When Rob and I got engaged, we had originally planned for a September 2014 wedding. Remember how in Chapter 1, Giddy Engaged Girl, I had mentioned how I never brought up marriage lest I scare off my great catch? That girl was SO gone, and the jig was up! Now that I knew my great catch was all about this, that prior discretion was out the door! Being the excited and eager bride that I was, I suggested the idea of getting married earlier, like say...June! Rob said he would be good with it as long as we would be able to plan it in time. Planning it would be no issue, because I had a plan for the planning: Enter Jodie Burgess.
Jodie was my coworker at GEICO at the time, and I knew that she had helped one of my coworkers throw a fabulous wedding at an affordable price. I didn't know too much about the details of Jodie's wedding planning prowess, but what I did know was that she was a marketing/advertising guru for GEICO, had prior sales experience, and was a working Mom who juggled all of this while maintaining organization and sanity. Jodie graciously agreed to help me plan my wedding for a VERY affordable price (think: less than what a day-of-ceremony-only wedding planner would charge), and got right on top of contacting various venues to check dates for us.
We were originally thinking to have our wedding at a military instillation just because most were very budget friendly, and also were very beautiful. The Halekoa, which was our initial idea, only had lunch ceremonies available during June. I believe the ceremony would've had to of been at 10, and we would've had to start the reception by 11am. I instantly thought about how long it would take a bride to get ready, and assumed I would have to be up at 5? 6? Um, GROSS. That venue got immediately nixed. Jodie suggested we try the marine corps base in Kaneohe. What a great idea! I grew up in Kahaluu, so having the backdrop of my Ko'olau mountains AND the ocean was a perfect merging of a gorgeous view with a personal flair. They had an opening for June 14, with the wedding to start at 4:30 and reception to go through 10pm.
When we went to look at the grounds, we loved the reception ballroom/stage, but did not like the options for wedding venues. One was right outside the ballroom, on the pool deck. The base contact confirmed that they couldn't "force" the pool to be closed, so there was a potential for kids splashing around or someone doing laps in the background of our ceremony and photos. NEGATIVE. NEXT! The next venue was on the grass with a pretty view between two large trees, however, it was literally like 20 feet from where the cars would be parked. Not much of an aisle to walk down, cars in the background/doors closing, etc and there were also bushes there so hello mosquitos and gnats. We told the contact we pretty much hated both spots but really loved the location and the ballroom. She said there was one other place but she would need to get permission to use it - it was a large lawn between two military higher ups homes (admirals? captains? something high up). IT WAS BEAUTIFUL - the lawn had an unobstructed view of the ocean, framed by the Koolau mountains. We were so lucky that the homeowners were so nice and allowed us to have the ceremony there.
|Shot of my Practice walking down the aisle. |
PC: Angela Petersons
|Behold, our exquisite wedding backdrop in all its grandeur.|
PC: Irianny Ibarra
| SO BLESSED!!|
PC: Glexi Garcia
Jodie was great in helping us stick to our budget, and relayed the information to our vendors. I also wasn't a bridezilla, of course, so that helped. An example would be our centerpiece arrangements: while I had an idea of the type of flowers I wanted, I was also open to other options that were in season and again, within our budget. In the end, I would not have changed any aspect of our wedding - I was that happy with how it turned out. We were able to pay for our entire wedding and honeymoon upfront, and even ended in the black! Granted, Rob had been able to sock away a considerable amount of money while he was on deployment, but we also really worked hard at saving towards our wedding, and "living within our means."
The day before the wedding, we had a rehearsal dinner that ended at Kin Wah, one of our favorite Chinese restaurants in Kaneohe. That night, Rob and I stayed on the hotel on base (separate rooms of course!) which was another convenience because I got to sleep in as late as possible and didn't need to be rushed anywhere - people would be coming to me! The day was so crazy busy with photographers and makeup artists bustling in the room and around me, but it was so much fun.
The ceremony, again, went by so fast! All I know is I was starving, and it was so busy that we barely got to eat (though I tried to shovel some food down in between taking photos and participating in the program). I danced a hula (it was a surprise for Rob), which is a tradition for Hawaiian brides at weddings. The song I danced to was "E Maliu Mai," which I chose because the words were so beautiful and appropriate for a wedding. My friend Nathan Okinaka created and taught me the dance a week before the wedding! I had a fever that night and was really under the weather, but I practiced it enough to have Nathan record me dancing it, then went home, rested, and practiced the rest of the week.
It was funny to me how everyone kept commenting on how chill I was, saying things like, "you are so ready!" and "I can't believe how calm you are." While I can understand the bustle and buzz excitement of getting married, I WAS calm because I had no doubt I was making the right decision, and that I was absolutely happy. There was nothing to be worried about! I was in good hands, and at the end of the day, even if there were kinks to be worked out, I was getting married, and that was the most important thing.
At 4:15, they brought Rob over to take a few pictures before the ceremony. Of course, we kept with the tradition of not seeing one another until I was actually walking down the aisle (so I could stun Rob with my beauty and give him no choice but to weep tears of joy and gratitude, obviously...:P) This was one of my favorite memories of the entire day:
It was such a special moment for us to be able to provide support to one another even though we weren't technically seeing each other. It was a comfort to reach around the door and feel Rob's hand, knowing that in just 15 minutes, we would be embarking on a great new adventure together.
The ceremony was a blur - I remember walking down the aisle and feeling so happy and giddy that my wedding day had actually come! I'm actually grateful that I wasn't wearing my glasses (and I don't wear contacts) because it I saw people crying (especially Rob) I would've started crying and ruined my makeup! We were so blessed that our good friend Lukas Petersons was able to officiate over our wedding. He got his Hawaii marriage license so he could perform our wedding ceremony. At the end, the rain sprinkled down right when we were pronounced man and wife, which people SAY is good luck (although I suspect the "people" here are ones that say this to make themselves feel better because it rained on their wedding days!) In any event, we were SO HAPPY!!! Witness our happiness below:
|BASK IN OUR HAPPINESS!|
PC: Hoku Tefan
PC: Roxy Kimokeo
We had SO much fun during the reception! We had a dance and really awesome music that Rob and I had hand-selected for the most part! (and yes, it was heavy on the early 2000s music, as dictated by our clubbing days!) At about 8pm, my face hurt from smiling. At about 9, I told Rob we needed to get out of there before I started to look as tired (and grouchy!) as I was beginning to feel! It was a long day, but SO WORTH it. At the end of it all, we have amazing memories (and photos and video footage) to remind us of how happy we were to be married, and to remind us of the excitement and preciousness of that day. (It becomes especially useful to remember this special, wonderful day when we are annoyed with one another!) I still find myself looking through our marriage photos frequently, and watching our wedding video periodically. This day, and the birth of Uriah, were the best days of my life.