02 October, 2018 HAWAII LGBTQ WEDDING
Hey we’re Vanessa and Makena! We live in Venice Beach, California and have been together 6.5 years. Makena is a photographer/photo retoucher/real estate investor, and Vanessa is a durable medical equipment sales rep.
The first thing Makena remembers about Vanessa was her striking smile and knee high socks when she was a server on the boardwalk in San Diego, and the first thing Vanessa remembers about Makena were her mesmerizing green eyes even in the darkness of the club Rich’s, also in San Diego.
The story starts about a week or so prior to the actual proposal, when Makena told Vanessa that their friends Kelly and Kelsey got a Groupon to go on a Brunch cruise in Marina Del Rey for the August birthday girls. Naturally Vanessa was excited and only a day or two prior to the “booze cruise” asked for the details of what time and attire. Makena had cleverly photoshopped an online invite for the charter to keep Vanessa’s questions and potential curiosity at bay. Vanessa, upon seeing the “doctored” invite, expressed a slight suspicion that the invite appeared pixelated when zooming in. Makena quickly realized that Vanessa fell for the information without any true inkling of suspicion, and the day went on as usual.
Fast forward to the day of the alleged “cruise”, where Vanessa and Makena are getting ready for the planned occasion. In the midst of the wardrobe decisions, makeup, and coiffing, as per usual the girls had the show FRIENDS playing in the background for noise and nostalgia. Low and behold, the famous “The One with the Proposal” episode just so happened to come on. While this was completely coincidental, and Makena was distracted by the nerves building up about what was to take place, Vanessa blissfully unaware playfully wink-wink nudge-nudged her and commented, “No pressure babe!”.
At that very moment, Makena thought ‘oh my god, she knows!’.
Next chapter unfolds in the car on the way to the Marina. Makena’s nerves intensified with the weight of thinking Vanessa already had a hunch. Meanwhile, Vanessa happily singing along to the radio, started noticing that the promise ring she wore on her left ring finger Makena had gifted her a few years prior, happened to seem unusually loose. With the fear that it could fling off accidentally Vanessa exclaimed, “Babe my ring is so loose!”. At hearing these words, Makena was then certain that Vanessa knew what she had in store, and her inner anxiety increased further. What was the improbable chance that her promise ring finger would be so thin on this day, and significant enough to comment on it if she, in fact, had no idea?? Makena reassuringly replied, “why don’t you just put it on your right hand then?” Just a reminder at this point; Vanessa still had zero clue that there was anything remotely afoot.
Upon arrival at the marina, Makena leads the way to the dock where sed boat was supposed to arrive. As they approached the empty dock, Vanessa assumed they were outstandingly early as hardly a single crew member was there to greet them at the gate. She thought, “Wow, I’ve never been this early to anything in my life!” And “I don’t remember any charter boats coming to this dock…”.
Continuing to shrug all of it off, with full trust that Makena knew where to go (as usual), they were then exclusively granted access through the gate to the dock and took a leisurely stroll to the end together. Here is where the true theatrical chain of events ensued.
Makena and Vanessa stood at the end of the dock “waiting for the boat”, arms wrapped around each other, while enjoying the breathtaking view, when suddenly an annoying buzzing noise broke the silence and enjoyment. They looked up and saw a drone, and not just a drone passing by, but rather a drone that hovered uncomfortably closed and fixed on the two girls. Vanessa, assuming it was some weirdo creeping on them, began to wave at it trying to shoo it away and yelling at the ‘pilot’ to “take a hike!” and “I hope your battery dies soon!”. Concurrently, Makena, having not planned for a drone, came to the realization that Kelly & Kelsey (who were secretly hiding in the elements photographing) could have pulled out all the stops without telling her! Vanessa, becoming quite irritated with this hovering nuisance decides to send a message to leave them alone by covering Makena and her faces with her cardigan. Eventually the drone let up, allowing Makena to hold Vanessa from behind in an attempt to distract her from the outside variable that had shifted her attention, and say ” let’s just be here together and enjoy this”. Vanessa immediately eased and became present with Makena in this beautiful scenery of the sunshine and water around them. They shook it off and spent a few moments slow dancing together in the soft ocean breeze before the time had come for the ultimate plan, Makena had orchestrated, began to unfold.
Makena softly turned Vanessa around to face her. She looks into Vanessa’s eyes and their gazes lock onto each others. Any tense or anxious feelings either of them had felt from all events leading up to that moment completely dissipated and the world suddenly stood completely still and silent. Makena bravely began to tell Vanessa all what she loves about her with the most tender and pure of truth in her eyes and voice. It took but a split second for Vanessa to be entranced by pure energy transfixing them in this moment of euphoric surprise. She suddenly felt tingly all over as she realized what was happening and hit with a rush of emotions and disbelief, started whispering breathlessly, “oh my god, is this really happening? Is this happening?”. It was furthermore at that very moment of Vanessa fully understanding the magnitude of what was taking place, that Makena ultimately realized Vanessa had absolutely no idea about her plan the entire time, thinking to herself, ” Oh my god she didn’t know!”!
At the conclusion of Makena’s beautiful speech, she gently turned Vanessa around to face the opposite direction just as a perfectly timed water taxi approached the dock. Aboard this water taxi was a group of some of their closest friends holding up large hand-painted signs spelling out “M-A-R-R-Y M-E-?” Right then, Vanessa’s jaw as well as cardigan, both drop to the ground in complete astonishment. She then brings both hands up to her bewildered face to find Makena down on one knee, holding a one of a kind hand-made clamshell ring box that she herself had beautifully crafted. In this gorgeous ring box was Makena’s late mother’s ring, sparkling as though powered by the sun and heavens themselves. Makena, looks hopeful and divinely into Vanessa’s teary eyes, and manages to articulate the words, “Will you marry me?”. With very little ability to verbalize an audible answer in her state of shock, Vanessa mouths the word ‘YES’ as a complete emotional understatement of a reply to the immaculate marriage proposal. If that wasn’t enough, at the very moment the group of friends on the water taxi began to cheer in congratulatory celebration, and Makena proceeded to put the ring on Vanessa’s finger, a sea lion popped up right next to the dock and looked right at them. You might say they got the “seal of approval”.
Don’t lose sight of what it’s all about, you’re getting married to celebrate your love for one another. Make time to do non-wedding things each week to reconnect. Also, its never too early to start the planning, the year before your wedding flies by in a heartbeat!
Vanessa would want the venue curfew to have been much later than 10pm!!
Makena used to camp at Kualoa Ranch as a child with her parents. Also, Secret Island at Kualoa is one of the only beaches in Hawaii where you can have a wedding ceremony right on the beach, and that was really important to us. And best of all, we first became official on a dock, Makena proposed to Vanessa on another dock, and we took all our friends and family wedding guests onto a dock at Kualoa to board a boat that took everyone to our ceremony location across an 800 year old fish pond.
Communication, holding hands, say ‘I love you’ everyday.
We loved her shooting and editing style, and what she stands for in the LGBTQ community. We also loved her vibe and knew she’d be a great fit for our special day, and wow were we right!! Miss her already.
Wedding planner: @cortneycraneevents
Hair & Makeup Team: @jpbambam @kaykotamaki @sadasimone
Photographers: Steph Grant, Alexa Tucker, @michaelsegalphoto
Here is a behind the scenes video of our trip to Hawaii filmed by Steph & wedding teaser by Pono Grace:
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