Megan & Aaron's shark-tastic beach wedding

By on Feb. 25th

dancing on the beach

The offbeat bride: Megan, photographer and Managing Editor for Offbeat Bride

Her offbeat partner: Aaron, Sound Engineer

Location & date of wedding: Keawakapu Beach, Maui, HI – 10/10/08

What made our wedding offbeat: Well, it all started because of a shark attack. We got engaged after Aaron was almost eaten!

We decided to celebrate the "attackiversary" by getting married on the same island where Aaron was almost killed, exactly a year later. Because of this, our wedding became more of a three-day-long celebration of life than a wedding.

coming ashore

a soaking wet aaron coming in on the canoe

The groom actually made a grand entrance! Aaron came into the beach wedding site on a canoe, rowed by our friend's rowing team. They actually launched the canoe from the same beach at which Aaron was attacked. It was a super special moment for him.

conch shell blowers
As a surprise for both of us, that same friend also arranged to have twelve conch shell blowers who also sang Hawaiian chants for us all.

during the ceremony, surrounded by friends, family & conch shell blowers

during the ceremony, surrounded by friends, family & conch shell blowers


All our guests gathered around us in a circle as we got married instead of sitting on chairs. It was important to us to feel like it was a communal ceremony instead of having all our loved ones so far away and feeling almost as if we were performing for them.

shark ceremony 6
At the end of the wedding ceremony we had a "shark ceremony" as a way to thank the shark for letting us have Aaron back and for leading us to this day.

Renee & shark balloon

A guest posing with the shark balloon.

We held the reception at a restaurant just up the beach from our ceremony. At the reception we made sure there was no extra crap that was going to bore our guests, or major lulls where no one knew what to do.

The most important thing for us was to keep everyone fed, happy, and having fun. So we focused on eating and drinking and dancing, rather than speech making and wedding party introductions.

the guestbook table

I highly recommend having a friend man your Polaroid guest book table.

We used a polaroid guest book which people had a lot of fun with. I bought huge pieces of fake coral and spray painted them bright orange to use as our centerpieces, instead of wasting money on expensive flowers.

cupcake display

We asked a local mom to bake cupcakes for us a couple days before the wedding and we sure lucked out, because they were the BEST cupcakes I've ever tasted. I DIY'd this awesome cupcake tower, but when the time came to load the cupcakes, the tiers were too close together (big cupcakes FTW) so we came up with this funky cupcake reef design instead.

erik playing a song

My man of honor playing The Luckiest for us.

For our first dance Aaron completely surprised me with the song. I didn't get to know what song it would be until we were standing there together. He chose, We Dance by Pavement — it was super romantic and made me cry, and he gets bonus points for choosing a song that starts with the phrase "There is no castration fear." And "man of honor" played a song on a ukulele for his speech.

shark fin soap
Our wedding favors were "shark fin soaps" — the purchase of said soaps gave money to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to help in the fight against shark finning. And we also gave out cool buttons — white "Shark Angel" ones and black "Sea Shepherd" buttons.

Our extra wedding favors

We're just a couple of nerds who love Maui and hate making "big deals" out of things. So our wedding was as laid back as possible and everyone had an amazing time.

hey!

Our biggest challenge: Getting my mom to accept that we don't have to things "just because that's the way things are done."

lala & erik

Clearly my mother got over having a boy as a bridesmaid!

It started when I told her I wouldn't be carrying a bouquet, which blew her mind. Then she wouldn't speak to me for a week when the invites weren't addressed to "Mr & Mrs Man's First and Last Name." She kept begging me to not have a guy as a bridesmaid up till the ceremony.

My mom and I got into fight after fight because we wanted to have a wedding that wasn't a huge traditional structured presentation and that's just not "how things are done" in my mom's fancy social scene.

It was the only stressful part of a wedding that would have been otherwise completely stress free!

wet feet

Rainbow sandals, tattooed feet and a soaking wet dress.

We sealed the wax on our invites with this shark stamper.

I solved this problem by compromising where I could and then not backing down when we couldn't compromise. For example, when I wrote the wording on the invitations without including all the formal crap she got really upset. But there was no way in HELL that Aaron and I would ever "cordially invite" anyone to anything, plus filling up the invites with my parents full names and his parents full names was going to give people the wrong impression of this laid back, hippy-influenced wedding.

So I compromised with her by letting the RSVPs be sent to "Mr & Mrs Dad's Entire Name III" and that offered just enough stuffy tradition to make her happy.

My favorite moment: My favorite part was signing our marriage certificate.

making it official

Signing our marriage certificate on a plastic bin

Our officiant actually forgot about it and left and then came back & stopped us as we were going to our reception venue. So we plopped down in the grass where we stood to sign the certificate. My cousin happened to be walking by so we flagged her down and she became a witness and when we needed one more witness we used our photographer!

It was such a silly last-minute cluster-fuck over something that's supposed to be so structured and it was exactly how our life is.

the wedding party complete with man of honor and funky plaid shorts

The whole wedding party complete with "man of honor" and funky plaid shorts

My advice for other offbeat brides: Never take yourselves too seriously. The moment you start taking things too seriously you stop having fun with it.

I know that marriage is a serious thing and all, but you've probably already thought about/discussed/stressed over all that serious crap before and after you got engaged. Have fun with the wedding! It is really just a big party that you're throwing for yourselves.

it's over!

The end of our wedding.

I went into planning this wedding knowing that I wanted it to be as laid-back and fun as possible. When things started to not work out the way I thought it should I adopted the mantra of "eh, whatever." And reminded myself that as long as on our wedding day Aaron and I are there with an officiant and we end up married, then things turned out perfect!

Some of our vendors: It was super important for us to try and buy local as much as possible in order to support the island economy…

Enough talk — here's my wedding porn:

oh, and bonus points if anyone can identify what famous indie rock band the best man plays drums for!!!