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An award-winning estate wedding in historic Honolulu

historic Hawaiian wedding venue

This midlife fairytale love story began to unfold when Elyn Yao and Doctor and Colonel Bruce Ong swiped right on the Bumble dating app. After exchanging several messages, they had their first dinner date in March of 2021, and it didn't take long for them to realize their connection. Within just three dates, they became inseparable! Approximately one year later, Bruce popped the question. Anticipation and excitement filled the nine months that followed, leading up to the most enchanting day of their lives: Their fairytale wedding at La Pietra, the former Dillingham estate, in Honolulu. The Present Perfect captured every moment of this wedding designed and styled by the bride herself, Elyn Yao, and executed in the final month by Nichole Weddings.

Cerulean blue wedding invitations

custom Vera Wang bride

orchid hairpiece tropical orchid bridal bouquet

military wedding

Vintage Hawaiian luxury design

Nestled at the bottom of Diamond Head Crater, this century-old estate provided a regal and grand setting that set the tone for the elegant affair. The venue choice was a surprise for their guests who had expected a beach wedding, as Elyn is an avid surfer and Bruce is a competitive swimmer. The majestic beauty of La Pietra, however, added a touch of grandeur and history to their special day. To infuse their celebration with romance and reflect their connection to the ocean, they selected a color palette of sea blues and soft pinks. From the first glimpse of their water-inspired invitations adorned with vintage Hawaiian surfing stamps to the meticulously curated floral arrangements by Mei Day, every detail spoke of their profound love and the depth of their connection.


Vera Wang bridal gown

Vera Wang: Luxury and tradition

Elyn’s fairytale wedding dress of choice was the Vera Wang "Helena" ballgown, an embodiment of luxury and tradition. Three unique handmade Chantilly lace patterns adorned the dress, creating a breathtaking three-dimensional effect. Each lace piece was meticulously crafted and positioned, making the gown truly one-of-a-kind. Elyn's bridal look blended opulent details with impeccable design, perfectly bringing to life the bride's vision of a princess-inspired gown for their special day.

Hawaiian estate wedding ceremony

large tropical floral installation

parasols at wedding parasols at wedding

flower girl crown

parasols at wedding

A welcome gift with purpose

Thoughtful custom design elements were incorporated into their wedding, considering the majority of guests traveled from the U.S. Mainland. A warm welcome awaited each guest in the form of a white mongo shell lei adorned with a blue escort card, which served as a greeting, name tag, escort card, and lasting keepsake. The esteemed musician Kala’e Camarillo, a recipient of the prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Award, known as the "Hawaiian Grammy's," honored their wedding ceremony with his musical talents, adding an extra layer of magic and meaning to their special day.

military saber wedding tradition

Incorporating military traditions

Proudly displaying his military background and rank as a Colonel, Bruce donned his blue military uniform, radiating regal elegance and distinguished authority. Adorned with ribbons and medals symbolizing his achievements, the uniform showcased his distinguished rank and expertise. Its presence evoked a sense of honor and tradition, as well as strength and grace. As a heartfelt tribute to the groom's nearly 20 years of service in the Army, poignant military traditions were woven into the event, including the Arch of Sabers ceremony. This time-honored practice created a truly meaningful experience for all in attendance.

Vera Wang ballgown

vintage wedding furniture candid wedding portraits

The perfect space for an award-winning dinner

With guests traveling from the U.S. Mainland to Hawaii, they aimed to provide an unforgettable feast infused with the vibrant flavors of the island. Unique sculptural floral centerpieces graced each table, serving as exquisite focal points. A bubbly bar and champagne tower added a touch of glamour, while the groom's signature cocktail, complete with a "Bruce" branded ice cube, added a personalized touch. Perhaps most impressively, renowned chef Ed Kenney from Town Kaimuki, a celebrated Food & Wine Star Chef and recipient of Honolulu Magazine's 2019 Hale 'Aina Award for Hawai‘i's Restaurateur of the Year, collaborated with them to bring the taste of aloha to their guests' plates.

table assignments

luxury Hawaiian reception

Hawaiian centerpieces award-winning wedding menu

tropical arrangement

tropical arrangement

cerulean blue table linens

tropical guest book table custom cigar box

custom bar menus

Floral Ice Cubes

Champagne tower

abstract wedding cake

A wedding cake that floats through mid-air

Amidst the love and joy, a dear friend and Broadway artist, Kristian Lei, graced their wedding with a soul-stirring rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow." The lyrics of this iconic song resonated deeply with their dreams and aspirations for the future, filling the air with hope and optimism. One of the most magical moments of the day, however, was the floating wedding cake by HippBakes, seemingly suspended in mid-air. This whimsical touch brought an enchanting and unexpected element to their celebration, leaving their guests in awe, and cementing this wedding as one of visually stunning luxury and meaningful moments.

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