When Sky Reynolds' best friend introduced her to her husband's cousin, Brett Brewer, no one ever imagined that one day the two couples would create one happy family. "Now, my friend and I are married to first cousins, and we live a few blocks away from one another," says Sky. Although it took years for Sky and Brett to begin dating, it took very little time once they became engaged to tie the knot. With a clear idea of how they wanted their celebration to unfold, and with the expert guidance of wedding coordinator Katie Tiffany, Sky and Brett said "I do" just four months after the groom popped the question on New Years Eve.
Sky was raised in Hawaii, but in lieu of making the trip to the islands for the wedding, the bride and groom decided to bring the beauty of Hawaii to the Southern California mainland. By using tropical elements for the decor and incorporating other authentic details into the event, a genuine Hawaiian spirit was achieved without ever leaving home -- literally. Although 360 people attended the reception at the Bel-Air Bay Club, the couple chose to keep their ceremony intimate, inviting just 100 guests to their nearby Pacific Palisades backyard for the proceedings.
Set against a wall of bamboo, the ceremony was conducted by Sky's uncle, to whom both she and Brett are close. But before the bride made her way down the aisle, she was preceded by a "parade of little sweeties" -- a dozen young children important in the couple's lives -- who became Sky and Brett's answer to a traditional bridal party. To pay tribute to Brett's Irish Catholic upbringing, certain religious passages significant to the groom and his family, as well as a traditional Irish marriage blessing, were woven into the ceremony.
After exchanging vows, the newlyweds took a walk on the beach together, just the two of them, to soak in the true meaning of the day before greeting their guests at the reception.
Upon arriving at the club, each guest was given a white orchid lei to wear throughout the evening. Photos of each guest were also snapped as they entered the cocktail hour and quickly developed and placed in bamboo frames as mementos of the night. Filled with flowers in shades of celadon, ivory, and yellow (Sky's favorite color), as well as shells, citrus fruits, and grasses displayed in three different types of centerpieces, the ballroom became a modern interpretation of the Hawaiian theme. But it was the special hula dance performed by Sky's dear friends and family members that defined the vibe. "It really took my breath away," remembers Sky. "You could tell that their hearts were full of so much love and aloha."
Brett also took a turn in the spotlight by singing "Jessie's Girl" along with the band and ended his set by crowd surfing atop the concert-like audience. "The guests went wild," remembers the bride.
With all the excitement, it was a good thing that there was more than enough energizing sugar to go around. Instead of serving a traditional wedding cake, Sky and Brett chose cupcakes iced in yellow frosting. These were in addition to the bags of cookies and cartons of milk each guest received to make the ride home a little sweeter. But the newlyweds' loved ones also left knowing that they made a difference in a cause close the couple's hearts: In lieu of a gift registry, Sky and Brett asked their guests to donate to a charity established in honor of Sky's cousin Jessica who passed away at a very young age.
From the intimate backyard ceremony to the blowout reception, Sky and Brett's wedding exceeded their dreams without raising their stress levels. What was their secret to a laid-back planning process? "Making room in the budget for a wedding planner. It was the best decision we made," asserts Sky. "We just knew that everything would be OK on the wedding day. Having that confidence allowed us to relax and enjoy the day, which was the best gift of all."