This post is mainly for me because I don’t want to forget the magic of our wedding week.
Peter and I headed out to Maui about 10 days before our big day. We had one day to ourselves before guests and family started trickling in. Every time a new person showed up, I was surged with energy and excitement.
Peter and I stayed at the Lahaina Shores which is right in downtown Lahaina. The restaurant, Pacific’o, where we were having our rehearsal dinner was right next door. That first evening we walked over and sat at a perfect table where we enjoyed Mai Tai’s, apps, and a spectacular sunset. We talked about how in a few days the entire bottom half of the restaurant was going to be filled with most of our closest friends and family. Feeling blessed, we envisioned and discussed what that evening would be like and reminded ourselves to be present on that day. We knew we had picked the perfect place for our rehearsal dinner.
The first guests to show up were my parents, Jason and Evan, and my dear friends Travis Todd and Jennifer Todd. The first night that Travis and Jennifer were in town we grabbed dinner with them on the water at a restaurant called Kimo’s. The food was great. The drinks were better. Travis is my roommate from Arizona from the Charles Schwab days. He is just about the nicest person you could have the pleasure to meet. He and Jennifer were exceptionally generous with their time in helping Peter and I out with wedding tasks. This list includes driving Peter to Costco to get all the wedding liquor, picking up the plank at Home Depot for the “Push It” dance, running around on the wedding day picking up picture frames for the dinner tables, and being all around fun and attending every event with enthusiasm. It is not lost on me that when people come to Maui they want to enjoy Maui, not run errands for the bride and groom, but they did it and were genuinely happy to help. Peter and I are so lucky and grateful to have friends like them.
The next night was a birthday celebration for my brother Jason. We started with a sunset Mai Tai at the Marriott. At first we couldn’t get a table, but after I named dropped a friend of a friend, they rolled out the red carpet. Out entire table was loved after that. Thanks, Corrine! After sunset we headed to our favorite restaurant in Maui, Mama’s Fish House. This place never disappoints. Even my meat loving brother was able to find something he loved on the menu. We enjoyed an evening of laughter, stories, and catching up. It was perfect.
Saturday the rest of my immediate family arrived. Chris, Jen and the kids. We were all staying at Lahaina Shores together which made it really convenient and fun. That night we made excellent food at home and enjoyed the company of family. It was our last quiet night before the Vacura’s were showing up.
Sunday a group of us charged it to Little Beach, or actually we had my Dad drop us off at the party. This night was the first night that my family got to meet some of my closest friends. Travis, Jen, Gina, Johnny, Shannon and John were all there when we arrived. Travis mentioned that on the way in he saw my Dad and he had a couple of people with him in his van. This meant on the way out my Dad had picked up hitch hikers. This for some reason didn’t really surprise any of us. In his defense he later told us that the couple he picked up mistook him for a Taxi and that they were on their honeymoon just trying to get back to the Four Seasons so he went ahead and dropped them off. This trip to Little Beach was different than previously trips. Usually we take in the scene, the bongo drummers, the fire dancers, etc. This time we truly just enjoyed each other. It was such a fun group that we really didn’t even notice what was going on around us We were the last to leave Little Beach that night. It was so much fun. I laughed till i cried and my sides hurt. Gina as per usual was on fire and told my brother Chris how every time she meets a “Hodge” it just gets better and better. Love her.
The next day was my other brother Chris’s birthday. How perfect was it to be able to celebrate both of them in Maui? We had another fun celebration at a restaurant on the water. Being together with Family in Maui was truly a blessing. Normally the only time we can get together is at Christmas so this was really special. We all really enjoy each other.
The next couple of days my Mom and Dad’s families started to arrive. Most of them were staying at the Lahaina Shores which was so fun. I would walk out on to my balcony and see my Aunt Patty reading a book or Lil Chris and Grace swimming in the pool. I loved it. I sat on that balcony for 2 mornings straight and took on the daunting task of writing my vows. What do you say to your soul mate? What do you say to the man that has provided you with more happiness and joy than I could have ever possibly imagined? It took hours and lot’s of research, but I loved how the vows turned out.
On Wednesday, which was the official kick off to the wedding festivities, Peter and I moved over to the house at Olowalu. I was, admittedly reluctant. My entire family was at Lahaina Shores. What if they had a dance party without me? What if fun stories were told and I wasn’t there? However once we got there I was more than fine. The place we checked into was 3 bedrooms, right on the water, with a hammock, and hot tub. It was secluded and utterly beautiful. It was paradise and I did quickly realize it was nice to have some quiet time for Peter and I with just a few days before the wedding.
That Wednesday evening we did an official kick start to the wedding festivities with a luau at the Royal Lahaina. It was so much fun to walk into the lobby of Royal and see 50 of our friends and family with smiles on their faces. I didn’t know who to hug or talk to. It was overwhelming in the best way possible. Everyone seemed so happy to be there. It was great watching our guests meet each other for the first time or see old friends catch up. We enjoyed good food, laughs, a show, and a little rain. We ended the nice with a small group of us at the bar where friends enjoyed catching up and tequila shots. Shots always a bad idea. Always. Who’s idea was that?
Thursday night we treated 80 of our friends and family to a sunset cruise. It blew any expectations I could have imagined. Everyone was in such good mood and it was an amazing group of people. It was so fun to see my friends and family mix with Peter’s
friends and family. The crew anchored the boat in a cove where we were privileged to watch and outstanding sunset. Someone made a comment that Peter and I should pose for a Titanic picture. Of course we did and the pictures are actually pretty fun. The great thing and theme about about all of these days
was that each day continued to get better. The luau was fun, but the boat ride was even more fun. Guest enjoyed unlimited drinks, good BBQ, and tunes courtesy of our best man, Andrew Ralston. Everywhere I turned I saw a face I loved. Every conversation I had was filled with such positivity. The energy and mood of our guest could not have been better. That night we kept the party rollin and brought people back to our house. We started opening the wedding alcohol, including the Vueve. Whoops! At one point I found my Dad outside with a captivated audience as he told some of the best stories of his highlight reel of life. It was so fun to watch my friends be as interested in his stories as I always have been. It was a magical day and experience. A night I will never forget.
The next day was again so fun and perfect. It started at 10 am from a visit from my brother in law Evan. He came over so we could rehearse our “Push It” dance. If you have attended a wedding with me, you know that at weddings when there is a circle for some reason I always do push ups. I don’t have cool dance moves, but I can do a lot of push ups. It was a hit for some odd reason so I continued to do it. Over the past year I would get many questions on if I was going to do push ups in my gown. I would act coy and say “I don’t know” or “maybe.” I full well knew I had to do something different. I recruited Evan back in January to do it with me. He was so great and enthusiastic. I knew I had the man for the job. My friend, Alysha who is a choreographer in LA worked with me on the dance and I sent the videos to Evan. Peter built a plank for the groomsmen to carry me out to the dance floor on. About 10:30 the groomsmen came over to rehearse with the plank. Evan and I received a lot of laughter and positive feedback from them so we felt good about what were about to put on.
11 am everyone showed up for rehearsal. I had a surreal moment that morning. Peter and I were their with our parents, our friends in this beautiful setting, on a perfect day preparing for our wedding. I remember holding a bottle of champagne and filling up the groomsmen’s glasses while they were lined up and thinking, I can’t believe this is real. I actually asked a few of them that question. They replied, “I’m really happy it is.”
12 pm was the start of my bridal luncheon hosted by my aunts on the property at Olowalu. Again, I was feeling so blessed that I could have such a beautiful landscape to host my closest friends and family. On top of the beauty at Olowalu, there is something so zen and serene about being there. The seclusion and the waves crashing. You can’t help but to be in a good mood. I got up to speak to thank my family and friends and at first I could barely get through it. Through tears, I thanked them for being there and for their unwavering love and support. For the most part, the closest women in my life were all sitting there. It was a truly moving experience. I gave a special thank you to my aunts for teaching me and being the model for what family truly is. I passed out my bridesmaids gift bags and gave a personalized speech to all of my besties. I thanked my Mom, my original best friend last, I talked about her perfect, glowing skin and that I believe her skin glows because she is part angel. It all was so very special.
Afterwards Jen Ford, Brin, and I headed to Lahaina for mani pedi’s. It was really nice to steal an hour with these 2 special people. I felt like we had a moment to breath and relax. After nails, i walked over to Lahaina Shores, grabbed a ride fro my uncle Peter back to Olowalu, It was time to get ready for our rehearsal dinner.
At this point Alex and Shastin were at the house because my maids were going to stay at the house with me the night before the wedding. We all went over early to set up the tables. Peter’s family was already there and they had done such a beautiful job with the flowers. I saw the manager taking pictures of our set up. She told me she was going to use out our pictures on every email she sends out. What a compliment to Mary, Lisa, and Shastin. We started the dinner off with a cocktail hour, passed appetizers, and once again a beautiful sunset. Maui is such a perfect back drop. At this point most people have met and there is a real comfort between guest and new friendships are being formed. It was really fun for me to see how much my bridesmaids really loved each other. Dinner was great, the ambiance and people were better. With all my nerves, I felt like it was the first full meal I had eaten in awhile. I had an opportunity to walk over to each table to check in. My heart was warmed when 3 tables told me they had the best table at the party. I had put the tables together and it was so fun to see everyone enjoying one another Peter’s Dad kicked started the toasts and the night was filled with beautiful speeches and touching words from friends and family. Special bonus my family didn’t embarrass me too badly. My niece Grace was the last to go and through tears she said, “I’m so happy my auntie is marrying Peter.” Make your heart melt. After dinner me and the maids headed back to Olowalu for a slumber party. I looked back on the way out of the restaurant and noticed my bridesmaids at the bar ordering shots. I grabbed the manager and I said “Hey those are my bridesmaids, can you comp them that round.” He smiled and said sure.
Back at the house I put the girls to work. We had to organize our escort card table, put together the lay out of the wedding, etc. We sat around talking, laughing, crying, and organizing. There was so much love in the air, I thought my heart would explode. I am so blessed with such unbelievably amazing girlfriends. About midnight or so I attempted to go to bed. Just before I got into bed I checked my phone and saw this text from Peter, “Love you so much. Last night as fiance. Can’t wait to marry you!” Grace and Jen were in the same bed with me which turned out to not be such a great idea. Grace was coughing all night. Finally around 4 am I still had not slept so they went into another room. Going to sleep the night before you are about to marry your soul mate is like Christmas on steroids. I finally drifted off for a few hours of restless sleep.