A Wedding at Haiku Mill, Maui
As a nineteen-year-old studying abroad, Chelsea Sevitz had no way of knowing that someday her beloved Paris would be part of her wedding day. All she knew is that she had fallen in love with the timeless architecture and quintessential romance of the “City of Lights” and had no plans to return to California anytime soon. Looking back, she is thankful that fate—and her father— stepped in to rescue her from her European reverie (he actually had to fly to France to convince her). “If it weren’t for my father insisting I come back to finish school, I would never have met Dustin!” she says. The reluctant return home allowed her to finish her studies in sociology at the University of California in Santa Cruz, and it was there that she met her future husband, Dustin Bukewihge, a recent graduate from Orange County Community College.
The two were introduced by mutual friends in 2002, and Dustin says he felt an instant connection. “When I first saw Chelsea, I just knew she was the one.” Nonetheless, their relationship remained platonic in the beginning. Chelsea relates, “We would run into each other over the years, and we were like magnets—I would spend hours talking with him. But somehow the timing was never right.” When their paths crossed again in 2005, Dustin suggested an impromptu road trip through Northern California, and the chance to be alone together allowed romantic feelings to emerge. “We fell in love and have been inseparable ever since,” says Chelsea.
The free-spirited travelers “sold everything” and headed to Maui after graduation, longing for a pared-down lifestyle that suited her love of nature and his love of surf. It didn’t take Dustin long to land a position working with autistic children and adults. His caring, gentle demeanor is just one point of attraction for Chelsea. “Dustin has this incredible energy about him. He is so open and giving... It’s rare to find someone who appreciates life like he does.”
With the security of employment in place, Dustin made a trip back home to California under the premise of a family visit. In reality, he sought his father’s guidance in selecting the perfect engagement ring for Chelsea. She was waiting back in Maui with a surprise of her own—she had gone to pick out a new Australian heeler puppy, and she couldn’t wait to share it. “I was so excited about the puppy, that I didn’t even notice Dustin was distracted,” she says. At home, he put down his bags intently and presented her with a two-carat diamond, saying, “I can’t wait any longer. I love you so much, and I want to be with you forever. Will you marry me?” Surprised and elated, Chelsea says innocently, “I got a puppy and a ring all in one day!”
As wedding plans became a topic of discussion, the two initially tossed around the idea of “a simple backyard barbecue.” A big wedding wasn’t particularly appealing to either of them, especially Chelsea, who has a tendency to deliberately deflect attention despite her beauty and intellect. The Haiku Mill changed their minds. Stepping in through the ancient archway, Chelsea was taken back in time and reminded of everything she adored in Paris. Ornate cast iron columns rescued from French flea markets and luxurious antiques imbue the old sugar mill with a secret garden ambience that both Dustin and Chelsea found mesmerizing. “The beauty of the mill took my breath away,” she says. “We knew instantly that we wanted to be married there.”
When Haiku Mill’s owner, Sylvia Hamilton-Kerr, and her sister, renowned Vancouver designer Nina Hamilton, offered to lend their creative genius to conceive of Chelsea’s wedding décor, the plans took a dramatic turn. Chelsea’s cousin, Pacific Weddings editor Robyn I‘aea, worked in concert with Sylvia and Nina to devise a motif that suited the European surroundings as well as the couple’s desire for understated elegance. Trusting the team’s vision and expertise, Chelsea and Dustin adopted a laissez-faire attitude to the countless details of the event. Nina’s sketches for the table and lighting designs were discussed and revised over several months, and talented florist, Fong Tagawa of Floral Inspirations, arrived from Oahu to compose the fabulous flower arrangements. A two-story clear-top canopy was carefully installed into the mill’s dark stone walls, with literally dozens of men working to finish the installation of the tent and special wiring of the table lamps according to the master plan. Like most well-executed events, the simple, chic décor belied a tremendous amount of preparation. In the end, it was well worth the effort.
Chelsea arrived on the scene with her bridesmaids, Marion and Michelle, and they were escorted to the Cane House. The dollhouse-like cottage is the consummate bridal suite, with its fresh white-on-white interior, pretty French antiques and sumptuous canopy bed. It was a sublime setting for makeup artist, Jessica Waite, and stylist, Dan Sanchez, to sooth Chelsea’s nervous energy. She had yet to see the mill in all its splendor, and of course Dustin was held at bay, so she was breathless with anticipation. When it came time for her to make a grand entrance down the steps of the mill, she was grateful for her father’s strong presence and her mother’s reassuring smile.
With her long hair in romantic, loose curls tucked in a clip of gardenias, Chelsea was demure and graceful as she entered through the stone archway on her father’s arm. She was lovely in a strapless a-line gown of gossamer silk. Her lush bouquet of lacy white peonies, dainty feverfew buds, and fragrant yellow garden roses was tied with a Palmoma’s Nest charm that was inscribed with the wedding date, July 10, 2010. Her bridesmaids wore sunny yellow dresses, each of their own style, and carried smaller versions of the bridal bouquet. Even Dustin and Chelsea’s adorable little daughter Olive donned the colors of the day, along with a precious coordinating headband.
The groom cut a handsome silhouette of dark grey in a Hugo Boss suit. His eye-catching Emilio Pucci tie mirrored the color story for the day, and reflected his lighthearted approach to timeless style. His best friends, Nick and Brian, stood by his side in dark black suits and suspenders paired with vivid yellow ties. The palette of the day, including the bridal party’s attire, was spectacular against the earth tones of the mill. Florist Fong Tagawa’s natural altar of dark wood branches covered in a profusion of saffron and white flowers was lit with dozens of tea lights. Striking topiaries in antique clay pots led up the steps to the mill’s waterfall, creating a stunning backdrop for the wedding vows.
The sound of a conch shell resonated through the small crowd, marking the beginning of the ceremony. Reverend Keli'i Brown presided over the traditional Hawaiian wedding, which was at once dignified and joyful. As soon as Dustin and Chelsea locked eyes, they both felt the immensity of the moment. For him, it was surreal. “I couldn’t believe how beautiful she looked! After all the anticipation, we were finally getting married.” Chelsea took his hands, and the world seemed to fall away. “Nothing else mattered at that moment,” she says. “It was just the two of us.” Honoring Chelsea’s Hawaiian family roots, the bride and groom exchanged lei with a promise to cherish each other for all time. And thus the celebration of their lifetime commenced.
Gathered among the immense mango tree outside the mill, seventy-five family and friends enjoyed cocktails and waited for a chance to congratulate the newlyweds with a warm embrace, the first of many to come as the night would unfold. When Chelsea and Dustin were finally able to take in the mind-bending beauty of the setting, they were awestruck. “It was over the top—way more than we ever could have expected,” says Chelsea. “Words cannot describe how stunning it was!”