I guess I have some explaining to do.
On Saturday I got married. And it was quite the secret ceremony. Just the two of us, my girlfriend who officiated the ceremony, and another girlfriend who took photos. Save for a guy who walked his dog along the beach while we were standing around talking, we were all alone.
Exactly what we had wanted.
Neither of us wanted a big, blow-out wedding. We didn’t want to book a hotel ballroom or hire caterers. We just wanted to exchange our vows with as few spectators as possible in a place that was special to us.
The whole experience got me thinking about weddings.
As most of you know, I got married about two years ago. While we kept that event pretty low-key — just over 200 guests at the Waikiki Aquarium with an awesome live band and a slew of food from my favorite restaurants — it was still a bit of a production. I had to think about everyone coming, where they would park, what food they’d want to eat, the variety of alcohol I’d have to provide. I considered my guests when I picked the flavors of cupcakes and the choice of music. It wasn’t so much about the two of us as it was about everyone else involved.
And that’s fair. Let’s face it: weddings are about more than just the couple. And I think that’s fine. But I understand — and completely sympathize — with couples who are pressured into doing things they may not want to do or can actually afford. I’ve heard all the stories, from parents who get overly involved in the guest list to friends who feel slighted they weren’t part of the bridal party.
It’s par for the course, really, when you consider what a wedding is: it’s a momentous event, full of pomp and circumstance. There are slide shows to organize, playlists to come up with, vendors to hire, dresses to try on, cakes to sample. No wonder it takes couples around a year to fully plan — and save for — a wedding.
And they’re not cheap, either. According to Real Simple, an average wedding in Hawai‘i hovers around $50,000. That’s not chump change. And considering most of us are just barely getting by on salaries that haven’t even kept up with the rise of inflation, that’s an expense difficult to wrap our heads around. It’s just one day, that much for one day. But it is the one day you’ll celebrate the start of a new life together — and that’s how we justify the cost.
We decided to just get married. Both of our parents had done the same thing — small ceremonies (if that) and no reception to speak of — and it worked out just fine.
That’s just what we wanted. It’s not to say our way is the right way or everyone should save their money and get hitched at the beach on a Saturday morning. I know some couples couldn’t get away with not inviting their parents and others actually love big, traditional weddings. And that’s all good. The bottom line is you should do what you want — not what everyone else wants — and that’s all that should matter.
Special thanks to Christine Strobel for officiating our ceremony, Rona Bennett (of Fighting Eel) for serving as our official photographer, Lan Chung and Ava Sky Hawaii for styling me, Grace Lo for the earrings, Ginger 13 for the gorgeous bouquet, Jason Dow for crafting the perfect ring, Kristin at A Cake Life for the gorgeous cake, and Roy’s Restaurant in Hawai‘i Kai for hosting our families afterward.
And, of course, to my husband, Kai, for wanting to marry me just after six months of meeting. It may seem crazy, but it just felt right. It’s the most awesome feeling to marry your best friend!
Congratulations on the Ninja wedding. 🙂
Thanks! We really shook up our social media worlds!
Congratulations again! My husband and I got engaged 2 months after meeting in person (we met online) and got married 8 months after that. We will be celebrating 9 years tomorrow! Yes it is an awesome feeling to marry your best friend! Best wishes to you and your hubby!
Congrads on your wedding. As you know, I follow you on Twitter and Facebook so I feel we are friends but who don’t really know each other. Funny huh! Since we are friends, I feel I can relate to your story. I’ve been married before and it didn’t work out…and now I’m married again. My first marriage was to a woman I met in my work. We met, started hanging out and then it became romantic. She wasn’t from Hawaii and was only here for a few months on a training program. She had to go back home so our relationship went long distance. It came to a point were we had to break it off or get married and we chose marriage. Since we were going to live here at my home on Maui, we chose to get married on her turf. My family and friends traveled there. She planned a nice wedding at a country church near a stream. About 100 or so were there and then we had a party with another 100 at a hotel ballroom. Honeymoon in Thailand and Japan. Then real life started. The little things began to show up in daily life. Happy and rough times. 3 years into it our daughter arrived. Over the years thrill faded and it was more like friends and roommates living together. Eventually neither was happy and argued more and more. A split came. We settled over money and custody then started separate lives.
After a few years, a woman who I had known as a friend since college (before I met my wife) would visit and I began to visit her. We started traveling together with other friends as a group. Every 6 months we met up somewhere. Sometimes in Japan, sometimes Hawaii, or our other trips to California, Arizona, Utah, or Oregon. Still platonic friends, we ended up traveling just the 2 of us. Since I had been married and had a growing daughter, I was ok with myself but she naturally wanted to settle down. Our friendship grew and with the blessings of our families, who both knew us for years, we went to the city hall in Japan and made it legal.
My point in sharing this is to say I relate to you. I had the big ceremony, friends, photographers etc. and all the cost. This time, I too married my best friend and it was ok for it to be as simple as it was. This time it’s about us, together as us. So I wish you and your husband (Kai?) all the happiness. Grow and bond! Make your life journey the marriage, not the big money spent on a day’s party. …. your “friend” Asa from Maui.
Aw, thanks so much for sharing your story. That’s so awesome. I mean, it’s never good when relationships fade or break down. But I will say, all that was worth it. It turned out to be the right time for both of us to meet our current spouses. The universe tends to know better about what’s right than we do! 🙂
Congrats again. What better husband to have than your best friend? That will make life so much better. Both of you will respect, communicate and love each other forever. In fact I wish you happiness as a couple forever.
Aw, thanks! I’m stoked! 🙂
Congratulations! I wish you all the best. You are right about weddings being more about everyone else than about the couple. I am glad you concentrated on the two of you and I wish you many years of love and happiness. I think it would be good to marry your best friend. 🙂
Yeah, but I realize it was EASY for us to do that. Some of my friends really have to find that balance between obligations and doing what they want. So I completely empathize. We were VERY fortunate!
Congratulations Cat! So happy for you! It’s awesome to marry your best friend– I can attest to that. I married Chief after knowing him for only 6 months and we’ll have been married 16 years next month. We had a small wedding as well– only two of our friends attended. It was a magical day. And it looks like you had a lot of magic on your day:) I wish you and Kai many happy years together.
I love that you call him Chief! LOL. Yes, I felt the same way — just us and my two friends were enough. Perfect weather, fun times, lots of laughing and joking around. It was awesome! Thanks for your message!
Congrats and well done–on the wedding and the man:-)
Congratulations! I have been following you since you were a reporter, but somehow missed this blog. I love that you had exactly the type of wedding YOU wanted!!!
Just, sigh. Love it
Wishing you and Kai many happy years ahead. 🙂 congrats!
Weddings are definitely more about family and friends than the couple, in my experience. At our wedding, we didn’t even get to eat dessert – we spent so much time going from table to table, seeing people and chatting. It was a memorable night, but in all reality, was too chaotic. If I could do it over again, it would just be us and our immediate families (15 people tops!).
CAT: I hope you married “rich” this time! LOL
My husband and I got married at the courthouse on my lunch hour 5 years ago. Me, him and the judge. $45.
Had an awesome reception 8 months later with close friends and family that involved reserving a local hot springs, food, drink and a mass campout at nearby site. Total cost? $1300. So ahead of our time 😉
Congrats on the wedding Cat!! I love the idea of what you had, I wish I had just done my wedding that way. I had to do the planning while I was in Canada while the rest of my wedding party including the groom was all in the US. And the person who I asked to be my maid-of-honor didn’t want to do anything to get it ready, she didn’t even want to show up the morning of the wedding with me to get her hair done. So after a few months of struggling with her, I had to let her go and asked a close friend of mine in Canada to take her place. Big weddings are great but I think not having to deal with all the hassle would also be great. Congrats again!!
Ahhhh! I’m so happy for you!! Can’t wait to hear all about it this weekend!! 🙂 xo, Maliks
Congratulations Cat! You both look so very happy together! Just as you mentioned if you both are happy then why not! I assumed Opae approved and he’s happy with the new addition. Again just by the looks of the picture above I can tell you both are very happy to start your new life together.
Congratulations Cat and Kai on your new adventure together. I’ve been following your blog and love the exciting things and views I am able to see thru your travels. Glad you did what both you and Kai wanted vs. what others or family want on your special day. My wedding was small 30 invites because of the some of the reasons in your blog, hurt feelings and a huge family, absolutely no regrets! Hope for you and Kai many blessings on your marriage.
Three cheers for you and congratulations. Rashelle and I got married on our state capitol lawn. We had planned to have just two witnesses, her brother and mom, but ended up with her brother’s wife and Rashelle’s sister and the kids. Very small. It was our day and that was exactly what we both wanted. Absolutely no stress on our wedding day. It would have been very complicated besides with the whole gay wedding and all trying to figure out who to invite and who would be offended. We didn’t want to deal with any of that. It was great. Thanks for sharing your story.
OMG! Congratulations! Wow! Wishing you and Kai the best!
CONGRATS Cat. Wishing you and Kai da bestest!
Congrats Cat and Kai !!
I am so glad Laura and I only spent $132 on our wedding. That afforded us a 3-week Mediterranean honeymoon. And you know what, not a single person has asked, “Why didn’t you guys have a big wedding?” Well, except for my mom. Anyhow, congratulations, Cathy! I hope we get to meet Kai someday soon.
Hhehe. I had an ebay wedding. The only thing I didn’t go chinsy on is the cake.
I love this! Congratulations and best wishes!
Hey Cat: … I love the simplicity!!! …
… when you strip away everything … all you have is the two of you …. and that’s all you really need!!! …
… wishing you love and happiness … no matter what …
… Yippee Ki Yay!!! …
Wow! At first I thought this was a joke since nothing in posts led me to believe you were in a relationship (in fact, I was kind of waiting for more explanation about you and Derek, and I had sensed things were “off” because you weren’t writing about him).
But…so happy for you! Congratulations! Looking forward to learning details about how you met Kai, etc. Best Wishes!
Congratulations! I hope you have many happy and blessed years together.