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A Second Trip Into the Clouds to Remember


With a shared love of coffee and memories of sending pictures of bagels when they first started messaging, it’s fitting that Rachel Basaldua and Dr. Howard Julien met on the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel.

Rachel Marie Basaldua, an executive director at JPMorgan Chase, and Dr. Howard Martin Julien, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, first met online in 2017. Dr. Julien was on a trip to Canada and sent photos of his food, including bagels and poutine. “I had never tried poutine before, so for our first date he actually found a restaurant in Philly that served poutine and we went and had poutine together,” Ms. Basaldua said.

Six months in, they went to a wedding for a friend of Dr. Julien and Ms. Basaldua met many of his friends for the first time. “I could see her fitting into my life, and it just made sense,” Dr. Julien said.

“Howard was just such a sweet person and he was so thoughtful,” Ms. Basaldua added.

Ms. Basaldua has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from theWharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Julien graduated from the City College of New York. He has a medical degree from Albany Medical College, a master’s degree in public health from Harvard and his master’s degree in law from the University of Pennsylvania.

The pair enjoys traveling together, and have a special memory of their first international trip to Morocco where they went for a ride in a hot-air balloon. So when the time came to propose last year over Labor Day weekend in Ithaca, N.Y., Dr. Julien decided to reminisce on that special trip and propose on a hot-air balloon ride. As the balloon was being inflated, Dr. Julien got down on one knee. “We had gone on that hot-air balloon in Morocco and it had been such a special moment for us and then to propose as we went up in Ithaca, it was special,” Ms. Basaldua said. “It was a very romantic proposal.”

The couple were married at an outdoor ceremony on July 30 at Morris Arboretum on the edge of Philadelphia surrounded by 60 of their family and friends. The ceremony was led by a friend of the groom, James Lukose. “We were trying to keep it small as we didn’t know what was going to happen with the pandemic,” the bride said.

After the ceremony, the couple legally married themselves with two witnesses present, which is permitted in the state of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Julien and Ms. Basaldua say they look forward to more adventures and travel, depending on the state of the pandemic.

“We complement each other well, and that’s something I’m excited to see develop, grow and mature,” Dr. Julien said. “I can be my own harshest critic, and she’s my biggest cheerleader.”


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