They met through mutual friends. Friends that were there when this remarkable friendship began. Friends that watched it grow and quickly evolve into something special, something that would span years and miles. Friends that Michelle and Doug now gathered around them alongside their families as they exchanged wedding vows against the backdrop of towering Koolau Mountain peaks.
The wedding day was a dream. The mid-day sun was tempered by just the right amount of puffed-up clouds, softening its light to a golden glow. For a Saturday, the Kualoa Beach Park was surprisingly empty and it lent itself to the intimacy of the day. All you saw were the smiles of the couple as they mingled with their guests before the ceremony and the only sounds you heard were laughter.
But this dream didn’t come easy. The moment they met, Michelle knew Doug was the one. But she had just returned home to Hawaii from Europe and was leaving again for grad school in Boston. Doug was from New England but he had just moved here to attend graduate school at UH-Manoa. Just after kindling this new connection, they found themselves separated by 5,000 miles and a six hour time difference. Determined, this couple kept in touch with phone calls and the times they could see each other when someone was home for a visit. After a year and half, Michelle moved home and the two have never been apart since. A commitment to be together that they were now celebrating just a few years later.
Michelle and Doug are living in California right now so Michelle had to plan everything from across the Pacific Ocean. Not exactly an easy task, but one Michelle excelled in, putting her vision and attention to details to good use. I actually didn’t get a chance to meet the beautiful couple until the morning of their wedding. Up until then, we relied on phone calls and emails to tidy up the details and everything came together seamlessly. They chose to wed at Kualoa Beach Park and as with any beach weddings, my suggestion was to choose an open shaded area. Michelle called me the day before. She found it! A beautiful stretch of field softly shaded by a group of trees sitting on the gentle rise of a hill. It was perfect. Michelle’s flower girls walked down the aisle first, carrying baskets designed out of brightly colored beach pails hand-decorated by Michelle. They wore matching floral dresses from Cinnamon Girl, dresses they had picked themselves months apart without ever seeing what the other had chosen! Michelle followed in a strapless gown, her hair swept back with a cluster of white flowers. Michelle’s father performed the ceremony, his eyes sparkling as he spoke with such kindness and adoration for his daughter and new son-in-law. As for Doug, he never took his eyes off his bride. Well, just look at the pictures, you’ll see why.
Flowers and leis: Cindy’s Lei Shoppe
Flower girl dresses: Cinnamon Girl
Bridal gown: Nordstrom