Today was our anniversary! Five years ago that morning, Patrick and were gettin’ hitched in Morocco at Epcot! It’s funny to think that Aulani was still just a glimmer in Disney’s eye when we got married, and here we were renewing our vows in this pop-up piece of paradise just a few years later!
The day dawned… well, I dunno how it dawned, really, cuz you can’t see the sunrise at Aulani when your room is located on the Peoplemover track! I was awake at 4:00am to meet Sarah, the cosmetologist I’d hired to do my hair and makeup.
She actually showed up a few minutes early, which was great. I thought the light in that cavelike Aulani room was going to be a problem, but she set me up on a chair just inside the bathroom door and at least it was even. The biggest problem was that she couldn’t get her airbrush to work. She mentioned that she’d had an issue before at Aulani with a flat iron that didn’t work, and since the airbrush had worked at her house that morning, she thought maybe there was something weird with the wiring at the resort. She was pretty distressed about it, so I said regular makeup would be fine. It was heavier than I wanted, but there wasn’t really anything we could do…
We hit it off immediately—it turns out she lived in LA for a while, in the crazy-ornate Chinese-themed apartment building next door to Grauman’s Chinese Theater! (…I’d prolly better not tell you that the reason she left LA was that one of her neighbors committed a murder or you’ll NEVER come visit me!). She was really receptive to my directions/comments, which was a big plus after my experience with the makeup artist who did me up for our retro photo shoot at California Adventure the week before (I’d had to push to get her to use the colors I wanted, and then she didn’t do eye makeup anything like the pictures I’d sent her).
Here’s a little sneak peek at how my vow renewal look turned out…
The only thing I didn’t like were the false eyelashes. Sarah wanted to do strip lashes, but I prefer individual lashes done just on the ends. She was game for it, but she didn’t trim them down to various lengths to incorporate them more naturally, so I just had a few huge butterfly lashes on the ends, which felt weird. They don’t seem too TOO noticeable in most of the photos, though!
At some point, Patrick stumbled out of bed and started getting into the outfit I’d painstakingly assembled for him—it was so much easier for the wedding, when all I’d had to do to fulfill his request to “look like James Bond” was rent a classic tuxedo! (I’ll go into the whole vow renewal outfit-planning story in excruciating detail in my planning journal eventually, if you need some time wasted.)
Just like on the wedding day, I got a little flustered toward the end when I realized I hadn’t left enough time to get into my dress, but Sarah was a pro at helping me finish up while simultaneously packing her things. I’m still embarrassed about freaking out in front of the Roots on my wedding day, so hopefully I wasn’t too wild-eyed when I answered the door this time. Bless her heart, the first thing out of Jensey’s mouth was, “You look amazing!” and I instantly felt at ease.
I thought it would be neat to do another “first look” with Patrick, but it turned out to be funnier than it was romantic. Since we were staying in the same room, he had to do everything with his eyes closed after I got my dress on—pretty silly, really! So we ended up with a lot of “reverse getting-ready” shots of the “bride” helping the “groom” into his outfit instead of the traditional bridesmaids-helping-the-bride thing. Tee hee!
I loved the matching gingham cufflinks and tie I got Patrick from this Etsy seller!
We headed down to the lobby to meet our wedding coordinator, Elena. The plan was for her to take Patrick down to the Jacuzzi—er, ceremony site first so I could make my grand entrance. Feels kinda silly when there are only 2 of you and you’ve been together all morning, but hey…
I’m sure this happens to everyone, but it seems like we always look super-goofy in our first run of photos during a shoot with the Roots. Next time maybe I should schedule in 20 minutes of practice where they just pretend to take pictures.
Ever since the Roots told us that nearly every couple falls into what they call “grooming” at some point during a shoot, we’ve tried to get that out of our systems early on…
Nate followed when Elena spirited Patrick away, leaving me and Jensey to our own devices up on the lobby balcony.
Because it’s so rare that Jensey and I get any solo time, we immediately fell into conversation and barely remembered to take any photos at all. I think she might’ve taken these with one hand while gesticulating with the other to illustrate a story.
This was really sweet: Elena asked me to have the Etsy seller who made my bouquet send it straight to her office instead of just to the hotel, and she added this little surprise for me:
It seemed like a long time before Elena came back to get me and Jensey, so we just kept gabbing.
Meanwhile, Nate and Patrick were down at Alohi Pointe, probably wondering what was taking us girls so long. Luckily, there were plenty of things to photograph while they waited.
Meanwhile, my procession through the pool area toward the altar was taking forEVER because I kept stopping to be FIERCE!
And also GOOFY!
We’d asked to have our ceremony pushed forward to 8am instead of their usual 9, hoping there’d be nobody around at that hour. I think we did pretty well.
The officiant, Rev. Kimo Taylor, showed us where to stand, I guess for the best photos. I was relieved to see that, between the table with my bouquet on it and the music stand for the ukulele player, the place looked a little bit more like a ceremony venue and less like a place for portly guys in Speedos to float around drinking mai tais.
I was happy to find that the music played such a big part in the ceremony. When I’d been working on the order of service with Rev. Kimo, I’d slashed a lot of the traditional stuff out of his standard ceremony because it pertained to guests/children, neither of which we’d have, or it was the same traditional stuff I cut out of our wedding ceremony cuz it sets my teeth on edge. So I was worried that the experience we’d paid all this money for would only last about 5 minutes. But the way they do it, you actually pause in places to enjoy an entire song by the musician you choose, and the music rounds out the ceremony.
It was around about, oh, HERE, that I realized Rev. Kimo was not doing the ceremony we’d agreed on….
I’ve detailed this in the Officiant section of my planning journal, but basically, I was not crazy about Rev. Kimo’s standard vow renewal ceremonies—the vaguely religious one or the nondenominational one—because both seemed like he’d just taken a regular wedding ceremony and stuck the word “again” after any pledges or directives. Plus, there were some ceremonial acts I wanted to take out (yes, even though they were nice Hawaiian traditions) because they seemed awkward—for example, we weren’t using the leis that came with our package, so the lei ceremony woulda looked pretty silly!
Via email, Rev. Kimo approved the hybrid ceremony I’d created by combining his with some quotations from our original ceremony and rewording the awkward bits about kids and guests. So imagine my surprise during our vow renewal ceremony when he launched into all the generic stuff I’d cut out. I gave Patrick a funny look, and then my heart sank when Rev. Kimo skipped over the quotes I’d added too.
It was later confirmed that he completely forgot we’d customized the ceremony, even though he’d emailed me just 2 weeks before to say that he’d received the one I sent. I guess he keeps files on each couple, and when he looked in ours that morning there was nothing about a custom ceremony, so he just grabbed the standard one. I understand that it’s an honest mistake, and it only kinda bummed me out at the time, but that’s because this was just a vow renewal. If this had been my real wedding, I would have FREAKED OUT!
However, all of this was forgotten when Patrick began his vows. Originally, I thought maybe we’d just repeat the vows we’d each written for our wedding as a sort of reminder. But Patrick expressed a surprisingly strong opinion that we write new vows for our renewal. So we sat down the night before and each wrote out what we would say. I was pretty pleased with mine. They followed all the rules of public speaking: clear, concise, sincere and brief. But Patrick’s vows put mine to shame.
The depth of his sincerity, the unguarded emotion, and the pure love that poured straight from his heart overwhelmed me as he blinked back tears. I didn’t cry at our wedding, but I was crying now…
And of course, he made me laugh too!
That was a tough act to follow. I cringed inwardly as I read my superficial-sounding vows and promised myself I’d do better next time…. cuz there’s gonna have to be a next time now!
Rev. Kimo had us do a sort of faux ring exchange where we placed our hands on each other’s ring as we repeated the promises of the traditional ceremony.
After the kiss, our ukulele player said he had a very special song to play and then launched into my secret favorite Disney song, “A Whole New World.” I was so surprised and delighted that I nearly cried again—it didn’t even occur to me that Patrick had cribbed him before the ceremony.
We’re such nerds, we even started singing along a little… I did hold my breath when he launched into another Disney song (we’d actually requested traditional Hawaiian music instead of Disney songs, just cuz there are so many I don’t like), but it turned out to be “You’ll Be In My Heart” from Tarzan, which we both like.
I’m not sure if we were supposed to, but both of us were compelled to applaud the guy when he finished—he did such a great job!
At the end, Rev. Kimo had us join hands again so he could perform the traditional Hawaiian conch blessing (at least, I think it’s a Hawaiian tradition… Maybe it’s just a Kimo tradition!)
It was then that we got our only looky-loo, who sauntered up and planted herself behind Elena.
And then it was over… sorta. The ukulele player launched into another song, so we stood around to listen while Rev. Kimo packed up quicker than that nun in Virgin America’s irritating inflight safety video!
Trouble is, Rev. Kimo packed up so quickly, Patrick had to chase him down with his tip!