If you think there aren’t many places more stunning to marry in than Hawaii, then you’d be right – just ask the bride and groom from today’s wedding, shot by photographer Austin Gros. The beauty of the day was only heightened by bride Leah’s Ulla-Maija lace wedding gown and protea-filled floral design from Passion Roots.
From the bride, Leah: I wanted to get married on ‘Oahu where I grew up, outside under a big tree, but my husband wanted to get married where he was from in Lincoln, Nebraska in a Catholic church. We compromised and got married on ‘Oahu in a Catholic church and had the reception in a botanical garden. We had our reception at a botanical garden and set up long rows of tables and chairs under a big Monkeypod tree. Besides the lush botanicals, the venue features roaming peacocks, and even a natural waterfall at the end of the property where guests can swim in a postcard-perfect setting. All this fit with our idea of an old world, exotic, nature experience amongst our close family and friends.
With the wedding taking place in Hawai’i at a botanical garden, I pulled together the history of explorer Captain James Cook and our affinity for the natural sciences to create a scene that featured: nautical décor, a vintage globe, antique and aged wood accents, a cake decorated with black pearls, a garland made out of their oyster shells, and lush natural looking centerpieces. Together with the blush, nude, grey and gold color scheme, one’s imagination could’ve described the whole scene as a garden party, thrown by Captain Cook’s wife with things collected from the ship and garden. A real eclectic, whimsical mix that added to the botanical ambiance.
The surroundings and flower decorations were important to my husband and I, as I am a biologist and my husband an entomologist. Naturally, this part of the wedding planning was a big deal. When one works in the flower industry it is actually quite difficult to narrow down your favorites. All I could commit to was a King Protea in my bridal bouquet. The flower seemed to go with the large bloom featured in the lace in my dress. Plus, the protea held a special meaning – centered around a beetle pollination expedition to Cape Town, South Africa’s Kirstenboch Botanical Gardens with my bridesmaid, Cari.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? People will invite themselves. So, have a response prepared like, “We are still working on the guest list.” This lets them know not to be presumptuous in a polite way. Remember to say thank you to those who have helped you. On the day of your wedding, empty your mind of any expectations; of how things should look, etc. Just like clearing cache on a computer. The void of expectations will help you maintain joy throughout the day and not get bothered by the things that don’t work out the way you planned; all the while helping you to remember that this is a party you’ve planned and to focus on the fact that you will be spending your life together. Wait a week or two before you leave for your honeymoon, because you will be exhausted after your wedding is done. Waiting will help you enjoy it better and be more willing to explore the wherever you go, rather than staying in the hotel the whole time. Unless that’s all you want to do, in which case don’t go anywhere far or expensive – just spend it all on a super luxurious hotel room.
o We decided to make our own playlists for the Cocktail Hour, Dinner and Dancing portions of the evening and hooked up an iPod to rented speakers.
Bridal Party Processional: “Psalm,” M. Ward
Bridal Processional: “Ave Maria,” Franz Schubert
Recessional: “Oh Happy Day,” edited from the Sister Act 2 Soundtrack
First Dance: “Sweet Disposition,” The Temper Tramp
Wedding Location: Hale’iwa, Oahu, HI / Photographer: Austin Gros / Floral Design: Passion Roots / Ceremony Venue: Saint Joachim Catholic Mission Church, Punalu’u, HI / Reception Venue: Waimea Valley Botanical Garden and Arboretum, Hale’iwa, HI / Wedding Dress: Ulla-Maija/Anna Maier “Bianca,” purchased at Gabrielle’s Bridal Atelier / Shoes: Nina Shoes / Bracelet: Kate Spade / Engagement Ring: Memoire / Hair and Makeup: Amanda Gros / Groom’s Suit: Black Lapel / Groom’s Shoes: Bloomingdales / Caterer: Ke Nui Kitchen at Waimea Valley / Wedding Cake: The four tiered cake was made by me via Martha Stewart inspiration. It was only for display, and the actual cake was sheet cake cut up in the kitchen and served to guests on plates / Sheet Cake: Dee Lite Bakery / Tables and Chairs: Royal Party Rentals / Sound Equipment Rentals: Subsidiary of Waimea Valley Botanical Garden and Arboretum