A Word From Angie

I tried to write this blog post from my perspective more times than I care to admit. Jodie and Kelly are incredibly special people with a love-conquers-all story. And while I like to think of myself as a wordsmith, I think the only people who can bring justice to this LGBTQ+ Maui wedding story are Jodie and Kelly themselves.

It’s no secret that I hold a special place in my heart for the queer community. So when I heard their story of how they wanted to get married again but this time having their LGBTQ+ Maui wedding on their own terms, I was down for whatever they’d like to do.

What started as an elopement soon blossomed into a full-on intimate wedding. And with the help of In Bloom Hawai’i, we pulled it off. But really, that’s not what I want to focus on here – it’s the love story that started many years ago between Jodie and Kelly.

So I reached out to them to retell their love story and how it all started. And I’m so grateful that they didn’t hold back and took the time to explain their story and how they got married…twice!

So take a look at the photos, feel the love, then read the story according to Kelly below!

In the Beginning

My sister and the other older neighborhood kids decided to throw a wedding and asked if I would be willing to be married. I gleefully accepted because I loved doing anything with my big sister. I especially loved playing dress-up. But when I was asked to stand in front of the bride, put a ring on her finger, and kiss her, I suddenly wasn’t having very much fun. 

Everybody around me seemed to be having fun. All the adults appeared to be enjoying the show as well as the beer keg. It wasn’t that I had to kiss her. I didn’t find that icky at all. It wasn’t that everybody was looking at us, I loved being on stage and performing any number of ridiculous things. It was that I wasn’t dressed like her.

Admittedly, whoever did allow me to be wearing red corduroy pants and a t-shirt from the local swim club did me no favors. I know that it didn’t matter. I could have been in the finest tux, tails, and top hat with sparkly purple cumberbund, and it wouldn’t have mattered. What mattered was that I didn’t also get to be in a dress. That’s all I wanted. Fine marry me off at five, but couldn’t I at least get a dress, like the other girl? 

Apparently no, that was reserved for the neighbor girl. She got the pretty dress. She got the flowers. She got the veil. Most importantly everyone saw her the way that I wanted them to see me. I was only 5 years old, but right then, I knew what gender was and what was expected of me because of how I was identified at birth. The problem was that how I was identified at birth was wrong.

Meeting the Love of Her Life

It has taken most of my life to get that corrected. Along the way, life happened. I met Jodie when we were 8 years old, and we were on the local swim team. Over the next few years, I slowly fell in love with her. Sadly, one day she was no longer there; she had quit the team. I was sure that I would never see her again. And yet, one day, she called me. It took some convincing for me to actually believe that it was Jodie truly calling me. But she really was. We started dating when I was fifteen, and she was fourteen.

Through hard work, determination, and love we made it out of high school, our teens, and college and we knew that we wanted to make this love thing official. We planned a modest wedding at a local garden, and a small reception at a beautiful art-deco restaurant nearby. Jodie picked out a simple but beautiful dress that she looked amazing in.

Kelly and Jodie’s First Wedding

It was going to be small and simple, but it was in Los Angeles in the 90’s and everything was way out of our budget. We had just started teaching at our very first jobs, but we had begun planning our wedding a year before. We chose our ten year anniversary. It sounded so cute, but it was right in the middle of the semester and a very challenging time to take off for a wedding. 

Our jobs didn’t support us, and our families didn’t really support us either. We were allowed to take off two days for our wedding, and we were able to scrape together about a thousand dollars. What to do became the question. 

We chose our favorite place, a little known bluff above a secluded nudist beach in the middle of nowhere California. It was on the edge of a literal cow field filled with accompanying scattered cow pies. Also would have to drive a ridiculous curvy mountain roadway to get there. But still, it was one of our favorite places, we could afford the ten dollar permit fee, and the views were to die for. 

We loved our first wedding. It was small, cute and simple. The reception at the group campground and having our friends BBQ for us was very touching. But we both knew that something still wasn’t right. It would have been great if we knew exactly what was going on; that I am transgender and that one day I would transition. But we didn’t have the language to say that let alone understand that was going to be our future. 

Finding Her Place and Finding Peace

In hindsight, it really feels silly that it took me so long to figure out my gender variance. I knew what I wanted when I was five. I wanted the dress! I was nineteen when I first asked Jodie to marry me. When I was fifty and finally me, I asked Jodie to marry me. It felt like it was the first time though. I knew intellectually that we had already been married for a long time and yet in a way, it felt as though we weren’t really married.

Yes, we had a certificate, but it didn’t have my name on it. It had the name of someone I didn’t recognize as mine anymore. We no longer had our wedding photos out because they had become irrelevant to who we both had; a transition never just affects one person. So it didn’t feel like it was again; it felt like it was the first time. This time I knew it would really count because I was finally me, and I could finally get married to the girl I loved, the way that I wanted to. 

Choosing to Write a New Story

This time, we were in a far different place in our lives. We’ve worked hard, we’ve taught for more than half our lives, we were now in control and there was no better place that I could think of to get married than anywhere on Maui. This time, we could go anywhere and do almost anything.  It never occurred to me that I was suggesting someplace even more remote than our first wedding. I never slowed down enough to consider that other people might actually want to attend our wedding.

When I popped the question again with Maui as the destination in mind of course Jodie said yes! She was as thrilled as me to finally be able to marry how we wanted, wherever we wanted, and with whatever dresses we wanted. We slowly began to make plans and we told our loved ones. Unexpectedly, they wanted to be there. We were thrilled and quickly reorganized events to now include our nieces as our maids of honor and our older siblings to walk us down the aisle. We also had four of our closest friends who were able to be there in support.

Marrying as her True Self: the Second Wedding

Everything was coming together. We had the best people helping to plan things and everything appeared to just need us to just stay the course and make it to the date. Yet suddenly, Jodie was fighting for her life. An oversized gallstone began causing massive problems. It took several surgical procedures, one abdominal surgery, a night of fighting off an almost deadly case of sepsis, lots of grit, stamina, a life-flight helicopter ride 300 miles away in the middle of the night, and massive medical talent working hard for several days to save her life. 

And they did it, she did it, we did it. She made it through. Two months before our second wedding, Jodie’s life was spared. We weren’t sure if she would be physically able to make the trip, but we remained cautiously optimistic. We took the time to regroup, rest, and recuperate. Day by day Jodie got stronger and stronger, and we became more confident that we would not only be able to keep our wedding plans, but that they would mean all the more now.  

Maui LGBTQ+ Wedding – How It Went Down

Gratefully, we made it to the day of our wedding, and it was perfect. Okay, it wasn’t perfect. I’m still kind of shocked with how the island wind was howling on that day, but it really didn’t matter. Our day was still perfect. We got to treat our nieces, my sister, and ourselves to an incredible day of pampering, which was priceless. We had the best photographer anywhere who, despite the crazy wind, drove us around and posed us in various tropical locations, and even better, actually captured us looking cute!! 

Our wedding was small but amazing. We were both so grateful to be there and so aware of what it meant to the both of us. It was hard to do anything beside just letting the tears flow down our faces. We were both so happy. We were finally there, with our family and friends, surrounding us, and we were both in the big fluffy dresses that we had always dreamt of wearing at our wedding. It was truly magical, especially when we walked into the restaurant for our reception.

Our wedding party of twelve had suddenly morphed into the entire restaurant and we were seated to the sound of everybody in the restaurant enthusiastically clapping and cheering for us. We don’t know if we have ever felt more love and loved in our lives. 

A Thank You To our Amazing Wedding Vendors on this LGBTQ+ wedding in Maui

Thank you to the following teams that made this dream come true for Kelly and Jodie and their LGBTQ+ Maui wedding. The love was felt all around!

Coordination: In Bloom Hawaii
Hair and Makeup: MeiLi Autumn Beauty
Music: Music by Kalo
Officiant: Keli’i Aquino
Venue: Maui Tropical Plantation

If you loved this story, you’re gonna love these Maui weddings too!

Whether you’re planning your LGBTQ+ Maui wedding or you just want inspiration, I’m here for it!

Alyx and Denise – Hotel Wailea Wedding
Maui Tropical Plantation Wedding

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