A Waterfront Hawaiian Wedding Full of Local Touches
Many brides and grooms dream of a wedding close to homeâand just as many envision a tropical celebration on a Hawaiian island. Lucky for Briana Liljestrand, she and her now-husband Andrew Lawrence (who goes by his middle name, Webb) didnât have to pick. The bride was born and raised on Maui, so a wedding in the stunning town of HÄna was an easy choice. âHÄna is my favorite place in the world,â says Briana, who met Webb while the pair were students at the University of Denver. âWebb loves it, too, and weâd always talked about spending a weekend with our family and friend exploring a place thatâs so special to us.â After Webb proposed during a gorgeous Maui sunset on Christmas Eve in 2016, the couple gave themselves 18 months to plan their May 12, 2018, wedding at Travaasa HÄna, and invited 150 guests to join them for days filled with hikes to secret beaches, lilikoâI margaritas, and a night of dancing under the stars as the pair exchanged vows.
Webb and Briana embraced the organic, natural beauty of HÄna, turning to Belle Destination Weddings + Events to weave together a tropical bash filled with the scent of eucalyptus and shades of white, blue, and green inspired by the ocean and the nearby rainforest. Keep reading to see how it all come together, as photographed by Maui Maka Photography!
Brianaâs Monique Lhuillier gown was the perfect choice for the coupleâs relaxed, breezy celebration. The silk shift gown featured a cowl neck and back, along with a small sweep train. âI felt like myself in the dress, almost like it was something Iâd worn many times before,â she describes.
Briana's bridesmaids all wore simple white chiffon shift dresses paired with hair combs and bouquets of maidenhair fern. Webb and his groomsmen donned white chinos, aloha shirts by Reyn Spooner, and maile leis in place of boutonnieres.
Brianaâs best friend lent her the kiawe wood arch from her own wedding, and a cluster of eucalyptus branches was all it took to make it ceremony-ready. âIt smelled so good!â says the bride. Guests were seated on bamboo folding chairs, and the ocean and cliff views did the rest.
The brideâs brother, Shan, walked her down the aisle as a Hawaiian musician played âCrazy Loveâ and favorites by Israel Kamakawiwoâole. But the ceremony almost didn't take place outside! âIt rains every day in HÄna, and we woke up to a downpour,â the bride recalls. âWebb went for a hike with no cell service, so I had to make the rain call on my own. I really wanted get married outside, so we risked itâand it wound up being beautiful and dry!â
During the ceremony, Brianaâs gown was topped with a white crown flower lei. âGiving a lei is a way of showing love and respect, and is also a symbol of unity,â says Briana. âWe had the most incredible Hawaiian ceremony, using local traditions and the native language as much as possible.â The officiant, CJ Helekahi, performed an Oli Aloha chant to begin the ceremony, which the bride says "took her breath away."
The reception took place beneath a tent lit with string lights, with garlands of eucalyptus running down the center of bare wood tables. Blue-and-white chargers added a pop of color to the organic setting, while taper candles cast a romantic glow.
The menu was full of Hawaiian favorites: coconut ceviche, ahi poke, pan-roasted mahimahi with coconut rice, and green papaya salad with red curry all made the list. Instead of wedding cake, the couple served Brianaâs favorite: banana cream pie! âOur caterer made us nine different versions for our tasting, and they were all so delicious. She called us 'the banana cream pie people!'â Briana says with a laugh.
A live band played all night, with Briana and Webb kicking things off to âOh, What a Night!â by The Four Seasons.
âEveryone tells you your wedding day will go by quickly, and itâs so true,â says the bride. âI wish I knew better how to really be present, but itâs a whirlwind. My advice is to make sure you love your photographer and take tons of photos so youâll remember those little moments later!â