My phone rang a little after 4:AM on the morning of September 11, 2001. One of the church members was yelling, “We’re under attack, turn on the TV!” He is quite the prankster, so I thought he had finally crossed the line until I turned on the TV. Like everyone else, I watched the events unfold in horror. It was a long day crying and consoling with the many people who called the church looking for prayer and comfort. I was supposed to perform a sunset wedding. I assumed it would be canceled. The couple decided to go on with their wedding in spite of the day’s events. As I drove to the wedding, I had doubts about whether having a wedding on such a tragic day was the right thing to do. I had doubts about how I would come across. I had so many doubts; I couldn’t keep up with them. Those doubts persisted until about 10 seconds into the ceremony. Something welled up within me as I considered the significance of marriage and family and the role that I play in blessing marriages. I can’t explain how powerful it was to make my own heroic stand that evening and deny the terrorists what they were trying to accomplish. I needed to love that couple and be excited with them on the most special day of their life. No one had the right to take that from them. That ceremony ended with a rose exchange. As I handed the roses to them, I told them, “Today, many couples made one last cell phone call to say I love you. May none of us ever take for granted how important every opportunity is to say those three words – ‘I love you’.” If I find myself getting so busy that I don’t have time to give my wife enough aloha kisses, I just think of this couple and I get my perspective.
A Christmas Miracle Marriage
It was a few days before Christmas. As I met the couple whose wedding I was about to perform, I noticed a certain shyness in their mannerisms. Finally, they told me what was bothering them. Their marriage had fallen apart and they had split up. They realized this was a mistake. They reconciled and now they were ready to try it again. Christmas is a season of gifts and miracles. I recognized that this couple’s ability to overcome their differences and to start fresh was a miracle. Their aloha kiss was the best Christmas gift I received that year.
Fast Track Bride
Some weddings, which I perform, are amazing examples of long-term planning and meticulous attention to detail. Some weddings take a very different approach! I know you aren’t going to believe this, but the following is a true story. A couple flew in from Taiwan. This is a very long flight. Their plane landed at 11:AM. The wedding coordinator/translator picked them up at the airport and whisked them straight to their marriage license appointment at 12:00 noon. They quickly drove to the hotel and checked in at 1:PM. After throwing their luggage in the room, they ran to the sundries shop and bought him an aloha shirt and her a grass skirt and matching coconut shell top (yes, just like the ones you see the dancers wear at the luaus). The ceremony was scheduled for 2:PM. They came running up to the wedding laughing and out of breath. It was a great ceremony. They were both very serious about their vows. It was a dream wedding. What a great example of how laid back and fun an aloha kiss Hawaiian wedding can be.
The Radio Contest Bride
Another one of my favorite weddings was the day after Valentine’s Day. The couple was from England. The young English bride had always dreamed of getting married in Hawaii but knew she couldn’t afford it. As she was at home with her “mum”, the radio announcer broke into the programmer and said, “The fifth caller will win an all expense trip to Hawaii”. The bride thought the whole thing was too good to be true and wouldn’t pick up the phone. Her mum dialed the number for her and she won! I promise, their aloha kiss gave me goose bumps!