The planning had begun once the ring was on my finger. I wanted to plan the dream wedding: an intimate ceremony with my closest family and friends. I started to make the guest list first and each week it grew longer and longer, because of my attempt to please everyone I was related to, any friends I had or anybody I worked with. I was so afraid of offending someone that I just couldn’t scratch names off my list. My future husband looked worried when he saw the list and we discussed our budget. It wasn’t looking good if we wanted a long romantic honeymoon, so we contemplated in silence for a few minutes. At this point we had a dressmaker picked out, we contacted our church, even attended counseling sessions, and I had a planner decked out with ideas for the ceremony and reception. Then like a lightening bolt in a Florida storm, it hit us both…how about we elope!
It was the second marriage for us both, and I didn’t give it a second thought. I didn’t argue with his logic about why we should spend all this money for an elaborate ceremony, when we could use it to enjoy ourselves on our honeymoon. The next question was where! It was as if he was reading my mind because Hawaii was the tropical paradise of our dreams, but could we really afford it? I started the research and found the best package deals and presented them to him. His eyes lit up and the destination would be the romantic island of Maui.
Summer was halfway over and once we gathered all our resources, then the wedding day was set for October 17th. I bought a simple, elegant wedding dress, he wore a suit and we packed our most tropical clothes and headed on our way. Landing in Kahului airport, you could immediately tell the difference in the weather. The air was clean and refreshing, like quenching your thirst with sweet bites of cold watermelon on a warm day! The native people smiled and there was silence on the streets outside. No honking horns, no diesel trucks, just the low hum of planes as they periodically circled the sky waiting to land. The sky was azure blue, the mountains were a luscious moss and the ocean was just waiting for me to dip my feet.
We rented a jeep, a must on the islands we heard, and I basked in the salty air as we rode to our hotel in Kihei. Our room was literally twenty feet from the beach, and after dropping everything in the room, I wanted to caress my feet in the sand and watch the sun go down. It was like serenity had blessed this place of Utopia and my first thought was it would be very hard to get me back on a plane and leave in seven days.
We had two days before the wedding day to get our ducks in a row and for the few showers of rain to let loose on the island. I was a little worried the weather would ruin my sunrise ceremony, but the natives assured me that there will be a place somewhere on the island that is not raining. It turned out that place was Wailea. Our Romantic Maui Weddings event planner picked the perfect spot for us; on a grassy cliff side, overlooking the ocean with the Molokini Crater in site. The morning was perfect, the ocean was perfect and our Hawaiian priest did an incredible job. Their photographer took photos that we could cherish for a lifetime. My new husband and I took some time to captivate that moment, the island and its atmosphere, and we knew that this is how our new life was supposed to start.
Our breakfast that morning was at the most amazing place; the Wailea Golf Club, where we sat on a deck looking at the swaying palm trees and the crystal clear ocean, sipping a pineapple juice blend and eating delicate pastries filled with guava jams and jellies. Next on the agenda was to explore the island and its magnificence. We tackled the Hana highway and survived, we stopped at black sand beaches and waterfalls, posing for pictures, and we were in awe at the Martian like surface at the peak of the Haleakala Volcano. Before we knew it, we had explored every bit of the island and the week flew by!
The last adventure was taking a small plane, since all the helicopter tours were booked (hint: do them at least three months in advanced), to get a bird’s eye view of the big island in all it’s volcanic fury. From a distance before even reaching the island, I could see plumes of smoke rising from where the land meets the ocean’s edge. Like red velvet batter, it flowed like a delta into the sea. The pilot got us so close I thought I heard the sizzle when the lava touched the water. It was a sight best view from up high.
My bags were packed, my souvenirs secured and we were on our way to the airport. The security guards gave us one last rule of the island…it is tradition to visit the island five or ten years from the day you were married. I nodded my head and told him indefinitely! The plane’s engine was roaring and I felt my heart drop to the floor. I looked back to the mountains, at the sky and I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to kiss the ground before I left. I wanted to handcuff myself to something that would keep me on the island. I couldn’t believe I was walking away from this paradise. But a promise will be kept, as my spouse and I approach our eight anniversary. We missed the five year tradition, but on the tenth, I shall meet with paradise once again!