So check it out. Jenny and Kevin live in Hawaii. Not like “Oh, we’re gonna try out the beach bum life for a few months”… they LIVE and WORK in Hawaii. For years now.
I’ll say this: having lived in both Hawaii and Wilmington NC, you’d be surprised at how similar the two are. Now, I’m comparing Wilmington to Maui, since that’s the island I grew up on, but I’m assuming the rest of Hawaii acts a lot like Maui anyway. Laid back, more barefoot than not, friendly, relaxed, a little on the uncomfortably hot side half the year, and really pretty. Maui’s a bit prettier than Wilmington, not gonna lie. If Wilmington had an extinct volcanic mountain range fringing the city, it’d be a real toss-up.
I’m a big fan of Mercer’s Pier in Wrightsville Beach. I remember when the pier was wooden, before Hurricanes Bertha and Fran conspired to demolish it. I remember when they started building the new concrete pier, and how the locals were, by and large, really not thrilled with the idea (“This aint California! A wooden pier is the only kinda pier that belongs on our beach!”)… and how when it finally opened, after what seemed like a decade under construction… how strangely foreign, but beautiful it was. The concrete seemed so cold at first; now, it just belongs.
One of the things that I love about Wilmington is that, like that new concrete pier, it doesn’t take long to belong here. I moved here in 1996, and was embraced and accepted almost immediately; today, even though I wasn’t born or raised anywhere near North Carolina, no one even questions my belonging here.
I figure that’s why, even after living in Hawaii for some time and knowing just how freaking ridiculously gorgeous a Hawaiian elopement could’ve been… the belonging thing. You know? You want to get married where you belong. It makes perfect sense. Oh sure, they would have had a phenomenal Hawaiian elopement or small wedding… black sand beaches, volcanic rock, real swaying palm trees, the scent of fresh lilikoi on the breeze, and the velvety indigo waters of the Pacific in the background of every photo. I would’ve killed to shoot that. But I get why they chose Wilmington. This is home. This is the place that welcomes and embraces everyone. There’s something pretty special about that. I’m proud to call this my home, too.
I love that they came home to celebrate this part of their lives. And I love that we got to be part of that.