This Outdoor Wedding at Olowalu on Maui Had The Perfect Mix of Tropical and Modern Vibes
“We remember just standing there, holding hands, saying, ‘There is no way this is our wedding. This is perfect,’” newlyweds Mike Watkins and Killian Smith recall. After three postponements due to the pandemic, the grooms were ecstatic to host their friends and family for their tropical nuptials—finally!
The pair became engaged after three years together and dove headfirst into wedding planning. “Although we had to delay our wedding, our vision did not change!” they reveal. The couple initially imagined a contemporary event set against a colorful seaside backdrop. “We drew inspiration from the beautifully lush, tropical landscape with a color palette of darker greens and black with touches of gold accents to bring in the luxe hotel feel.” In other words: a stylishly modified beach wedding.
Before traveling to their destination on Maui, Mike and Killian searched for the perfect ensembles to don on their big day. “While many tropical weddings opt for light colors and linen fabric, we wanted to elevate this and incorporate our own style from the mainland—and we ended up with the perfect juxtaposition of styles,” they share. “We wore custom green suits from a shop in Phoenix with tapered legs to highlight our velvet Christian Louboutin black loafers.” Once the fashion was handled, it was time to jet off.
Guests from near and far gathered on the venue’s lawn for the alfresco ceremony. The golden, circular arch featured a lush, off-center arrangement of tropical flora with the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop. Light wooden chairs sat on either side of the fern-lined aisle, and various trees rose overhead. In their coordinating attire and leis of greenery, both grooms said, “I do,” officiated by a close friend. After their first kiss as Mr. and Mr., attendees followed the newlyweds into the cocktail hour space.
Mike and Killian made sure to infuse their day with fun extras to keep the energy high. “We surprised our guests with an aerial performer during the cocktail hour—that had everyone’s attention,” the grooms reveal. “She did a few dances to some of our favorite songs; she was the perfect touch and gave our wedding the wow factor!” At the bar, bartenders poured drinks and signature cocktails named after the couple’s two pups. “One of our favorite parts of the day was seeing our custom cocktails sign on the living bar, which was two illustrated pictures of our dogs at home that we wished could have been a part of our day. We had fun making these drinks with our bartending service, and the two cocktails were replicas of some of our favorite flavor profiles!”
The reception continued the modern-tropics aesthetic with light wood tables and minimalistic decor, including a deep green linen napkin, elegant menus and gold flatware. Low centerpieces anchored each table, and the space sat underneath twinkling string lights. “Our wedding party table was a favorite element,” the newlyweds say. “This was a vision we drew on paper; our florist and planner turned it into a work of art. Over the table, they created a canopy of fresh greenery, flowers and gold-and-black palms perfectly tying into the table setting below—Birds of Paradise mixed with tropical flowers and over 100 pounds of tropical fruit and coconuts.”
Loved ones danced the night away with Mike and Killian on the sprawling dance floor underneath a custom arrangement of rattan chandeliers and palm leaves. At long, long last, the pair was able to have their dream wedding in a beautiful setting surrounded by support. “If you’re planning a wedding, don’t sweat the small stuff and remember what the day is all about: the two of you and your love for each other,” they advise. “Enjoy the process and if you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break from the whole thing and spend some time together doing an activity you love, then come back to the decision!”