This Couple Brought Italian Flair to Their Lush Wedding in Hawaii
High school classmates Sarah and Daniel had mutual friends, but neither really knew anything about the other beyond the fact that they shared a birthday. Years later, after college, they ran into each other on Halloween, then kept running into each other over the next couple of months. "Eventually, Daniel asked me on a date," says Sarah of the dinner and the movie that began their romance. "We've been together ever since."
Fast forward a few years: The pair was vacationing on Italy's Amalfi Coast. "We were at a beautiful cathedral courtyard overlooking the ocean in Praiano, and he got down on one knee," says Sarah. "Afterwards, I realized that he had set up a photographer!" The photographer brought Champagne with him, and the trio had a photo shoot all around the city.
The Carlsbad, California, couple initially looked at venues in Santa Barbara and Palm Springs ("Places we have great memories together," says Sarah), but say they weren't struck by any of them. Then they decided they were open to destinations. "We have traveled to the Hawaiian islands several times together," Sarah says. "There's nothing like getting on 'island time' and feeling truly relaxed. We wanted our wedding to be relaxed as well, and we wanted to come somewhere where we always felt happy and at peace." When they saw the venue at Haiku Mill, they immediately fell in love. "It was so stunning and there is no place like it," says Sarah of the estate. "We loved the garden feel and all the natural beauty. "
As for their event's design? Sarah wanted to incorporate warm colors—her favorite. "When I was first planning, I was so tempted to keep everything neutral or white," she says. "But when I really thought more about what was authentically my own aesthetic, I chose colors and elements that felt like my true style." The pair knew they wanted to incorporate citrus hues as a nod to their proposal location; they decided to include terra-cotta vases for another nod to Italy.
One of the biggest takeaways from their big day was that the time passes quickly. "I didn't realize how fast eight hours can go by," says Daniel. "I would tell other couples to make your wedding as long as possible because it goes by so fast." Another big takeaway? Gratitude. "We were so grateful to our family and friends for traveling out to Maui for our big day," says Sarah. "Our wedding was special because we got to spend time with them not just on the actual day, but the week of—doing things around the island, the rehearsal dinner, the brunch after the wedding—even beach days."
Contemporary Invitation Suite
The couple's wedding invitation suite featured a clean, modern look and included a card that depicted plants native to Hawaii. A leafy envelope liner added just a touch of color.
The Engagement Ring
Sarah's engagement ring features a brilliant-cut, oval-shaped diamond set on a delicate diamond band. "He did an amazing job with my engagement ring," she says of Daniel's choice. "People always ask me if I had anything to do with it, but it was all him! I love it."
A Wedding Dress with a Traiin
Although she was initially drawn to another designer, once the search for a wedding dress really began, Sarah ultimately fell in love with a white lace Ines Di Santo bridal gown. Her favorite part of the design? The lush train that rivaled her veil for length.
Timeless Wedding Shoes
Strappy nude sandals by Alexandre Birman completed Sarah's bridal ensemble.
A gathering of all-white flowers, from garden roses to sweet peas, composed the bride's spectacular bouquet by Mandy Grace Designs.
Groomsmen were given creamy roses to sport on their lapels, while a lone black-and-white anemone was reserved for the groom.
Daniel wore an ebony suit with matching shirt and tie, with mother of pearl button covers and a snowy pocket square for a touch of contrast.
Bright Bridesmaids' Dresses
The bridal party was invited to wear the dresses of their choosing in citrusy hues.
Handmade Vow Books
Sarah and Daniel penned the handwritten portion of their vows in lovely books bound with ribbon.
Floral-Wreathed Flower Girls
A trio of flower girls preceded the bride down the petal-strewn aisle; they wore crowns of white flowers with plenty of greenery.
A Memorable Processional
Sarah shared two very special moments with her father: a first look before the ceremony and a walk down the aisle to "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley. "Daniel and I wanted to wait until I was walking down the aisle," explains Sarah of the decision not have a first look. "When I saw Daniel, he had a huge smile on his face. I didn't take my eyes off him while I walked down the aisle."
The Personal Ceremony
Although the pair read classic vows, they also wrote their own. "We were both a little nervous about writing our own, but after the fact, I wouldn't do it any other way," says Sarah. "Once you are up there, you don't worry about anyone else and it just adds a personal touch." Officiated by the bride's aunt, the ceremony itself "was my favorite part," says the groom of his wedding experience.
An Elegant Bar
Guests ordered signature cocktails from a custom menu suspended over the bar. Individual glass bottles filled with flowers were also strung from the branches of a mango tree overhead.
Tequila and fresh-pressed pineapple and lime juices were the foundation for one of the drinks that was offered during the cocktail hour.
A Unique Seating Chart
French doors calligraphed with guests' names and table numbers served as a one-of-a-kind seating chart.
Terra-cotta bowls chosen for their Italian style held romantic, calligraphed notes that spelled out table numbers. Persimmons and lemons added a fresh edge to the tableau.
Reception tables were lined with citrus-hued flowers mixed with white blooms. Individual pieces of fruit topped menu cards; royal blue goblets added a pop of color. "I had such a fun time picking these things," says Sarah. "I love to decorate, so this was one of my favorite parts." Alternating tables featured sweeping gray linens and amber-colored goblets. Overhead, string lighting lent a romantic glow and flower garlands added a lush, otherworldly effect.
A Classic Wedding Cake
The couple selected a timeless white wedding cake topped with the vintage topper from Sarah's parents' wedding. "We had two layers of different flavors that Daniel chose," says Sarah. "One was red velvet with cream cheese frosting, one chocolate with lilikoi filling."
Photography, Melia Lucida Photography
Location, Haiku Mill
Event planning, Elements by K.H. & Co.
Flowers, Mandy Grace Designs
Videography, Shark Pig Weddings
Officiant, Yolanda Northridge McGuinness
Calligraphy, Alannah Rae Calligraphy
Cake, Sweet On Maui
Music, Island Encore Entertainment
Rentals, La Tavola Fine Linen
Bride's gown, Ines Di Santo
Bride's headpiece, BHLDN
Bride's shoes, Alexandre Birman
Engagement ring, David Levi and Sons Jewelers
Wedding bands, MarrowFine
Bride's hair, Haley Hawkins for Shear Chic
Bride's makeup, Chrissy Swink for Makeup Maui and Hair
Groom's attire, Nordstrom
Transportation, Aloha Maui Limousine
Photo booth, Bamboo Shootz Photo Booth