“We’re opposites who complement each other,” says Ross Matsubara of his relationship with Noa Santos. Ross, a style director at a public relations firm, is a creative, live-in-the-moment kind of guy, while Noa is more big picture (after all, he is the 30-year-old CEO of Homepolish). Together, Ross says, they make a “superhuman” team. Knowing this, the duo decided to play to their strengths while planning their 100-person wedding in Maui this past June. “For me, it was important that the larger elements were locked in: the timing, the venue,” says Noa. “After that, I let Ross run with the details.” And run with them he certainly did. Over the course of eight months, Ross obsessively masterminded every element of the event—from sourcing candles in the exact mauvey-taupe hue he was looking for to fine-tuning the all-green palette (with the slightly obscure inspo of Alfonso Cuarón’s Great Expectations) and enforcing the suggested dress code by enclosing Pantone cards with the invites. “My friends were like, ‘You are literally insane,’” he says. “But afterwards, they had to admit that all those little details made a huge, huge difference.”
Though the New York–based couple met in the Big Apple and got engaged in Paris, they always knew they would marry in Hawaii, where they both grew up on Oahu. After months of scouring the islands for a venue that jibed with their tropical- yet-sophisticated vision, they found Maui’s Haiku Mill, a sprawling 19th-century sugar factory with 150-year-old ruins and a dramatic jungle setting. Keep reading to see how they transformed the space for their Hawaiian wedding—with a runway-style aisle, Technicolor floral photo booth, and more.
True to the theme of their Hawaiian wedding, the couple utilized the island's local flora on their invitation suite. They also included a cheeky nod to Noa's design background, with the aforementioned Pantone color cards.
Noa (right) and Ross worked with menswear designer David Hart to create coordinating green looks. Noa went with a simple silk linen, and Ross selected a subtle paisley print. They accessorized with vintage knot cufflinks (a nod to their first date at the Rusty Knot in NYC) and tuxedo shirts monogrammed with their partner's initials.
“Our ‘groomsmaids’ wore Theory power suits since they are the real power bitches in our lives,” Ross explains. Their fashion-editor friend Edward Barsamian, meanwhile, opted for a look by Victoria Beckham.
The space’s flexibility allowed for their unique ceremony setup: a fashion-show-inspired arrangement of chairs facing a runway. Paper fans from Japan were placed on each ceremony seat.
Both Noa and Ross walked down the aisle arm-in-arm with their parents. Noa made his entrance to Florence Welch’s rendition of “Stand by Me," while Ross selected Toulouse’s “I Will Follow Him” (Sister Act is one of their favorite films!).
The emotional vows were presided over by Ross’s back-in-the-day prom date, April Hail. "We both decided to write our own vows, which was one of the best decisions we made throughout our wedding experience," Ross explains. "The writing process was a fantastic moment to reflect on our relationship and realize why we want to spend the rest of our lives together." Noa agrees: "The vows were my favorite moment of the entire wedding day," he says. "I repeated some of the same lines from my proposal speech to Ross in Paris six years prior."
The happy couple!
Following the ceremony, guests moved outside by the property's 100-year-old mango tree for cocktail hour (while the ceremony venue was transformed for dinner). The already lush space was decorated with Technicolor florals, as a contrast to the rest of the day's all-green decor. "We wanted the entire space to be a living, breathing photo booth," Ross explains.
Noa and Ross are known to host fabulous parties, so it's no surprise that the festivities began with St. Germain cocktails. ("It’s one of our favorite daytime drinks, and we were engaged in Saint Germain des Pres," Ross adds.)
Seat assignments were written on large green sheets of cloth that hung like scrolls from a tree in the jungle setting.
After the wedding party's ceremony entrance (two by two down the runway) left the crowd "shook," they again reappeared to kick off the dinner celebrations.
The couple's main goal for the reception was for it to be transformative for their guests, starting with the decor itself. Long tables were dressed with a lush garland of greenery and an abundance of those perfectly mauve candles. "We wanted them to feel as if they were dropped in the middle of an enchanted rain forest, yet feasting on Michelin-rated food and cocktails," Ross says.
Ross’s brother gave a traditional banzai toast, a staple at Japanese weddings in Hawaii. “It was loud, guttural, and shocked our New York guests until they realized it was a cultural tradition,” says Ross.
“During dinner, for the first time that day, all eyes weren’t on us and I could finally take it all in: the candles, the flowers, and my family sitting there, right across from Noa’s family, laughing and smiling and so happy,” Ross recalls. “It was such an amazing, strong feeling that I’ll never, ever forget.”
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Haiku Mill || Wedding Planner: Kimiko Hosaki of K.H & co. || Grooms' Suits: David Hart || Wedding Party Attire: Theory, Victoria Beckham || Invitations: Becca Goldberg of Suite Paperie || Paper Products: Alannah Rae Calligraphy || Floral Design: Mandy Grace Designs || Rentals: Winters Events, Signature Boutique Rentals, Mandy Grace Designs, Yummi Candles, Set Maui, K.H. & co. || Getting Ready Location & Cocktail Hour Chairs: Haiku House || Cocktails & Bar: Garnish Cocktail Catering || Catering: Cutting Edge Catering || Cocktail Hour Entertainment: Kalo Deleon || DJ & Entertainment: Clarity Entertainment || Fire Dancer, Drummer & Lei Po'o: Manutea Nui E || Photography: Melia Lucida