Theresa and Terra

Theresa and Terra

LGBT wedding Hawaii

Does Sunshower host same-sex weddings? UH yeah of course we do! And they are awesome. (AND, although I think this shouldn't need to be said, it is the literal worst that couples of any type need to worry that a wedding provider will discriminate against them, but that is a conversation for a different blog post.)

This blog post is about Theresa and Terra's beautiful, intimate and tailor-made wedding. Every part of their day was customized to THEM and their awesome family and friends. 

For example, they wanted a traditional Hawaiian ceremony, but they wanted it in a non-traditional way. They wanted the casual and intimate atmosphere of a ceremony on the deck in their dinner space. And I tried to talk them out it! I said things about the trouble with flipping the space, guests messing up the table arrangments etc. etc. but they were insistent that their vision for the ceremony was different than the traditional aisle, archway deal and they were, of course, right. 

We decorated the ceremony area of the deck with paper flowers and birds that they had brought from their pre-wedding picnic in Washington. 

affodable wedding venue kona

The ceremony was officiated by Michaela Larson, an awesome local officiant who does a super customized Hawaiian ceremony. She was great to work with and everyone loved the personalized, and thoughtful ceremony. By the end, there was not a dry eye. 

Michaela started the ceremony by blowing the conch in the cardinal directions. 

blowing the conch traditional hawaiian ceremony

Then the brides walked down the "aisle" together and stood together for the ceremony rather than on either side of the officiant. 

LGBT elopment Hawaii

Michaela offered a Hawaiian blessing and purified the ceremony area with Hawaiian salt. 

Gay wedding ceremony Hawaii
LGBT Hawaiian wedding

Michaelathen played the ‘ohe hano ihu, or hano for short, an ancient Hawaiian nose flute. 

nose flute hawaiian wedding

The most beautiful part of the ceremony, in my opinion, even more than the vows, was the Honi, a nose kiss. The couple places their foreheads together, touching noses and sharing breaths. This allows the couple to exchange breath (the ha) and spiritual power (the mana). 

same sex wedding Hawaii

Finally, an exchange of leis and THE KISS!

haku exchange wedding hawaii
Wedding lei exchange
first kiss same sex wedding kona

They're married!! 

same sex wedding kona

Time for dinner! Wes and Sarah from Sundog catered an awesome surf and turf dinner. The table design was done by me - with a table runner of coffee senna (a weed that grows all over our pastures in the spring). I seriously love using weeds, prunings etc. as design elements at weddings. They add so much to the space, for just the cost of labor to pick them. Super cheap and super beautiful. 

destination wedding big island
sundog bread catering holualoa

Time for cake cutting! One tier lilikoi and one chocolate by Cilla at Onolicious. She flavors her cakes with local ingredients and they are awesome! She is a wonderful cake decorator as well, but for cakes at Sunshower, to save our clients money and to coordinate the cake with the decor, I decorate the cakes with the same flowers used in the rest of the decor. 

Hawaii wedding cake
rustic hawaiian destination wedding

I already know that Theresa and Terra are super awesome clients and people, but read their take on their wedding day and advice to future Sunshower wedding couples below to find out for yourself. 

wedding selfie hawaii

From Theresa and Terra: 

What was the most memorable moment of your day?

Terra: The ceremony. Although it went by super quickly, the traditional Hawaiian ceremony was so powerful and beautiful. Standing across Theresa, holding her hands, and looking deeply into her eyes while doing my best to not become a blabbering mess! All parts of the ceremony were beautiful. The opening conch and chant, blessing of the space, clearing the air, exchange of breath, lei, and rings, nose was all so wonderful and hit me hard having grown up in Hawaii. It meant a lot to me to have Hawaiian customs in our ceremony.

Theresa: Performing our vows. Time slowed down and all I could see was her. Our more traditionally Hawaiian ceremony was interactive, with us and our guests, and in no way boring or expected. 

What was your favorite wedding detail? 

Terra: All the flowers. Thankfully Kate found some gardenias (my fav) for our cake! We also brought some paper flower strands we made for our friends and family picnic gathering with those who couldn’t travel to the big island. Kate and her team did a great job incorporating our paper flowers in the ceremony space. Theresa’s haku and our fancy ceremony leis were beautiful! We also got leis for our guests. So many flowers!! Mom also booked a local musician for a few hours and the live music was great.

Theresa: Two actually. First, my haku and our exchanging leis were beautiful and made me feel stunning. Second, was the intimacy of the space combined with the magic of light as dusk came and went.

Any advice for future couples?

Terra: Kate’s inclusive venue, cake, flowers, and food package made things easy. Ask for some recommendations on different food and flower vendors (if you want more than Kate’s base package offering) as those can be flexible. Looked online for hakus and guest lei options and it was just too hard being long distance. Kate’s recommendations for local vendors was much appreciated! If looking for Hawaiian style ceremony, our officiant was great! She was easy to work with and very friendly. When I asked if she could stand to the side during the ceremony and not directly behind us (because we didn’t want the super traditional set up), she joked and said she could do the ceremony upside down if we asked her to! :)

Theresa: Make the entire process about yourselves, and your shared love. And be just a little laid back with the details, perfection only creates unnecessary stress.

Funniest memory from your wedding day? 

Terra: Turns out it is a small world sometimes. Our officiant, Michaela Larson, knew Theresa’s best friend’s Dad from a softball team they played on years ago when he lived on the Big Island for a bit. Not the funniest thing, but how crazy is that connection?!

Theresa: While I laughed and was in good spirits all evening, I’m not sure I have a “funniest” memory. It was a bit of a joyous blur, overall I remember the atmosphere was light, full of elation and love.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?

Terra: We hosted a picnic celebration here in Vancouver, WA the Saturday before our Tuesday wedding in Hawaii. Having two major events and long travels in so few days was a bit stressful at times. If we were to do it again, we’d move our picnic up a week or two to give more time between events.

Theresa: Only with our scheduled reception. The day before we left for our Hawaiian wedding we had a reception for friends and family who couldn’t make the long trip. The reception was great, but make sure you have at least 1 week between events to ensure less stress.

Where did you go on your honeymoon? 

We honeymooned on the Hilo side of the island, exploring lava tubes, botanical gardens and sea turtle hangouts.

champagne in hawaii

Catering: Sundog Bread

Guest Leis, Table and Cake Florals: Lalamilo Flower Girl

Flower Table Runner: Sunshower Farms

Bride's Haku and Leis for ceremony exchange: Hakus by Ki

Cake: Onolicious LLC

Officiant: Michaela Lehuanani Larson

Musician: Mikiala Yardley 

Photography: Joe Hofbauer and Laura Keyson