Some of the best New York love stories begin the same way: At a bar. Jennifer and James were both NYC transplants (she's from Canada, he hails from New Zealand) who had all but given up on finding love in a place where no one wants to grow up. But on September 14, 2013, after a boozy brunch with girlfriends, Jennifer begged her pals to go get one more drink at a nearby sports bar. Once settled, she set off to find a friend who'd wandered off to talk with a group of guys, and that's where she met James. "We talked and flirted through the afternoon and well into the night. James will tell you he fell in love with me in the first 20 minutes," says Jennifer.
They were quickly inseparable, traveling around the world to meet one another's families and falling more and more in love. A year (to the day!) after they met, James brought Jennifer back to the site of their first date and proposed in the heart of Central Park. "It was so sweet, but also so funny because the only person around was an inebriated man who cheered when I said yes," Jennifer remembers. They kept that simple, laid-back vibe in mind when choosing to wed at the Andaz Hotel in Maui, halfway between her family in Canada and his in New Zealand. On August 15, 2015, 55 guests joined the couple in Hawaii for an easy-going celebration that highlighted Maui's beauty, photographed by Natalie Brown Photography.
Hawaiian-inspired invitations in punchy hot pink and orange gave guests a peek into the celebration to come.
Jennifer knew that the Nicole Miller "Morgan" gown was the one for her the first time she saw a picture. "I called the Nicole Miller store to make sure it was in stock, then headed over on a lunch break with two friends. It was the first one I tried on, and I knew it was the one immediately — and we had so much time left in the appointment that my recently engaged friend was able to try on a few dresses, herself!" says the bride. She fell for the stretch silk fabric, high neck, and beaded straps.
The bride's legs were a mile long in blush patent Yves Saint Laurent Tribute sandals — and she's thrilled she'll be able to wear them again and again. Their soft hue was the perfect match for the touches of blush pink in her rose and hydrangea bouquet.
Jennifer's bridesmaids wore champagne-colored convertible dresses, which they accented with bouquets of orange and pink roses.
"Our first look was so emotional. I had serious butterflies but didn't want to cry and ruin my makeup, so I kept reciting scenes from the movie 'Bridesmaids' to keep the tears at bay!" says Jennifer. Now that's advice we can get behind!
James wore a sandy gray linen suite from John Varvatos. His groomsmen donned navy blue suits to complement the bridesmaids' champagne dresses. "And they already owned them, so that was easy!" says Jennifer.
Guests were greeted with champagne and berry-infused water as they arrived ahead of the oceanfront ceremony. A wooden arch was decorated with ivory fabric and clusters of hydrangeas and pink and coral roses and stock flowers.
"Because our moms live far away, they weren't able to be as involved in the wedding planning as they would have liked, so we had them serve as our flower girls!" says Jennifer. Guests had no idea, and were surprised to see the women making their way down the aisle, tossing petals.
For a special twist on her walk down the aisle, Jennifer's brother walked her to the end of the aisle, where her father took over and walked her to the altar. The vows caused a few laughs, but not because of the words the couple chose. "James was wearing a mic, but it was so windy that no one could hear when I started to say my vows," says Jennifer. "I leaned in to the mic on his lapel and started again, and said all my vows that way. It was the perfect comic relief to help get me through the ceremony without crying."
Dinner took place on the lawn, at round tables topped with vases full of roses, hydrangea, and peach stock flowers.
With such a small guest list, the couple got creative by putting everyone's nickname on their seating chart. For dinner, three stations served made-to-order ceviche, Kiawe wood-grilled meats and fish, and modern tacos.
Instead of a cake, a dessert table featured trifle, cream pies, cupcakes, truffles and brownies.
For their first dance, guests were given sparklers to light a path for the bride and groom to the dance floor. At one point, a group of James's New Zealand guests removed their shirts and performed a Haka in honor of the bride and groom. "After the wedding was over, everyone who was still standing met us at the hotel's 24-hour pool. It was a great way to wind-down the night," Jennifer says. "We made sure to enjoy every moment, because once your wedding day has arrived, there's nothing left to worry about!"
Venue, Wedding Planning & Catering: Andaz Maui || Bride's Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller || Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent || Hair & Makeup: Maui Mira || Groom's Attire: John Varvatos || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Roman Malakov || Florist: Bella Bloom || Invitations & Paper Goods: Wedding Paper Divas; Miss B Calligraphy || Music: Liam Grist || Photography: Natalie Brown Photography
Can't get enough of this Maui bash? Then check out another couple's Hawaiian wedding in the video below.