What inspired this shoot was simple: love is love, is love is love. And yet, if there is anything that 2020 taught us, it’s that life is never as simple as it should be. In some ways, life in the newest decade went as usual, in other ways, it was like no other year we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. A year where collective perspective shifted to the things that matter most. The year our mental health and resilience was tested daily. The year we learned how to be together, while still 6ft apart. The year we exposed systemic problems and LGBTQ inequality and unpacked some of our privileges. And the year we learned the fragility of life.
It's truly incredible when a group of talented wedding vendors comes together to strategize a shoot that stands for something much bigger than any one of them, singularly. And that's exactly what happened in this Kauaian editorial conceptualized by Rachel Whitney Weddings and captured by Island Reflections Photography, with florals beautifully curated by Mr. Flowers. Though Alex and Taylor, the stunning real-life couple, had to move their wedding from 2020 to 2021, they agreed to help bring this inspiration to reality and what happened on set and was filmed by FotoPop Films at Kekaha Oceanside was pure magic - an immaculate rainbow at the end of a storm. All the images are in the full gallery, so be sure to swipe through and read on to hear more from the vow visionary herself, Rachel Rollins.
Alex + Taylor are a real “Covid” couple who had to postpone their 2020 wedding. And while we get to work together to plan their perfect REAL wedding, they were kind enough to work with me on this shoot and help bring it to life. I think working with real couples is essential when planning a shoot – you still want to feel that magic + that spark behind the camera. And these girls brought it! A little shy at first, but nothing a few cocktails made by the incredible Pau Hana Pours couldn’t shake off.
As a wedding planner, this year has given me a tremendous opportunity to slow down, pause and do some self reflection around my business, my commitment to things I care deeply about, and my core values. This self-reflection afforded me the opportunity to realize that while I considered myself to be an ally and accepting of any couple that approached my business, the reality was, when I looked at my website, or my social medial platforms, that message was not as clear or inclusive as it needed to be. I knew that in order to change the world and move the needle on the systems we all live in, I needed to actively work towards allyship and use my own voice, small as it may be. My hope is that if I can do it, if I can admit to this massive flaw of my own business, than anyone can do it – and together we can do our part, piece by piece, to leave a better mark in this world.
I wanted to be attentive and intentional with my details. This shoot was all about paying homage to the LGBTQ community. Every detail that was thought out and executed was done so with a tasteful (and side of fun) play on rainbows. The rainbow arch was a dream that Aloha Fridays Event Design made come true for me, by having it built specifically for this shoot!! It lives in her inventory forever now – and EVERYONE should rent it! I envisioned the flowers having an ombre effect, playing off the pinks, oranges + yellows that come to life in a real rainbow and Mrs. Flowers took my idea and ran with it. The emerald cut earring from Revolve sparkled like the way sun catches the light of a rainbow. The napkins slowly faded from pinks to rusts to yellow. Pau Hana Pours mixed up the best signature cocktails - “Siempre Mi Amor,” “Everlasting Spice,” and “Love Story,” once again each drink taking on a color of the rainbow…catching my theme here? The perfect grazing spread from Parma Kauai was magazine worthy and ohhhh so delicious. And of course, a lasting statement with our rainbow cake + rainbow inspired dessert table that Pastry Studio Kauai masterfully created.
Remember that part about life never proving to be as simple as it should be? Well, after months of planning and gathering styling items, sourcing rentals, building an incredible team of vendors, and patiently waiting for pandemic orders to be lifted on Kauai so we could finally all work together, we finally came together to put this epic shoot in motion. The day started out picture-perfect – I mean let’s be honest, most days on Kauai are, but this one felt even more magical. Blue skies for days, crystal clear water and no wind. Apparently, also a recipe for the perfect storm. Literally. As our team of vendors gathered together on the private Kekaha Oceanside front property and started to work tirelessly to set up and place those curated details, the weather started to take a turn, the clouds started to roll in and those blue skies went dark and stormy.
As a wedding planner, I always tell people it probably will rain on your wedding day in Kauai – but it will pass thru quickly and be on its way. This was not the case. Hours upon hours of torrential downpour, lightening shooting across the ocean and with no wind to keep it moving. It wasn’t looking good. We made a plan to try and pivot the shoot inside – placing invitation details, table settings, candles, centerpieces etc. on anything we could find to try and shoot something. It wasn’t ideal, and wasn’t working….I was minutes away from calling off the shoot. I just couldn’t see how this was going to translate to the hours of time and energy put into planning into the shoot I had been dreaming up. After 5 years of living on Kauai, you’d think I’d learn to trust the island a little better than that. Because Kauai delivered the most incredible sunset I’ve ever seen.
Enough praise can’t be given to all the vendors involved who went into overdrive to make the most of the 90 minutes of daylight we had left. It was chaos as we reset the entire shoot! If you weren’t wiping down wet furniture or hauling things from inside the house to the yard, you were setting napkins + menus, placing the cake and desserts, rearranging wet invitation suites, fluffing pillows or lighting candles. It was incredible what this little community pulled off. And I’m so humbled to be a part of it.
In a way this storm was metaphoric for me. I liken it to 2020: maybe it had been brewing for a while, and maybe it was hitting at a moment when I really didn’t want it to, and why was it lingering longer than it should? With panic, stress and anxiety setting in…I waited it out, and what revealed itself was something more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. This stormy season as a wedding planner has been a tough one, but one that I needed to shift my business, because love is love is love is love is love. It’s that simple.