Destination I Do

A Seaside Wedding

Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Aaron Mizushima

As an editor of a destination wedding magazine, there are few things better in this World than when two people you cherish decide to tie the knot in a beautiful destination. I’ve known the bride and groom for more than a decade-and-a-half and was thrilled to be a part of their special day.

Here’s their story:

Ryan and Shana have known each other since high school, although according to Shana, “It wasn’t until a handful of years later, when we worked together that it really clicked.” Three children and 15 years later, they got engaged in Barbados and decided to tie the knot on the island Shana was born – Kaua’i, Hawaii.

“We’ve both shared so many precious memories on Kaua’i and Poipu is our favorite place on Earth," says Shana. "It only seemed logical to get married there." Friends and family were not surprised, although the couple was overwhelmed by the number of people who attended, close to 50 people in all. “It was a true blessing,” says the couple.

They generously decided to rent a beach house for the bridal party and their families, which ended up being “wedding headquarters” for the week. A gorgeous view of the ocean and surrounding mountains from the wrap-around lanai became the meeting point for early morning coffee and late night fun. 

Several days of playing at the beach with kids and family, golf outings for the guys and an “island style” theme of casual events put everyone in the vacation spirit immediately.

When it came time for the big day, Shana’s brother and his girlfriend headed down to a quiet part of Shipwreck’s Beach in Poipu and claimed the area as best they could to ensure a private ceremony. They set up an incredibly beautiful aisle using lava rock and tropical foliage. Palm fronds carpeted the sand where the bridal party would stand and plumeria flowers and lava rock shaped into a heart would be their altar.

Their three children and niece led the bridal party. Ryan was handsome and kept it casual with a light blue linen button-down shirt and Dickies. Shana couldn’t have been more breathtaking in her sweet-heart neckline, strapless gown with lace overlay and haku (in lieu of a veil) as her brothers walked her down the aisle. There wasn’t a shoe in the sand or a dry eye in the group as they exchanged their own intimate and personal vows with their close friend officiating the ceremony.

After the “I do’s” were said, the group headed back to the beach house and had a casual celebration with local Hawaiian musicians,  pupus and a full buffet dinner topped off with an assortment of local desserts such as guava cake and banana crème pie.

Shana’s fondest memory of the day was during the ceremony, “Looking out and seeing how many people were crying…that meant these are the people who genuinely love us.”

As far as advice for other brides planning their own wedding, “It was said best by my friend, that the vibe of the bride/groom translates to everyone else. So relax, enjoy and take unforeseen problems in stride. The more we enjoyed ourselves, I think, the more our guests did too.”

Enjoy it, we did. The only sad thing is the wedding is over – but we have so many priceless memories to take with us as a memento.

Photographer: Aaron Mizushima, Ceremony: Shipwreck’s Beach, Reception Site: Hale Hapuna, Gown Designer: style# BC683, Florist: Blue Orchid (Koloa, HI), Bridesmaids' Clothing Designer: style # BR234 in various shades, Barefoot Sandals by Stella's Design, Some photos taken at Plantation Gardens and Kiahuna Plantation Resort.

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