Photo: Courtesy of Bethany Hamilton
Nearly ten years after the shark attack that severed her left arm and spurred a spirit of perseverance, surfer Bethany Hamilton married fiancé Adam Dirks in Hawaii on Sunday.
"I look forward to being the best wife that I can be for Adam and to starting our new adventure together," Hamilton, 23, told People. "I love surfing, but getting married doesn't even compare. This was definitely the best night of my life."
The couple exchanged hand-written vows in front of 300 guests at a romantic ceremony on a secluded hilltop in Kauai. Hamilton donned a white Lazaro wedding dress, while Dirks kept it casual in a white short-sleeved button-down and khakis.
The bride, groom and their wedding party (13 bridesmaids and eight groomsmen) went barefoot for the ceremony. In true islander fashion, the groom's ring was made from local koa wood and titanium. Hamilton's wedding band was a more traditional white gold ring with a two-carat diamond.
Hamilton and Dirks had their first dance as a married couple to the tune of Ben Harper's "The Three of Us." A slightly bohemian wedding sounds like it was just the ticket for the outdoorsy couple.
After announcing their engagement in May, Hamilton described the occasion to People. "We hiked to our favorite quiet beach, munched on lunch and hung out. Then we went for a walk to a beautiful garden behind the beach. As we were walking we found two coconuts, my favorite thing to drink, which accompanied the ring. Then he started sharing his heart and love for me, and he dropped on his knee and proposed. I said yes and was crying and laughing all in a jumble. It was beautiful and perfect."
Hamilton returned to surf competitions a year after she was attacked by a tiger shark while surfing on Kauai's North Shore in October 2003. She has since written Soul Surfer about her experiences and philosophy, and become a motivational speaker. She and Dirks were introduced by mutual friends in 2012.
We're sending happy wishes to the newlyweds! If her tweet is any indication, she is already feeling the love.
Today was the most beautiful, wonderful best day of my life! God is more than good(: Excited to live life with my husband Adam Dirks!— Bethany Hamilton (@bethanyhamilton) August 18, 2013