Thursday, January 3, 2013

it all started with a pair of water shoes: part TWO.

 last picture of us legally single.

After our nearly twelve hour day of travel from Atlanta, we landed in a very rainy and dark Maui, Hawaii. We gathered our weary bodies and our luggage off of that flight and stumbled towards the car rentals. Once we got into our Ford Fusion, we opened up the paper map the car rental dude gave us and started to make our drive to the hotel. The part that stinks about arriving in Hawaii so late at night was that we could not see one thing as we made our exit from the airport. There were hardly any street lamps and we were driving up and down elevated roads (my ears popped more than a few times) - but I thank the good Lord and my mom for remembering to lend us the family's GPS or else, there would have been no way we could have found our way to the hotel.

Ryan made reservations for us at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, Maui. We were not able to truly appreciate the beauty of the hotel and its grounds until the next morning when the sun was up and when we were more coherent. (By this point it was nearly 5am Stateside and neither Ryan or I had any sleep). Because the wedding was not until sunset the next day, Ryan and I stayed the night apart. And yes, you can bet it was me enjoyed that big ole King-sized feather bed all to myself - it was amazing, especially after all of those lengthy, cramped flights.

However, I hardly made it past 4am. I woke up wide-awake the next morning. Basically my body was telling me, what the heck are you still doing in bed? it's nearly 10am! the time change really threw me off. Same thing happened to Ryan, so we ended up getting an early start to that day. We explored the area surrounding the Ritz and found the cutest grocery stores (filled with so much fresh fruit - and we are talking local pineapples and banana, people!), local shops, and even some chain stores like Starbucks and Mickey-dees (our favorite 'cause we are healthy like that).


Later that morning, we made our way to Lahaina to pick up our marriage license. It was almost unreal to sit in that little official office with two other couples who were also getting married that day. We signed all the paper work and then made a pledge with our right hand raised in the air. Nothing too exciting happened in that office since it was all paperwork and you're not even legally married at this point.

So we ended up walking around Lahaina, which turned out to be one of our favorite spots on the island, lined with many local shops and restaurants and offered quite the night life. And of course, every where you look in Maui, the water does nothing short of taking your breath away - crystal clear blue with deep pockets of turquoise green water. This was only the beginning of it - we had really seen nothing yet at this point of the trip.


As the day progressed, we started to get a little restless, eager for three o'clock to make its appearance on our watches. We were a ball of excitement and nerves. I still had Ryan occasionally pinch me to let me all of this was real. We made our way back to the hotel where Ryan decided to walk the hotel grounds, while I laid down to read and reflect for a bit.

That time of reflection was exactly what I needed. From the moment that Ryan gave me the water shoes to the last couple of days of preparation, I had not had any time to really process and be in the moment. I used that time of reflection to read God's Word and to journal some personal thoughts - the excitement of becoming Ryan's wife, his partner and best friend for life, to the gratefulness of this real life dream taking place to the reality of the new season and adventure that was about to unfold for both of us. (And not gonna lie a part of that time of reflection was used to take a cat nap 'cause my poor jet-lagged body was needing it bad. )

Around one o'clock, I started to nervously get ready. It's very different to get ready for a wedding when you have no bridal party or family to help you get ready. I suppose it has its pros and cons. Part of me was thankful to be able to prep myself - to do my own make-up and hair without other people to fuss over me and make me feel more nervous about everything. Then again, I wished my sisters or my mom were there to fuss over me to make sure I didn't forget anything. Like I said pros and cons.

But in the end none of that really mattered - and all of those little details I was stressing out over in that hotel bathroom, I honestly can't even remember all of them. It didn't matter if my bangs were not laying just right or that the shade of red lipstick wasn't perfect - what mattered was that on that day on the beach in just a few short hours, I would be married to my best friend.

As we headed towards South Maui at three o'clock, I don't think Ryan and I fully grasped what was going on. Not even until we pulled up to the small parking lot which had a stone path that led down to the beach, where we met Rev. Joe, Sean (our photographer) and Bette (assistant to our wedding coordinator, Shasta). We went through the motions of meeting every one, our stomachs still full of butterflies. Bette handed me my gorgeous bouquet, an array of orange, purples, red and greens, and Sean started to take pictures as we made our way down to the secluded beach.

And then as soon as I removed my gold heels and my bare feet touched the soft, white sand, and when Ryan reached for my hand, making our way to the more central part of the beach, I felt it. The butterflies settled, though the excitement and giddiness took their place - and once again, I wanted to ask Ryan to pinch me. But I didn't ask him. If it was a dream, I did not want to wake up. Ever.


Because this day was so special to Ryan and me, I will not be sharing details regarding the actual wedding ceremony (there will be more pictures to come once we receive them from Sean,). They will be memories between the two of us that we will forever cherish. I will say that I have never felt so much joy and happiness than in that one moment - as we exchanged our personal vows and shared our first kiss as husband and wife. And as the sun was dipping into the deep blue ocean and the purple-orange horizon, as we looked into each other's eyes and spoke those words and made a commitment between the two of us and our God on that beach, we both knew that all of it was (and is) for forever. This was not the happy ending of our story - it was only the beginning.

*missed part one? read it HERE.*
much love.
{happy friday, friend.}

42 comments:

  1. OMG so sweet!! congrats to you both!! :) beautiful photo :)

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  2. That shot of your wedding dress! OH MY GOSH!!! I need to see more!

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  3. I enjoyed reading both part one and part two--a lovely wedding story! Congratulations! (:

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  4. Yay! As I read this, I can't help but hope that a dream like that will happen someday for me and someone.:)

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  5. Goosebumps!!! Love love love this friend! Still so happy for you!

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  6. What a great story. Congrats :)

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  7. Congratulations!!!! Sounds seriously magical Illy. You made me teary eyed. I am so SO happy for you!! Love JA

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  8. this gave me chills :) congratulations! this is basically exactly how i want to handle being married - the relaxed attitude, the elopement feeling, a tropical destination, and the relationship being the focus instead of a million little details. so amazing to see that you two did exactly that! xo

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  9. Beautiful story! I got a little teary eyed reading this just thinking how special your story is between the two of you and a great way to start your lives together. Congrats. :-)

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  10. beautiful pictures and thank you for sharing what you did! <3

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  11. You made me tear up, in a good way. :) So happy for you both! :) Praise God!

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  12. PRECIOUS BEYOND WORDS!!! Congratulations again.
    http://shannonhearts.blogspot.com/

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  13. OMG girl!!! I totally teared up! SO SO beautiful and SO SO happy for you!!! <3 <3 <3

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  14. So cute, so sweet. Please. I'm dying.

    xoxo,
    Rachel Nicole

    rachyracheshobbycorner.blogspot.com
    circlescarvesandredlipstick.blogspot.com

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  15. This is just the sweetest!! So happy for you!

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  16. I am just so filled with joy for you (because happy doesn't cover it)!

    I am so glad that you two and together and on this new journey!!!! :D

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  17. p.s. i was in lahaina a year ago last summer-- and that shave ice place with the motorcycles had the best shaved ice :)

    love maui and so glad you were able to enjoy it!

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  18. So beautiful!! Love that you all stayed in separate rooms the night before. So sweet.

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  19. OMG!!! I totally missed that y'all got married!!!! And on my favorite island!!! How amazing. So beautiful. CONGRATS! <3

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  20. AWW what a great story missy! I can't wait to see the pictures! So happy for the both of you :)

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  21. This is beautiful! Congratulations! xxx

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  22. beautiful! ahh congrats love :)

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  23. you look SO gorgeous! congratulations!

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  24. I love reading your story! It's making me tear up at work. What a wonderful couple you guys make! xoxo

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  25. gah!! This is so cute!! Congrats again Ilene!! xoxo

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  26. I got married on the beach in a similar manner without any family or friends there. We just had one hell of a reception when we got back. Congrats!

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  27. I remember reading your sweet engagement story a long time ago and I'm so happy to hear you guys have gotten married! I think I'd love to do it the same way one day! :) Best love story I've read by far! :) Congrats to you both!

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  28. aahhh, love your story. And I like the way you like each other. It's incredible :))

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  29. You definitely made me tear up, this is so sweet!

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  30. What a beautiful description of y'alls amazing day! I definitely had tears in my eyes.

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  31. Aww at the story! The last photo btw is absolutely beautiful! :)

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  32. oh my goodness. friend, this is so beautiful! so happy for you & ryan. marriage is wonderful! :)

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  33. Man, oh man. I haven't been keeping up with my blogs over the Holidays and I come back and you're married?! Congrats!! I may or may not have teared up reading this (:

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  34. ahhhh! i am soooo so happy for you. this is just beyond beautifully amazing. xo

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  35. eeepsss! I loved reading your story! I feel like our pre-marriage emails were so long ago and I'm totally jealous (haha) but excited for you! This whole thing sounds like the best thing ever and you've definitely given me some ideas for our own situation.

    xox Dana

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  36. i love love love lahaina! and i just teared up reading this!

    xo,
    Sandy
    Sandy a la Mode

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  37. Oh my goodness, YAY! SO happy for you, CONGRATS to you and your HUBBY!! You two are such a beautiful couple! Thanks so much for being able to share what you did, it sounded so beautiful :)

    xoxo,
    Shio

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  38. I love reading about your wedding story. It's so unique and different. Everyone always wants the big, glamorous wedding but you went for a simple, elopement. And it's perfect.

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aw, shucks! thanks for reading and leaving me some LOVE. you (yes, YOU!) seriously rock my face off.

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