Jeff & Melissa’s Ceremony at Sea

On a bright September afternoon aboard the Trilogy II sailing catamaran, high school sweethearts, Melissa and Jeff of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada said ‘I do’ to love and life together in marriage.  I had the honor of writing a custom ceremony for them and officiating their wedding. They have kindly let me feature their wedding on my website because I wanted to share the many thoughtful details and success of a destination wedding here in Maui.  They not only planned a wedding that was thousands of miles away but a different country all together.  The team of talented Maui wedding vendors brought together an event that was truly greater than the sum of its parts.   I’ve officiated all sorts of weddings over the years and I’m hard pressed to have favorites as each one is unique. That said, something was really special about this wedding from the start.  Jeff & Melissa are a great team and worked together on virtually every detail.  Because their wedding was on a boat I had the rare pleasure of getting to know more of the family and friends during the reception.  And I’ll admit I was delighted to perform a wedding not only of two beautiful people but two fandoms. Jeff is a Star Wars fan and Melissa is a fan of Harry Potter which is something that will win me over everytime.

Here is my Q&A with Melissa and Jeff Carter plus all of the details.  We hope you get lots of wedding ideas and inspiration from their beautiful wedding ceremony at sea.


Rev Julienne

P.S. Don’t miss the beautiful photos below the interview.

The Details: Wedding vendors who helped make Melissa & Jeff’s wedding dreams come true.

Planner: Taryn Johnson with Trilogy Weddings & Events
Bride’s dress: Custom by Elise Truong from Sweet Carousel Corsetry
Groom’s suit:  Harry Rosen
Make up artist: Randall from MeiLi Autumn Beauty
Hair: MeiLi Autumn Beauty
Flowers: Petals Maui
Bracelets & Hair Accessories: Dear Mitsy (Melissa’s Etsy store which donates a portion of every sale to animal rescue organizations in their home province of Alberta, Canada)
Cake/cupcakes: B3 Beach Bunny Bakery 
Ringbox:  Handmade by the groom, Jeff
Venue:  Trilogy II Sailing Catamaran, Trilogy Weddings & Events
After party / family get together:  Nalu’s Southshore Grill
Photography & Video:  Joshua Martinez
Officiant:  yours truly 🤗
Wedding Details: Jeff & Melissa did a lot of DIY for their wedding but also found many wonderful items on Etsy. See the full list at the end of the article.


The Wedding Journey In Their Own Words:

Why did you choose Maui for your wedding?
We chose Maui because we wanted to take our closest family and friends on a wonderful adventure outside of of Canada. Maui was on our list of places to visit, Jeff’s parents loved their prior visits, and Melissa’s parents had originally wanted to be married on the Hawaiian Islands 20 years ago but it wasn’t able to work out. A lot of our family had not travelled outside of the country or to Hawaii, including ourselves, so we wanted to do something really special. We originally chose Kauai to get married on, but plane tickets were much more expensive and Maui presented more venue choices. Kauai appealed to us originally because of the less touristy atmosphere. We ended up choosing Kauai to be our honeymoon destination instead. Having now visited both islands, Maui was the best choice for hosting our wedding because it presented us with a variety of options off the beaten path, yet still allowed us and our guests to experience many neat experiences that Kauai wouldn’t have offered.


What was the most stressful part of planning your destination wedding?  The most stressful part of planning would have to be choosing a venue. Once we decided where exactly we wanted to get married on Maui, everything else fell into place much easier. The venue was difficult because we did not want to do a resort wedding and there was not a lot of past experiences online of couples planning destination weddings in Maui that wasn’t at a resort and was around 20 people like ours.


What was your most special detail from your wedding day? The most special detail from our wedding day would have been the ceremony portion itself. Even though you have many people watching it, photographers capturing it, and an officiant performing it, it felt like it was just the two of us with others in the background. Julienne also put in an amazing last minute memorial piece for Melissa’s grandmother which made it even more special. After all the little details that go into the wedding, having a ceremony so carefully crafted to us as a couple was beautiful and memorable. After being together for seven years, at that point, and living together for 6 of those seven, a marriage ceremony had a lot to live up to and ours certainly did.


How long were you actively planning your wedding? We got engaged in May 2016. We had just moved to Edmonton for jobs in the summer of 2015 and after being tired of paying rent, we had bought a house in April of 2016, just before our engagement. At that point we had not considered a destination wedding and really wanted to do our wedding at our new home that we moved into January of 2017 (it was a new build). Since we still had a lot to do in terms of completion of the basement and backyard, we weren’t planning on a wedding anytime soon. One day, on a walk in our new neighborhood in the spring just after we had moved, we had a talk about the future and how long it would take to complete the house. We contemplated a destination wedding, looked into it, talked to our parents to see if they would be able to go, and then made the decision to get married somewhere in Hawaii. Actively we were planning our wedding for just over a year before we literally tied the knot.


How did you feel after the wedding was over and you were back home? We spent a good amount of time in Hawaii. We left home on September 10th to Maui, got married on September 14th, went to Kauai for our honeymoon on September 19th, and traveled back home on September 26th. Being Canadians, the heat and humidity took some time getting used to. By the end of that 2.5 week period, we were definitely missing home and our dog and cat. Because we had family and friends leaving to go back home on different dates during that period, we had plenty of time after the wedding to relax and explore before we spent another week with just ourselves. We felt refreshed as we got back home, ready to take on the next chapter in our lives. The morning after our wedding, the two of us did go for brunch at Gannon’s in Wailea and we highly recommend it, it was phenomenal! The view was spectacular and the food was amazing. The best part was spending a short time alone as a newly married couple after the busy day prior.


What was important to you when choosing an officiant?   Taryn our coordinator, was very helpful in laying out our options. She found Julienne for us and we could not have chose a better person ourselves! We wanted to be able to customize our ceremony and what we received was beyond our expectations!


What was most important to you about the actual wedding ceremony?  The most important thing about the actual ceremony was for it to “speak” to us. We wanted a ceremony that truly represented us as life partners and not something everyone else traditionally got married to.


Is there anything you wish you would’ve known going into the planning? The only thing we wish we would’ve known is to not underestimate the cost. We do not have any regrets with how we did our wedding, but it is very easy to get starry eyed with all of the options and forget about what truly is important to you. Weddings come with lots of bells and whistles, we loved everything we did but cost wise there certainly were things we could have cut down to make it more cost effective to us. DIY what you can and leave the important stuff to the professionals.


What advice would you give couples who are currently planning their destination wedding?  Don’t let family or friends tell you how to need to do your wedding. This is especially true for destination weddings. There will always be people who disapprove of you celebrating outside of the country and usually those people are the ones who don’t really care about you as a couple but rather themselves. People who are truly there for you will support you in whatever decision you make. This isn’t to say genuine family and friends won’t have concerns, they will and listen to their concerns, but they won’t try to persuade or demand you to do your wedding their way. This day is about you as a couple, celebrate it the way you want to as it is you who will look back to cherish those memories.

Picture Perfect:  Jeff & Melissa’s Maui Wedding at Sea

More beautiful wedding details:

Tie Obsessed (Etsy) – both of the Dad’s ties
Love and Dapper (Etsy) – Groomsmen/Groom suspenders and bowties/tie , flower girl dress
Rookie Creates (Etsy) – seaglass inspired vases (She shipped straight to Trilogy, Peggy was fantastic to work with!)
Dark Horse Gifts (Etsy) – custom luggage tags
3 Star Military Mom (Etsy) – Embroidered tie patches for both dads and groom (highly recommend, it made all three men cry!)
Canyon Embroidery (Etsy) – Embroidered handkerchiefs for both moms and bride (also highly recommend)
Rings – Independent Jewellers in Edmonton, Alberta

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