A Time to Love

January 22, 2012

Pacific Weddings

Amy Kaneko, an event planner based in San Francisco, was commissioned to realize their vision of understated elegance. According to the bride, Amy was instrumental in overseeing the myriad details of all the events they had in mind. Upon arrival, each guest received a monogrammed L.L.Bean bag with Van Gogh pineapple vodka, coconut water, coffee beans from a local plantation, mints, local snacks and a detailed booklet with the weekend’s itinerary. A catamaran sail commenced the activities with family and friends snorkeling, diving and paddle boarding together. Later that evening, Rawleigh and Kate hosted a casual aloha reception to welcome their guests with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

On the eve of the wedding, Rawleigh and his friends ventured out on a 40-mile bike ride around the Big Island, later gathering with Kate and their fifty guests for dinner under the stars. In lieu of a typical rehearsal dinner, celebrants were treated to a traditional luau at the beautiful Honuala’i Estate overlooking the ocean. The main focus of the entire celebration seemed less about the couple themselves and more about graciously honoring those who had made an imprint on their lives. Coconut cups filled with mai tais served as classic Hawaiian place cards. Upon arrival, guests were greeted with leis and special drinks as the “Love Theme” song played in the background. Officiant Keoni Atkinson attended the luau, offering a beautiful prayer preceding the meal. For dinner, nothing but the best would do. “Rawleigh and I love wine, and we had one of our favorites, Pahlmeyer Chardonnay, shipped in from Sonoma,” says Kate. She was also prepared with grass skirts, which family and friends happily donned for their first official hula lesson. The night ended on a happy note according to the bride, “One of our guests played a special song for us at a grand piano as all the other guests gathered around.”

The wedding day arrived as a crystal clear morning, and while Kate and Rawleigh opted to remain apart, they connected with personal notes delivered that morning. Neither of them wanted to single out specific attendants. Kate says, “We wanted everyone to feel a special part of the ceremony, so we asked all our guests to wear shades of sand for the celebration.” The bride was joined by her closest friends and her mother as she prepared for the ceremony in her suite. Kate's dress was designed by Elizabeth Fillmore, who personally selected the flowing silk sheath called The Lily Dress. The designer then tailored and customized the gown, creating a coordinating veil for the occasion. The lily motif carried through in many of the details going forward, including the bridal bouquet and reception flowers designed by Heidi Yamamoto.

Amy fashioned the ceremony site with Kate’s organic vision in mind. The rustic wood arch was draped with stephanotis and passion vine. Kate wanted the stunning ocean landscape to inform the ceremony décor “and make the flowers look as if they could have been growing there.” With the aisle lined in beach grass, the scene could have been taken straight from the pages of a Ralph Lauren book. The only thematic element was the palm tree, which was incorporated into the celebration as an homage to their beginnings at the beach bungalow. Stationery items were embellished with the palm insignia, and a beautiful book of botanical illustrations published by Taschen served as a guest book and now resides on their coffee table.

Immediately after the ceremony, Veuve Clicquot was served for a celebratory toast. Rawleigh shared his sincere gratitude and the elated wedding party posed for a group photo. The bride and groom made certain their guests had time to enjoy sunset on the beach, extending cocktail hour until everyone was ready for dinner. Led by torch to the reception site, celebrants enjoyed a fabulous five- course meal under a canopy of stars on the Garden Lawn, the Tiki Dolls playing festive music throughout the evening.