we got maui-ed

What's more ro­man­tic than get­ting mar­ried? Get­ting re-mar­ried!

My Wedding - - SAMOA - By Debbi K and Wil­liam D Kick­ham

Adding a mar­riage vow re­newal to your trav­els can be your very own visa to more ro­mance, and a spir­i­tual en­deav­our that fos­ters deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion of your part­ner. It can also be a novel way to cel­e­brate your wed­ding an­niver­sary, or just re-cap­ture your hon­ey­moon. Why re-com­mit to your wed­ding vows? Be­cause a vow re­newal cer­e­mony not only re­minds me of why I mar­ried my dear hus­band Bill in the first place, but in­spires me to be the best per­son that I can be in our mar­riage - and not only on that spe­cial day. Re-mar­ry­ing your part­ner can re-kin­dle your at­trac­tion, fan the flames of pas­sion, and let you re-live your wed­ding day, one of the hap­pi­est and most ro­man­tic days of any­one's mar­ried life.

With di­vorce rates sky-high, any­thing cou­ples can do to strengthen their bond is a wise de­ci­sion. I be­lieve that it's only af­ter you're mar­ried that you can to­tally and truly ap­pre­ci­ate your part­ner and the ways in which he or she chal­lenges you to grow.

With that in mind, we de­cided to have a des­ti­na­tion mar­riage vow re­newal at one of the world's most beau­ti­ful places: the Fair­mont Kea Lani Re­sort & Spa on Maui. Kea Lani means Heav­enly White. This beau­ti­ful trop­i­cal Hawai­ian re­sort of­fers oceans of ad­van­tages for trav­ellers, in­clud­ing all-suite ac­com­mo­da­tion with liv­ing room and a small kitch­enette with sink, cof­feemaker, mi­crowave and re­frig­er­a­tor. There are vil­las with plunge pools that in­clude com­pli­men­tary lux­ury rental car. The re­sort is on stun­ning Polo Beach in Wailea, an up­scale des­ti­na­tion re­sort com­mu­nity and KO Restau­rant is the best on Maui of­fer­ing gourmet plan­ta­tion fare you won't find else­where. And Fair­mont's re­sort-wide Life­style Cui­sine in­cludes heart-healthy, sugar-bal­anced, ve­gan and gluten-free menu choices.

We were cel­e­brat­ing 12 years of mar­riage, 16 years to­gether, and al­most 20 years of know­ing each other. Our spe­cial day started when Polly Xiong, the ho­tel's Cater­ing and Con­ven­tion Ser­vices Man­ager, vis­ited our suite to give us a de­tailed over­view of our vow re­newal and drop off the bou­quet – a mag­nif­i­cent ar­range­ment of pur­ple or­chids of sev­eral va­ri­eties, proteas, roses in white and hot pink, and calla lilies. (The hot-pink roses per­fectly matched Deb's nail pol­ish.) At 4:30 sharp Polly es­corted us down to the Pa­cific Ter­race for a twi­light Ocean­side cer­e­mony.

We were cel­e­brat­ing 12 years of mar­riage, 16 years to­gether, and al­most 20 years of know­ing each other.

The fun started a short while later at 5:00 PM when we walked down the finely-man­i­cured lawn and a car­pet of rose petals, the is­lands of Lanai and Molokai glim­mer­ing in the dis­tance. Our non-denom­i­na­tional of­fi­ciant, Rev­erend Ala­paki “Al” Terry, greeted us at the top of the aisle and em­barked on a beau­ti­ful jour­ney of words de­scrib­ing our mar­riage and our sa­cred union, in­clud­ing a recita­tion of mar­riage vows in Hawai­ian, which we re­peated af­ter him. Our 18-minute cer­e­mony in­cluded a lei ex­change.

Bill pre­sented me with a lovely tuberose lei – fol­lowed by the tra­di­tional three kisses – and I gave him a lei of green maile leaves. Rev­erend Terry spoke of the beauty of our mar­riage, and how blessed we are to have found each other. We also re­cited our own per­sonal vows to each other, which we had writ­ten and re­hearsed pri­vately, and sep­a­rately, in or­der for them to be a sur­prise.

A few feet away a spe­cial ta­ble had been set up with sparkling cider for us to toast with, and a de­li­cious straw­berry cream cake that the ho­tel's pas­try chef had baked for us. We toasted each other and our mar­riage, and posed for pho­tos, which were shot by Mike Sid­ney. We were thrilled and de­lighted in the pro­fes­sional man­ner in which Mike posed us, told us how to place our hands, where to look – un­for­get­table mem­o­ries! We ditched our shoes and fol­lowed Mike onto Polo Beach, where we walked in the surf, posed amongst the rocks, and drew our names in the sand. What fun!

But the best was yet to come. Upon re-en­ter­ing our suite, the en­tire area was strewn with rose petals and plume­ria flow­ers, their trail lead­ing right to our bed. There we found a bucket hold­ing a bot­tle of Sparkling Cider, our newly signed mar­riage cer­tifi­cate, a plate of choco­late-cov­ered straw­ber­ries, and a gift of fra­granced bath salts. What more could any­one ask for?

As if things couldn't be any more mem­o­rable or lovely, we en­joyed an in­de­scrib­ably de­li­cious din­ner in a pri­vate ca­bana at KO. This dis­tinc­tive restau­rant, in­spired by the di­verse eth­nic­i­ties of Por­tuguese, Filipino and Chi­nese who live in Hawaii, is in a league of its own. Un­der the di­rec­tion of Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Ty­lun Pang, you'll dis­cover ex­cit­ing en­trees such as macadamia shrimp with lo­cal laven­der-honey sauce, macadamia-nut but­ter­fish (the best we've ever eaten), and mashed Molokai sweet pota­toes.

At the end of our day, Bill and I read a med­i­ta­tion en­try from a book we read ev­ery night: The Cou­ples Com­pan­ion writ­ten by Dr Harville Hen­drix (who you prob­a­bly have seen on the old Oprah TV show). We vowed, again, to each other, to stay to­gether on the jour­ney al­ways, and to count ev­ery day - not just vow-re­newal day - as blessed and spe­cial.

How lucky we are to have each other; not to men­tion the beau­ti­ful pho­to­graphs! Think­ing about the love we share, those pho­tos are the ul­ti­mate ro­man­tic sou­venirs of our Maui trip. Hav­ing a vow re­newal and say­ing “I Do, I Do” at Maui's Fair­mont Kea Lani Re­sort is your pass­port to more ro­mance.

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