Kelsey Malie

Our Wedding: Our Reception

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Reception venue: Moana Surfrider Rooftop Lanai and Garden
Flower arrangements: Passion Roots
Favors: Passion fruit jelly (handmade by my mom)
Cake: Tiers of Joy
Dress: Sweetheart from Charlotte's Weddings
Ben's suit and shoes: Perry Ellis
Bridesmaid dresses: Annabelle by Jenny Yoo
Maile leis: Picket Fence Florist

It's hard for me to look at these pictures without crying. Our wedding reception marks the best six hours of my life, and thinking about how that is now over, and all we are left with are these images and memories, fills me with longing.

Our reception was held at the oldest hotel in Hawaii, the Moana Surfrider. It's this giant white hotel that sits on Waikiki beach and has such an old Hawaii, open-air feel. Our reception was in the top floor of the lobby of the hotel, a private space for just us. There were two ocean facing lanais where we had pupus and drinks before dinner, and then the room had beautiful glass windows that opened up to a city view. When we arrived at the hotel, we checked in to our room and took a second to pause in the AC and look out across the expansive sea. And then we walked up to the room and were blown away. My mom had come to the hotel early to set up, laying out the calligraphy place cards, menus, table numbers, favors, guestbook, and set up some flowers and leis on our chairs. Stepping into the beautiful room blew me away (I'm crying now thinking about what everyone did to make this happen for us). I didn't expect it to look so breathtaking and perfect.

Ben and I stepped away from drinks as the sun set into the Pacific Ocean and took some photos during a break in the misty, evening rain and standing on that beach felt surreal. The culmination of a year's worth of planning and a lifetime of dreaming was already half over.

Dinner was perfectly done (surpassing our expectations) - we enjoyed anise braised short ribs, mahi mahi, a local garden salad, and fantastic wine. Our cake was a mango and passionfruit buttercream frosted cake that I probably could have eaten tiers of. And then the toasts. I'm not sure anyone warns you that when you get married, there is a period of time at dinner when every single person in the room is turned toward you with love in their hearts at that fact that you found someone to celebrate your life with. We had a 36 person wedding, so each person there was extremely close to us. Our immediate families, best friends, and family friends we'd known since childhood all turned toward us to wish us happiness. I can't describe the feeling in the room, but my heart wells up with gratitude toward all of those that flew far distances to be with us that Saturday.

I had two rather unexpected favorite parts of the wedding. First, my dad made handmade Koa (a native Hawaiian wood) cheeseboards for guests that had made a significant journey or contribution to our wedding, and we handed them out with chocolate from the slopes of the Big Island to guests. The second part requires a bit of context. Our wedding reception was a no-dancing event due to venue restrictions - the room had no space for a dance floor. One of my parents' oldest friends, however, is a DJ and he started to play music. Ben and I danced to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Iz, followed by my dad and I dancing to Cat Stevens' "Wild World." And then, he started to play music that everyone wanted to dance to. Suddenly the tiny room was full of our closest friends and family dancing between tables. And we danced until our feet were blistered and sore, until the humidity had us exhausted, and our time was up.

So just like that, we piled into the elevator, and waved goodbye to our entire family and friend group, all headed back home across oceans. Contrary to what most brides say (about falling quickly asleep after the reception), I hardly slept a wink that night. I was too full of love and joy and an immediate nostalgia.

More wedding coverage here and here.

Our Wedding: The Ceremony

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Photography: O'Malley Photographers
Ceremony location: Private residence on Lanikai Beach, Oahu
Invitations: Me! (Kelsey Malie Calligraphy)
Flower source: Absolutely Protea; Arrangements: My grandmother
Dress: Sweetheart from Charlotte's Weddings
Ben's suit and shoes: Perry Ellis
Bridesmaid dresses: Annabelle by Jenny Yoo
Maile leis: Picket Fence Florist

I wrote yesterday about all of the handmade details in our wedding (see a bunch of them above: flower arrangements, bouquet, my wedding invitations), and left off with a heavy rainstorm.

Despite a few hours of rain coming down in big, tropical drops, at about noon the rain let up and the clouds started to break up over the Mokulua islands right off the shore. The rain, though it was nerve-wracking for our no-back-up-plan outdoor wedding, served to clear away some of the tourists from the beach and leave parking spaces for our wedding guests. A blessing in a sopping wet disguise.

The rain also served another purpose, to introduce an insane humidity in the air. My bridesmaids and I were using ice packs, standing in front of a fan and attempting to drink ice water to keep cool in our layers and layers of tulle. I don't recall having ever sweat from my knee caps, but I did on my wedding day (a first for everything). We were tucked away in a back room at the house waiting for guests to park it so that we could start the wedding and I swear those 15 minutes were the absolute longest of my life. I do recall yelling at my mom that people needed to sit down before I passed out and we needed to get the show on the road. Something I'd recommend to any bride getting married in a humid climate that wants to wear a full, layered tulle dress: don't.

Once the nerves were out of the way and I made my way down the aisle with only minimal heel-sinking-into-lawn moments, our wedding ceremony officially kicked off the best day of my entire life. Our officiant was my maid of honor and best friend. She read a ceremony that we'd customized and our best man and bridesmaid read two readings - an Ernest Hemingway passage and that insanely tender Velveteen Rabbit passage about love. Ben's brother also played my grandfather's guitar and sang our song (Stay With Me by John Legend) in one of the most beautiful moments of the ceremony and I think we cried rather un-photogenically all the way through it. Our ceremony ended with vows we'd written ourselves and though I couldn't remember a word Ben said due to whatever euphoric plane I was on, I got to watch it back on an iPad video my aunt made for us of the ceremony, and was moved again.

When the ceremony ended, we all popped bottles of champagne and ran off to take a billion photos in the mid-afternoon heat. We had a few minutes of down time post-ceremony with no photographers around, just our family and wedding party, and everyone had a beer, kicked off their hot, painful shoes and just looked out across the beautiful Pacific ocean. Perhaps the most serene moment of the whole day as we let it sink in that we were Mr. and Mrs. and everything was flying by.