Thursday, August 9, 2007

8.8.08 is the date!

Let me preface this by saying that our engagement-to-be is less than traditional, and more rooted in superstitions & practicality. If you know Chinese people, you may have figured out the "why" on the date. FH and I are both ABC's (the common nickname for "American Born Chinese"). However, just because we are ABC's doesn't mean we don't hold a lot of passed on superstitions of our elders. We both partially believe in our parent's superstitions and preferences for particular numbers and traditions. In Chinese, the pronunciation of "8" sounds very much like the pronunciation for the word "fah" or "fat", that is used for fortune, wealth, and good luck. The particular grouping of 8-8-8 is a very popular one, evidenced by selected groupings for phone #'s, license plates, and even addresses.

Now how did we set a date when there hasn't even been a proposal or ring presented yet? It all took place over the long 4th of July weekend this year. As it has now been well-documented, 7-7-07 was a record-breaking date in the history of weddings! Being such an auspicious date favored world-wide, transcending cultures, languages, and even religion, our most superstitious friend wanted to marry on 7.7.07. As we discussed the virtues and glorification of this date, I mentioned I would favor 8.8.08 to FH. As we discussed the virtues of the date, it occurred to FH that 8.8.08 was indeed an ideal date both auspiciously AND practically speaking. While I have a medium sized family and circle of friends, FH comes from a large family with lots of friends (his sister's wedding was 400+ people). The combination of my dream for a destination wedding, the fact that 8.8.08 lands on a Friday immediately cut down on the guest list. Further, there is a high likelihood that many potential guests would be committed to other Chinese weddings, or gambling, or in China for the start of the Olympics, we believe our guest list would be even smaller, with only core friends and family we'd really love to share the event with.

Since we knew it was going to be a very popular date, FH told me to start calling places I was interested in right away. Alas, I only knew of several hotel/resorts in Waikiki that I would like for the wedding I had envisioned in my head since I was in the 4th grade - on a cliff overlooking the ocean. When I started calling around a few weeks ago, my 1st pick was the Kahala Hotel & Resort (formerly known as The Kahala Mandarin). Although I have never been there, I just instantly felt it was the right place when I saw the website. Intimate, spectacular views, with the right ambiance of casual, sophisticated elegance. When I called the Kahala, I was told they did not accept reservations for up to 1 year in advance. That left me with a week and a half before I could book.

During that week, I spent countless hours searching the "net" for other options. The Royal Hawaiian - classic - all booked. The Hilton Hawaiian - well-known - all booked. The Sheraton Moana - no call back - probably all booked. The Sheraton Waikiki - not really what I wanted - no call back either. The Halekulani - beautiful, but also where my cousin was married and I don't want to steal anyone's thunder - no call back. So I ended up where I began, desperately hoping I could get The Kahala.

On 8.8.07 at exactly 11:02 am (that would be 8:02 am Hawaii time) I called The Kahala and they dropped the bomb on me. "Since 8.8.08 is such a popular date and we've had so many inquiries, we are doing a lottery to choose the couple for this date." Ahhhh!!!! What do they mean? How can that be fair? Shouldn't it be "first come fist serve" and gosh darnit I MUST be the 1st caller! My practical side decides to calm down and we give her all our info - preferences for ceremony? "I'd love the Koko Head gazebo, but I'll take what you have." Number of guests? "Give or take 100 - but I'll take what you have." Day or Evening ceremony? "I prefer evening, but again - I'll take what you have." The day progressed with anxiety and I almost gave up on my date. I figured if Hawaii were so difficult to book, then we were too late to get anything local (as where we live has many Chinese communities). 8.9.07 - I call my contact at The Kahala around noon. There were 15 entries for the lotto on 8.8.08 (they only accepted calls on 8.8.07). There were 4 slots and they had not done the drawing yet. Where else to look if I don't get picked? The Halekulani, miraculously on 8.9.07 (around 1pm) they called me back with the message that there were possibilities. Immediately I returned their call and reserved the morning ceremony on The Hau Lanai/Terrace, followed by a lunch reception. This is the picture on their site.
Within the next hour, I receive a call from Karo at The Kahala. I was selected in the drawing and reserved for the Diamond Head Gazebo morning ceremony to be followed with lunch reception in the Waialae Ballroom! I went from despair to having 2 reservations!!!

As of this moment, I am confident we will choose The Kahala. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about their weddings. And although The Halekulani is equally impressive, I would rather let my cousin and his wife keep that hotel as theirs in memories.

So now we have the date! It's feasible! It's possible! Now I need the actual proposal and an e-ring!!!

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