An Oceanfront Destination Wedding on Hawaii's Big Island

Tyler Wilder and Caitlin Mouton, both based in L.A., had mingled at mutual friends’ events over the years, but it wasn’t until a party in 2015 that Caitlin decided it was time to make a move. “We were at our friend Kristine’s birthday party in San Diego, and I thought Tyler looked so cute so I went for it and gave him my number,” she recalls. A matchup on Tinder further confirmed their compatibility, and they went on their first date soon after. “We’ve been together ever since," Caitlin says.

Tyler proposed two years later during a trip to the Greek isle of Santorini and, for their wedding, Caitlin suggested another island that's close to her heart: Hawaii’s Big Island. "Kohanaiki is very important to my family and Tyler fell in love with it, too," Caitlin says of Kohanaiki, a private community on the Kailua-Kona coastline. "Aside from it being so beautiful, the people that work there are like family. The thought of getting married in such a beautiful setting, surrounded by the kindest people in the world, and getting to share such a wonderful place with the people I love was a dream come true.”

As for planning, Caitlin and Tyler entrusted Duet Weddings with almost everything! "They planned my sister’s wedding the year before, and my family and I basically became obsessed with them," she says with a laugh. But, in all seriousness, Caitlin gives the Los Angeles-based planners credit for designing every detail of their dream day, which she describes as "clean, classic, and Hawaiian." "My vision was pretty simple. I wanted a beach wedding that wasn’t cheesy and over-the-top," she says. "And, honestly, the whole look was thanks to Duet. I trusted them so much. I just wanted to do whatever they said!" She felt the same way about florist Kristen Caissie of Moon Canyon. She says, "I trusted her so much that when she asked if I had any inspiration photos, I said 'no!'"

Read on to see all the details from the couple’s tropical oceanfront celebration, as planned by Duet Weddings and captured by Steve Steinhardt

Paper Birch Designs created Caitlin and Tyler's invitation suite, which featured a watercolor of Hawaii’s mountains. Welcome bags for guests included island essentials like sunglasses and sunscreen, local coffee, and a star chart of the night sky as it would appear during the couple’s October wedding. 

“My dress was hanging on the wall of the bridal salon and I couldn’t stop staring at it,” says Caitlin of her rose-colored Naeem Khan gown. “I dismissed it because it was pink but my sister told me to try it on, and when I did, I fell in love. Every other wedding dress I tried on made me feel like I was playing dress-up as a bride, but in this dress, I felt like the most beautiful version of myself, so I knew it was the one.”

Caitlin completed her look with pink Manolo Blahnik sandals (“flat since I was getting married on the sand”) and a new bracelet by designer Grace Lee, a gift from her parents. “It features a diamond and two pearls, " she says. "Tyler and I are both Geminis and our June birthstone is a pearl, so it was an incredibly special touch.” She also carried a lush bouquet by Moon Canyon that featured monstera leaves at the base of more romantic blush and white blooms.

Before the ceremony, both Tyler and Caitlin's father got emotional! Thankfully, they had handkerchiefs on hand.

The couple did a first look and posed for portraits pre-ceremony. Tyler wore a light blue suit by Penguin, which he accessorized with a floral-printed tie with hellebore boutonniere to coordinate with Catilin's blush dress. His tie was held in place with a clip made from Hawaiian Koa wood.

The bride’s cousins served as flower girls and wore flower crowns and matching white dresses from David’s Bridal. Her bridesmaids embraced the mismatched look and carried bouquets of tropical foliage. “I told my bridesmaids they could wear whatever made them feel comfortable and beautiful,” says Caitlin. “My sister helped organize the looks and it all came together so well.”

The groomsmen, who wore blue suits and printed ties to coordinate with Tyler, had boutonnieres of lisianthus, tropical foliage, and Chilean fern.

The ceremony was held on the beach with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. Two statement trees framed the scene.

Wooden benches lined the aisle as did black lava rocks and floral arrangements designed by Moon Canyon. Adds Caitlin, "It was important to me that the ceremony décor really blended in with the nature around us, which it did! 

Bridesmaids and groomsmen processed to The Beach Boy’s “God Only Knows,” and Caitlin and her parents followed as “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles played. The couple wrote their own vows and had their friend Kristine, whose party they’d connected at, perform a reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. “It mentioned love erupting like a volcano—fitting since we were married surrounded by lava rock," says the bride.

The newlyweds recessed to Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” as friends and family cheered. “The song immediately got people dancing and ready for the party,” says Caitlin.

Almost as if it on cue, a double rainbow appeared in the sky as the ceremony concluded. “It truly was the most wonderful wedding gift from Mother Nature," says the bride.

Torches led guests down the path to cocktail hour overlooking the Pacific. A ukulele player provided music and the couple served two signature cocktails: “The VaCaitlin” (a vodka gimlet) and a “MaiTy” (gin, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, and IPA). 

“Kohanaiki makes their own beer on the property, so we had two specialty brews on tap via a custom made ‘beer wall,’ manned by the maker himself,” says Caitlin. Woven favor boxes were displayed on atop monstera leaves. They also doubled as escort cards, directing everyone to a tent nearby for dinner.

“I had no idea a tent could be so beautiful,” says Caitlin of the seated reception. The sailcloth tent was filled with bamboo folding chairs and draped with white linens that allowed guests to see out during the reception. “Kona is really different from other parts of Hawaii in that it’s covered in black lava rock, which is almost otherworldly," explains the bride. "The team at Duet Weddings drew from nature at Kohanaiki and came up with a very soft and subtle color scheme that included greens, black, white, wood, and dusty rose to match my dress!”  

Each table was dressed with white linens, green napkins, black matte flatware, and centerpieces of garden roses, butterfly ranunculus, lisianthus, Chilean fern, smoke bush foliage, tropical foliage, and wild foraged grasses.

The night's menu included entrée options of roasted organic chicken, prime sirloin, and seared king salmon.

Following a spectacular sunset, the couple and their guests hit the dance floor as a DJ played. The newlyweds shared their first dance to Sam Cooke’s “Nothing Can Change This Love.” Caitlin and her father danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Eric Clapton for their father-daughter dance, while Tyler and his mother swayed to Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for their mother-son dance

After changing into second looks, the bride and groom cut their coconut wedding cake and stole a moment for themselves. “One of my friends told us that during our reception, we should stand away from the party, just the two of us, to take it all in," Caitlin says. "Standing under the stars with Tyler, watching all of our loved ones dance and have fun was one of the most special moments of the night.”

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