One Couple's Tropical Destination Wedding in Hawaii
Lindsay and Michael
Lindsay Nicholas and Michael Gazzano both went to the University of Southern California and had mutual friends, but they never knew each other as undergrads. It wasn't until six years later when their mutual friend Catherine insisted on setting them up that they actually met. Catherine's persistence paid off, and the first date led to many more. After a few years together as a couple living in Southern California and working in real estate, Michael hatched a plan to pop the question.
He got her to commit to dinner with his sister and her husband. But since Lindsay is usually the one to make the plans, she kept trying to change the specifics—up until the time they parked the car. The restaurant they were slated to go to was on Poppy Avenue—a street Lindsay (and her father before her) had lived on previously. Arriving early, they decided to walk to the end of the road to admire the sunset, as they often do. But Lindsay got a bit suspicious when Michael started to reminisce about different defining moments in their relationship and told her how much she meant to him. Then he was down on one knee and asking her to be his wife. After the proposal, they went to the restaurant where their families were waiting, and toasted to their future life.
About a year from that significant event, on July 8, 2017, they made it official. Their 147 guests, almost all of whom traveled from California to attend, stayed at the hotel where the festivities took place, the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i. The wedding celebrated the island's beauty with a few tropical touches, all done within a palette of soft sunset-inspired colors and a pop of French blue. The festivities brought everyone together for a vacation that was capped off by the beautiful union of the bride and groom.
The Stationery Suite
The couple wanted a traditional invitation that was injected with personality. With help from Brooke Keegan Special Events, they enlisted Bianca Mascorro with Studio Luzance to design and calligraph all of their paper goods.
The stationery design began with a simple "save the weekend" card but became more elaborate with the invitation, which boasted a custom watercolor crest that incorporated Hawaiian flora, a pineapple, a sailboat, and some personal touches (like a four leaf clover for Michael's Irish side). The painted map highlighted the different areas where the festivities would take place, and island-appropriate icons were used as graphics on the various cards and as an envelope liner. The pieces also introduced the couple's color palette.
Every single guest (and vendor) stayed on site at the recently renovated Four Season Resort Lana'i. "It made everything extra special to spend quality time with all of our family and friends that traveled to Hawaii by running into them around the property and made it easy to get a group of people to hang out by the pool or make it an impromptu beach day," Michael says. Lindsay agrees, recalling a day at the beach when she realized that one memory she'd take from the weekend was seeing so many smiles on their friends' and family's faces because they were just having so much fun.
Aloha and Welcome
The couple wanted their guests to feel appreciated from the second they arrived, so they welcomed them with some Aloha spirit, fresh pineapple, and a note. Since Lana'i has been coined the "pineapple island," it was a fitting gesture.
Welcome to Hawaii
Welcome bags were stocked with some local goodies (like luau BBQ-flavored potato chips and passionfruit-guava juice), tequila, sunscreen, candy, and an itinerary. The tote itself doubled as a beach or pool tote for guests to use during their down time.
The First Look
Photographer Joel Serrato and videographer Aaron Novak scouted locations for bride and groom's first look in the days leading up to the wedding. The winner? A secluded garden on the property. The moment? Emotional. "I think my dress was the first secret I have ever kept from Michael and he loved it," Lindsay says. Adds Michael, "I never thought I would cry, but I almost fell to the ground because Lindsay looked so beautiful and all the emotions in that moment."
Additional portraits took place on a bridge over a koi pond before the ceremony, and at dusk on the beach under the light of the full moon.
Lindsay tried on a number of different wedding dresses but kept going back to the same Monique Lhuillier gown—visiting the boutique three times! "I loved how easy it was to wear," she says. "When I first tried it on I thought the Chantilly lace pattern had a resemblance to coral, and it felt so perfect for our destination." She accessorized the strapless dress with drop earrings and a diamond cuff bracelet on loan to her from her mother.
Michael put together his ensemble at Zegna. "I loved the color of the blue jacket when I saw the backdrop of the venue with the ocean," he explains. But since he has to wear a tie every day at work, and wanted to be a bit more relaxed at this beach wedding, he went with a pocket square instead, and white pants and a light blue shirt.
The Bridal Bouquet
Mandy Grace Designs created the bride's bouquet of garden roses, ranunculus, lisianthus, spray roses, hellebores, and peonies, which was tied together with long strands of hand-dyed silk ribbon in French blue. "I loved my bouquet," Lindsay says. "It was a loose bouquet of romantic sunset hues. And since Michael and I got engaged on a street called Poppy, we really wanted to have some poppies in my bouquet."
The Little Ones
Michael's niece and nephews donned Janie and Jack for their roles as flower girl and ring bearers.
A Refreshing Treat
When the couple visited the property a few months prior to their big day, a waiter brought them housemade popsicles while they were standing on what would ultimately be their ceremony site. "We looked at each other and said we had to serve these before the ceremony," Lindsay says. So guests enjoyed mango-flavored frozen treats as they arrived.
Lindsay and Michael became husband and wife on the plumeria lawn overlooking the ocean. A driftwood arch decorated asymmetrically with flowers and greenery framed them during a ceremony that included Hawaiian traditions, a reading of Wilferd Arlan Peterson's "The Art of Marriage" recited by the groom's sister, and an exchange of leis. The tradition of trading leis (hers was white dendrobium orchids and his was open maile) is considered a genuine expression of love.
As it was summer in Hawaii, large market umbrellas were set over the ceremony seating and raffia fans were handed out. When it came time to warmly celebrate the newlyweds, attendees tossed bougainvillea petals on their walk up the aisle.
"I got really into the cocktail napkins," Lindsay says. "It's kind of a funny detail to focus on and I think I ended up ordering 10 variations." She wanted every night to feel special during the weekend of events. The welcome party used the "Party like a Pineapple" design and some with the couple's hashtag, for the night before the wedding the chose the "Almost Married" design, as well as a few with their names. For the wedding night, the couple chose a design that was a bit more traditional, setting out napkins with their names and the date. But it was time to mix it up again for the after-party, where "Mahalo" and a pineapple illustration were stamped on to the classic white paper squares. All of the graphics used were also found on the invitation suite as a way of staying consistent.
The Escort Cards
"With all of the beauty under the ocean's surface in Hawaii, and the incredible location of Lindsay and Michael's wedding overlooking the water, it seemed compulsory to bring the enchantment of the underwater experience to the surface," says Bianca Mascorro of Studio Luzance. She created a large watercolor seascape painting on acrylic tiles, then wrote guests' names on top in gold and their table assignments on the underside.
The display was set out on a table with another tropical touch—crates of overflowing tropical fruits and orchids.
A Local Leader
Since the reception was about a five minute walk from the cocktail hour area, the couple crafted a creative way to move everyone from one spot to another—a traditional conch shell blower who would also light a tiki torch and lead the way.
The week leading up to the wedding, Michael noticed a Hawaiian guy shaping a stick of wood every day down by the beach shack. "During the moment he was leading us to the reception, he told me he had been carving that stick all week to prepare for the special lighting of the torch ceremony at our wedding. I was blown away that he spent that much time and that he cared about our wedding day as much as we did," Michael says.
The reception took place on the luau grounds. "The location couldn't have been better for the festive, outdoor, summer wedding celebration," notes the bride. The floorplan was designed to maximize the ocean views, and the lights overhead created a warm glow as the sun set.
The Place Settings
French blue table linens and vibrant centerpieces added a pop of color to the natural setting. The floral arrangements also incorporated tropical fruit and were set along with a mix of candle holders. Rattan chargers, scallop-edged plates, and a fern were set under the menus, which featured Studio Luzance's watercolor creations, calligraphed names to denote seating assignments, and a typeset outline of the feast to come. The meal began with a salad of pineapple and compressed watermelon, and macadamia-crusted mahi mahi with lobster mashed potatoes followed.
The First Dance
Lindsay and Michael love the Zac Brown Band (one of their favorite dates was to see them in concert!), so they chose their song "Loving You Easy" as the background music for their first dance. Michael and his mom then danced to Van Morrison's "Days Like This" and Lindsay joined her father as "The Way You Look Tonight" by Michael Bublé played.
Lindsay's parents had been married for 35 years, and celebrated that by dancing to their own first dance song, "Endless Love" by Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross again at the reception. Lindsay loved watching them relive their special moment and celebrating their example of a happy marriage as she started her own.
The Wedding Cake
The resort made the simple dessert with layers of carrot cake and chocolate cake with passion fruit filling. A few sprigs of bougainvillea and the same silk ribbon that was tied around the bride's bouquet was all it needed in terms of decoration.
Baby You're a Firework
As a surprise for the guests, a fireworks display was arranged. "One of our favorite parts of the wedding was seeing everyone's reactions and watching all of our guests dance under the fireworks," Lindsay says.
Photography, Joel Serrato
Location, Catering, and Cake, Four Seasons Resort Lana'i
Event planning, Brooke Keegan Special Events
Flowers and Décor, Mandy Grace Designs
Videography, Artisan Production
Stationery and Calligraphy, Studio Luzance
Music, JB Project
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier
Bride's shoes, Saint Laurent
Hair and Makeup, Maui Makeup Artistry
Bridesmaids' dresses, Joanna August
Mother-of-the-bride's dress, Martha Madeiros
Children's attire, Janie and Jack
Groom's attire, Ermenegildo Zegna
Menswear, Barneys New York
Lighting, Inspiration Lighting & Decor
Fireworks, J&M Displays
Honeymoon planning, Ever After Honeymoons