A rainy day was still a bright moment in the lives of my two brides, A. & M. at their wedding ceremony which took place at Pt. Pinos lighthouse, Pacific Grove, CA. Not only were we celebrating their love and commitment - but also celebrating Equality across the U.S., the laws now grant them the right to get married. It was drizzling but we forgo using umbrellas, with my brides declaring their vows in nature, and before God. My Navy Bride, M. was crisp in her dress uniform and Bride A. wore a lace dress. I have never seen brighter smiles than the ones my brides wore during their Wiki-wiki wedding with Aloha. I was truly moved by their sweetness and so happy to have been a part of their day. Ahoy! To Love!
I was honored to officiate the wedding of Groom J. and Bride M. at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, a lovely and historic venue. The theme of my couple's wedding was the fact that they were joining as one family from their past lives. My bride is originally from Brazil, and English is her second language, so I spoke on her behalf during their customized ceremony, expressing that she was thrilled to be getting two more daughters, to add to the two she had already. The couple had all of their daughters present, and some close friends during their ceremony in the base's chapel--an intimate and personal wedding.
They generous couple also invited me to the reception which took place in what was the old Del Monte Hotel before it belonged to the Navy. Mediterranean architecture and tiles work, and finishes made a gorgeous venue. Parabens (Conflagrations in Portuguese) to my couple!
A happy couple, a lovely venue under the redwoods and an intimate gathering of immediate family was just what Bride N. & Groom A. wanted. The romantic & rustic style of their wedding suited the venue, the Felton Guild. Bride N. looked pretty in her gown & the Groom A. was suave. Their Wedding with Aloha featured a Unity Sand ceremony as well as their personally written vows to each other (which were so nicely written from them both). I helped decorate before the ceremony, laying down branches of bay leaves and rose petals, as they didn't have a wedding party--Rev. Des gives full service! Of course NO wedding starts on time, and this was no exception--thanks to an errant group of family members! The end result was a lovely and sweet ceremony and a happy day for my Bride & Groom.
A sunny day matched the bright smiles of our Groom L. & Bride J. at their beach wedding. This couple is not a couple of kids in their 20s--they're grandparents- and are an example to us that love has no age limit. Having only met last year, L. & J. fell in love, got engaged, wanted to "go for the gold" by committing to marriage with each other. They had some of their family and a few friends there for support. One special touch was that we opened the ceremony playing a song that the Groom wrote in honor of his Bride--very sweet, and I even received a copy. I want to add that the Bride's art-deco inspired dress was gorgeous, I loved it! I was very honored to be a part of their day--Aloha!
The 4th of July was a day of celebration for my couple-- Bride A. & Groom A., who had been engaged 9 years to the day. They drove all the way from Washington to Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove for their family elopement. The couple and their 3 daughters were dressed in their best beach attire for their ceremony on the sand. The weather was actually windy & a little cold, so the girls' neon-colored dresses to the matching neon color/pink toe polish (Groom included) added brightness to the day. Despite the fact that the couple had been together many years, the Bride still got teary eyed during the ceremony, to which I'd added a couple of personal statements to give their wiki-wiki more personal meaning. After the ceremony, my offbeat family posed for photos with patriotically-themed paper mustaches. Fun for all! Best wishes A. & A.!
It was drizzling, for this Spring wedding on Seabright Beach, but it was a bright occasion for Groom D. & Bride L. This couple met later in life, after they'd started their own families, but a stroke of luck led to their meeting. They fell in love, and decided to blend their existing families, and expand with a new addition on the way. They were supported by their four daughters, photographer, and myself, as we gathered under a tree, among the blooming iceplant, on the beach for their ceremony (to keep some of the mist off). It was warming to the heart to see that the Groom already was a Dad to the little ones. I was so happy that had their Seabright beach Wedding with Aloha, instead of a courthouse wedding (that the Groom first suggested).
Best wishes to the new family!
2015 Bridal Gown Fashion Trends
By Rev. Desiréee D. N. Eli
New Year, new brides, new fashion trends. I’ve looked to the future for what are the fashionable features for the new crop of bridal gowns in 2015. My work as a wedding officiant inspires me to keep in touch for what’s current in all things wedding.
Here’s what I’ve seen for fashion for 2015:
Lace or sheer fabric is most often the fabric of choice for the sleeves I've seen for 2015 (which no doubt has roots stemming from the Duchess of Cambridge’s famous ¾ length lace-sleeved gown in 2011). The “Alvarez” by Maggie Sotero is modest in the neck and shoulders with its illusion flutter sleeves but ramps it up with a deep V back.
Skinny spaghetti straps or sleeveless/tank straps in the new gowns are helping hold up the dresses—no more seeing brides constantly tugging up the front of their strapless dresses. Most designers have at least one dress with a strappy neckline/top this year.
Maggie Sotero’s collection has a long illusion sleeved gown with lace appliques down the arm (and a dramatic V-back, see trend below). Pronovias’ “Brandir” gown has a transparent sleeveless bodice with beading around the crew neckline and the short sleeved edges. Their “Mandala” gown has a V neck with sheer lace tank straps and a stunning sheer back with lace appliques; a bride in this piece will be full of illusion both coming and going. One ultra-daring gown from designer Pnina Tornei featured a sheer illusion inset with a deep plunging halter neck and sheer panels along the outer sides of skirt portion of the dress. Crazy!
So, dear brides, I’m happy to report that whatever your style or shape is, the fashion of 2015 offers many exciting and lovely looks for the gown of your dreams.
A clear January day, at a ridge top estate over Point Lobos, Carmel, with a vista across the Monterey Bay was the fabulous wedding scene for my two grooms' wedding. Groom G. and Groom D. had close family and friends present for an intimate, very personalized Simply Aloha wedding (at this fabulous venue!) outside on the stone patio.
All three of the guy's dogs walked down the aisle (dressed for the event) to accompany Groom G. and Groom D. and Grandpa. Groom D's attendants were 3 lovely ladies, whom I called his "groomsmaids."
In the address, I shared my couple's love story and touched on the fact that recent law changes in California meant my Grooms could now legally be wed.
We incorporated a Lei exchange into their ceremony, in which my grooms presented the other with a ginger and also a maile leaf lei. The leis draped over their hearts signifying the special Aloha they have for each other. And as I explained to the guests, the Spirit of Aloha is meant to be shared, so the guys then bestowed their new circle of ohana (in-laws) with their own leis. Beautiful!
Every part of their ceremony was tailor-made for my guys, and their wedding seemed perfect for them.
Congratulations and Mahalo to G. & D.!
As of 1/2/15, 35 states as well as D.C. have legal same-sex marriages (or, doing the math, 15 states ban or are under court review regarding same sex marriages, yeah we’re talking to you, Alabama). California, the state where I currently reside, in June 2013 repealed Prop. 8--a previous law from 2008 that effectively banned same-sex marriage, and once again legalized love and marriage equality.
On June 26, 2013, the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in United States v. Windsor declared part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defined marriage solely as a legal union between a man and a woman as unconstitutional. Further, the Supreme Court in 2014 declined to hear appeals from five states and overturned many more states bans on same-sex marriage as well. The U.S. Government in 2014 expanded recognition of same-sex marriages in federal legal matters. The IRS has put their two cents in, and for those legally married in a state that allows it, will treat (and tax!) those in a same-sex marriage equally in tax-related matters.
The Inter-faith, Non-denominational religious organization Universal Life Church, through which I became an ordained minister, has been a forerunner in equality for all faiths, and therefore all people, with the right to be married. The mantra for Universal Life Church is “We are all children of the same universe” includes straight people, gay people, and those in-between, so naturally ULC has always encouraged their ministers to support equal rights in marriage. And through me (Rev. Desiree D. N. Eli), Weddings with Aloha promotes the same inclusive spirit of love for all. That being said, in mid-January 2015, I will have an opportunity to practice what we preach as I officiate my first same-sex wedding. I had a chance to meet and consult with a pair of Grooms, to discuss what wedding plans they had made and what did they envision for their special day. The two gentlemen have been together for four years, engaged for two years, but had to wait for the state laws to catch up with them before they could legally be wed. Lucky for me, they found my ad through a wedding website, we spoke by phone, then met in person, we clicked, and I will be the minister for their wedding.
Weddings with Aloha went through the process of changing the language in all of our paperwork, as well as our extensive collection of ceremony element templates to be either gender-neutral or gender-inclusive. Everything for my wedding services no longer is for the traditional “Bride” & “Groom” only but now reads as “Person 1” & “Person 2” or “Name 1” & “Name 2.” Updating all of my documents took quite a bit of time, but going forward in 2015, Weddings with Aloha is current with the times and laws (as well as always staying in the know with the latest wedding fashion and trends).
Speaking for me personally, I have been a friend to the L, B, G, T community all of my adult life. This goes back to when I was a college student sneaking underage into a gay dance club, and now finally I will be able to do my part for marriage equality as I officiate my first All-Groom wedding ceremony. Of course, the wedding plans my two Grooms have made already are fabulous: involves each Groom walking down the aisle with one of their dogs, each guy having a special song for their processional, includes a nod to the Vietnamese heritage of one of the Grooms, possibly as well as designer Alexander McQueen’s clothing, female groomsmen, a Hawaiian Lei ceremony, and all taking place at an exclusive rental home on a ridge above the Carmel, California area.
I am so excited and honored!
Looking forward to officiating many more wedding ceremonies for all people who are in love and want to make the commitment of marriage. Yay Love!
An intimate beach wedding on New Year's Eve, with Bride E., Groom J., their photographer (and witness), and yours truly, the Rev. Des, ended the year on a beautiful note.
These two lovelies, although engaged since January of this year, decided only 4 days ago that they wanted to pledge their commitment on New Year's Eve.
As the County Courthouse appointments were already booked, they contacted Weddings with Aloha only the day before and we quickly arranged a way better alternative. Getting married along the ocean is 100x more beautiful and personal than being in a government building (who wants to go through a metal detector on their wedding day?). Their Light Aloha wedding was sweet and simple, and allowed for some customization to tailor their ceremony to reflect their style. The bride told me that the ceremony choices were beautifully written (it's always nice to get good feedback).
Bride E. looked elegant in her wedding attire, which definitely had a vintage vibe; her fur jacket held off the slight December chill. Groom J. was dapper in his suit. We found an empty spot on the sand at Natural Bridges Beach for them to pledge their love as the sun was going down. The other beach goers looked on during the ceremony but my couple only had eyes for each other (well, except for the part when I was addressing them and speaking about marriage).
It turned out to be a perfect day.
Happy 2015 and forevermore to the Bride & Groom!