The wedding reception of
Aaron Kimo Morris
April and I had our wedding reception on October 17, 1998 with over 200 of our friends and family. The event was held in southern California and was hosted at The Amada Club in Buena Park. The theme was "Luau-Style Tropical Hawaiian" - most guests came wearing their nicest aloha shirts and floral prints.
Here's what our guests experienced: The event started at 6:00pm. Our guests walked through the giant glass front doors with flaming tiki torches adorning both sides. Our three greeters (including two hula dancer friends of ours) put a shell lei around the necks of each guest and gave them a kiss. The guests then signed our guest book and were directed up to the pupus (Hawaiian hors d'oeuvres). On their way up the stairs, they passed an easel which supported the 1001 crane mural that Kimo created [check out the cranes!] (it took four months to fold all those cranes!). We had seen many ways to display 1001 cranes, but we don't think anyone has ever come up with a design like ours. The mural included 300 gold and 200 green foil cranes to create the palm tree, and 500 red foil cranes for the setting sun.
Proceeding past the cranes, our guests continued up the stairs. We heard that the pupus were excellent though neither one of us actually got to taste any of it since we were so busy with entertaining guests. They had prepared a HUGE sushi boat complete with California rolls, ahi, and others. There were mixed vegetables and various dips and servers walked around with hot items. We also had a bar and a punch fountain. The whole time, April and I were busy with smiles on our faces mingling and chatting.
At 7:00pm, our Emcee (our close friend Peter Kwong) invited everyone to move into the Japanese water garden around which the tables had been set. Our DJ (also a close friend, Glenn Yamashiro) played Hawaiian slack-key guitar music throughout the dinner.
The table decorations were exquisite - April's mother provided the foliage that we used to decorate the tables. In the middle of the round tables was a mat of ti leaves on which shells and colorful plumeria flowers were spread. In the center, was a small fish bowl with a fancy goldfish inside. Cards were placed against each bowl by April, each saying: "Aloha, my name is Puanani (Beautiful Flower). Please take me home with you. Mahalo". Each fish had a different name, and by the end of the luau, every goldfish went home with a guest. April also made up a menu card that included the evening's order of events. We had also made up small scrolls that were placed on each napkin that read:
Ua ola ae nei loko i ko aloha.
Akaaka loko i ka ike a ke aloha.
O wau me oe kealoha a o oe kealoha me ia'u.
E hookumu maua ka home a puni maua ohana me ka
pumehana a me ka oiloli kealoha. E hoomau maua kealoha.
Thank you for sharing in this special day of celebration.
Doesn't that bring tears to your eyes?!! On their way into the dining area, our guests passed the cake, made by Kings Hawaiian Bakery. The cake had three tiers and was made to our specifications. Months before, I had given all my prized sea shells to the designer who used them to decorate the cake. Each shell had been hand collected by me from the depths around Kauai and Ni'ihau. It was awesome! Each shell was placed on the cake with strategic precision. Designs were made around the cake depicting various aquatic themes -- starfish, corals, fishes, etc. The inside of the cake was just as fabulous as the outside. The cake (which King's Hawaiian Bakery aptly calls "paradise cake") included three layers in each tier, passion fruit (lilikoi), lime, and guava, each separated by a haupia (coconut cream) filling. Mmmm mmmm! Goldfish bowls were placed around the cake too.
Once people were seated, Peter introduced my cousin Danny who did a personalized (and very funny) toast. Danny, a comedian by trade, had the crowd in stitches. The fact that April and I met through the internet, plus our 11 year age difference, provided ample material for Danny's toast. Then, Peter took the microphone and did a "banzai" toast. Essentially, everyone screams at the top of their lungs three times in unison: "BANZAI-I, BANZAI-I, BANZAI-IIII!!!" (particular emphasis on the last banzai). For sure, that got the blood rushing. Finally, Peter invited each table to walk up to the luau-style buffet. The chef was fantastic. He had once been "chef-to-the-emperor-of-Japan" before moving to America. He prepared a gourmet luau-style menu complete with lomi lomi salmon, grilled mahimahi, teriaki chicken, haupia, etc. It was excellent though I only had two bites of my food the whole evening. I know I saw people at least go back for seconds, perhaps even thirds.
|After dinner, April and I went up to the stage to thank our guests. I went first, thanking all the usual people one thanks at such events - my parents, my sister (who made April's dress and my aloha shirt!), my out-of-town guests, etc. My final thanks went to April who I felt had done an exceptional job in preparing the evening! We both shared equally in the responsibility, but it seemed to me that April had done all the hard stuff.
When I was done, April got up and did her round of thanking. Tears welled up in everyone's eyes when she thanked her sister who flew in from Washington State - she had not seen her sister in 16 years! Now here is where I get misty-eyed. April saved her final thanks for me, as I had for her. While she proceeded to thank me, Peter walked up and placed a chair at stage right with the back facing the guests. I was told to sit there as April continued. She looked me in the eyes and said, "Kimo, I have something to tell you. In the past three months, I've been seeing someone else" [I'm thinking, "duhh"]. She then points into the audience to one of her best friends and says, "Jill Ito, please stand up. Kimo, I've been seeing Jill for the past three months. She has been teaching me a beautiful hula that I want to dance for you. The music for this dance is your favorite song, Kawaipunahele". My jaw dropped and the music started. I was completely blown away by how wonderfully she danced! What a surprise! I admit to being a bit choked up. April received a standing ovation, and I felt very proud to be her husband. Once that was over (and I was able to feel my legs again), we returned to our table and Peter introduced the entertainment for the evening. Nonosina Hula Halau perform a Polynesian dance review which proved to be a highlight for many of our guests. For two weeks following the reception, my workmates continued to talk about the Polynesian dancers, especially those who gyrated closest to their table. Towards the end of the show, the dancers went into the audience and pulled three men from the crowd to join them on stage... yes, you guessed it - I was one of them. What the dancers didn't realize (nor most of the guests for that matter) was that I had done a little Tahitian dancing in the past. I think people were pleasantly surprised despite the fact that my hips kept making groaning noises with every pa'ote (I guess it was from all the rust in my hips).
The evening concluded with the cake cutting and some dancing. April and I promised to be nice to each other with the cake feeding tradition. I managed to not get any frosting on April's lips, chin, cheeks or hair.
Once people had finally gone, April and I, with help from Robbie, Tarrah, Lucy, Cousins Michael and Richelle, and my parents and sister, loaded up all the gifts and drove them all back to our place. Our front room was filled with gifts from floor to ceiling, but not for long. You see, when April sees a task ahead of her, she doesn't procrastinate. She decided to open ALL of the presents that night! We were up until 4:30am. By the time we went to bed, April had opened and cataloged every gift and by the end of the following week, she had already completed all the thank you cards. Truly amazing! If it were left up to me, the whole process would have taken at least four months.
I must admit, it was fun seeing the exhileration on peoples faces when they left that evening. Everyone had a great time. In fact, we are still receiving letters, e-mail and phone calls from guests who had a blast.
E-Mail - Kimo