Destination: Kauai, Hawaii, September 13 – 20, 2011

As if I needed an excuse to go to Kauai, getting an invite to attend a wedding certainly sealed it for me. Seemed like a good way to start off our nine week holiday abroad.

Forty or so people were summoned to Kauai, to participate in and witness the nuptials of Ken Vollmer and Christina Nelson.

Destination weddings are always fun. Destination weddings in Kauai with a dozen of your closest friends makes for heaps of fun!

We had a great week with many of our dear friends who are now spread out all over the place. In addition to New Zealand, folks flew in from Tokyo, San Francisco, Portland, Arizona, Florida, New Jersey and a few other places in the country.

The hub of activity centered around an old 1950’s styled plantation home right on the long, white crested Hanalei beach. The wide grassy lawn, surrounded by palm trees, made the perfect setting for an outdoor wedding and celebration.

Pre-wedding activities included a trip to The Blue Room (or Waikapala’e) – a fresh water cave that supposedly only royals were allowed in to. A short hike up and then down into the mouth of the cave leads you to an underground fresh water ‘lake’. Although one is not supposed to swim, a dip in the frigid waters will surely help one to purge any negative feelings. This is a sacred healing site and approaching it as such will help you feel the mana and connection to the ancient Hawaiian ancestors. It’s a great way to start your day and sixteen of us made the sojourn for a purifying morning activity.

A group of us also made it to another sacred site — The Queens Bath. The name comes from ancient times when only royalty were permitted to bathe in its sacred waters. This natural lava rock pool is worth the semi-hazardous trek to get there. Located on the bluffs in Princeville, the pool is filled with fish and other sea life and makes for a great snorkeling outing.

A tiki-themed gathering was held at the house two days prior to the wedding where we all participated in a knot-tying ceremony. Each of us was invited to share a story about the couple and then tie a piece of cloth around a length of twined flax which symbolized the union of their body, mind, and soul (I hope I remembered that right!). There were lots of laughs and a few tears as family and friends all took a turn at telling a tale of the twosome!

There was no rest for the weary as we were all in motion day and night. Boogie boarding, snorkeling, farmers markets, hanging with the lifeguards, hiking, gaming, and eating were all on the schedule.

The pre-wedding lead up allowed all of us, old and new, to get to know each other and I feel like I’ve added several new friends into my international pool of peeps.

The wedding day was perfect. God shed tears of joy with a downpour in the early afternoon which got us all on our toes. But at the time of the wedding, the skies cleared, and it was a perfect breezy setting for the wedding nuptials.  The groom’s pals all helped him get ready while the bride was kept out of sight to all.

Our friend Darek presided over the ceremony. Each of us had the opportunity to bless the rings as they were passed around the circle of guests.  Christina looked absolutely stunning in her form-fitting mermaid-styled gown with trailing train and Ken looked pretty darn good too.

After the “I do’s”,  photo opportunities abounded….

The after-party was lovely with delicious vegetarian food and some bhangra dancing which was not for the faint of heart. A bonfire was enjoyed by many until the skies opened up again.

It was a great week and a week to remember. Till next time…… aloha!