Leilani & Matthew

real weddings

Written by: Darren Elms
Photography by: Sarah Maren Photographers
Wedding Date: November 11, 2012

Though both raised in small farm towns, LeiLani and Matt seem destined to meet. Matt had relocated several times for work and LeiLani has lived in Hawaii and traveled extensively to Hong Kong, Cambodia and Romania, yet they connected while back in her hometown of Yuba City. Perhaps you don’t have to travel the world to find the boy next door!

Six months into dating, they would celebrate their half-year anniversary on a summer night by the river at Scott’s Seafood. “We were gushing over each other and our crème brûlée,” remembers LeiLani, “when he said, ‘you ready to do this?’ He asked me to stand up and nothing could prepare me for the time-stopping moment when he got down on one knee and said, ‘I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?’” Once she caught her breath and said yes, they walked along the riverfront with a magical full moon above them.

The couple decided on a retro, rockabilly -inspired shindig hosted at LeiLani’s uncle’s car shop, complete with classic cars and a snap-on tool altar. “There were superhero aspects throughout, as Matt is Superman, and I, of course, am Wonder Woman,” she smiles. “We had a huge dance party with our kiddos and friends and family to finish off the festivities. It was themed, gorgeous and a total blast.”

LeiLani says she could not have done it without her fabulous vendors, or “friendors” as she would come to call them. “Being in the wedding industry for almost 10 years, it was a humbling and honoring experience being the bride and having them create my big beautiful day.”

The new bride says that her favorite moment of the day was that “first look” at her groom-to-be in the enchanted and romantic orchard.

“I walked toward him with the understanding that this was the man of my dreams who I get to spend the rest of my life with and raise our children with—it was so surreal and beautiful; then, when he turned around, time stood still. He is my home. When our eyes met, I knew I had finally come home.”

vendors + details

Ceremony/Reception Sites: Private Residence
Officiant: Alex Miladi, bride's father
Ceremony Music: Ronnie Rollins, piano and vocals
Photographer: Sarah Maren Photographers
Videographer: The Goodness
Wedding Planner: Kate Miller Events
Bridal Hair/Makeup: Hello Glam
Bridal Attire: Always Elegant Bridal & Tuxedo
Bridal Veil: Trew Luv (hairpieces)
Wedding Party/Ceremony/Reception Flowers: Flourish
Caterer: Ozark Backwoods BBQ
Cake: Tinker Shoppe
Cupcakes: Beyond Blessed
DJ/Entertainment: TSP DJ
Photo Booth: Sarah Maren Photographers
Honeymoon Location: Kona by the Sea in Kona, Hawaii
First Dance Song: “You are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne

Details about Leilani & Matt's cake: The personal cake was like an adult ho-ho. Dark chocolate cake with marshmallow crème filling. It was covered with White chocolate and black polka-dot fondant. We had little Lego Superman and Wonder Woman cake toppers. Our cupcakes were chocolate with marshmallow filling with cream cheese butter cream frosting, with black and white polka dot wrappers and sprinkles. The kids had red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and they were decorated with Superman and Wonder Woman rings.

tips + advice

Any tips you’d give brides and grooms planning their wedding today? This is my second time around and I feel like that gave me the advantage to know what really matters and what not to worry about. The great thing about weddings these days is that you are given artistic license to express your personality and preferences freely. Have a party, be yourself, show your true colors loudly, and enjoy the celebration aspect of the wedding.

What would you have done differently if you had the chance? We wouldn’t have done anything differently. It was an amazing celebration and our kids said that it was “best day of their lives!” My 4-year-old, MiaBella, came running into my room the morning of the wedding, exclaiming, “Today’s the day we’re getting married!” and it was!