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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 12, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 07
OUTBOUND: Same-sex military couple marry in surprise Hawaii wedding
Section One
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OUTBOUND: Same-sex military couple marry in surprise Hawaii wedding

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Ever dreamed of getting married in Hawaii? The sound of ocean waves splashing against the shore. The smell of tropical flowers in full bloom. Baby blue sky, bright sun and palm trees swaying in the background. Your closest family and friends in attendance, wearing Hawaiian print shirts and decorative leis.

For one couple, this dream turned real. Christian and Shayne Alarid (née Barnes) were surrounded by lush scenery and their loved ones when they tied the knot recently on the island of Oahu. The men met while stationed in the Aloha State; Christian currently serves in the Air Force and will enter the Air Force ROTC program this fall at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Shayne is enrolled full time at Hawaii Pacific University after completing his service in the Marines.

Although the pair was already engaged, the wedding itself was a surprise. Christian scheduled a photo shoot on the morning of November 12, 2015 at Spalding House, an extension of the Honolulu Museum of Art that overlooks the city from the hilly Makiki neighborhood. It was all a setup. The reason they were really there was for Christian to ask Shayne to marry him that day. In less than 10 hours, everything fell into place beginning with the couple checking into separate rooms at the Ilikai Hotel and Luxury Suites, an iconic property in Waikiki often used as a setting for TV shows and films, where they were welcomed by surprise guests - Christian's cousin Audrey, chosen as his best woman, and Milan, a good friend of Shayne's selected as his best man.

When the grooms finished getting ready, they were whisked away to a secret locale for their ceremony and reception. The Kahala Hotel & Resort, nestled into the upscale Kahala district about 10 minutes from Waikiki, became the ideal spot for a beautiful afternoon wedding in Hawaii. Upon arrival at the hotel, Christian and Shayne were surprised with a few more family members and friends flown in by Alaska Airlines, who received each of them with hugs and tears.

'I really wanted my family there, actually', says Shayne in a video posted by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, as part of its #LetHawaiiHappen tourism campaign.

Following a traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony on the manicured lawn of The Kahala Hotel & Resort, where many celebrities and top politicians stay when visiting Oahu, the newlyweds and their guests were treated to a reception with food, Hawaiian music and dancing under an illuminated tent. Christian and Shayne exchanged personal, handwritten vows to each other during the ceremony.

'Astonishing,' said Christian, when asked via email to describe the couple's wedding in just one word.

'It was a blessing to be married in Hawaii.' he shared. 'This state has an aura that is simply magical that I haven't felt in any other state I have ever been in. Hawaii is a beautiful state, but what many people in the mainland do not know about Hawaii is that no matter where you go, there is this overwhelming sense of family and acceptance. I am comforted in knowing that I can hold my handsome husband's hand while walking down the street and people give a gentle smile when they see us, and with that I feel at home, I am a part of the 'ohana.' The word 'ohana' means 'family' in the authentic Hawaiian language.

The Alarids have been showered with congratulations and support by friends, family and also by their colleagues. 'My military colleagues have been beyond supportive', notes Christian. 'They are like my family and accept Shayne as one of their own comrades.'

In just six weeks since it was posted online the video, titled '#LetHawaiiHappen: A Surprise Wedding,' has received over 350,000 views on YouTube. Christian admits to already being recognized from it.

'I actually had a friend who went back to his home state of Colorado to visit his family and one of his family members excitingly wanted to show him a video about a gay surprise wedding in Hawaii. When she showed him the video, he told her that the guys in the video are actually his really good friends that he hangs out with all of the time. I had a couple more friends that told me a very similar story!'

The happy couple resides in Hawaii. The video can be seen on YouTube; simply type '#LetHawaiiHappen' or 'surprise wedding' in the search engine, or subscribe to the 'Hawaii' channel.

If you're considering or interested in planning a Hawaiian wedding, whether it be on Oahu or Maui, or maybe the Big Island or Kauai, start by visiting the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau at hvcb.org.

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