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Australian and American Families Blended at a Wedding on Maui

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Melia Lucida

While both on vacation in Bali, American COO of a tech startup Sara met Australian financial advisor Thomas in line at the Potato Head Beach Club. “That afternoon, we both wrote our names on two coasters and exchanged them so that we’d have a souvenir of meeting, not realizing it would end up becoming our annual anniversary tradition—and one of the decor elements at our wedding!” Sara says, who now lives in Sydney. After four years of dating, Tom proposed while canoeing in the picturesque Kangaroo Valley in Australia, while on a weekend away celebrating Sara’s birthday. 

Since his family is from Perth and hers is from Seattle, they viewed their union as maybe one of the only times everyone they love would be in the same place at once. Thankfully, Maui is a great central meeting point for the two sides, and they hosted a three-day celebration on the island. “One of the best things we did was mix up the seating chart at our rehearsal dinner. By the day of the wedding, everyone knew and felt relaxed around one another,” Sara explains.

For their ceremony, a co-worker, who had gotten married at the Haiku Mill, suggested it for Sara and Tom’s big day. “We looked at dozens of venues, but anyone who has ever been to the mill knows that it has a really special energy to it,” Sara says. To help plan everything out, the couple hired Kimiko Hosaki of Elements by K.H & Co.

“I must have tried on more than 100 dresses before finding my gorgeous, form fitting, pale pink Inbal Dror gown,” the bride says. To complete the look, Sara wore a cathedral-length veil that cascaded down the stairs during the ceremony. “What I loved most about getting married were the rituals that accompanied the process and the way that it brought together so many generations of women in my life.” Being in Hawaii, her hairstyle, done by her maid of honor, who used to do her hair for school dances, wasn’t complete without flowers.

On January 9th, 2019 (1/9/19), Sara walked down the aisle with her parents to meet Tom and the officiant. The bespoke ceremony included spiritual, Hawaiian, and Jewish elements as well as quotes from The Alchemist and The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. Once the two shared their first kiss as husband and wife, everyone recessed to a cocktail hour, while the space was transformed into the perfect dining and dancing room.

“My mom and husband both wanted a really classic and elegant aesthetic, whereas I wanted to keep the island feel and incorporate a few elements that were more unique and contemporary, like the hand block printed linen napkins from my friends at Block Shop Textiles,” the bride says of the reception vibe. In keeping with their unique tradition, specially designed coasters acted as seating cards, and guests got creative and wrote words of love and advice on the backs. They read them all on their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple.

For entertainment, a surprise performance from award-winning ukulele player Brittni Paiva brought the house down—especially her cover of “Lights” by Ellie Goulding. And the newlyweds took to the floor for their first dance to “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges.

After the reception, the after-party took place on a boat where an open bar, dance floor, and the Australian tradition of “shoeys” were featured prominently. The next morning, a well needed recovery brunch was held at the Andaz Maui.