A Kaneohe Bay Destination Wedding

A Kaneohe Bay Destination Wedding

Simon Arden & Cathy Van Etten: April 18, 2015

Kaneohe Bay, Oahu

Iowa couple dating before getting engaged.Iowa couple dating.

Simon and Cathy met through friends on a Sunday night at Belgium beer garden on St. Kilda road in Melbourne. They started chatting and learned they had a bit in common – their appreciation for good Australian wine. They shared a bottle of Pinot Noir and before they knew it, they were holding hands underneath the table.

Iowa coupleIowa couple planning wedding.

Cathy knew Simon was the one for her when they went on a five day camping trip just three weeks after they met. She told him she wasn’t much of a camper, but he insisted. Simon brought everything but the kitchen sink just to make sure they had all the necessities. Their camping trip included biking around Rutherglen wine region, Easter lunch at one of their friend’s farm, and a drive through the mountains and over to the coast. They scheduled a lot into one trip and realized they had both met their match!

Iowa couple on engagement trip.

In September 2014, Simon told Cathy he was planning a weekend getaway in October. He told her they were going to Heathcote, which is another wine region in Victoria. However, Simon drove to the Spirit of Tasmania Boat instead. He said, “SURPRISE we are going to Tasmania”. So they drove their car on the boat Thursday night and arrived in Tassie on Friday morning. They headed down to Freycinet Peninsula and went for a hike up Mount Amos. At the end of the hike, Simon took Cathy to a beautiful secluded beach where he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him just as the sun was setting!

Groom and bride with their parents at a destination wedding in Hawaii.

Bride and groom celebrating their weeding in Hawaii with their family.

Given Cathy is from Iowa and Simon is from Melbourne and they live in Melbourne, they decided to get married in Hawaii, which is right in the middle. They really wanted to make their wedding a special trip for everyone and not just focus on them. All siblings, parents, nieces, and nephews from both sides were up for a destination wedding. Cathy’s family traveled from Iowa. Simon’s brother and his girlfriend traveled from England, and the rest of his family traveled from Melbourne. They had friends travel from San Francisco, Atlanta, and Melbourne come as well.

Bride from Iowa cutting wedding cake and feeding husband.

Tropical wedding table decor in Hawaii.

Cathy found Sakara, an event planner in Oahu. She helped organize everything: flowers, cake, celebrant, photographer, makeup, hair, food, decor, and table set up. The colors at their wedding were Hawaiian orange and pink. The wedding was perfect, Sakara and her staff were fantastic, and guests enjoyed delicious traditional Hawaiian food.

Iowa-Corridor-Wedding-Guide_Real-Weddings-Blog_Simon-Arden_Cathy-Van-Etten_Kaneohe-Bay-Destination-Wedding_Ceremony-Dad_Pure-Media-HawaiiBride from Iowa after her wedding ceremony in Hawaii.

Flower girls at destination wedding with pink and yellow flower petals.

The wedding was absolutely gorgeous. It all took place at the property in Kaneohe where both families were staying at. The property overlooked the ancient Hawaiian fish pond in Kaneohe Bay. The ceremony was held in a gazebo which was on the pond. Their parents, maid of honor (Cathy’s sister Becky), and best man (Simon’s brother James) were also in the gazebo.  The rest of the guests stood on the walkway over the water. Cathy’s nieces Phoebe and Bella were flower girls and wore the cutest pink and orange flowered dresses. Cathy’s nephew Jackson was in charge of their rings that they had specially handcrafted by Simon’s old high school mates.

Iowa Bride says "I Do" in Hawaii.

Cathy’s most memorable moment was walking out in her wedding dress and seeing Simon’s big smile! And of course the backdrop – Kaneohe Bay, Oahu.

Wedding couple enjoying champagne and toasts.

Their favorite part of the wedding was hanging out with their friends and family members at the reception.

Vendor Credits:

Rehearsal Dinner, Ceremony, and Reception Venue: SeaBreeze Estate Kaneohe Bay, Oahu

Design + Planning: STELLAR

Photography: Brandan Lee, Pure Media Hawaii (

Bride’s Gown: Hope’s Bridal, Atkins, IA (‎)

Jewelry/Accessories: Cathy’s mom brought her a stunning diamond necklace and her sweet niece brought her beautiful diamond earrings.

Florals: Tony for STELLAR

Hair & Makeup: Cheryl Hazelgrove (

Rings: Holdsworth Brothers Jewelers (

Décor & Rentals: DH Catering + Event Planning (

Catering: DH Catering + Event Planning (

Cake: A Cake Life (

Officiant: Kekoa Ornellas