Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The couples who come to us are usually looking for a wedding experience that mirrors the excitement they have for their relationship. The idea of being married on top of a volcano has a zing and a zest that appeals. They quickly pick up on the feeling that the goddess Pele is hovering in the wings, unpredictable and endowed with an ultimate feminine power. Emotional chords are strummed. There is some contemplation of being present as the earth itself is forming, while beginning a new phase of life. It's potent and exciting.
Once the decision is made to go ahead with a wedding at our pavilion, the dreams and wishes begin to spill out. Sometimes it is a poetic, surreal set of wishes. Sometimes, the couple likes the idea of the rainforest but wants the ocean to figure into it somehow. This is where the fact that this is an island in the middle of the ocean with almost every climate found on the globe comes in. We can do the wedding in the rainforest and go down to the ocean for photos. You want the blue ocean around your toes? Let's go!
Because the weather is unpredictable, it is nice to be able to offer protection from the wind and rain at the same time as the experience of the full out of doors. The rainforest is all around, and the pavilion lets everyone stay comfortable. Then the photo sessions can bring it all on, and in that part of the drama accepting whatever the island offers up in the way of weather is more fun.
On the practical side, we make it easy. Whatever is uppermost in the bride and groom's mindset is what drives how it all unfolds. Sometimes it is budget, sometimes fulfilling a fantasy. We try to ask the right questions so it all comes together in the most beautiful way possible, and exciting in all good ways.
Somehow, this is not so hard to do when your props include a fiery volcano, an emerald green rain forest, and a treehouse.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Morning begins with coffee that tastes almost like chocolate, sliced papaya with a squeeze of lime, and croissants with lilikoi butter and macadamia nut butter. They sit on the treehouse lanai and watch the cardinals flitting from limb to limb at their eye level.
They call their hosts when they are ready, and within minutes are picked up for their island photo adventure. The couple feels like celebrities everywhere they are taken around the island, from private lagoons where the waters are pristine aquamarine and clear as jewels to beaches studded with flowering trees where sea turtles come out to sun themselves.
The island around them feels alive and interactive, playing with them with mist and sun, soft breezes, offering up flowers and colors in the most unexpected of places.
Throughout the day the colors of the sky change around them, as if a kaleidoscope had been on order just for their wedding photography.
A feeling of playfulness that began in the treehouse spills over throughout the day, as they clown for the camera and each other.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
And now they were on their way to their honeymoon at the treehouse.
As they stepped around a curve in the path and began the ascent to the house, a trail of orchids marked the way. The orchids led them up and up to the bedroom. Candles surrounded by orchids lined the window sills. A bottle of champagne was chilling on the bedside table. Next to it were two champagne flutes etched with heliconia flowers. This would be for later.
For now, it was time to celebrate the blessing of their marriage.
The candlelight was reflected in the stained glass windows that surrounded the bed. The music of the moment was the night sounds of the rainforest. The vaulted ceiling overhead was lined with woven bamboo, over which black bamboo purlins supported the roof overhead. Outside, a light mist turned suddenly to rain, dancing on the metal roof overhead. The magic was just beginning.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
As the light of the day fades into dusk, the songs of birds also begin to quiet. The guests bid a fond farewell to the newlyweds and a caterer whisks away the cake plates and sets two place settings at the table. Dinner music replaces the festive slack key, a jazzy accompaniment to the very private wedding meal about to be served. The bride slips away to the house below to change into a slinky dinner gown and cozy cashmere wrap while the dressing assistant carefully puts away her jeweled wedding dress. When she re-enters the pavilion, the groom touches his lips to her neck and removes pins from her hair so it cascades down onto her shoulders.
A bottle of 20 year old Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice library selection, sits on the table, uncorked and breathing, as it has throughout the ceremony. The groom has prepared the menu with the caterer. He chose her favorite wine to accompany island lobster tails and a delicate array of barely heated through julienned island vegetables tossed lightly with miso and a variety of sea vegetables. The greens are both tender and crisp in the mouth. The buttery dip for the lobster has been made delectable by fresh lilikoi and tiny slices of hot pepper. There is root vegetable puree that perfectly complements the rest of the meal. Water with ice and thin cucumber slices accompanies the food.
The entire scene is now lit by candles and strands of tiny lights embedded in strands of crystals strung across the tall Balinese ceiling. Firebowls add both light and heat. Natalie and Nat King Cole sing "Unforgettable" and the groom sweeps the bride into the dance. As Frank Sinatra begins "The Way You Look Tonight", they head arm in arm down the path along the tiki torch lit way, where the driver meets them.
Opening the rear door of the Land Rover, he helps them in, the canopy of stars winking above, and within minutes they are at their honeymoon destination.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
In a reversal of the standard order, she awaits him, glowing in the center of a circle of flickering candles, blushing orchids and fern tendrils. The entire scene is lit by hundreds of candles, the forest outside a brilliant emerald green in the late day light. The scent of puakinikini and tuberose mingles with the sweet air of the forest, and hundreds of birds sing, chirp, call, filling the air with the song of the forest.
The groom steps into the circle of candlelight as if in a dream, the pu sounds once more, and the music of the marriage begins.
Gentle Hawaiian slack key guitar mingles with the bird song, the artist a reknowned musician whose art has appeared in movies and who has been awarded small statues of excellence.
The couple face the altar, draped with ferns braided together, and topped with a bouquet of island orchids, tuberose, bird of paradise, and palm. Smiling, selves entwined such that they feel each within the other, they have eyes only for each other, as the ceremony that celebrates the joining of their hearts and beings commences. They have studied the words, but as they experience what is happening, it is more than words and feelings. A nearly supernatural sense is all around, as if unseen beings carrying blessings were in attendance. When the part of the ceremony arrives where they exchange lei and rings and share the sacred breath; the ha, the joy of the extended moment becomes a part of all there is. Now and forever, both timeless and ephemeral...
The music of the guitar, the birds, laughter becomes jubilation and celebration. The candles of the blessing circle are moved to the bases of the fire bowls. The soft short phhffft of a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne being uncorked is all but lost in the song of knowing love. Antique hollow stem champagne glasses are passed to the couple and their guests, and the toast to the marriage is made. Out in the forest a pair of bright red honeycreepers known by their Hawaiian name apapane flit and play as if to echo the heart song of the couple in the pavilion, who see them and raise a toast to the birds, guests in their wooded mountain abode. Then from the darkening jungle comes rhythmic ipu drumming and a Hawaiian chant, as if the forest itself had raised a voice, the words calling down blessings of the ancestors on the couple. The chanting halau enters the pavilion, completes the chant, and bestows more lei on the couple, then disappears back into the ferns and ohia. The mystical magical sense is much like the ancestors had heard them and made an appearance.
... to be continued...
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Your luggage is stowed in the back of the Land Rover and wreathed in fragrant soft petals, you are transported to a sandy beachfront for cocktails and small plates of delectable treats, while you watch the sky change color at sunset.
Now rested from your transoceanic flight, you settle in to being transported up the volcano. Through the darkness the headlights reveal a canopy of giant ferns you travel beneath, to the first night in your adventure. Your bags are carried into the house, where bouquets of orchids, birds of paradise, heart shaped anthurium, and other tropical flowers greet you. A bottle of your favorite beverage is at hand, with appropriate glassware, and plenty of ice, should you need it.
The driver leaves, and you settle into the steaming hot tub, glasses in hand, Hawaiian slack key guitar music in the background and candlelight making dancing shadows around you and your favorite person.
Your day begins with the best coffee you have ever had, an array of delectable fruits, creme fraiche, and delicate pastry. Granola and yogurt are also at hand. A note on the table lets you know your massage for two is scheduled for 11. You enjoy your breakfast while sitting on the level of the lower canopy.
During the massage, the trade winds gently caress your skin as the last of the weariness of life before is rubbed away. Another languid soak in the tub, and it is time to ready yourself for the wedding event itself. The smiling island guy returns to take the groom off to the treehouse to prepare himself, and a dressing assistant helps the bride into her gown covered with faintly aquamarine tinted sequins and jewels, and a headpiece of white orchids and tuberose, accented with tendrils of fern.
There is the sound of the conch, like the horn of an ocean liner, and a torchbearer ascends the path, lighting tiki torches and adding the element of fire to the path.
In a switch from tradition, the bride secretly ascends a forested path adorned with living orchids and lined with anthurium to a chorus of birdsong. Meanwhile, the groom has been readying not only himself but also preparing the boudoir in the trees for his bride.
Another sound of the conch, and the groom walks the path through the flickering flames, and enters the pavilion, where the bride awaits in a circle of candles and lavish white orchids. An award winning island musician is playing. The conch sounds again, and the ceremony begins!
... to be continued! ...