A Multicultural Wedding in Honolulu, Hawaii Filled with Tropical Flowers
Planning a destination wedding is a feat on its own, but Shaiyanne Dar (31 and an online retail business owner) and John (JP) Wakayama Carey (35 and a cinematographer) took things up a notch by planning two celebrations—a mehndi ceremony and Western nuptials—all from an ocean away. Beyond the nods to Shaiyanne’s Pakistani heritage, the couple honored her Filipina ethnicity with a halo-halo dessert bar. JP’s Japanese background was also celebrated with 1,001 paper cranes, which served as a golden (and auspicious) backdrop for their wedding cake. While much of the wedding connected to far-flung locales, Hawaiian details were celebrated just as prolifically. “My dress had tropical flowers representing Hawaii and colors similar to those my mom wore on her wedding day,” Shaiyanne says.
Inspired by a look from the Met Gala, the bride’s mehndi party style was filled with blooms. The prewedding custom was a unique chance for the pair to share their culture with loved ones. “Many of our guests had never attended a mehndi celebration before, which made hosting their first experience extra special to us,” Shaiyanne says. As a fun surprise, Shaiyanne had JP’s name hidden in her henna design. Since the couple’s venue is known for its iconic pink palace, most of the floral design stuck to a green palette to ensure they complemented the space. At the mehndi event, vibrant yellow flowers were in abundance—even in Shaiyanne’s hair. Bright floral illustrations on the invitations conveyed the day’s theme to guests from the very moment they hit mailboxes. As for the contents of the stationery, it was important to Shaiyanne and JP to begin with a prayer from the Quran.
To stave off the tropical heat, guests enjoyed frozen virgin piña coladas garnished with pineapple chunks and edible blooms. Since the wedding ceremony was outside under the blazing sun, guests were offered multicolored parasols for shade that doubled as favors. seascape With sweeping views of the water, it’s easy to see why Shaiyanne and JP selected their venue. What’s not immediately evident, however, is their deeper tie to the space: Shaiyanne’s sister, Yasmin, said “I do” at the same property in 2012. Officiated by the imam of the mosque Shaiyanne grew up attending, the couple kept the ceremony “light and fun,” even working in music from The Beatles.
As part of the reception entertainment, Shaiyanne and JP included two traditional dance performances. The first one was performed by a close family friend, Siya Kumar, who also danced at the mehndi celebration. Then, a hula dancer, Delys Recca, performed to a song written about Mars. “It was a unique dance and we are grateful our guests got to experience it,” Shaiyanne says.