Crystal + Jason

Written by Kailyn Warpole // Photography by Leanne Haskins, The Story Creative

Crystal Jones and Jason Harrell shared an endearing bond even before they decided to date. "It really was a friendship first," says Crystal. Crystal and Jason met in 2008 while doing the same job at the same company, INC Research, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Working in close proximity, where they talked, joked, and learned more about one another, the two became close over time. Once coworkers brought Jason's attraction to Crystal's attention, she played coy at first. "It took his persistence for me to really just kind of get it, to see that he wanted to be with me," says Crystal.

After dating for three and a half years, Crystal received a sweet and subtle marriage proposal from Jason in Asheville, North Carolina. En route to a friend's wedding the following weekend in Highlands, North Carolina, the two drove up earlier in the week to stay at the Omni Grove Park Inn in nearby Asheville. Jason had planned a dinner reservation, and Crystal rushed to get ready, fearing they would be late. "I didn't notice the ring box," says Crystal. As she came out of the bathroom in their hotel room, preoccupied with the reservation, Jason gave her a playful hint, as any best friend would. "He said, 'Crystal, you're not observant at all,'" Crystal, says, remembering. It was then that she spotted the ring box he had placed on the table, and she started to cry. Jason got down on one knee and the two became officially engaged moments later as Crystal happily--and tearfully--accepted.

Nearly one year later, on August 1, 2015, the couple celebrated their big day with 120 guests at the beautiful Brooklyn Arts Center in Wilmington. The ceremony was held in the historic church. Crystal walked down the aisle in a lace and organda A-line Wtoo dress by Watters. Wanda Lawrence (Salon 2001, Raleigh, NC) styled Crystal's hair and did her makeup. Six bridesmaids took part in the wedding, each wearing a flowing, peach-colored halter dress with a ruffle down the back. To complement their dresses, the seven groomsmen--including two of Crystal's little nephews--wore gray, fitted, Tommy Hilfiger suits with peach ties and matching pocket squares. Jason looked fabulous and stood out in a blue Tommy Hilfiger suit. In addition to the clean and tasteful attire, Crystal and Jason chose flowers and decor of equal elegance. "We used a lot of greenery, like ivy and eucalyptus, with ivory hydrangeas and peach roses," says Crystal. "We had a lot of lanterns that had candles in them and a big wreath on the white doors up on the stage." The two decided to decorate the Brooklyn Art Center's historic piano with memories of loved ones who had passed, including pictures, candles, and also a special road sign for Harrells, North Carolina, to celebrate their last name.

After the wedding officiant, Pastor Kevin Edwards (of Calvary Chapel in Clayton, North Carolina) declared the groom and bride to be husband and wife, the newly christened Mr. and Mrs. William Jason Harrell entered their reception to James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thing." In front of eagerly awaiting family and friends, the couple shared their first dance to John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me." The wedding party and guests enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by Middle of The Island Catering Company: beef tenderloin, shrimp pasta, strawberry salad, and other delicious dishes. Incredible cake selections included the couple's two-tier, mint-colored white cake with amaretto-flavored frosting and cupcakes of the same flavor, tastefully arranged on cake pedestals along the table. For Crystal, one highlight of the night was when the wedding party and guests were brought together in a sweeping moment of fun and celebration. "Our planner, Ashlyn Burke (Ashlyn Burke Events), a friend of mine, helped get everyone up on the dance floor for the big love train around the room," Crystal says. "I thought that was pretty special." Following the reception, the newlyweds waved goodbye to their guests from the seat of a Port City bike taxi.

Crystal and Jason's honeymoon was the stuff of newlywed dreams--six days spent lounging in the island paradise of Jamaica. "It was great," says Crystal. "It was so nice to just relax and eat and drink."

Today, Crystal and Jason reside in Raleigh with their adorable labradoodle, Kirby. The couple continues to work in the same department of the same research company where their friendship, mutual chemistry, and lifelong journey together began.