On Feb. 12, 2012, amid a lush Hawaiian landscape of coconut palms, ginger blossoms, and a trickling brook, Dallas-based couple Gracie Moreno and Casey Clifton became the first gay or lesbian couple to celebrate their love with a civil union (a law which went into effect in Hawaii in January 2012) at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.
Having never been to Hawaii, Casey (23), a baker for a vegan restaurant in Dallas called Spiral Diner & Bakery, and Gracie (28), a self-employed consultant, dreamed of taking a Hawaiian vacation. And, after learning that the legalization of civil unions was in process, they chose Hawaii for their ceremony as a place where they would be safe and treated with respect. “And indeed, we were,” confirmed Gracie. “The people of Hawaii were very accepting. They were all very congratulatory and happy for us.”
The duo, who envisioned a beach wedding, wearing sundresses, and walking down the aisle barefoot, chose the Hyatt because they were drawn to the wedding ceremony locations, which offered a more private, intimate gathering place for them and their guests. Ultimately they selected Ka Hale Aloha (The House of Love) for their ceremony – a quaint, secluded wedding gazebo, set in a lush garden with a beach backdrop.
The brides were complimentary of the Hyatt Regency Maui’s team of wedding experts and their instrumental role in planning their destination ceremony. “They kept everything flowing smoothly – including the Champagne—so we could enjoy our day,” said Gracie.
Photographs courtesy of the couple’s photographer, Anna Kim.
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