop


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Their first date, engagement and wedding happened at the same coffee shop

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Anna Moradian and Joe Drilling, after they were married at Mia Studio and Gallery, on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. They first met at the old Mia Cuppa coffee shop (now The Revue) at the front of the venue. (John Walker/Fresno Bee/TNS)

FRESNO, Calif. — The first time Joe Drilling and Anna Moradian met, family camped across the street craning for a view to make sure Drilling wasn’t an ax murderer. Far from it, their meeting at Mia Cuppa Cafe — now The Revue, and Mia Studio and Gallery — was the beginning of a sweet romance that led to love and marriage.

The Fresno couple were wed at the coffee shop in Fresno’s Tower District during an intimate ceremony Saturday that ended with the playing of “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles as the couple kissed.

Their romance began last spring, when each signed up for a free trial of the dating site Meet Mindful, which led Drilling to send Moradian a message on Facebook after she liked his photo. They started talking and decided to meet at Mia Cuppa on April 10, 2016. The cafe is a favorite gathering place for Moradian and the date went fabulously — the two happily chatting for hours.

“We were both just very relaxed and very comfortable with each other,” Drilling says. “There was none of that awkwardness that sometimes can linger throughout the first date.”

Moradian credits the cafe for helping her feel more comfortable. She says the place “kind of reflected our eclectic ways.”

“The Tower District is all about embracing people’s talents,” she says, “their creativity, and having a space for people of all kinds of different backgrounds.”

Exactly a year later at the cafe where they met, Drilling had a barista there ask Moradian if she wanted the “Joe Special” when she walked up to the counter. She turned around to find Drilling down on one knee, asking for her hand in marriage. She said yes.

The couple, both in their 40s and previously married, are excited about the new life they’re starting together.

“We feel like we’re teenagers again,” Drilling says, “the way we joke around and talk about goofy things and try not to take life too seriously too often. We feel like we went back in time.”

Drilling works as an advocate for adults with disabilities at a supported living community, and Moradian works as a mediator and investigator for Madera Superior Court.

They decided to get married at the cafe because the place has been so important to their love story and family. Moradian’s father met his wife at the cafe 30 years earlier. Both are now deceased. Moradian thinks they would be pleased that she married Drilling at the place where they met.

Wendy DeRaud, owner of Mia Studio and Gallery, is pleased, too. DeRaud has heard of other people falling in love at her shop, but this is the first time anyone has been married there.

“There’s a romantic and personal kind of connection that we’re all kind of looking for,” she says of their cafe love story, “feeling like we have a home, a sense of place, a sense of history.”

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