Hawaii Wedding Part III – Our Vows

**If you missed the first two posts about our wedding, you can find the first one here and the second one here. Part III is a long one, so thank you if you actually make it through the entire post. All photo credit up until the dinner portion of this post goes to our wonderful wedding photographer, Mariah Milan.

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Jason and I are a very non traditional couple. We wanted to have a small wedding that focused on us and did not revolve around trying to make a ton of guests happy. The decision to have our wedding in Hawaii came after we visited Charleston, SC to scope out venues. We loved Charleston and could imagine having our dream wedding in this beautiful city. However, before we even booked anything, the costs were adding up rather quickly (via quotes from vendors, and the venue fee). Since we were paying for everything ourselves, we decided it was just too much to put towards a 4-5 hour event.

So the search began for more intimate “elopement” wedding packages. We didn’t want our wedding to feel cheap or thrown together, and got these vibes from many of the places/packages we researched. Yes we were trying to save money, but no, we were not going to completely skimp on something that was so important to us.

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The search was frustrating, so I resorted to google for “elopement wedding” inspiration. Thats when I came across Megan Fox’s wedding pictures from Hawaii and decided to look into the cost of such a wedding. I actually looked into the exact resort, The Four Seasons, and was surprised at how affordable it was (but still out of our budget). It was kind of a silly idea I tossed at Jason, fully knowing how unrealistic it would it would be, and how fast it would be turned down.

To my surprise he was on board. His immediate excitement threw me for a loop. I hand’t bothered letting myself imagine it ever being a realistic option! When I told him, it was done in frustration at the end of the night when I was exhausted from trying to figure out what we should do. I flopped on the bed while he was getting changed from work and said “I just want to get married on a cliff in Hawaii”. Never could I imagine his next words would be “Okay, lets do it. Let’s look into it and see we can do this”. And so that’s what we did. We planned our wedding completely by phone and email!

Mauis Angels Weddings took care of everything! I cannot say enough good things about this company, and the friendly people that work there. Jason and I felt so relaxed during the planning process, and found it so easy from start to finish. They were the coordinator for the wedding, and all vendors for our day. The only thing Jason and I planned outside of them was our dinner because we wanted to do a private event through a hotel, but more on that below.

Our Wedding Day

Jason and I woke up bright and early on the day of our wedding and went out for breakfast almost before the sun rose. We planned to spend the day together until around 2:30 p.m. when my mom and sister would arrive to help me get ready.  We relaxed, talked, and then grabbed a quick bite to eat at Dukes before it was time for Jason to get ready. He headed to his moms hotel so we could get ready in private, and spend time with family before the ceremony. My mom and sister arrived right before my hair and makeup artist knocked on the door, and from this point the day progressed so fast!

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I gave both mine and Jason’s mom a handkerchief embroidered with a special sentiment, plus included a hand written letter for my mom that I gave her when she got to our room. We chatted throughout the entire time my hair and makeup was being done, and before I knew it the photographer had arrived.

I felt that the arrival of our photographer is when everything started to feel a bit more real. I knew it was my wedding day, but up until this point I didn’t have that “this is it” moment. It was around this time that I started to think about how crazy it was that the day had finally arrived. After 14 months of being engaged and planning, the day we were waiting for had arrived. I was getting married!

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After the photographer finished the before photos we headed to the car so we could drive to our ceremony site, Ironwoods Beach. While waiting in the lobby for the car to be pulled up I received so many kind words from passerby’s, which amplified my excitement even more. It suddenly felt so unbelievable that this was my wedding day. I was having those “holly crap this is happening” excited feelings that had sorta been missing the rest of the day. Of course I was excited to marry Jason, but being in my gown, at our ceremony site, really sparked a new anticipation that felt great.

We arrived at the beach just before 6:00 p.m. and while everyone else took their places I stayed back so Jason and I could have our first look.

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We were able to walk together down the path that led to the stairs that would take us to the beach where we were to be married. Once we were there, Jason headed down the stairs to take his place while I waited for the signal (the blowing of the conch) to start my walk towards my husband-to-be. During my walk, our musician played the ukulele while singing our wedding song “Over the Rainbow”.

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Our vows lasted about 15 minutes, after which we signed our marriage license. This was also the time when we hugged everyone before they headed off to wait for us at our dinner location. We only had four guests, so we opted for a private dinner at the Westin. But first we had to finish up our photography session!

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We could not have been more happy with Mariah Milan. She was so kind and had tons of ideas for photo poses, which we loved because we’ve never been photographed before.

After our session ended we headed to our car so we could make our way to dinner at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. 

Dinner

When we were planning our wedding, the one thing we knew we didn’t want to sacrifice was a special dinner afterwards that would be private and memorable. We found a few places on the west side of the island that offered private options, and ultimately decided the Westin met all of our needs. We sent them our menu selections ahead of time, and were able to order drinks from the menu when we arrived.

Our table was set up outdoors and surrounded by tiki torches. They added a bit of decor to the table, and had a separate table set up for our cake. The dinner was managed by a private waiter that took care of everything we needed from start to finish.

Each course was brought out one at a time, with plenty of time in between for us to feel relaxed and not rushed. We enjoyed every second together, and chatted away throughout the entire dinner.

Towards the end we cut the cake, which was one of the traditional wedding events that I really wanted to incorporate in the day.

We loved our “reception”. I’m so glad we stuck with our decision to have a small wedding in Hawaii with just a few guests. We were told by so many people who had traditional large weddings that they: didn’t even get to spend much time with their spouse, didn’t get to eat, felt rushed the entire time, etc. We both loved being able to focus on each other and enjoy all the little moments throughout the day.

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Hawaii Wedding Part I – Oahu

Jason and I tied the knot, Hawaiian style!

We soaked up every ounce of Hawaii during our nearly two week stay and loved everything the beautiful state had to offer. I originally wanted to journal at the end of each night to document our trip, but I forgot about the idea until a few days before coming home, so it never happened. We did however take tons of pictures!

Honolulu: Jason and I arrived mid-day and were tired, and hungry after a nearly 11 hour flight. We picked up our car and got on the road so we could check into The Hawaii Prince Hotel. This place had the most comfortable bed i’ve ever slept in at a hotel, and probably one of the best views of the trip. After we were done being mesmerized by the view, we immediately threw on clothes to hit the town… in search of food.

Hawaii III-0033We read good reviews about Duke’s on Waikiki Beach, and were not disappointed! The Mahi Mahi fish and chips, paired with one of their famous Mai Tai’s was the perfect introduction to all the great food to come during our trip. 

 After dinner we took a quick stroll down Waikiki Beach. There are so many famous places in Hawaii i’ve heard about, and this was just one of them, so it was really cool to actually be there in person.

Of course dinner, especially while on vacation, is not complete without desert. Thanks to Hawaii Five-O, I couldn’t wait to try the Cocoa Puffs from Liliha Bakery. I can’t begin to describe how delicious they were, but the chantilly frosting on top made this into a hands down winner.

With full bellies we headed back to the hotel for the night. We had a bright and early day ahead of us, with something on the agenda that i’ve been wanting to see for over a decade. Jason and I actually made a stop in Oahu for this alone.

Pearl Harbor

After stopping for a quick Starbucks breakfast we headed to the Pearl Harbor visitors parking lot to wait for our tour time. We were so excited for this part of our day that we arrived almost two hours early.  Luckily we were able to exchange our tickets for an earlier visit to the memorial. I would definitely suggest going early to avoid the crowds and heat. We enjoyed cool weather during our visit since we arrived so early in the morning (I think before 8:00 a.m.). I would also suggest booking tickets online, which I think you can do almost two months in advance. Knowing we had tickets and wouldn’t have to wait in line hoping they didn’t run out alleviated a lot of stress. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The tour started with a short movie recounting the events leading up to, during, and after December 7th, 1941. After it was over we exited the theater and headed to a boat that was waiting to take us to the USS Arizona memorial. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The boat ride to the memorial took only a few minutes. We were able to walk around for about 10-15 minutes, which felt like just the right amount of time to really take everything in without feeling rushed. It was a very peaceful experience, and felt a little unbelievable knowing exactly what had once occurred in that very spot. You could even still see oil spilling into the water from the USS Arizona.

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Jason loves submarines, so after the boat dropped us back at the dock we headed over to the USS Bowfin to take a self guided tour. We were able to walk along the top and inside the submarine which was very cool! It was even better that there were only a few others walking through at the same time as us.

Oh, and talk about claustrophobia! With such tight spaces, I don’t think it would have been as enjoyable if there had been tons of visitors there all at once. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We were only in Honolulu for a short time, so we wanted to soak up as much as we could during our stay. After we left Pearl Harbor, we went on a driving tour of the island.

During our drive we came across this beach and were floored by how blue the water was. This picture hasn’t been retouched at all! It was extremely windy, but gosh, we were just in awe of this place.

And this is the view from behind. Seriously, the beach and those mountains combined made for such a beautiful setting. 

We finally made our way back to town and knew we couldn’t leave Oahu without stopping to see the King Kamehameha statue. Jason and I both binge watched Hawaii Five-O, and after seeing this in numerous scenes we put it on our list of things to see during our trip.

Our flight left the next morning, so we wrapped up our day with another trip to Dukes and Liliha Bakery before crawling into bed and watching the sunset.  We checked out the next morning and packed up the car. But, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a morning stroll to the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The lagoon there is another common scene from Hawaii Five-O and was super close to our hotel. We had just enough time to walk there and back before making our way back to the airport.

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We wish we could have had a little longer on this beautiful, yet busy island. There was so much to do and see in such a short amount of time.

Stay tuned, part II of our trip will be posted soon.