Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Our Wedding: Our Reception

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.


  1. This is stunning!! Seriously, Style Me Pretty status!!

  2. Seriously so gorgeous. And that food! Wow, that gets rid of any preconceived notion of bad wedding food!

  3. Wow. Stunning. So very elegant and personal.

  4. Gorgeous Gorgeous! The venue looks beautiful. You did a fantastic job. AND you changed your layout again and I love it even MORE! :)

  5. The whole event looked beautiful, from the centerpieces to the cake to, of course, the bride! What a magical night.

  6. @Erin - I seriously was shocked. I wasn't expecting much! :) I've certainly been to my fair share of overpriced, buffet dinners and am so grateful that we worked with such an awesome vendor.

  7. OMG! Your wedding was so beautiful! And you look amazing! Seriously, every single picture is breathtaking!

  8. Absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations on your marriage and this beautiful event!

  9. 38 people?!? How intimate! The photographer did an excellent job you look stunning. Congrats!

  10. Gorgeous photos, love the decor! The back of your dress is amazing, would like something like that for myself someday.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful wedding with us. I've so enjoyed these posts.

  12. GORGEOUS!!!!! I love the details of your dress! so pretty!! thanks for sharing!

  13. WOWOWOW your wedding is beautiful!!! thank you for sharing your day xxx

  14. That sounds amazing!!! Beautiful pictures and day. Hope you submit them to SMP, Ruffled, Green Wedding Shoes... so incredible! Congrats!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your day! We recently booked our ceremony and reception at exactly the same venue and room. I've been having a bit of anxiety, because all I have seen is hotel wedding photos (which are gorgeous, but so staged!) so this gives a real life version of what it can be! We are having a morning ceremony and a brunch for our wedding- a fun twist :)

    Again, thanks for sharing :) Congrats to you and your partner!


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