Monday, January 16, 2012

It's been a long time coming...

Renee and Francine celebrated their 24th anniversary together and at long last achieved recognition of their life partner status by the State of Hawaii on Friday January 13, becoming one of the first couples in the state to be joined under the new civil union law that went into effect January 1.

We were honored to be chosen by them to officiate and perform the music.

They elected an oceanside celebration above Honoli'i Beach, just outside Hilo, at a private home on the pali overlooking the ocean.  Francine performed a hula for Renee.  Such beauty, grace, elegance...

Following a certain zeitgeist that has dictated the word "marriage" be reserved for heterosexual couples, the "civil union" in Hawaii is everything that marriage is, under a separate but equal doctrine that would make Martin Luther King Jr shake his head.  Today is Martin Luther King Day, so it is difficult not to think of him and the fight for equal recognition in all ways under the law for those of us who are not society's top dog elites.

None of that was on anyone's mind on Friday when this joyous occasion was celebrated in Hawaii.  It is a little like caviar - even if the dollop on your toast is not beluga from the Caspian Sea, if your best friends are there and the champagne is flowing, the blue ocean is stretching endlessly beneath you, a celebration such as this is still one of the best days in anyone's life.  There was so much joy we could have been drinking apple juice and eating popcorn and it would have been all perfect.  It was a great, great day.

We celebrate Renee and Francine, and we celebrate Hawaii, forward thinking and guided by the spirit of aloha and living pono.  Huzzah.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dressing for a Hawaii Rainforest Wedding

Whatever your preference in attire for your wedding, you can adapt it to a Hawaii Island wedding in the rainforest.  The climate is comfortably cool rather than beach hot, and the pavilion at Mahinui Na Lani provides shelter.  The surrounding forest captures the mountain winds, such that you experience them under all but the most stormy circumstances as gentle swaying of the ohia trees.

Having chosen Hawaii as a wedding locale, it does fit the environment to wear Hawaiian style attire.  Particularly on the Big Island, that is casual.  Casual with flair.  The pavilion is open to the forest, and you will walk through the forest on the way to the ceremony.  A dress that trails on the ground will need to be lifted.  The path is not so difficult that you cannot do this.  For a freer, looser feel. a shorter dress is very nice.  The look and feel of natural fabrics, especially woven linens and light cotton and rayon is particularly fitting to the forest setting.

The dress above is by Gina Mastio and can be purchased from her Etsy shop.  It is designed to be a wedding dress for a forest wedding, and is made of woven organic silk with an inner layer of soft merino wool.  Etsy is a very different way of shopping for your wedding gown.  You will not try it on until it comes to you, so you may want to shop around and find a similar style before you order, just to make sure.  The bonus for you is there is no pressure from the wedding store vendor, and you buy direct from the artisan.

Ivory is the color of choice for most of the brides who have come to us.  However, convention does not rule and any and all colors are suitable.  Reds and greens in particular echo the colors of the forest.  Remember you will be adding lei, and in doing so will add green for the groom and oft times purple for the bride.

This aloha shirt is by Reyn Spooner.  The classic aloha shirt is made of rayon, and has a beautiful drape and feel.  It will last for decades, and retain both shape and color with machine washing in cold water.  When selecting an aloha shirt, one detail to look for is the pocket match on the fabric.  As in the shirt above, the fabric design is an exact match where the pocket is set onto the rest of the shirt.

The search for a great aloha shirt can happen on line, or you can work it into your Hawaii travels.  By far the best all around selection of shirts is found at Bailey's in Honolulu.  With over 15,000 new, used, specialty and vintage shirts you are certain to find your favorite, a shirt for life.  If Honolulu is not a stopover for you, Hilo's bay front offers several shops where you can find aloha wear.  The "Most Irresistible Shop" has a small but tasteful selection of shirts and some dresses too.  Of course Hilo Hattie's is also in town, and there you can even purchase white aloha wear especially for weddings.

The slacks above are linen.  These too can be purchased online, and that is often your best bet as there is no guarantee you will find linen slacks on this island when you need them.  This is one of the drawbacks of living in the middle of the ocean.  Everything you need or want is not always at hand.  Some grooms choose shorts, but most prefer slacks, and linen goes best with aloha shirts.  Denim is too heavy for island wear.

As for footwear, it is completely possible to find stylish shoes that adapt well to island wear.  Remember your photos are likely to show your feet whenever the scene around you is also brought into the picture.  The right footwear may take the better part of a day to locate, or a couple of hours online.  This is something to take care of before you come to the island.  As with the slacks, you cannot count on finding what you are looking for here.  The guys have it easier, as flip flops or slippahs as they are called on island are readily available in a huge variety.  The girls can go this way too, but the female styled slippahs rarely are quit as engineered as the male styles, and the feet slip off them as easily as into them.  We like crocs.   Consider for example the sleek example shown here. A white orchid tied to the thong instantly transforms this into a wedding shoe.  We will provide the orchids and the raffia ties.  Crocs come in
a variety of colors and designs.  Many are surprisingly nice looking on the foot - not the clogs you usually associate with the brand.
The big advantage to this shoe choice is that you will find it is good for beach wear, whether a lava or sand beach.  We used to suggest hiking sandals, but styles have all gone into a rugged look designed for protection of the feet over style.  Great for hiking though!

While you can choose a more conventional pump to wear for your ceremony, remember that you will walk through the forest.  Some brides change into their fancy shoes after entering the pavilion, and change back to walk back down the path.  Some couples are married barefoot.

Whatever shoe choice you make, take your time with it, and you are likely to end up with some footwear that will become your favorite casual shoe choice for months to come.