Hilary & Joel
July 18, 2014
Photography: Clinton James
By: Catherine Torres
The story of Hilary and Joel's romance is a series of serendipities. The two grew up in Washington only a few miles apart, but didn't even meet until they were adults living in San Diego attending different schools: Hilary working toward a career as a nurse practitioner and Joel garnering a degree in business. It all began in 2006 with a friend's wedding in Costa Rica. Hilary's sister, Kirsten, and her now husband, Levi, met at the destination wedding. They began dating and taking trips to San Diego where Kirsten would call Hilary to hang out while Levi called his friend, Joel. The foursome enjoyed one another's company a few times a year. Hilary and Joel developed a flirtatious friendship, but kept dating other people. Finally Hilary and Joel began spending time together as friends without Kirsten and Levi.
Their other relationships fizzled out, but their friendship blossomed into romance. On the day of Hilary's ten-year high school reunion in July 2013, Joel left the house for a few hours claiming to go to the grocery store. Later that day the couple boarded the Bainbridge-Seattle Ferry to the reunion along with a few friends. It turned out earlier that day, Joel had visited Hilary's father to ask for her hand in marriage. He gave his blessing. Joel proposed on the Washington State ferry that day, just as Hilary's father had proposed to her mother on a Washington State ferry so many years before.
They were married on July 18, 2014 in Roche Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Hilary and Joel wanted a venue that they could visit year after year, creat ing memory after memory in one special place. The laid back setting was perfect for their decor of vintage style birdcages and rustic floral arrangements filled with dusty rose and soft violet colors. Even the bridal party was laid back in simple cream colored suits and dresses of the bridesmaids' choosing. Hilary stood among the dusty rose, cream, and lavender fabrics in a stunning lace Paloma Blanca dress with a with removable sleeveless lace bolero jacket, allowing her wedding dress to have two styles.
Including family was important to Hilary and Joel on their wedding day. Hilary's grandfather, a former Federal Judge, performed the ceremony while her uncle sang and played guitar.
Hilary's mom harvested lavender from her garden for fragrant sachets for the guest favors. An old love letter from Hilary's grandfather to her grandmother was on display for guests to read and a collection of old family wedding photos tied the themes of family, love, and vintage together.
It wasn't all seriousness during the wedding though, music and entertainment were at the forefront of Hilary and Joel's wedding planning. DJ Tony Schwartz kept the party going, Joel made a shot ski that received plenty of use, even the grandparents partook in a shot, and a photo booth captured silly faces. Guests signed the backs of photo strips from the booth, turning the fun memories into the couple's guestbook. Looking through the wedding photos, anyone can see this couple pulled off a perfectly elegant, yet playful celebration of their love.