Friday, October 31, 2008

Megan & Aaron's Awesome Maui Wedding

So Aaron and I got married on 10-10-08 on Keawakapu Beach, Maui, Hawaii. Our wedding was almost exactly a year from when he was attacked by a shark. Actually, two days ago, the 29th, was his shark attackiversary. And today, HALLOWEEN, is the anniversary of his big surgery! So I thought it would be fitting to publish our wedding blog in honor of the attackiversary and the surgeversary and show you a bit our particular off-beat wedding.

A local Hawaiian man, Kimokeo Kapahulehua, arranged for Aaron to be brought into the wedding on a canoe, paddled by his own canoe team. 

A team member blows the conch shell as Aaron and the crew leave the beach

the canoe coming in for a landing

the SOAKING WET groom running up the beach

Aaron was seriously drenched. The waves were extremely choppy and Aaron was told to lean over to balance the canoe. On the first stroke the person he was seated behind splashed water right in his face and soaked him. His thought was, 'at least I don't have to worry about getting wet anymore!' So once he hit the beach he ran up to our guests who were waiting on the shore and did the "wet dog shake" to try and dry off. When that didn't do the trick his best man was there with a new shirt and his suit jacket. 

The video of Aaron's entrance

our bridal party (not pictured, Aaron's best man who was bringing him his shirt.)

During this time my dad and I were taking our really look walk down the beach towards my adorably wet groom.

my dad walking me down the "isle"
(get it? isle? island? maui? beach wedding? oh forget it.)

my dad "pounds it" while I "shaka," yeah, this was a serious wedding.

Then I joined up with my wet hubby. The man who married us ended up being a friend of Kimokeo's because Kimokeo was still in the hospital. But Michael was awesome.

surrounded by our friends & family

reciting our vows. this was definitely the line that went
"And promise to always try my best to understand you."

And then it was time to kiss and be married! whoo hoo!!!

After we were man & wife, Aaron and I held a special ceremony to honor the shark that not only let Aaron live but inspired this whole wedding thing.

Aaron & Megan offering a ho'okupu (gift) of maile leis to the mano (shark)

And then we were married, the shark had been properly thanked and now it was time for photos! The photographer my mom hired was a total jackass who ended up just pissing me off (but that's for another blog), so my friend and underwater photographer Benja took over. He's the one who's taken most of the photos you're seeing in this blog. He's amazing. He also ended up being one of our "witnesses."

what up Benja!? we're married now! and aaron's legs took HUGE.

the bridal party "shaka"!!!!

I love the above photo, it shows so much about what I loved about our wedding. First of all you can see the groomsman's funky plaid shorts, and then the rainbow sandals we got everyone as bridal party gifts, then there's the ankle leis that my sister and best friend made themselves right before the wedding. You can see my friend Amy's awesome foot tattoo (who doesn't love tattooed bridesmaids!?) And finally my dress getting wet!! I had to literally ring my dress out after the photos!

After all the photo craziness my HUSBAND and I literally told everyone to "f*** off" while we had a moment to ourselves to watch the sunset.

our sunset

Then it was time to party!!! We had our reception at the restaurant right up the beach called the Five Palms Beach Grill. First things first we had everyone sign the guest book- our Polaroid guest book! Only WE didn't really have people do that, we asked our good friend Kimmy to help us with that.

Kimmy mans the Polaroid guest book station while Amy & Ari wait for their pic to develop. 
It turned out so well, I've looked at it so many times since our wedding

the patio reception

our awesome coral centerpieces & our even awesomer friends

our shark fin soap wedding favors.
The money we spent on these went to go towards saving the lives of sharks.

the BEST cupcakes I've ever had in my LIFE.

We were all about getting our guests fed asap because we've been to too many weddings lately where we weren't fed until the bridal party had been announced, then the best man made his speech, followed by the maid of honor who told stories about the bride from when they were in high school and on, and then the parents made their speech. So we had our guests eating dinner while the speeches were made. They were mostly your typical speeches except for my Man of Honor who played the ukulele that I bought him and sang the Ben Fold's song "The Luckiest" because it's one of my favorite love songs.

Erik rocking the uke.

Then we danced. 
dancing barefoot, standing on Aaron's feet.

The first dance was pretty awesome because Aaron surprised me with the song. I had NO IDEA what was going to be played and that was one of the things that I was really excited about. He chose "We Dance" by Pavement. It was perfect.

Then everyone danced for the rest of the night! It was so much fun.

And then it was over.

And now we're married! Rock on.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Returning to the scene of the crime

Aaron was determined. The minute we got to Maui all he could think about was "going back," returning to the scene of the shark attack and conquering his fear and moving on.

The first day was filled with wedding stuff; picking up chocolates, checking on our packages and unpacking. But we had time first thing in the morning on day two, before meeting with the cake lady and the going to the reception site, to head out to the Four Seasons and face our fear.

I'm not going to lie, I got a little freaked out. I was all big talk about how I wasn't going to be scared and I was going to be by Aaron's side to be there to comfort him. But when it came down to it... i was seriously terrified. And Aaron was cool as a cucumber, what else is new.

Aaron- ready to take on the big fish.

Thankfully there were TONS of people out there snorkeling, so it made us feel a lot more confident. So we did it! We took a moment on the shore to reflect on how far we've come since the last time we stood together on this beach. And then we jumped in a swam to the spot and took some pictures to comememorate this historic moment. lol.

back at the scene of the shark attack!

the view of the Four Seasons from where Aaron was attacked

Confession time again, we both got freaked out. Of course the skies got cloudy and grey the moment we swam out the that point and it didn't help our already shaky nerves. And then all of a sudden we noticed that all the other snorkelers we saw out there were gone! So we had our moment, made it quick and then then swam back as fast as we could!!! 

a proud moment- we eat fear for breakfast! :)

This was the most important thing on Aaron's agenda and I'm really glad we got to do this together.  And the rest of the times we went to that beach and to that spot were accident and shark free, I'm happy to report.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Visiting old friends

One of the first things we did when we got to Maui was to visit Kimokeo at Maui Memorial. We wanted to see for ourselves that he was okay and we also needed to meet with him to go over the wedding ceremony plans. When we left for Maui there was still a good chance that he was going to be able to do the ceremony. But when we got on the island and he still wasn't being released from the hospital it became clear that it may not work out for all of us. So Kimokeo brought in his friend and fellow native Hawaiian, Michael Gerard to be his backup. He was there at the hospital when we came to see Kimokeo.

First of all, being back at the hospital again was weird. Aaron hadn't been there since he was released from there last October. And the other eerie part was that it was all decorated for Halloween, just like it was when Aaron was a patient. It was soooooo strange to be walking through those sterile halls with paper skeletons and smiling pumpkins and cotton cobwebs adorning all the walls again. 

Anyway, Kimokeo was in good spirits when we saw him. His girlfriend Ryn was there as well and I was excited to meet her. (She's such an amazing woman and she'll play a bigger part in this whole wedding thing later on.) Kimokeo sat us down and went through what was planned for the ceremony. There were to be 10 conch shell blowers, 2 separate shark ceremonies and a canoe ride, to just name a few of the things. All of this sounded amazing. And then he asked what the groomsmen would be wearing. I told them orange and turquoise plaid shorts and they all laughed at that, saying something about us being Phillipino or something. ;)

We left the hospital feeling good, feeling excited and feeling lucky that a good friend of ours was well on the road to recovery. 

Before we left though Aaron had to stop at one place...



Our wedding cupcake display!

So the cupcake display that ordered from I made was supposed to look like this:

But on the day of the wedding, when the cupcakes finally arrived they were TOO BIG TO FIT UNDER EACH EAVE!!! (Now those are some bad-ass cupcakes!)

Of course, I had no idea what was happening, I think I was signing our marriage certificate at that point. So the employees at the Five Palms were kinda freaking out. One of them asked my sister "how important is this cupcake tower to the bride?" And my adorable sis answered, "really important, she made it herself." And of course I wouldn't have cared in reality. But because my sis put the fear of god into the guy, he ended up pulling off something really amazing!...

cupcake display

How cool is that!? I think it ended up looking like a coral reef or something. Apparently, the Five Palms guy just had this stroke of genius, ran to the kitchen and came back with bowls and plates of various sizes and then made this! I think my sister approved...

morgan loves cupcakes

Related posts:
* Took care of the cupcake tree!!!
* Made the cupcake tree!
* Wedding cupcakes- the good, the bad, the yummy

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Megan & Aaron's Awesome Hand-Drawn Wedding Maps!

Ever wonder what the bride and groom to be are doing the night before they leave for their fabulous destination wedding? If you're thinking lovely sexy romantic thoughts right now, YOU'RE WRONG!

They're staying up till 12am at a 24 hour Kinko's making "hand drawn wedding maps" for all of their guests!...

Step One: draw the map

Step Two: make a billion copies until you get it right and then make 60 copies for everyone.

Step Three: remember to have fun! You're doing this because you're in love, right!?

Then they're staying up till 3am at their apartment completing Step Four. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of Step Four, which is: Invite everyone you can from your bridal party to come over and color in all 60 maps using the highlighters you bought at the last minute from the 24 hour Kinkos, because you realized that it looks a LOT better when it's in color and it cost $1,000 to make color copies. No I'm not kidding, it seriously would have cost us over $1,000 to make copies. So highlight like your life depends on it. Which is why there are no pictures because we were all too busy highlighting. 

Step Five: have your future husband go out and buy champagne for the weary highlighters, we are after all, celebrating a wedding here. 

Step Six: bring all the maps over to the island rolled up in a tube because you were too tired to fold them all before you left.

Step Five: force your bridal party to fold all the maps

Step Six: Notice all the mistakes you made on the map and say, "oh well!" And hope your guests find their way to the parties anyway.

Megan & Aaron's Awesome Hand-Drawn Wedding Map, designed and drawn by Aaron Finley, 
every party had a separate map in a different shape- turtle, canoe & shark.

Even though they took for-ev-er to make, and the maps were not exactly right, I'm really glad we did these. They look silly and colorful, just like our love. awwwwwww.

Seeing Red

Remember when I was all excited because I finally ordered the coral pieces from Z Gallerie for the centerpieces? I ordered eight, large, WHITE pieces of coral. I planned on easily spray painting them a bright orange like I did six months ago with my test pieces of white coral which turned out perfect.

Well I got to Maui and ran and checked all the packages and freaking Z Gallerie sent me 8 large pieces of RED coral!!!! Totally the wrong color! ARGGGGGGG.

It's not the worst thing that could have happened... but it was a real big pain in the ass. It took 5 times as long to spray paint them because, as Aaron said, "coral it turns out has a surface area that approaches infinity." We had to go over and over them again and again to erase the red and instead of being a cool and vibrant bright orange they were an okay dark orange. Aaron and I had to make an extra run to Home Depot to find an even brighter shade of orange and only then did they actually start to look bright orange. yay!

I have to give HUGE thanks to my friend Sean for really taking the lead in the spray painting process. He was awesome and they wouldn't have turned out as great as they did if it weren't for the time and effort he put into them, and all while on his vacation! :)

who is that masked man? why it's Sean! My hero! :)

Still not quite right after 3 coats of the first orange color

The finished centerpieces on the tables! And Sean looking so pretty with a flower in his hair. :)

See, they ended up looking amazing. They looked so good that the Five Palms employees kept complimenting them all night. So at the end of the night when we were packing everything up and I was trying to figure out what I needed to take I thought, what the hell am I going to do with 8 gigantic and heavy pieces of coral!? So I asked the Five Palms if they wanted to keep them. They said yes! So now our cool centerpieces are part of the Five Palms. I kept one though.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

blogging haitus to resume

Hey kids,

So I'm married now, but that's not the point of this blog. The point is that I obviously haven't been blogging. Been up to my eyeballs in marital errands/ceremony/bliss etc. so I am a bit backlogged. I want to get right down to the fun wedding stuff for ya, but I have so much more to share before we get to that point.

So sit back and deal with the onslaught of other blogs and misadventures that lead up to Megan and Aaron's Awesome Maui Wedding. Because I'm telling you, getting there was half the fun. ;)

-Mrs. Megan FINLEY

Chris quits.

What's one of the last things you want to hear, oh, 5 days before your wedding?...

How about, 'You know that guy who's in charge of overseeing your wedding at your reception sight? The guy who's been working with you since day one? The guy who knows every square inch of this party just as well as you do? Yeah, that guy... He doesn't work here anymore.'

Yeah... that was a fun email to get. 

I had written Chris (the in-charge guy) to see if he needed any last minute info from me, or anything like that. Instead I got this email 5 days before the wedding...

Aloha Megan,

My name is Kathryn. I am the new Events Manager for Five Palms Restaurant as 
Chris has very recently moved on to bigger and better things.
I wanted to touch base with you regarding your event on Thursday.

Hmm... I certainly hope that "event" on "Thursday" is, like, Hawaiian for "wedding" on "Friday"!

I immediately called this new Kathryn girl in my life and we made a meeting for early the following day.

It all ended up working out fine, Kathryn was very cool, and she immediately picked up on the vibe and feel of the wedding reception. Aside from the dinner menu being completely wrong and her having no idea that there was to be a dj and dance floor, everything was fine. But let me just tell you, five days before the wedding is NOT the time to find out that the guy you were working with the entire time just up and quit his job without any warning!!!

On an interesting side note... one of the guests of the wedding was having lunch somewhere on the island that same day. The guy who was waiting on his table asked them what brought them to Maui. They responded that they were going to a wedding on Friday. He asked them where and they told him the Five Palms. And he said, 'Oh, is it Megan Tharpe's wedding?' 'Yes! How did you know!' It turns out that their waiter was Chris! He told them 'I used to work at the Five Palms, I helped Megan plan the whole thing!" 

It's a small island. Now if only I could remember where they told me that they were eating...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wow Wee Maui Chocolates

So I have a little time all by myself some how. No idea how that happened but I'm enjoying it. So I thought I'd blog a little...

The first thing we did upon arriving in Maui (besides picking up our "bridal white" Jeep Wrangler!) was to head over to the Wow Wee Maui Kava Bar in Kahului to pick up our box of 60 chocolate bars for our welcome bags. We met with Michael who was awesome. And he even gave us a wedding present...

An extra bar of the chocolate and potato chip candy bar! I was excited to try that very one for some reason. I think it's because I love salty and sweet things. And then I looked at the bar a little closer and noticed that it's even wedding themed!

That made me happy. 

Aloha from Maui!

SO much to post and so little time to post it.

We're on the island, we arrived safe and sound two days ago and we haven't stopped moving since we hit land. It's been ridiculous and stressful to say the least. But I don't mind being stressed on Maui.

I'll have to make separate entries for all the misadventures in Maui. There are so many things.

Stay tuned for the updates, I might have to do them all after the wedding because I have barely any time to even breathe as it is right now.

So Aloha everyone!!!

2 days until I'm Mrs. Finley!

Monday, October 6, 2008


It's 3:30am and we can't sleep. We're too excited (and not finished packing yet).

We leave for Maui in 7 hours!!!!

We get married in 4 days!!!!

Holy crap.

ALOHA all my loyal blog readers. See ya' on the island!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Spotlight on: Kimmy & the Wedding Makeup

My friend and fashion goddess, Kimmy, helped me out by coaching me on wedding accessories and makeup. If you know me then you know that I'm not a very girly girl. If you don't know me than let me tell you that I still have makeup that I used in high school, I never buy makeup and even if I did I wouldn't really know what to do with it. I'm a lipgloss and mascara girl and that's about all I can handle. 

So Kimmy's advice to me was to go to the Laura Mercier makeup counter at Saks and have someone do my makeup there with my wedding in mind and then buy whatever makeup they have. I thought this was a great idea. The only thing was- there was NO WAY that I was going to work up the courage to go alone, and Kimmy lives in New York. 

Luckily about a week before the wedding Kimmy came out to LA! And she dragged took me to Beverly Hills to do a little makeup shopping, with a few rules in play-
1. It had to look natural. 
2. NO blush.

getting my makeup done.

Luckily the girls that were working the Laura Mercier counter had both lived in Maui and specialized in doing wedding makeup on the island, so they had the "beach bride" look down. But Kimmy wasn't having the "no blush" rule. She told me "there's a reason they're called 'blushing brides' Megan! You HAVE to have blush." I have to admit, she had a point. But I wasn't going to be sold until I saw it on me. The girls at the counter had an idea that took them away from Laura Mercier and over to the Nars counter where they found a blush called "orgasm." Hmmm. But it ended up being perfect! Check it out...

the "blushing" bride all made-up

I have a feeling that I'm not going to be able to re-create this the day of, but I bought all the makeup anyway. Except for the blush. Kimmy bought that for me. :)

Kimmy and Me being girly in Beverly Hills