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Inspiration » Proposal Story » Joy Proposal Story: Garen & Hillary

Joy Proposal Story: Garen & Hillary

by Cali Pitchel

Garen and Hillary met through mutual friends in San Francisco. They had both moved to the city around the same time (August 2010), and one of Garen’s roommates was dating one of Hillary’s best friends. They were introduced at a Dispatch concert, which is one of their favorite bands.


Give us the details! When? Where? How?

Hillary agreed to leave her job and the city we both loved so much to join me in London for a work opportunity. We were both excited about the move, but it was a big step, and especially big for a couple that wasn’t engaged, let alone married. Her parents also had some hesitations about this (understandably).

Knowing that I wanted to propose soon after we moved, I managed to secure a ring just a week before we moved to London, keeping it in my pocket for the entire flight, through security and all. Once in London, I planned a surprise trip to Paris on December 24th. I told her on December 23rd that we were going as a surprise Christmas present.

Your wedding day should be the first day of the rest of your life with someone that you want to experience the joy of everyday life with….

Everything worked out perfectly. We got really lucky and the hotel upgraded us to their presidential suite, the weather was amazing, and my plan to propose along the Seine River went off without a hitch. As the sun was setting and we were strolling along the Seine, I pointed to the Eiffel Tower in the distance to our left noting how it stood out amongst the cityscape. This distracted her just enough for me to drop back a step, dig the ring out of my pocket and drop to one knee.


She turned around and was in absolute shock. I asked her if she would marry me and held out the ring. After about 10 seconds of a series of shock, tears, stammering and examining the ring (all while I was still on one knee) she gave a resounding yes. There were a few onlookers on the Pont des Arts bridge just behind us and we saw a few people taking pictures. Unfortunately we don’t have any pictures of the moment ourselves, though we both remember is vividly.

What has been your favorite experience planning the wedding?

Picking the venue, food and drinks has been my favorite part. For Hillary it was wedding dress shopping.

How do you stay sane under the pressures of wedding planning?

We have a lot of help from friends and family back in the US, which has been a huge help. But also, Hillary is meticulous about details—spreadsheets, schedules, due-dates—everyone has their marching orders and knows what needs to be done by when and that has been a big help in keeping everyone on track.

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What is your favorite part of using Joy for your wedding?

We’ve enjoyed the simplicity and ease of the user interface of the app.

What piece of advice would you give couples to ensure that they use Joy to its fullest potential?

Keep it simple, but take the time to sit with your partner to decide what you both like and how you want to present things to your guests.

At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?

I would interpret that to mean that your wedding day should be the first day of the rest of your life with someone that you want to experience the joy of everyday life with, for the rest of your life.

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