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How an 'awkward lunch date' led to love and an eclectic Arizona wedding

It began with a date that Phoenix residents Jordan and Garrett Hall lovingly describe as “awkward,” but Garrett’s romantic scavenger hunt and an enduring love led to an eclectic September wedding that featured a “getaway car,” blue bridal cowboy boots and some spirited croquet.Jordan, a high-school teacher, and Garrett Hall, who works for a real-estate investment firm, met as teens in Ch
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Renee Clancy Photography

It began with a date that Phoenix residents Jordan and Garrett Hall lovingly describe as “awkward,” but Garrett’s romantic scavenger hunt and an enduring love led to an eclectic September wedding that featured a “getaway car,” blue bridal cowboy boots and some spirited croquet.

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Jordan, a high-school teacher, and Garrett Hall, who works for a real-estate investment firm, met as teens in Chicago, where friends encouraged them to date. Garrett made his move, asking her out for what he described as an “awkward lunch date” when they were high school juniors.

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“We went real classy and went to Noodles and Company,” Garrett, 25, recalled.

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Added Jordan with a laugh: “We didn’t have anything to talk about. It was awkward, but he was really sweet the whole time.”

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It was the kind of first impression that stood the test of time. After Jordan had taken the American College Testing exam, Garrett’s friend handed her an envelope containing directions for a scavenger hunt.

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“He sent me to the place we first met, with a letter there explaining how he felt about me when he first met me, and then took me to the place of our first real date,” Jordan recalled. “He did this for about seven different places … After dinner, Garrett had set up fresh yellow roses — my favorite — in my backyard and had a bonfire going for us to sit by. He played the song, ‘Making Memories of Us,’ by Keith Urban and explained how he was so excited to continue making memories with me and then asked me to prom. Naturally, I said yes.”

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They dated for six of the following seven years. For Jordan, that year apart reinforced their relationship, and convinced her that Garrett was the person she wanted to marry. “We just kind of grew stronger with everything we had to go through,” she said.

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When they were both seniors at Arizona State University, Garrett began picturing his life beyond graduation. “I just started to think about where I would be, five years down the road, and I couldn’t picture my life without Jordan,” he said. “It kind of clicked that I wanted her to be around for the rest of my life.”

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It all led up to Garrett’s proposal on Feb. 22, 2014, when he took Jordan on a hike up a mountain near Tempe. The scene was set, but finding the right moment was complicated by both dropping temperatures and by other outdoorsy types.

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“It just seemed like hikers kept piling through and piling through,” Garrett said. “We couldn’t get some time alone. Jordan was like, ‘I’m going back down. I’m cold. I’m leaving.’ She was about to walk out, so, finally, I finally got the courage to drop down on one knee and tell her I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. She said yes, obviously. I stashed a bottle of Champagne and some Champagne flutes, so, we hung out a little longer before Jordan froze to death.”

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Jordan said she was in shock. “I made him repeat the speech at dinner,” she said. “I don’t think I even let him get it out. I think I just said yes.”

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Her search for a wedding dress came to an abrupt end when her bridal consultant brought out a gown that wasn't quite what she was expecting.

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“I tried it on, and I started crying, and my mom started crying, and we were like, ‘OK, I’m done [searching],” she said. “It was fun to have a little more of a princessy dress, as I don’t really dress that way.”

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And for “something blue,” there were a couple of cowgirl boots. “I did not want to wear heels for the whole day, because I knew we were going to be running around, and there’s the grass, the dirt road and the gravel,” she said. “So, I didn’t even want to attempt to wear heels. We moved out here [in 2008]. It’s very western and country, and we’re originally from Chicago, so, it was just kind of a play on how our lives have changed.”

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She said her clothes for their Sept. 21 wedding matched the spirit of the venue at The Windmill Winery in Florence, Arizona. “I think both of us just wanted it to be laid-back,” she added. “So, we were kind of going for the country, rustic theme. We just wanted it to be family and friends hanging out, and not very stressful.”

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Garrett agreed. “Being from out of town, we had a lot of people fly in — family and friends — so, like Jordan said, we had a pretty laid-back night: just one big party with a lot of people we don’t see very often, and enjoying each other’s company.”

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The barn and lake house had plenty of charm, but so did a couple of on-site props that allowed for a little mobility.

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There was the weathered, flatbed truck that allowed for some cool photo opportunities, but another vehicle on the premises proved to be more than just a looker.

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“The vintage car was our getaway car,” Jordan said. “The venue offers it to be photographed in, but also, at the end of the night, that’s what takes the bride and groom away to the hotel. So, we were excited about that. We took full advantage of that. It was really fun.”

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Jordan brought personal touches to the wedding ambiance with some crafty décor. “For the most part, all of the signs that were in the ceremony — the guestbook signs and the floor signs and the table numbers — I made over the summer,” she said.

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The bride and groom showed more of that personality in photos with the wedding party.

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“It’s just kind of a funny group of guys,” Garrett said of his groomsmen. “We’ve got personalities from all over the country, and all kinds of goofy people. Everyone was pretty comfortable in front of a camera.”

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Jordan said one of her bridesmaids, Jessica Kurzwail, was particularly enthusiastic.

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“I think all of my bridesmaids can agree that we can just say, ‘Thank you, Jessica,’” Jordan laughed while recalling Kurzwail, third from the left in the photo above. “She’s the Pinterest photo queen. So, she was like, ‘We’ll do this pose, and this pose,’ and totally ran the show for us. And we were like, ‘OK, Jessica, whatever you want!’”

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Guests also had a blast playing assorted lawn games, including bean-bag toss and ring toss. But the biggest hit was croquet — especially with Garrett’s niece, Eva, who also served as a flower girl at the ceremony.

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By the time they settled into their getaway car, Garrett felt anything but awkward.

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“I just don’t think the wedding could have gone any better than it did,” Garrett said. “It was kind of a perfect night for both of us.”

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It began with a date that Phoenix residents Jordan and Garrett Hall lovingly describe as “awkward,” but Garrett’s romantic scavenger hunt and an enduring love led to an eclectic Sept. 21 wedding matched the spirit of the venue at The Windmill Winery in Florence, Arizona.

All photos provided by Renee Clancy Photography. Check out more TODAY real weddings here. Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.