About a year after moving halfway across the world – from Orlando, Florida to Sydney, Australia – Meghan was approached by the love of her life. “I remember sitting down at a long table and Matt looked over at me from the other end and immediately stood up and came and sat across from me. That’s when we started chatting and the rest is history!” she shares. Almost four years later, the loving couple was on vacation in New Orleans to celebrate Meghan’s upcoming 30th birthday. After enjoying some drinks on the beach, Matt pulled Meghan onto the grass and asked her to marry him. “He got it all on our GoPro camera but the sound wasn’t working!” reveals Meghan.
Choosing a wedding location when one family is in Australia and another is in Florida may seem like a daunting task, but Matt and Meghan had already figured that part out. “We always knew if we got married, it would be in Hawaii. It’s pretty much halfway between Sydney – where Matt is from – and Florida –where I am from,” explains the bride. Having previously vacationed in Maui and especially loving their time in Lahaina, the couple quickly found where they would be wed. Initially, the bride’s plan for the theme was familiar to those who have been to destination weddings in Hawaii: “I started thinking I wanted ‘Rustic Beach’ but as I really got into planning, I moved away from the beach theme – there was enough of that with the venue being on the ocean and full of palm trees – and the theme transitioned into ‘Rustic, Vintage, Travel,’” tells Meghan. Wood details and lawn games provided a rustic atmosphere, while vintage furniture and suitcases paired with old family photos contributed to the throwback vibe. In addition to the suitcases, Meghan and Matt added to the travel theme by selected midcentury postcards for table display. Each table was named for a city the sweethearts had been to together. A retro Volkswagen bus that functioned as the photo booth helped make sure everyone would be in a party mood.
Despite not having a “first look” before the ceremony, the bride and groom still wanted to have a private moment before their nuptials. After they both finished getting ready, Matt came to the door of Meghan’s dressing suite. They each stood on one side of the door, holding hands as they spoke about their day and life ahead. Once it was time for the ceremony to begin, Meghan made her way down the aisle, with her loving father on her arm. The alluring bride wore a lace gown with a detailed illusion back. Small blooms were incorporated into her braided updo, and she carried a dreamy bouquet of succulents, vanilla hydrangeas, dusty miller, and blush roses. Though most couples choose to wed in Hawaii to marry on the beach amongst the palm trees, the bride and groom opted to hold their ceremony under the large banyan tree on the plantation grounds. “That was the one thing [Matt] really wanted,” notes Meghan. The couple honored the culture of their wedding site by having a traditional Hawaiian wedding. “That entailed the blowing of a horn to start and end the ceremony and an exchange of leis. Our celebrant was also dressed in full traditional clothing, including a headpiece,” the bride explains. Matt’s aunt and a friend of the bride both did readings for the nuptials.
To keep their friends and family from spending the entirety of the reception in line, the newlyweds selected multiple food stations and two bars. “Our menu included things like passed mini jalapeño margaritas with a chip full of guacamole on top, lamb lollipops, sushi and quesadilla stations, and a s’mores bar for dessert,” says Meghan. In addition to the s’mores, lemon, chocolate, red velvet, and guava-flavored cupcakes were served. A small red velvet cake served as a top tier for the ceremonial slicing. After seeing the bridesmaids enter the reception to a Ludacris song chosen by the bride, everyone knew they were going to enjoy a great party. “The whole playlist throughout the evening was really a reflection of us, as we gave the DJ a list of about 100 songs to play. I got a few comments from people that it was the best music they’ve heard at a wedding,” gushes Meghan.
The only aspect of the wedding the bride wished went differently was the heat. Although she and the groom had fans and bottled water available for their friends and family, the hottest August in years made their careful preparations feel inadequate. “We probably should have explored other options too, [such as] renting giant fans to blow onto the dance floor. It got really hot out there!” Meghan admits. But the heat still was not enough to wipe the smiles off the faces of everyone in attendance.