Sydney Knaut had always been enamored with the Hawaiian Islands, as it was the destination of choice for annual family vacations since she was a young girl. Decades later, while Sydney walked along the sand of Maui’s Kaihalulu Beach with her longtime boyfriend Roy, he surprised her by dropping to one knee and asking for her hand in marriage. The couple’s daughter Leilani, along with Sydney’s parents, joyfully looked on, witnessing the loving moment.
Without hesitation, the couple knew that Maui would be the location for their wedding since it held such special meaning. They were certain they wanted the celebration near the water, but were aware of decoration restrictions on public beaches. Sydney and Roy then considered a seaside hotel, but wanted to maintain a sense of seclusion for their event and though lovely, they didn’t like that the public still had access to walk through the area in the midst of it all. Finally, with the help of their planner Lorrie Betsill Nielson from Unveiled Hawaii, the couple found their ideal venue. “It was a private estate, which gave us the ability to get married near the water and provided the privacy we desired,” describes Sydney.
The bride soon realized two things: the vendor choices in Maui were slim – “It makes sense now, since Maui is a small island” – and that wedding planning is not Roy’s favorite thing. “He was somewhat helpful,” she jokes, adding that Roy was always willing to share his opinion when asked and generously helped with any tasks he was given. “My only job was to back up Sydney 100% in achieving her vision of the wedding day,” Roy lovingly explains. Though she had a wonderful planner, Sydney admits that she was very hands-on during the process and did much of the decision making alongside her mother.
On a gorgeous afternoon in mid-January, 50 of Sydney and Roy’s loved ones arrived for the ceremony, where the area was intentionally minimally decorated so that guests could enjoy the natural beauty of the environment. The focal point of the space was the artfully designed floral arch in shades of amethyst, burgundy, and fuchsia. “I wanted it to be lush and eclectic,” illustrates the bride, who reveals she deliberately avoided a typical tropical theme.
Sydney wore a gown with a deep V-neck and intricate embellishments at the bodice. She carried a bouquet of blooms in shades of deep red, purple, and blue; whilst a complementing crown in the same jewl-toned colors sat atop her head. The groom, dressed in a smart grey suit, elected to wear a traditional Hawaiian lei. Sydney’s godfather served as the officiant and the wedding party each read a quote from books by F. Scott Fitzgerald, both of which offered a personal touch. “The day was absolutely perfect,” Sydney confirms. “The weather was amazing and everything was exactly how I imagined.”
Since the reception was at the same location, the transition was seamless as guests found their seats at hardwood farm tables for supper. Amethyst geodes designated table numbers, which were all handcrafted by the bride and her parents. “My mom and I also spent a lot of time visiting antique stores on the mainland to find tableware and glassware,” says Sydney. The duo’s time was well spent, as each place setting was bedecked in understated elegance. Floral arrangements in brass vases accented silk table runners, along with a variety of candles, making the space feel intimate and inviting.
The rest of the evening was delightful, as revelers enjoyed a choice of three different cake flavors, danced to the tunes from chart toppers from past to present day, and took in the sights of the incredible starry night. Roy especially enjoyed the destination setting because it provided time with loved ones over a week’s period: “We had people from all over the country attend and it really meant a lot to have them all there to celebrate our love.”