Aloha to you and to our friends from Absolutely Loved Photography who sent us this gem from Honolulu! Our bride instantly fell in love with the Moana Surfrider resort and it’s so easy to see why based on these gorgeous pics. From the beautiful garden ceremony setting to the sweeping ballroom reception, this resort wedding is the definition of classic elegance!
From the Bride: Destination weddings are never easy to plan, especially when half of your guests are traveling from New Zealand, the other half are flying in from Texas and Michigan and you’re a total control freak!
From the moment that Craig and I began talking about marriage, the subject of location had to be brought up. He is from Texas and I am from Chicago by way of Michigan. The majority of his family lives in New Zealand and the United States, with close friends and cousins also hailing from England and Australia. My family is from the Midwest with East Coast and Southern ties and a few relatives in Scotland. We wanted to pick a location that was not only scenic and romantic, but also a middle ground where our families could meet for the celebration of starting our lives together as man and wife.
Our mutual love of travel has taken us all over the world, yet Hawaii has always held a special place in our hearts. Our first trip together when we were dating was to the island of Kauai. We have been on several family vacations to Oahu since, and my love of historic southern architecture drew me towards “Hawaii’s first lady” the Moana Surfrider. Hawaii became our natural first pick and with the guidance of our parents we made Hawaii our destination. The next part was easy for me…
I fell in love with the Moana Surfrider while on a walk with my father. It embodies a timelessness that flows through you when walking through the entrance flanked by a row of rocking chairs or sitting under the famous banyan tree. The Moana Surfrider is simply elegant and I wanted to capture her elegance and channel it for my wedding.
Everything was selected with the Moana Surfrider in mind. I always had wedding planning in the back of my mind. When I was on business in Dallas, I had to kill some time before an event and found myself at the hotel’s adjoining mall in a Paper Source. A Florentine print paper called to me. It reminded me of my mother’s stationery and my family’s travels growing up, but somehow also made me think of the Moana. I loved the liner so much, it became my inspiration for our wedding colors: navy, olive green, gold and white. I had it special ordered for us to use as a liner in our programs and menus. It turned out perfectly!
An underlying theme I envisioned for the event was my desire to tie the past with the present. Keeping the Moana in mind, I wanted to respect her time period with a classic look and chose a simple, tiered lace, A-line gown that I fell in love with at first sight. My parents were gracious enough to lend me an antique diamond necklace and ring to help achieve this timeless look. The piece of the present day was added when Craig came home from his bachelor party with a wad of newly acquired casino cash that paid for a pair of Jimmy Choo wedges that absolutely completed the look! What a fantastic surprise!
The bridesmaids’ dresses were very simple gowns from BHLDN that could be worn several different ways and allowed each girl to showcase her personal style. I looked for something like this because of the stigma surrounding bridesmaids having to purchase a dress that they didn’t choose! This at least gave them the ability to insert a hint of their style into my wedding without giving up all my control!
For the boys, I love east coast and southern prep, so that was the inspiration. We were getting married outside in Hawaii which meant they needed something formal, yet comfortable. They wore white linen pants, white linen button down shirts, and navy blazers with green and blue checked ties and navy Sperry’s.
The final touch for the wedding party was a mix of Hawaiian culture and the traditional. My bridesmaids toted hydrangea and peonies bouquets, all the groomsmen wore leis and the bridal bouquet popped with cascading orchids.
For the ceremony I kept everything simple, letting the surrounding beauty of the hotel and ocean do all of the work. After taking full advantage of the outdoor ceremony space and the beach for photos, we moved inside for a traditional ballroom reception. We used gold Chiavari chairs with navy tablecloths and white centerpieces consisting of hydrangeas, peonies and orchids for the guest tables and recycled the bridesmaids’ bouquets for the head table’s very own centerpiece. It all came together perfectly and if you remember from earlier, my original inspiration showed up in the lining of the menus to bring everything full circle.
While our wedding was incredibly special for us, we wanted to make it just as special for those who chose to join us in Hawaii. Craig’s parents held a sunset welcome reception with cocktails and hors d’oeurves the night before the wedding that allowed our guests to familiarize themselves with each other and really set the tone for the wedding reception. Also, the day after the wedding, they planned for a beach activity day with lunch, stand-up paddle-boards, kayaks, float islands and beach umbrellas. Everyone seemed to have had a blast and hopefully will remember their individual vacations, that just so happened to also be our wedding weekend, quite fondly.
Photography: Absolutely Loved Photography | Venue: Moana Surfrider: A Westin Resort & Spa | Coordination: Divine Weddings & Events | Floral Design: Spinning Web | Table & Chair Linens: Chair Cover Express | Brides Hair: Bridesmaid Melissa (Smith) McGrade – Salon Lofts Clearwater Florida | Brides Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Flower Girl Dress: Handmade by Bride’s Aunt | Ring Bearer Outfit: The Smocking Bird | Bridesmaids Gowns: BHLDN | Bridal Gown: Allure Bridal | Table Numbers: Etsy | Bridal Veil: Handmade by Friend of the Family | Brides Belt: BHLDN | Brides Jewelry: Family | Groomsmen and Groom Shoes: Sperry | Groomsmen and Groom Clothing: Men’s Wearhouse | DJ: Dynamic Sounds