Lee & Jeff in Eastsound, WA
When Jeff was a 5-year-old boy spending the summer on Orcas Island with his family, as he did each year, he built himself a little bench and set it on a point overlooking the water near his family's cabin. Decades later, back on Orcas Island with not only his family but the family of his girlfriend, Jeff took some time to sturdy his bench. Then he walked his girlfriend out to the point, sat on the bench with her, and presented her with a diamond ring and a marriage proposal.
The Bride Lee Caruso, 32, an artist
The Groom Jeff Minton, 28, a photographer
The Date July 7
Lee jokes that it was about time Jeff popped the question. "We had dated for four years -- too long, according to my mom. And we had vacationed on Orcas with our families the year before with no wedding proposal happening, so I wasn't expecting it this time, either." Deciding where to set the wedding was a challenge. "My family is from Chicago, Jeff's is from San Francisco, and we were living in L.A.," Lee reports. "But we kept coming back to, 'Oh, I really wish we could be married on Orcas.'" When they finally decided to have a destination wedding in the place that meant so much to both of them, Lee says, "It took a bit of convincing to get my parents to accept that I was not going to be married at the Four Seasons in Chicago. But they love Orcas Island too." The bride and groom chose the Rosario Resort, which was once a private "dream house" built by a local shipping magnate when his doctor gave him one year to live. Luckily, the magnate's doctor was wrong, and he lived a long life at the stunning estate built on Cascade Bay.
- Lisa Carse