Many brides and grooms dream of a wedding close to home—and just as many envision a tropical celebration on a Hawaiian island. Lucky for Briana Liljestrand, she and her now-husband Andrew Lawrence (who goes by his middle name, Webb) didn’t have to pick. The bride was born and raised on Maui, so a wedding in the stunning town of Hāna was an easy choice. “Hāna is my favorite place in the world,” says Briana, who met Webb while the pair were students at the University of Denver. “Webb loves it, too, and we’d always talked about spending a weekend with our family and friend exploring a place that’s so special to us.” After Webb proposed during a gorgeous Maui sunset on Christmas Eve in 2016, the couple gave themselves 18 months to plan their May 12, 2018, wedding at Travaasa Hāna, and invited 150 guests to join them for days filled with hikes to secret beaches, liliko’I margaritas, and a night of dancing under the stars as the pair exchanged vows.
Webb and Briana embraced the organic, natural beauty of Hāna, turning to Belle Destination Weddings + Events to weave together a tropical bash filled with the scent of eucalyptus and shades of white, blue, and green inspired by the ocean and the nearby rainforest. Keep reading to see how it all come together, as photographed by Maui Maka Photography!
Briana’s Monique Lhuillier gown was the perfect choice for the couple’s relaxed, breezy celebration. The silk shift gown featured a cowl neck and back, along with a small sweep train. “I felt like myself in the dress, almost like it was something I’d worn many times before,” she describes.
Briana's bridesmaids all wore simple white chiffon shift dresses paired with hair combs and bouquets of maidenhair fern. Webb and his groomsmen donned white chinos, aloha shirts by Reyn Spooner, and maile leis in place of boutonnieres.
Briana’s best friend lent her the kiawe wood arch from her own wedding, and a cluster of eucalyptus branches was all it took to make it ceremony-ready. “It smelled so good!” says the bride. Guests were seated on bamboo folding chairs, and the ocean and cliff views did the rest.
The bride’s brother, Shan, walked her down the aisle as a Hawaiian musician played “Crazy Love” and favorites by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. But the ceremony almost didn't take place outside! “It rains every day in Hāna, and we woke up to a downpour,” the bride recalls. “Webb went for a hike with no cell service, so I had to make the rain call on my own. I really wanted get married outside, so we risked it—and it wound up being beautiful and dry!”
During the ceremony, Briana’s gown was topped with a white crown flower lei. “Giving a lei is a way of showing love and respect, and is also a symbol of unity,” says Briana. “We had the most incredible Hawaiian ceremony, using local traditions and the native language as much as possible.” The officiant, CJ Helekahi, performed an Oli Aloha chant to begin the ceremony, which the bride says "took her breath away."
The reception took place beneath a tent lit with string lights, with garlands of eucalyptus running down the center of bare wood tables. Blue-and-white chargers added a pop of color to the organic setting, while taper candles cast a romantic glow.
The menu was full of Hawaiian favorites: coconut ceviche, ahi poke, pan-roasted mahimahi with coconut rice, and green papaya salad with red curry all made the list. Instead of wedding cake, the couple served Briana’s favorite: banana cream pie! “Our caterer made us nine different versions for our tasting, and they were all so delicious. She called us 'the banana cream pie people!'” Briana says with a laugh.
A live band played all night, with Briana and Webb kicking things off to “Oh, What a Night!” by The Four Seasons.
“Everyone tells you your wedding day will go by quickly, and it’s so true,” says the bride. “I wish I knew better how to really be present, but it’s a whirlwind. My advice is to make sure you love your photographer and take tons of photos so you’ll remember those little moments later!”
Wedding Planner: Belle Destination Weddings & Events
Venue: Travaasa Hāna
Officiant: CJ Helekahi
Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Bride's Shoes: Aquazzura
Bride's Jewelry: Na Hoku, The Golden Bear
Hair & Makeup: Jessica Waite
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August
Engagement Ring: Williams Jewelers Cherry Creek
Floral Design: Mandy Grace Designs
Paper Products: Studio Luzance
Calligraphy: Miss B. Calligraphy
Catering: Travaasa Hāna
Ceremony Music: Marvin Tevaga
Reception Music: Shea Derrick Full Flavor Band
Videography: Ohana Films
Photography: Maui Maka Photography