About a year before our ten year wedding anniversary my husband and I decided that we wanted to go to our favorite place, Maui, and renew our vows, to mark our decade of wedded bliss. We planned to invite family and friends to join us and throw a small wedding.
I chose a hotel on a stretch of beach that we were familiar with and spoke with their event coordinator regarding our plans. She took care of our reservations and mailed to me a whole packet of information regarding wedding functions at the hotel. I checked the mailbox everyday and was thrilled when the envelope finally arrived.
There were several wedding packages to choose from, and since we were just renewing our vows, we decided on a simple plan of action. It included a ceremony at their gazebo overlooking the ocean, a wedding officiate, certificate, small wedding cake, champagne, and toasting glasses. The coordinator included information on a photographer, the restaurants in the hotel where we could have a celebratory dinner afterwards, and the other amenities at the hotel.
The year went by quickly (thank goodness) and we were on an airplane to Maui. Our two young sons, my parents, brother, father-in-law, and my husband’s good friend and girlfriend were with us. Two of my best friends and their families met us there. We arrived in paradise a week before the ceremony was planned so that we could be sure everything was in order.
The hotel was breathtaking. There were waterfalls, lush greens, incredible swimming pools, and an ocean aroma that made you forget everything at home. The first place I wanted to check out was the gazebo and I wasn’t disappointed. It was up a path among trees and flowers and overlooked the expansive pools. The ocean was not far in the distance. It was more than I hoped for and I felt relieved that the hotel brochures and pictures painted an honest picture.
We enjoyed the week, swimming, sightseeing, shopping, and exploring. The weather was perfect and aside from meeting with the event coordinator once to go over details and decide on a restaurant for dinner, our anniversary was something we greatly looked forward to without any stress.
On the day of our renewal, we all spent the morning in the pool and getting a few last minute rays of sunshine. I went to the hair salon in the early afternoon to have my hair professionally washed and blow dried. I went up to the room to dress, putting on the short white slip dress I had bought just for this occasion. My husband wore cream linen shorts and a nice Hawaiian shirt. He looked more handsome than the day I married him. Our boys wore shorts and Hawaiian shirts also and looked adorable. We made our way downstairs to meet our family and friends.
My mom and dad bought leis for everybody and we put them on. The photographer greeted us and took some family pictures right off the lobby area in front of the beautiful ponds. The wedding officiate introduced himself and spoke with us briefly about what he was going to do. Then it was time to get started. Everyone made their way to the gazebo (except me) and took their positions with the help of the coordinator. My older son served as best man and my two girlfriends were my matrons of honor. My brother videotaped for us. When everyone was ready I made my way up the path holding a small bouquet of hibiscus and orchids. I took my place next to my husband and the ceremony began.
The service was short and sweet with the perfect inclusion of Hawaiian traditions and sayings. My husband and I held hands and gazed into each other’s eyes as we once again took an oath of marriage. There was no exchange of rings, just a promise to continue to love one another. When we were through, we all walked to a nearby table that was set up for a toast. Personalized champagne flutes and a bottle of champagne were waiting, and as we clinked glasses our guests threw rose petals at us. The photographer, by the way, captured all of this and then took just the two of us down to the beach for a few last pictures. While my husband and I were at the beach, our family and friends made their way to the restaurant we would be celebrating at.
We had a wonderful time eating and talking and when dinner was over, the cake was brought out for us to cut and serve. My husband and I fed each other a small slice and then gave a final toast. Normally not one to publicly gush, my husband said the most heartfelt words about me and our life together and I knew at that moment we would be here again in ten more years.