If you know Rick and me at all, you know we don’t spend a lot of time worrying about doing things the way everyone expects us to. Our big day wasn’t about bells and whistles at all, and that’s why we chose to have a casual destination wedding in The Bahamas instead of a huge shindig with hundreds back home.
What could be simpler than a beach wedding at a quiet island resort? We’d have a smaller crowd and fewer obligations. We’d need fewer decorations because the beach was the perfect backdrop. And we’d mellow everyone out during the week with a chill Bahamian vibe, so by the time we got to Oct. 23, everyone would be on island time. (And without a Hobby Lobby nearby during the wedding week, I wouldn’t be tempted to craft until the moment I walked down the aisle.)
The road to marriage was an arduous one at times for both of us, so having ample time during the week to reflect and pray and just spend time basking in our little miracle was a priority.
Well, we all know how that went.
(New to this saga? Take a dive down the rabbit hole…)
I certainly never imagined that only a year after the wedding I’d be walking down the aisle and saying “I do” again. Usually folks save the vow renewals for 5, 10 or 20 years down the road. But one year was a big milestone for us. I can’t understate the mental and physical effects that the cyber-stalking by our wedding hotel’s management caused me. You can surely see the physical change in my photos, and even on the best days of our first year of marriage, I was looking over my shoulder. Renewing our vows was about starting over in our hearts the way we always wanted to and making a memory we could smile about — without so much baggage.
When we decided to think about doing a symbolic reset, the only question was where. Obviously, a change of scenery was in order. We couldn’t go back to the scene of the crime. (You know, because of the death threats!)
Our only requirement: a peaceful spot that wasn’t under construction.
There was only one place I know magical enough to wipe the slate clean — Kauai!
I’d been wanting to take Rick to Kauai since the day I met him. He’s rugged, adventurous and loves the sea, and I knew he’d fall in love with the island just like I had so many years before. Hurricane Matthew forced us to postpone our dates by a few weeks, so we missed our actual anniversary.
BUT, it was a bit of a bonus because we had our special redo on my birthday. Huzzah!
More than anything else, we wanted our do-over to be easy, easy, easy. As we learned in Wedding No. 1, no matter how simple you want things, and even if you don’t run across Caribbean pirates like we did, stuff comes up. I was prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best.
Fortunately, this time was the polar opposite. There were no rings or relatives to keep track of, no decorations to sling up at the very last minute, no flower deliveries to chase down, no hissy fits, no jackhammers, no gaping holes in the ground, no updo debacles, nobody lying to us, no insidious hoteliers lurking in the sea grapes.
Just 50 acres of lush landscaping, the Pacific Ocean, the Grand Hyatt Kauai and this man I loooove.
We were totally hands-off with planning – we had the wedding team coordinate everything. All we had to do was show up on at 4 p.m. at Keoneloa Bay, dressed for a do-over.
We wandered down to the beach to find beautiful music, gorgeous fresh leis and of course, perfect Poipu weather. (How stunning is my flower crown? It’s called a lei po’o and was handmade!)
Wouldn’t you know it – our vow renewal was absolutely seamless. A dream! Literally everything went off without a hitch.
It was intimate and personal and perfect.
Our awesome, smiling kahu, Chucky Boy Chock, led us through the sweetest little commitment ceremony where we, without any distractions, pledged our undying love to each other again.
Everything went so smoothly, we almost couldn’t believe the difference from Wedding 1 to Wedding 2. Where our wedding day was rushed and frenzied and basically consisted of me putting out fire after fire, our vow renewal was light and breezy and happy.
And unlike our actual wedding day, I didn’t spend nearly as much time crying! (At least not from stress – there may have been a few tears of joy. Have you seen my husband? The man is fine!)
We couldn’t stop smiling – and BIG! I think this is how we were supposed to feel on Wedding Day 1.
From planning with the Grand Hyatt Kauai wedding team to coordinating the day of to the actual ceremony and photos, everything was just so easy. The staff were helpful, pleasant to work with and knowledgeable. You could feel the spirit of aloha in every conversation, and that was a welcome change from what we experienced before.
I don’t entertain many regrets in my life, but I sure regret not having our destination wedding in Kauai in the first place.
I’m beyond grateful that we had the chance to look each other in the eyes and say “I do” all over again. Not everyone has the chance to start over – in paradise, no less! – and I treasure the fact that we did.
Thinking of having your vow renewal or destination wedding in Kauai? Here are the fabulous folks & vendors who made ours happen:
Officiant/Kahu: Chucky Boy Chock
Flowers: Elvrine Chow, Heavenly Hakus
Photos: Ryan Metzger, Kilohana Photography
Guitar: Paul Togioka
With extra special mahalo to: the inimitable Sue Kanoho and the Kauai Visitors Bureau
After our ceremony, we changed into comfier clothes and were whisked away to a romantic Share the Stars dinner in a private cabana on Shipwreck Beach. It was the night of the Super Moon, so we watched the sunset and the moonrise while eating surf and turf and drinking red wine.
The next morning, we woke up and went straight to the onsite Anara Spa for a couples massage. Sitting around in our robes and slippers, holding hands and relaxing in paradise – it’s exactly how we imagined our relaxing destination wedding week.
Thank you, Kauai, for helping us make new memories!
And we lived happily ever after!
This trip took place in partnership with the Kauai Visitors Bureau and the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Opinions, as always, are my own.