Grace and David wanted an intimate wedding, and they wanted to share Maui with their families, so they turned the celebration into a week-long family vacation! From the sudden downpour in the middle of the ceremony to the humpback whale sighting during their first dance, their wedding at Merriman’s was certainly one to remember.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Be present and soak up each moment during the day!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small things! At the end of the day, you will be standing next to your new husband/wife and surrounded by your families, friends, and overwhelming love such that all of the details that you have tried to plan to perfection will just be in the
background. Embrace the unexpected and imperfections, and you will have a beautiful wedding day.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?
I’m so glad we did everything the way we did…it was truly the family vacation of a lifetime for us!
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Maui is a very special place for us. We visited together for the first time during our last year of medical school to celebrate our engagement, and we had such a wonderful and relaxing time exploring the island together and left with so many fond memories. When it came to time to start planning our wedding, we eventually decided to turn our celebration into a family vacation with a destination wedding tacked on right at the end! David and I are both extremely close to our families so it was our top priority that our wedding celebration was as much about our families having a great time as it was about celebrating our marriage. We immediately agreed that we wanted to share our memories of Maui with our families, and decided on Merriman’s Restaurant in Kapalua because of the breathtaking views of the beach and coastal cliffs, their delicious regional Hawaiian cuisine, and their ability to accommodate a small party in a private, relaxed and intimate setting.
“Our ceremony was easily the most memorable part of our wedding. The forecast that day did not call for any rain and there was not a cloud in the sky at the start of our ceremony, but as David finished his vows, our entire party got soaked in a sudden unexpected torrential downpour! We all retreated indoors, and though everyone was soaked through their party clothes, we joked and laughed while our parents tried to convince us that the rain would bring us good luck. When it had cleared up a bit outdoors, we came back out and were greeted with applause and cheers from guests at the restaurant. The Merriman’s Events Team expertly created a makeshift ceremony site out of the private cabana where we were going to hold our reception and I was able to read my vows and finish the ceremony. The rain was clearly an unplanned part of our festivities and although to some, it may have been a perceived disaster, it brought hilarity and lightness to our celebration. David and I were so grateful for how easily our families took the rain in stride and realized how fortunate we both were to have them by our side.”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, relaxed, non-traditional.
Who officiated your ceremony? Our officiant was Pia Aluli. We chose Pia because his personal style resonated with us. We wanted a ceremony that was spiritual, unique, and reflective of the gravitas and joy of our wedding. We met Pia the week ahead of our wedding and knew that his sincerity and sense of humor would help put our families at ease. He was very flexible and amenable to us planning a simple non-denominational and personal ceremony.
What was your ceremony music? We were very fortunate to have Marvin Tevaga perform at our wedding. He has an incredibly soulful voice that blew our families away. For our processional, he performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and for our recessional, he sang “Sunday Morning”.
What were your vows like? We wrote our own personal vows to each other! Getting the chance to share our vows in front of our families was very special to us.
What was your favorite part of the ceremony? In addition to the unexpected downpour, we loved seeing each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle, seeing our families’ reactions, and reading our vows to each other.
“Our reception was a relaxed family dinner, held under a private cabana overlooking the ocean at Merriman’s.”
appetizers: Haleakala lamb spring roll with pineapple dipping sauce / sesame seared ahi tuna slider with pickled cucumber and wasabi mayo / baked brie with fruit and macadamia nuts / hummus with Molokai sweet potato chips and petite garden vegetables // starters: house-made cavatelli pasta / pan sautéed Maui Lehua taro cakes // salads: Merriman’s garden salad / upcountry organic kale and butter lettuce salad // entrees: pan roasted togarashi-spiced day boat mahi mahi / naturally raised lamb / five-spice pan roasted jidori chicken // Maui’s best tropical fruit plate / flourless chocolate cake / Maui gold pineapple and toasted macadamia nut brioche pain perdu / macadamia nut wedding cake with mango fruit filling and vanilla buttercream
Did you have a signature cocktail? We didn’t have any signature cocktails, but we had a number of tropical cocktails and “mocktails”.
What was your first dance song? Marvin Tevaga learned Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” just for our first dance.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. During our first dance, we were surprised by a family of humpback whales playing very close to the shoreline! It was an exciting and unexpected sighting!
Tell us about having such an intimate wedding. Our families were the center of our wedding celebration. They are very private people, as are we, and so we wanted to have a small private family celebration. We couldn’t remember the last time when either one of us been on a family vacation so having a destination wedding/family vacation in Maui was extra special for all of us. We spent the week before the wedding exploring Maui and getting plenty of beach time; we had our rehearsal dinner at a luau (Feast at Lele); and having our wedding on the last day before our families flew back to the mainland was just the perfect cap to an unforgettable family trip.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Our siblings and parents all prepared toasts, and we loved them. While our siblings used their toasts as an opportunity to roast us, our parents’ toasts were sweet and heartfelt.