Pictures Tell The Story

Chris and Marnie taking a selfie

Newlyweds Chris and Marnie take a selfie post-ceremony.

While we weren’t able to invite all of you to our wedding, we hope you can all share in our magical day through the lens of a camera (or the few we shared through Twitter and Facebook already – like we were doing above).

Check out our official photo gallery page to see more!

P.S. – isn’t my wife beautiful?

Wedding Reflections

Chris and I have now been husband and wife for over 2 days now, and so far so good!  So guess this is a good time to reflect back and give a recap for those of you who couldn’t make it (and also for those of you who were able to share the day with us).

Our wedding day was one of the most wonderful days of my life!  I can’t believe how smooth everything went!  We have our wonderful wedding planner Lori Lawrence of Tropical Maui Weddings to thank for that!  If anyone ever decides to get married in Maui, we would recommend her 100%!

Chris had moved over to his parents condo the night before our wedding, so we kept with the tradition of not seeing each other on our wedding day.  I spent the night in our condo, and had trouble sleeping.  Not because I was nervous about marrying the love of my life, but just in anticipation of the upcoming day, and nervous about if the day would go according to plan.  The next morning I was awake early, even before the alarm I had set just in case.  I got up and was not feeling particularly hungry, so just had a couple of cups of coffee out on the Lanai.  My parents came up and we called my Grandma in England, as she was not able to make the trip to be with us.  That was certainly an emotional phone call!  Then I just tried to relax for a bit before I had to start getting ready.  Easier said than done!

I had Andrea of A Pampered Bride Maui coming to do my hair and makeup right at our condo.  While she was here I had my Maid of Honour (and now my sister-in-law) Meaghan, as well as my Mom, and my doting aunts here with me (including my talented photographer aunt Nancy Angermeyer who was the official wedding photographer).  With hair and makeup done (and looking and feeling great!) it was time to start heading out to the wedding venue Kukahiko Estate in Makena, HI.  It is only about a 10 minute drive from where we are staying in Kihei out there.  Once on the road we did encounter a few showers and it certainly did look like there had been rain in the area quite recently.  So we hoped that it was just a short little shower and that we had received our “good luck wedding day rain” and that it would clear up and that would be the end of it.  We then got a little lost and drove past the turn off to Kukahiko Estate.  After driving for a while, I started to have this feeling we had gone too far.  Finally I was positive we were too far, so we turned back, and I turned the GPS on my phone on.  Soon we were back on course, and made it to the venue just a few minutes late.  The girls were supposed to have a run through first, but our wedding planner informed us we would do that a little later, as they had been in full preparation for rain, so the chairs had not been set up down on the lawn yet.  It had been pouring rain just an hour before.  The decision was finally made that it seemed the rain had now passed, and the chairs were quickly put in place where we had originally planned for it.  The girls did our run through quickly and then we were ushered back to the “bridal cottage” to make our final preparations like getting the dress on!  While we did that the boys did their run through.  Before we knew it, it was go time!

The flower arrangements and leis we had arranged were fantastic!  These were provided by Lois Hiranaga Floral Design.  Though I didn’t get to have my plumeria flower arrangements (as the pink ones aren’t in season right now) the orchid arrangements were so beautiful!  My bouquet is still holding up relatively well!

The dress was custom-made for me by an acquaintance of my mom’s Joanne Chaisson of Angelic Vision in Langley.  It turned out beautifully, despite some it coming down to the last-minute, due to some unforeseen events.  She also made my veil for me out of the same lace as my dress.  The veil is exactly what I had envisioned.


Mom & Dad walk Marnie down the aisle

I had both my parents walk me down the aisle.  The above picture luckily was captured either before I lost it, or after I got myself back in check, so it looks like I was smiling, though I was actually crying happy tears as I looked down the aisle at Chris.  There was apparently a bit of a last-minute adjustment when our wedding officiant Laki Kaahumanu (see previous post about him) saw which direction my veil was blowing he decided to switch which side Chris and I were standing on.  Everything was a bit of a blur to me, so I didn’t even notice the change until I was told about it afterwards.  All I remember is looking at Chris and being so happy, yet trying so hard not to cry.  And then after Chris started reciting his vows, I had a moment of panic where I realized I would actually have to repeat after him, so I had better start concentrating on what Laki was saying!  And also about the fact that I do not have a big booming voice, and I would have to try to be heard over the crashing waves in the background.  Little did I know, that Chris was actually wearing a microphone, which also was picking up my voice.  Lori had warned us that Laki was a little unpredictable and unconventional (which is partly what drew us to him when we saw a video of a wedding he had done when we were trying to pick our officiant), Chris did everything with enough enthusiasm for Laki, but he made me repeat one section because he thought I could do better.  We also had to kiss throughout the ceremony in the Hawaiian tradition, and then one big long kiss at the end, which we weren’t allowed to break from until he stopped blowing the conch shell.  He also made us have our “first dance” on the sacred ground that we had just made our vows on, much to Chris’s dismay (he does not dance!), this did involve everyone else getting up and dancing as well, so not all the attention was on us.

After the ceremony was over, our caterer had drinks waiting for the wedding party off to the side.  I had my favourite drink waiting for me (a lava flow!).  After a few sips we had another formality to take care of, signing the marriage license.  I had to sign with my new name Marnie Golden for the first time!  At that moment I had another moment of panic, as I realized that I had not practiced signing that beforehand, so I had to do it very carefully, and it will probably look nothing like my new signature will actually end up looking like.  Oh well…  After a little time to finish our drinks, the photo shoot began.  Nancy took tons of pictures, some of just us, us and the bridal party,  with all our guests, and then back to just the two of us with the fantastic Maui sunset in the background.  Next to Kukahiko Estate there is a dramatic lava outcropping, so we spent the time leading up to sunset out on the outcropping.  Hopefully there will be some amazing pictures from that set of pictures!  Though while out there Chris lost his footing in his sandals and tweaked his bad knee, so was in some pain for the remainder.  Luckily the sun was almost setting at that point, so he was able to go and sit down shortly after.  And I was worried I would be the one to go and do something like that, since I was wearing shoes with little heels, and normally I wear nothing but flats!  In between pictures we did sneak in a few of the appetizers that were being handed out to our guests.  Chris at one point managed to sneak back to the house to get his cell phone, as he was intent on getting a selfie of us, so he could post it out in the Twittersphere and to Facebook for those of you who could not be there with us.  After a few attempts we managed to get a decent one.


Marnie & Chris post wedding selfie

Then all of a sudden it was dinner time.  Our food was done by the fabulous Stella Blues Cafe.  We came up with our own menu, seeing as Chris and I are both picky eaters.  The food was absolutely amazing, especially the pineapple teriyaki chicken!  The service staff that Stella Blues provided were also top-notch!  I couldn’t have asked for anything more!

Throughout our cocktail time and dinner we had Lori’s husband Jamie Lawrence providing the musical entertainment.  He is so talented!  You can listen to some samples of his music on the Tropical Maui Wedding website.  He also plays at Stella Blues Cafe for happy hour every Sunday if you are ever in Maui and looking for a good place to go on a Sunday afternoon (we have now been there two Sundays in a row to listen to him!).

After dinner we had our cake cutting and speeches.  My Dad and Mom both did speeches as did Chris’s Best Man Mike and Groomsman Chris.  Jamie also helped my Mom with a performance of “Come Fare Away With Me” by Jean Ritchie (or the “Marnie Song” as I grew up knowing it as).  We thank all four of you for your beautiful, heartfelt, and sometimes humorous speeches!  We are so blessed to have you all in our lives!  Then Chris gave a sweet Thank You speech (so glad he did it and not me!).  We then finally got to eat our delicious cake!  It was made by Cakes by Joann.  It was a 3 tier masterpiece, decorated with orchids.  Each tier was a different flavour (Kona Coffee Creme Brulee, Passion Fruit, and Chocolate).  It was delicious!  We also had mini-desserts made by Joann (mini lemon meringue and apple pies, and chocolate dipped strawberries.  It was all so good, I ate way too much!


Marnie & Chris cutting the cake

We then had our second “first dance”.  We danced to Marry Me (by Train), sung by Jamie.  It was lovely!  I then danced with my Dad to Somewhere Over The Rainbow (also sung by Jamie).  And then we were being told by Lori that it was time for the first guests to start loading the shuttle back so that we could be out of the venue by our 10pm deadline!  We never even had a chance to set up our iPod for dancing music!  Guess the speeches went a little long!  Oh well, a great time was had by all from what I’ve been hearing!

The pictures provided here were candid ones taken by us and by family and friends.  The official ones are currently being sorted and scrutinized by Nancy.  We will share some of those once they are ready!

I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better day!  The rain held off (except for a minor misting during the ceremony, but that actually felt kind of good and helped keep us cool!), it wasn’t too hot or too cold, and there were no major mishaps all day!  It all happened so fast, it is still a bit of a blur.  I also did get my wish (see earlier post) and turtles and Humpback whales did make appearances in the water during the afternoon/evening.  I saw the turtles many times, they were right up close to the shoreline.  I myself never did see the whales, but everyone else did apparently, so I guess I was just too distracted to notice! And while this all will not really change much in our lives, since we’ve already lived together so long, we really wanted to make it official in front of our family and friends.  And best of all, I am finally married to the love of my life and best friend!  I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with my husband!

Day One – Acclimation, Accommodation and Airlines

Our first full day here in Maui is in the bag and I still can’t believe we got as much done as we did. I also can’t believe how humid it is here right now.

We started off our day coordinating with my parents on who was meeting friends and family that were flying in – fortunately for us, my Dad stepped up to be chauffeur (three trips to the airport).

Once that was taken care of, Marnie and I went up to Makawao to meet our wedding planner, Lori Lawrence. While we’ve worked with Lori for over a year now, yesterday was the first time we had met her in person – what a lovely and bubbly woman she is! Definitely reinforced to us that we made the right choice.

Kukahiko Estate

Grounds at Kukahiko Estate – Our Venue

Spending some of the early afternoon with her, we sorted out some of the logistical details on Friday and shared some ideas with her. We also took a trip out to Kukahiko Estate to get a walk-through of our venue.


As you can see from the picture above, we’re going to have some pretty awesome sight lines. With our wedding taking place later in the afternoon, the trades will have picked up slightly to provide a cooling breeze but also to give the ocean a little character. And if Marnie has her way, humpback whales and turtles will be frolicking just offshore.

Once this trip was done, we spent the evening with family at Stella Blues for happy hour and to see Lori’s husband Jamie perform. He’s got a great voice and for those who will be attending our wedding, you’ll get a chance to see him perform live. And I would also be remiss to mention that the fish and chips at Stella Blues is top-notch – while I didn’t eat any (seafood, yuck!), half of our party did and loved it!

I wrapped up the evening accompanying my Dad to the airport to pick up some family friends who were flying in on Allegiant Air. I can’t say I’ve heard many, if any, good things about this airline beyond price and after the experience our friends went through (including waiting over an hour for luggage after the plane landed), I’d be the first person to talk anyone else out of flying with them. Sure, the price can be right, but not everything is worth the lowest common denominator!

Maui Bound

Finally, Chris and Marnie have returned to… Maui!

Well not quite, I’m actually typing this from 30000 to 40000 feet or so. And with us in the final hour of our journey to the valley isle, I thought I would use the time wisely to provide a “pre-Day 1” update.

Liam at YVR

Liam is excited to fly!

You can imagine our day was a frenetic one where we found ourselves tying up loose ends, making sure we had everything we needed packed, and had everything around the condo tended to. Even the cat knew something was up.

With everything needing doing, we ended up leaving our house an hour later than intended which doesn’t jive with slightly OCD me. While it’s obvious we made it on the plane, the time leading up to us checking our bags, getting through security and US customs pre-clearance and then to our gate had me a wee bit agitated. Fortunately Marnie is used to this by now. Suffice to say we’ve learned to work with our unique quirks.

Looking to provide ourselves something of a treat on our flight, Marnie and I decided we would try the Plus seating upgrade on WestJet which only cost $45 each at time of check-in – considerably cheaper than booking it upfront. Now before you go and roll your eyes that we spent extra cash, the additional leg room is more than worth it. And to top it off, we also received complimentary snacks, beverage (beer or spirits if we so desired) and complimentary use of the TrayVu tablet (our plane didn’t have back of seat displays). If you’re every curious on whether you should try the upgrade, I definitely feel its worth it for a longer trip.

Update: We have landed and gotten a solid night of sleep in. You can’t begin to understand how excited we are.

Packing for Hawaii

For most, packing for a trip isn’t easy. You’re always looking for items you think you might need and then discovering you don’t have enough space to pack everything. Compounding this stress even further is the ever-reducing amount of luggage you can take on a plane that doesn’t cost you money – simply for checking the bag or going overweight. So I figured I would give you some tips on what you can do to help make things work.

Luggage and Lei

Luggage and Lei – courtesy of Rice and D

Step One

When it comes to packing a suitcase, always put the things that take up the most space in first (usually shoes). But before doing so, use the space inside the shoe to stuff some rolled up socks or underwear in. And as Hawaii is about adventure, remember to bring something that you’ll be comfortable walking in as well as something light you can drag out to the beach.

Step Two

Next you’ll want to pack most of your lightweight clothing – shirts, shorts, etc. What you need to do differently at this step is more rolling, less folding (cotton t-shirts and other materials that don’t wrinkle easy). You’ll find there will be more clothing fitting into less space this way. Once this is done, you can then place collared shirts and pants half in and out of the suitcase layer over layer and when finished, fold the portion outside the suitcase in layer over layer. Remember to pack your beachwear too!

If you plan on staying at the beach, you’ll probably be okay skipping anything heavier than a cotton or linen shirt. If you plan on travelling beyond the sand, you’ll encounter rain and if you go high enough, single digit temperatures (even frost and ice on Haleakala).

Step Three

Now that all your clothes are packed in nice and neat, it’s now time for you to pack your odds and ends, toiletries (remember your sunscreen) and what-not. And while I would recommend packing electronics and valuables in your carry-on, it is “possible” to put these items in your checked baggage if you must. You’re just playing the odds that those items will be there on the other side of the trip.

Step Four – the carryon

So you’re skipping the checked bag? Good on ya! To help you out, here some further tips:

  • Packing liquids? Remember the 3-1-1 rule when travelling to the US. Simply put, you can have liquids in 3.4oz (100ml) bottles, in one 1qt sized plastic bag (go ziplock), at one bag per person. Make sure you have this item ready when you go through security – not hidden in your bag!
  • Leave your snorkel gear at home and rent some when you arrive. Rentals are quiet inexpensive and the gear is just space and weight you could otherwise re-purpose.
  • Before you pack your clothes, lay it all out and eliminate a third. You’ll never need as much as you think and if you do, clothing can be easily found in Hawaii! Or if you’d rather not buy more clothing, just find a laundromat if you’re not lucky enough to have a washing machine in your unit.
  • Wear your heavy and bulky stuff on to the plane. I’m going to assume you’re probably coming from somewhere colder than Hawaii and you can always change either on the plane or when you land.

There you have it. I’d be curious if any of you found any of the above tips handy and even better yet, would love to hear if you have any further suggestions we could add to the list.

Got Advice?

Marriage Advice

Marriage Advice – courtesy of pudgeefeet

I’m telling you – it’s crazy that exactly one week from now Marnie and I will be saying “I do.” But as some of you have mentioned to me, there’s more to it than just a few words.

And while Marnie and I have been together for nearly 14 years and engaged for nearly 5, it makes sense that we extend the offer to you to provide us some sage words of advice on how to make the marriage work. Not that we think we need that much help, but you can never have too much insight, right?

Maui Revealed – Snorkeling

Chris goes Snorkeling

Chris goes Snorkeling

By far the most popular activity for those who travel to Maui is snorkeling. Yet, it was only on our third trip there that Marnie and I ventured into the water to see what was actually underneath.

When we ventured into the water, we chose to keep things simple and head in at Kamaole Beach III (just across the street from Kamaole Sands). Sure we’d been in the water at the beach, but never before had we thought to look under the waves. Suffice to say, we were blown away at how many fish were likely swimming all around us the whole time that we’d been oblivious to.

So now you’re interested, right?

While nearly every beach has solid snorkeling opportunities, we’ve been told that taking a snorkel tour out to the Molokini Crater is all that and a bag of chips. There are options a plenty if such a trip suits your fancy, though we’d recommend taking a sail on the Ali’i Nui – we haven’t made a snorkel trip on this charter, but just loved the trade winds sail we took a few years back.

And if you’re in need of gear, pretty much every block has a snorkel or dive shop on the corner. We’ve heard good things about the Maui Dive Shop, while Marnie and I used Snorkel Bob’s when we last went. The great thing about both is that you can get full kits for an affordable price that you don’t need to truck back home when you leave. And if you’re in need of optical lenses (like Marnie), both outfits can hook you up so you can actually see what you’ll be looking at.

But instead of taking my advice, what tips do you have for us and our guests? Please share below in the comments.

This post is part of our Maui Revealed series to help our wedding guests and others explore the island. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Maui Revealed – Haleakala

In the three trips that Marnie and I have made to Maui together, we’ve never gone up to the top of Haleakala. We plan on remedying this in March.

Sunrise on Haleakala

Sunrise on Haleakala – courtesy of Miss604

Standing at just over 10000 feet above sea level, Haleakala towers over the Valley Isle. And having such a height advantage, those who make the trip up to the top are treated to some fantastic sunrises (and sunsets on a good day)! In fact, if the skies are clear you’ll have a great vantage point to see five other Hawaiian islands.

While not entirely tough, getting up to the summit is not the easiest of tasks. With no public transportation, most people tend to get up early and drive up to the summit by car. This route isn’t too challenging as the highway to the top is paved, though you will find a number of switchbacks. Oh… and cattle apparently. Watch out for the cows.

Another option is to book one of the many tours that head up for sunrise. Sure you’ll spend a few bucks to do so, but most tour outfits will pick you up at your condo/hotel and also usually provide a continental breakfast. And for those looking for an exciting way to get back down, some tours provide bikes – you just pedal once or twice and then coast all the way down. That’s right… all the way down.

If you’re interested in going up to the top, let us know as we plan on going up ourselves and it would be cool to share the experience with you! And don’t sweat the volcano part – the last time Haleakala “belched” was approximately 1790. We should be good.

This post is part of our Maui Revealed series to help our wedding guests and others explore the island. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.