We arrived at the Halualoa Inn (pronounced halualoa <smile>) the day of the wedding with a bit of apprehension and optimism. The previous days had been very windy putting low probability on the small bit of choreography during the ceremony of lighting four candles in honor of the kids. We also had never seen the Inn…relying completely on the internet and reviews to pick this secluded spot on the hillside above Kona. (Then there was my knee. Healing well, but still fidgety, my torn MCL seemed to be on the mend and all things pointed toward being able to go ‘braceless’ for the ceremony.)
Everything came into place perfectly. The inn was fantastic – I would recommend it to anyone that would like a welcome break from the polished resort-chaos on the shores of Kona. It was meticulously crafted with beautiful wood furnishings and open layout that let the tropical breezes waft through with a 180-degree view of the ocean and exquisite rooms. The staff was charming and very helpful. After feeling the zen-like vibe of the Inn that we were hoping for, everything else felt easy.
The week of tirelessly looking for a Conch shell for Gus to blow to begin the ceremony, was finally located the day before (whew!). Nina, Marianne and I had time in the morning for a 30 minute mini-rehearsal just to finalize the flow and a few details. Nina and I put the finishing touches (in our seperate rooms) on our vows – writing them on paper to give over to Marianne before things began (image on right is a shot of my vows I took after I finally declared them done.) Jennifer Reid was the perfect friend to Nina, helping her get ready and shuttling messages between us and the Inn staff for last minute logistics.
Flowers were delivered and picked up on time, cake came in perfect condition (also due to the great handiwork of our guests who we had sent out on errands in every direction that day). The wind calmed down an hour before the ceremony began, all guests were accounted for and the photographer showed up on time (and to my delight with a second shooter)!
And, to my amazement, Nina did not second-guessed her decision to take the Simonds name (I dared not to mention anything for fear of jinxing it).
Marianne did a wonderful – fantastic – unbelievable job presiding over the ceremony. It was filled with lots of Hawaiian ceremonial tradition and spirtuality and everything just felt perfect in every way.Her attention to detail and ability to mind-meld perfectly with what Nina and I wanted, created a meaningful ceremony. Gus started off the ceremony by giving four big blows (the fourth taking a couple extra tries ;)) on the Conch shell to honor the 4 elements – earth, air, water and fire. Both Nina and I said a few words about the kids and lighted the candles without a hitch. It was meaningful for us since we were very conflicted/sad about not being able to take them out of school to have them present. We said our vows to each other, which we both hoped were personal and humorous at the same time. Marianne moved things along with lots of great symbolism and Hawaiian tradition. Jennifer had the audacious task of reading a great David Whyte poem – she did it perfectly. A small Elephant statue sat on a lava rock to the side watching quitely in honor of, of course, the Elephants who we missed, but if they were there probably wouldn’t have been as quiet as the statue.
We finished up with a Champagne toast pool side looking over the ocean then retired to the dinning room for a great dinner! A playlist packed full of great, meaningful songs Nina and I shared with each other over the last few years played over dinner. Toasts were made, we cut cake and enjoyed watching the sun set over the Pacific. It was hard to see the evening end, but we enjoyed a relaxing and quiet honeymoon with the Inn almost completely to ourselves until Saturday morning when it was time to return to the mainland.
We are anxiously waiting to see the photos taken by the pro (a few weeks before we get them). We also had a video camera sitting on a tripod recording the whole thing, so we should have a video to share too.
Great thanks to Marianne, Susan, Gus, Lisa, Mom, Dad, David & Jennifer for joining us in this remote location for such a special occasion.
Andy and Nina (Simonds)