Destination I Do
Friday, July 5, 2013

Big Island Wedding

Words by Alicia Clark
Photos courtesy of Elena Graham Photography

One of the key aspects of a successful marriage is the couple’s ability to compromise. Compromise is a wonderful thing and it can often lead to extraordinary results. For example, when Malerie and Carl decided they wanted to have their wedding in Hawaii, Carl wanted to have the wedding in Maui, but after a memorable trip to Kaimu Beach in Kalapana on the Big Island, Malerie could not imagine herself getting married anywhere else but there. It was eventually agreed upon that the ceremony would be held on the Big Island, and the honeymoon would take place on Maui. This compromise gave way to a truly spectacular and unique wedding.

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Malerie first visited Kaimu Beach on a bike tour of Volcanoes National Park she took with her family in 2009. The singular beauty of the black sand and the glowing lava against the Hawaiian sunset was an image which had stuck with her throughout the years.

The charming tradition of planting a coconut whenever one visits the beach to restore the area’s wildlife struck Malerie as something special as well.

“I felt it would be the perfect place to start a new life with my fiancée, a place where we could shed our old single selves and become husband and wife forever,” the bride said.

Seeing as the groom had never been to Kaimu, he had to have faith in his future wife that the destination would be a great one.

Not many people have their weddings on Kaimu, preferring instead to have a more traditional beach wedding with white sand and palm trees in the background, but this bride knew exactly what she wanted for their big day.

Other than getting married in Hawaii, a small, intimate wedding was something the couple strove for. By having a strong vision of what they wanted for their wedding, and sticking to that vision, the couple was able to pull of the wedding of their dreams.

“While we both love our families dearly, neither of us was very comfortable with the intense spotlight a traditional wedding and reception brings,” the bride said. “We quickly decided that a destination wedding with just our immediate families in attendance and our respective best friends offered the solution we needed.”

With a wedding party of only 12 people, the short guest list made planning for accommodations and group outings fairly easy.

The bride and groom knew they did not want their guests staying in a hotel, so the couple turned to, a vacation rental website, to find the perfect rental home to suit themselves and their guests. Not only was renting a home affordable, but it offered a unique experience for guests.

“It [the rental home] had enough room to accommodate everyone, was in our price range and sat on 20 acres with both lush jungle and an ocean view,” the bride described.

After settling the accommodations, the bride turned her focus to planning fun daytrips for attending guests. Their activities included hiking local waterfalls, zip-lining, deep-sea fishing and more. Both guests and the husband and wife-to-be had a vacation they would not soon forget.

Due to the remote location of the ceremony, the couple had to think outside of the box when it came to hiring vendors.

A Hawaiian officiate with roots to the island was flown in from Maui, hair and make-up was done by an artist from Kailua-Kona, catering was provided by a local restaurant which also offered private dinners and their cake came from a bakery in Hilo.

The couple relied on friends and family to help them put together the wedding of their dreams. The bride, her mother and grandmother went to a local farmer’s market to select flowers a few days before the wedding, assembling them the day of the wedding. The bride incorporated black volcano sand into the vases they used to decorate their reception site, the contrast of the light flowers and dark sand created a beautiful decoration.

Malerie and Carl were able to have the wedding they always wanted by staying true to their vision throughout the planning process.

“While there is always room for opinions from others, final choices should always be something you can both look back on and say you were happy with,” the bride said.

The bride added some additional advice to her fellow destination “I do-ers” by encouraging them not to spend time worrying over minor details.

“When the big day comes it will not matter if the custom monogrammed runner is not 100% pressed,” the bride said. “The only thing you are going to be focused on is the person you are about to spend the rest of your life with waiting for you at the end of the aisle!”

Vendors: Photography: Elena Graham Photography, Gown Designer: Maggie Sottero, Groom’s and Groomsmens' Clothing Designer: Perry Ellis, Bridesmaids' Clothing Designer: Nicole Miller, Cake: Short n Sweet Bakery in Hilo, Catering: Café Pesto in Hilo, Hair and Makeup: Sonja Ascino

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