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.

Hawaii Wedding Part II – Maui

You can find Part I here.

Maui was the second leg of our wedding vacation, and also the island where we said our I Do’s!

Of the three islands we visited, Maui seemed to be the best of both worlds; calm and relaxing, but also lots to do, see, and eat.

We hopped in the rental car and made the journey to Kaanapali where we checked into our first hotel (we switched hotels three times while in Maui). The majority of our hotels were booked through either Hotwire or Priceline using their secret rate feature. This allowed us to save tons of cash but still get a super nice room.

Our first hotel was the Westin. We loved the hotel, and felt so relaxed here. The bathroom was amazing, and the bed was super comfy.

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Our only complain was that the pool was 3.5 feet at its deepest. Jason and I both love swimming, but definitely prefer something a little deeper to float around in.

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After checking out the room and grounds, we headed out to the beach so we could meet up with my mom and sister! I hadn’t seen my mom in nearly three years before this, which is entirely too long. We live on opposite sides of the country, so having them join us for our big day was quite special.

Oops, I was so focused on spending time with everyone, that I forgot to take any pictures. So, here's a throwback of my sister and I, circa 1995ish.

I was so focused on spending time with everyone, that I forgot to take any pictures. Here’s a throwback of my sister and I, circa 1995ish.

My mom, sister, and I decided to hang out while Jason met up with his mom and her boyfriend for dinner. It was nice being able to just sit and talk after being away from each other for so long. Before the night ended we made plans to meet up together the next day for a little sight seeing. We had to check out of our hotel in the morning anyway,  and would have a lot of free time until the 3:00 p.m. check in at the next hotel.

The next morning my mom and sister asked us to meet them at Whalers Village and guaranteed we’d love all the shops. they had made the rounds earlier in the morning and had put quite the dent in their wallets from all the shopping they did. The outdoor style mall was the perfect setting for shopping while still maintaining a vacation feel.

Sorry:( I forgot to take pictures of Whaler’s Village. But seriously, it was a great shopping area to walk around and shop. 

We decided to stop for lunch at Hula Grill, which is part of the Dukes chain. Can you see a theme? Jason and I just couldn’t turn down the chance to eat at Dukes, or enjoy another Mai Tai.

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Our next stop was Lahaina Village, another great place to do some shopping and sight seeing. Lahaina is right on the water and was basically a downtown area full of touristy shops, restaurants, and the largest Banyan Tree in Hawaii.

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Oops, I forgot to take daytime pics.

Oops, I forgot to take daytime pics.

Bring sunscreen (duh) and a hat, because it was H-O-T! The sun drained me nearly every day that we were in Hawaii. I’m naturally super sensitive to the sun and heat, so we had to take a few breaks to refuel and cool off. I  bought a large sun hat to help keep the sun off my face, and wish I had done so sooner. It was a total game changer.

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Okay, so this isn’t the hat I bought. But how often do you see Indiana Jones’s hat?

After a busy day of shopping and spending time with family, we checked into the Honua Kai Resort and Spa in Kaanapali. This was the only hotel we didn’t book through Priceline or Hotwire. We wanted to be sure we had a nice room for the night before and night of our wedding, so this was the only hotel we splurged on.

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Quick note – This was the only hotel where we could spell the nearby poop plant wafting through the room at certain times of day. Yuck! Jason’s mom had the same problem at their hotel too, so maybe it depends on which side of the building your staying on. Something to keep in mind if your sensitive to smells, but it wasn’t much of an inconvenience for us. 

The room and view was nice, but we weren’t overly impressed by anything the hotel had to offer compared to others on our trip, except that they had a Duke’s onsite which we took advantage of… again.  The main pool, which was part of the appeal in the pictures we looked at prior to booking was closed down and surrounded by a temporary wall, which really took away from the beauty of the place. We both agreed that we felt like we wasted quite a bit of money by booking with the Honua Kai. The staff were friendly, but the website impressed us more than the actual resort.

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We got to bed because our wedding was the next day! Getting ready for our 6:00 p.m. ceremony consumed the entire day, so Hawaiian Wedding Part III will be entirely dedicated to our day. In the mean time, here’s a quick glimpse.

Photo credit goes to Mariah Milan Photography

Photo credit goes to Mariah Milan Photography

Our first day of married life was pretty much the same as engaged life. Except, we were finally done with the stress of planning a wedding and could start our lives together as husband and wife! Oh, and I was sick for half the day:(

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But lets back up a bit to before I got sick… we started out our first day as newlyweds with a trip back to the airport to return our rental car. The check engine light had come on after the wedding when we were pulling up to our hotel for the night. The rental company told us to stop by to exchange it, so we headed straight there when we woke up in the morning. The nice perk to that was the company upgraded us to a Camaro for half the price! Given our addiction to Hawaii Five-O, we were just a little excited (they drive a silver Camaro on the show).

We topped the trip off with a visit to Coconut’s Fish Cafe in Kihei for lunch, and finished with a coffee from Java Cafe just a few stores over. The fish tacos are apparently the draw to this place, and they were great. The combination of the slaw, fish, cheese, and mango was just fantastic. And the coffee? It was probably the best coffee i’d had in a long time. I ordered a kailua and cream latte, or something of the sort, and it was just perfect.

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I think the combination of travel, eating tons of food/sweets, and the heat had gotten to me and my belly just couldn’t handle anymore. We were able to make it to another out door shopping village on our way back to the hotel, but I was down for the count for a few hours afterwards. Everyone understood and even chimed in that they also had their bouts of sickness during the trip… so I wasn’t the only one feeling the combo of circumstances. I’ll tell ya, a six hour time change and great (but heavy) food really does a job on the system.

The rest of our time in Maui was spent relaxing, visiting with family, and enjoying the scenery. One of the especially scenic outings we took was to Iao Valley in Wailuki. The ride to the monument traversed a winding road surrounded by homes and lush greenery. The weather became more and more cool as we neared the top and eventually started to lightly rain.

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After finding a place to park we headed up the stairs to the top of the monument for a few pictures. This place was absolutely beautiful and just felt like we were in a far away land, completely removed from civilization.

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Maui IIII-0240Our time in Maui was wonderful. We were so happy to have family join us, and start our lives together as a married couple in such a beautiful place. We will always remember how much fun we had, and how special this particular leg of our trip was.

Stay tuned! “Part three, The Wedding” will be up soon.

A Little Catch Up

It’s been awhile. I’ve wanted to get back to blogging so many times, but just haven’t had anything to write about. There were multiple posts that I started, but just kinda felt blah about them once I started writing. Maybe it was the winter zapping my energy, changing jobs, planning a wedding, or just plain ole writers block. But today I felt a renewed desire to blog again, so I figured I’d keep it quick with a recap post.

1. Robelee is 10 months old and is officially a “teenager” in doggie years. He’s a sweet, clumsy, dopey boy, and we love him. But the phase of his selective deafness, and jumping on the furniture when he knows he’s not supposed to will surely not be missed. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

2. Our wedding is right around the corner. After getting engaged last March, I was worried that the time would drag by, but it has been the complete opposite. I really want to make sure to cherish these last few weeks being Jason’s “finance”. I know a title change isn’t that big of a deal to a lot of people, but i’ve always felt it important to enjoy each chapter of our relationship from just dating, to becoming boyfriend and girlfriend, finance’s, and soon to be husband and wife! The last nearly five years have been special. Full of ups and downs, milestones, and changes. Having each other has been a consistency that I have become dependent on. I’m so excited to become his wife and call him my husband. Dress

3. Meal planning has fallen to the wayside around here. I’m hoping to change that now that more items are coming back into season. I love when the prices of our favorite produces drops during the spring/summer months. Strawberries and blueberries are staples in our house.

4. Baked goods seem to always be in full force. Everything in moderation.

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4. Speaking of baked goods. Jason and I decided we would have Easter cupcakes this year and skip the candy.  Sweet Reasons has been our new favorite for awhile and I had a “buy three get three” coupon, so we couldn’t resist. I think we may have just started a new tradition. IMG_2302

4. I’ve been taking advantage of the free gym at work and have stuck to a routine for the past few months now. I was doing Purre Barre for a while and loved the way it toned my muscles, but unfortunately the location wasn’t convenient so I needed to switch things up.

5.  Hello Smart Water. Jason and I both love this stuff and even though it’s just water, it tastes different and more refreshing than any other brand we’ve tried. Man, I wish they sold it by the gallon.

6. Netflix. Vampire Diaries and Hawaii Five-O have turned me into a binge watcher. 

 

I think that’s where I’ll leave it this time!