What an amazing wedding week on Oahu. First and foremost - this is an exceptional couple. It was truly an honor to be part of their weeklong celebration of their lives together. A great backstory - they met when they were teenagers living in Japan and were reunited (yes Facebook you have that power) when their classmates decided to have a high school reunion of sorts in Las Vegas. They reconnected that night and the rest is history as they say.
The week started with a day long outing to Kualoa Ranch. This 4,000 acre cattle ranch is famous for being the backdrop of shows like Hawaii 5-0, Magnum PI, Lost and movies such as Jurassic Park and Pearl Harbor - strikingly gorgeous to say the least. Great views at every turn. According to it's website, Kualoa Ranch is one of the most historically significant destinations on Oahu and in ancient times, one of the most sacred.
The following day, the guys bonded while hiking Diamond Head. The ladies took to the high seas for some pre-wedding relaxation. A beautiful day was had by all.
The weather was perfect on their wedding day. The wedding ceremony took place at the great stone Kawaiaha'o Church in downtown Honolulu. (The "Stone Church" as it came to be known, was in fact not built of stone; but of giant slabs of coral hewn from ocean reefs... source: www.kawaiahao.org - please click here to read more from on the building of this historic church.)
This was a destination wedding for nearly everyone that attended (I think one relative lived on the North Shore) so people had traveled from far and wide to be witness to this couple's happy day. The ceremony was full of Hawaiian tradition and overflowing with love.
The beauty of weddings is that each one is unique. Each wedding has the same outcome - becoming happily married. But how couples go about planning, executing and celebrating is as individual and personal as they are.
The reception was held at the Halekulani Resort on Waikiki. Cocktail hour was held on the patio overlooking the beach. An idyllic setting: palm trees swaying, sounds of the ocean, people laughing and enjoying themselves. The elegant dinner reception was held indoors. Gorgeous flowers seemed to be everywhere - a spectacular job by Hemingway Wedding Floral of Honolulu. A well known Ukelele player from the North Shore was the evening's entertainment. Talent, talent, talent. This guy was just unbelievable.
But what struck me most about this wedding reception was its realness. An elegant room filled with 70 of this couple's closest friends and family. Several people gave toasts. While that might bore you at all sorts of weddings - not tonight. Not in this room. This crowd was so genuine. Each speech was filled with great stories of childhood, Japan, loyalty, friendship, there were laughs and tears. But every speech was really, really heartfelt.
Can you tell that I enjoyed the heck out of these speeches.
Oahu is known as "the gathering place" and that evening at Halekulani was no exception. Congratulations!