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Fashion / Weddings

Surprise Tropical Paradise Wedding Brings this Most Romantic Houston Power Couple Together

Hindu Magic, Costumes and a Royal Ride in Bali

BY // 06.15.17
photography Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

It wasn’t the most auspicious beginning to a relationship, particularly one that would end so beautifully with a magical three-hour, Hindu inspired wedding in the tropical paradise of Bali. She was in the middle of chemo for breast cancer, was wearing a purple wig and, in her words, “looked like a freak show.” He was just a guy going to a party with friends.

And so it began in November of 2015 that Adele Hartland and Jason Hebert of the University of Texas golfing Heberts became quickly and irrevocably joined at the hip.

Even with a purple wig, a picc line, and appointments at M.D. Anderson, Adele enjoyed (and still enjoys) the genetic grace that reigns among her 13 brothers and sisters (Joanna Marks, Hannah McNair and Monica Hartland among them). It would be impossible for her to be anything other than a beauty.

Almost immediately following that party, Jason began seeing her every day and as her treatment progressed, he brought food to her home, looked after her and was by her side throughout.

“For a man to be brave enough to fall in love with a woman that is not only scary physically but also has a scary disease is amazing,” Adele says. “He just wanted to be with me. I like to say he’s from heaven.”

Adele works as a flight attendant for Atlas Air’s military transports. It’s her way, she says, of giving back by serving the men and women who serve the country. Jason, with Apex Steel Pipe & Piling, knows just about everything there is to know about valves.

Fast forward to this past May, Adele and Jason winged it to Bali for two weeks in paradise. Adele explains that they both had been married previously and though they knew they wanted to marry they had no special plans. “We wanted to leave it up to God because God brought us together. We just wanted it to happen organically,” she says. “It was kind of a surprise.”

They off-handedly mentioned to their Balinese guide that they had planned on getting married at some point but had no specifics. Before they knew it, Adele, Jason and their guide were meeting with a wedding planner who had the entire celebration outlined within 15 minutes for May 3. She recalls saying to Jason, “Babe, last year on May 3, you were taking care of me in the hospital after my breast cancer surgery. This is perfect.”

Perfection it was. The date gave close family friend and popular Houston photographer Michelle Watson just enough time to hop a plane and get to Bali for the ceremony. The day before the event, Michelle and the couple drove into the mountains to the Bali Botanical Garden for official wedding photos. The backdrop was a massive fig tree believed to be hundreds of years old. After the main photos, it began to rain and Michelle encouraged the two to do a picture with water cascading around them. They were game even with a leaky umbrella, which actually made for a stunning photo.

Adele Hartland and Jason Hebert are married!

Phase one: The ceremony, inspired by Hindu traditions, began the following day with aides draping the couple in matching batik sarongs’s and sashes and  a turban for Jason. Once dressed, they made their way through the town to a temple for a cleansing ceremony with water and a devotional to one another. Next stop was the astrologer who entertained with astrological profiles, a session that turned out to be riotously hilarious for the couple. Tradition continued with the next steps in the wedding day journey — a hand in hand walk through a rice field symbolizing  prosperity and new beginnings.

Phase two: Back to the dressing room for the formal Balinese costuming — red and gold gilded attire, massive amounts of sparkling jewels, an elaborate golden headdress and a vermillion bindi (symbol of love) for her, a red and golden turban for him and makeup for them both. Adele and Jason were presented to the priest, who completed the necessary blessings in an elaborate outdoor ceremony complete with offerings to the gods, special blessings and talismans. Then came the grand finale — the officially-wed couple was carried through the town on gilded chairs, accompanied by children playing bamboo symbols and aides waving colorful umbrellas.

“We were like a king and queen,” Adele says.”It was the most beautiful, magical thing I could ever imagine.”

A reception and dinner followed, to which they invited the staff from their villa, who were at that point close enough to stand in for family (Adele Hartland’s three brothers and 10 sisters).

“Each and every step was beautiful and unique in its own way. It was the most amazing wedding,” Adele says.

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