When you find the one you want to spend forever with, sometimes, making it "official" seems unnecessary, be it in a wedding ceremony or a Facebook status. The truth is, no couple needs a wedding, but every couple deserves one. Every couple deserves a moment to say the things to each other that often go unsaid or aren't the usual end-of-the-day banter, and, for most people, a moment like that needs to be scheduled. And...if you're scheduling that, why not dress up? And...if you're dressing up, you should probably take pictures, right?! See where we're going? You don't need to spend a fortune or do something super extravagant but your love deserves to be celebrated in a way that is special and meaningful to you.
For this couple, it was a second marriage for both of them, and they knew exactly what they wanted. They wanted a wedding that was all about their two families becoming one and everything that meant to them. The wedding planning team at Four Seasons Resort Lanai listened to their vision and took care of the rest, they have an all-inclusive elopement package! Tania and Wes hired Annakim Photography to be there to capture every moment of this special day and Sweet Blossoms Hawaii created all of these stunning florals including custom leis for the entire family and flower crowns for the ladies. You can see all of the images from this touching ceremony in the full gallery. Read on to hear more from the bride, Tania, about how she met the love of her life and what made them decide to "make it official".
A CHANCE ENCOUNTER
We have both been married before and had each been divorced a little over a year when we first met. My daughter, Malena, and Wes’s son, Max, were in the same class in Kindergarten and when Malena’s birthday came around I didn’t want any of the kids in her class to feel left out so I invited the entire class to her birthday pool party-at her dad’s house. So, the first time we met was actually at my ex-husband’s house! I was immediately attracted to Wes but he assumed that I was still together with Malena’s dad (since we were at her dad’s house after all, and I was greeting all the guests). As soon as we got to talking and he realized I was available, a new twinkle appeared in his eyes and we quickly made plans for a playdate. A lot of serendipity came into play, such as Max’s best friend being my good friend’s son and our kids being enrolled in the same holiday break camp by coincidence. Our first date (just the four of us) was at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort to watch the fireworks and upon arrival, the valet immediately assumed we were a family and called me his wife. It was the holiday season, Christmas and New Year 2016, and there was definitely magic in the air!
MAKING IT OFFICIAL
We dated for about a year before we decided to blend our two mini families and move in together. That is the moment we both made the commitment to each other and the kids to be a family forever. The kids, being kids, continued to insist that we make it “official” but we knew our commitment was real and thought we had the rest of our lives to make it “official” for the kids, so there was no rush. In 2019 Wes was diagnosed with cancer and went through chemo, it was then that we realized the future is unpredictable and our relationship could potentially be left off as never being “officially” husband & wife, or step-mom & step-dad, or step-sister & step-brother. They’re all just labels but they mean something to our kids, and I guess we realized the labels mean something to us too. We decided to get married after Wes recovered. Then Covid Hit! So we put it off some more...until enough was enough, and Wes bought me my dream ring and proposed during a magical hike with the kids.
THE TOTAL ELOPEMENT PACKAGE
We’ve both lived in Hawaii for over ten years and love it here, so there was never any question we would get married in Hawaii. We chose Four Seasons Resort Lanai because the Four Seasons Oahu is where we usually get away once a year (without the kids normally) to celebrate our anniversary. We wanted to step it up for the elopement, of course, so we went for the full elopement package with a private jet to Lanai and free childcare (a must)! Since we both already experienced the “big wedding” for our previous marriages, we knew we wanted to keep this wedding small and just about us (us four). No distractions, zero stress, all attention on our love for one another. Simple and easy was our theme. Oh, and I love bohemian everything!
ALL ABOUT FAMILY
We wanted our ceremony to embody our values and lifestyle. As a family, we feel very strongly about supporting local businesses, women-owned businesses, fair trade and organic, and connection to nature. I chose organic cotton matching dresses for myself and Malena handsewn by a mom via Etsy, quartz crystal earrings and necklace by a local Hawaiian jewelry designer, and matching Birkenstocks. Wes and Max wore matching Aloha shirts–super simple and easy. We worked really closely with a local Hawaiian priest to create a private family ceremony and vows that would include our kids, with promises from us to them, as well between Malena and Max as brother and sister. We exchanged leis made with flowers and kukui nuts that symbolized the different roles we all play in the family and our love for one another.
WISE WORDS FROM THE BRIDE
Perhaps because of our previous experiences, we knew exactly what was important to us. I believe it applies to everyone though: Keep it as simple as possible, so as not to become distracted by event planning. You want to be 100% focused on the meaning of this special day, and on one another. Pamper yourself, treat each other like king and queen for the day. Utilize wedding services, planners, and a great photographer. All-in-one packages make everything so much easier, and this means you can truly be present to experience the magic. The most important thing is that there should be no doubt that you’re marrying the right person. Your fiancé(e) should be a true partner, kind, mild-tempered, and attentive. Someone who makes you laugh until you cry. And someone you can also cry with.