Michelle and Bill opted for an unconventional wedding – joined by just nine guests, they tied the knot in a grove of Banyan trees, and celebrated their nuptials with an intimate dinner at a house they rented for the week. They chose Iolani Palace on Oahu as the backdrop for some truly lovely portraits. Simple and love-filled – nothing more required.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Not really. We knew we wanted it to be different and meaningful to us. We didn’t want it to look cookie cutter – we wanted it real and vintage and mismatched. My grandmother sent two silk horseshoes for me to carry after the ceremony which is a New Zealand tradition. She also gave me a brown quartz necklace which I incorporated into my bouquet.
“We wanted to get married under big Banyan trees, and then have photos in front of a beautiful historic building, so Iolani Palace was perfect as it had both.”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, meaningful, and relaxed.
Who officiated your ceremony? Angela Keen. We researched officiants online and as soon as we spoke to her we knew she was perfect.
What was your ceremony music? No music, but we had a Hawaiian conch shell sound at the start of the ceremony, and our officiant did a Hawaiian blessing.
What were your vows like? Angela prepared the vows after speaking with us and we discussed them in advance. We were so happy with what she prepared we didn’t change a thing. One thing we asked her to add was mention of our fathers who had both passed away – which brought us all to tears.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? That it was relaxed and we were surrounded by those closest to us.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? The location was perfect – the massive trees and the beautiful grounds were humbling.
“We didn’t have a formal reception. We just had a gorgeous family dinner at the house we were staying at. It was a low key intimate dinner under retro café lights right on the beach. It was just as we had imagined it would be.”
Why did you choose this location for your reception? Because we had small children in the group and wanted it to be easy for them. The house was also beautiful and the perfect venue on the beach so it was a no brainer.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Wild flowers, the light when the sun is setting, chandeliers hanging from the trees, vintage mismatched table settings, beautiful champagne, candles and retro lighting, and incorporating our fathers.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The laughter.
What was your first dance song? We didn’t do a formal dance, but there was some dancing!
What was your wedding menu? We ordered lots of Whole Foods platters. This way, no one would feel obligated to organize or cook – it was all done for us without having to have a caterer come to the house.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? A naked vanilla cake with pomegranate and figs on top. Bill’s mother also made her amazing key lime pie.
Did you have a signature cocktail? No, but we had lots of Veuve Clicquot for the table.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? To try and savor the moment. Even so it still went by in a blur.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Think about what it is that’s important for you. For us, it was having our immediate family with us. The rest was just details. A photographer that you feel comfortable with is also key if you’re not used to having your photo taken.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? We wanted the focus to be on our families getting to know each other. Bill’s family is from the U.S., and mine are from New Zealand, so we wanted the week to be about spending time together, not just the day of the wedding.