Joybell & Joel | Intimate Wedding at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Joybell & Joel | Intimate Wedding at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel


For our very last real wedding of 2013, let’s escape the cold and head to Hawaii! Says the bride: “We knew we wanted a destination wedding pretty early on – we loved the idea of having everyone on vacation together and with us for our big day,” says Joybell. ”Since moving from Boston to San Francisco, we swapped our beach vacations in the Carribbean to Hawaii. We visited the Big Island about a year before we got engaged and the best day of our trip – and a day we both frequently quote as ‘the best day we’ve ever spent together’ – was spent enjoying the beautiful beach and grounds at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. When we got engaged, returning to the Big Island and to Mauna Kea was a no-brainer for us.”

“For the ceremony, we opted to have Joel’s father be our officiant. Saying our vows to each other (which we wrote together) with Joel’s father made the ceremony extra meaningful and personal to us.”


“We wanted the wedding to have touches of Hawaiian culture. We had the ceremony and reception outdoors and oceanside, so everyone could enjoy the views and nice weather. The flowers had some Hawaiian native florals mixed in. We also had a Hawaiian fire dancer as a surprise for our guests!”



What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  There were so many favorite moments for me! I loved getting ready with my bridesmaids and mom – everyone was in such an excited and happy mood. We chose to do a first look and we planned it so that Joel was standing at the end of a long walkway and I was walking up to him from behind. We were both so excited and anxious to see each other, and I loved that I got to see him first!

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice I received was to try my best to enjoy the day and live in every moment. Everyone tells you that the day flies by (and it really does!), and you don’t want to spend time worrying about how the tables are being set up or if people are going to be late. If your wedding schedule slips, then let it slip. Finally, steal a few minutes, just the two of you, and stand back and watch everyone enjoying your reception.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Try not to chase the latest and greatest wedding trends – plan a day that you would love today and 20 years from now.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  A common misconception is that destination weddings are a good way to save money. I feel like this is only the case if you intend to cut your guest list way down for the destination wedding. Most vendor fees are pretty much comparable wherever you go – if you have a big family or a close group of friends and everyone will come to your wedding, no matter the destination, it won’t end up costing any less.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  As a total spur of the moment idea – and very out of character of us! – we decided to jump into the ocean after the reception. We circulated the idea and were surprised that about half of the guests wanted to join us! The hotel coordinator provided a stack of towels, and we all ran into the ocean (some in swimsuits, various undergarments or nothing!). It was a perfect ending to the day.

Photographer: Ruth Anne Photography / Event Planner: Rachael Halpern, Vintage & Lace Weddings / Venue, catering, cake: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in Waimea, Oahu, Hawaii / Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Earrings: Kate Spade / Suit, shirt, tie: J.Crew / Shoes: Converse All Stars / Bridesmaid dresses: T- Bags / Floral Designer: Bliss in Bloom / Music: Hawaii Sound and Vision / Ceremony Musician: Ursula of Magic Strings

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