Weddings

Bridal Bliss: Brandi and Tia Eloped In Hawaii and Stole Our Hearts

Love Is Love Is Love Is Love

Chelsea Abril Photography

Lauren Porter
Jun, 06, 2018 10:10 AM UTC

When the brides met at a work conference they immediately knew they were kindred souls destined for happily ever after. Their amazing beach wedding photos are just as beautiful as their love story. Take a look!

Bride: Tia Sheree Gaynor, 39, Professor
Bride: Brandi Blessett, 37, Professor
The Big Day: 8/15/17
Location: Magic Island, Honolulu Hawaii and Azure Waikiki
Style/Theme: Beach Chic 

Vendors

Photographer: Chelsea Abril Photography 
Planner: For The Good Hawaii                        
Suitmaker: Bindle and Keep                        
Dressmaker: Tori Famuyiwa                  
Florist: Jadore Floral Designs                    
Hairstylist: Emily Prince
Barber: Hector Santana of Mane Source Barbershop
Singer/Songwriter: Keilana Mokulehua    

"I am thankful that I have wonderfully talented people in my life. My beautiful friend, Tori Famuyiwa of Toriola Inc., designed and created my wedding gown. We worked together to design the perfect dress for me. I wanted to have a dress where I not only felt comfortable, but was something that was one of a kind. I also wanted to, in some way, create a connection to my African heritage with my dress. The end result was definitely beach chic and more than I could have imagined."

"Tia is smart and very sophisticated," said Brandi of her bride. "Her legs make me happy. Honestly, it is really the first thing I noticed when we met. She loves shoes and I love her in her shoes! We have fun everywhere we go. All we need is each other. Tia has taught me the value of having experiences. My best memories of us are traveling, exploring cities, eating good food, having drinks and more drinks. We just flow and that to me is amazing!"

With Tia's love for shoes, she had a great pair to walk down the aisle in! 

"Brandi is certainly the peanut butter to my jelly," said Tia. "She is easy, laid back and willing to go with the flow. Her personality is a great fit because I can be a bit uptight and anxious at times. So Brandi’s cool, calm demeanor helps me to mellow out when I need to. Besides being relaxed and laid back, Brandi is incredibly thoughtful and giving. She always puts my needs in front of hers, which tells me that she has faith that I will ensure that her needs are met. We really are partners and that means more than anything. I truly believe there is nothing that we could not achieve together."

"When we started talking about marriage, there was no marriage equality in the U.S. So of the options where same-sex marriage was legal, we chose Hawaii," revealed the brides. "It ended up being the absolutely perfect location for us."

This photo of Tia and her mother is just breathtaking!

"It was fun being a bride. I enjoyed the day. I got my makeup done (which probably will not happen very often) and spent the morning with my mother," said Brandi. "It was a perfect day!"

"I said yes because I absolutely love Tia," said Brandi. "She is an amazing person and I have never had to question her love for me. I love her because she loves me unconditionally. She takes care of me. She feeds my belly. She challenges me and we plan our work and work our plan…together. When we set goals, we crush them, we are unstoppable together. She really is my partner, in life and in love!"

"Since meeting Brandi, I knew she was special and I knew she would be special to me. At first, I thought we would simply be really good friends," Tia recalled. "I guess I realized she was the one when we had our first (and only) major argument. It was during that argument that I realized that I did not want to lose her. And ever since then, I’ve done everything in my power to remind her how much she means to me."

"Life is so good with Tia. We are such a good team," said the bride. "I married my friend. Honestly, once we decided that we wanted to be together marriage was something that would have eventually happened, it was only a matter of time. "

Tia's dress is everything!

"Brandi and I met while at a work conference in Kansas City, MO in October of 2011. Both of us had very low “fun” expectations of the conference, particularly because there are few people in our demographic in our field. We ran into each other in the conference hotel hallway on the way to the elevator. Because of our field, we had seen each other’s names floating around so we knew of each other and just hadn’t met yet. After a quick glance at each other’s name tags, we realized who the other person was and greeted each other with a huge hug (most likely because we knew we would have someone to have fun within what would have otherwise been a very long weekend). From that moment, we hung out all weekend like close friends who hadn’t seen each other in years. We went to the Negro Baseball League Museum, jazz clubs, and hitched a ride with a stranger (we figured we could take him if we needed to) to a local juke joint. It was a great weekend, but at the end of it, we went our separate ways. Tia to New Jersey and Brandi to Florida. After that weekend, we never lost touch, we kept in contact and over time built a friendship. Eventually, our friendship evolved into something more. After doing a long distance relationship for a few years, Brandi relocated to New Jersey."

"At the altar, I felt like I had made THE best decision!!!," said Tia.

"Tia was always special to me," Brandi began. "I knew she was the one early on. I told her I loved her by equating it to jumping off a mountain. We had been dating for a few months at that time. I was scared to be vulnerable so early on, but I also wanted her to know I was serious and that I really cared about her."

"I felt like the rest of my life was starting being with Tia at the altar!"

"I wasn’t looking for true love nor expecting anything. I was living my life and good with whatever that meant at that particular time. But clearly, the universe thought otherwise and brought into my life what I didn’t know I needed."

"I did not even want a relationship when Tia and I met," said Brandi. "We were honestly supposed to just be friends. Neither of us could have imagined that we would be married 7 years later. There is a significant overlap in our lives, but we seem to have found a way to manage the personal and professional aspects of our lives. I never in a million years would have thought this would be my life. I am happy, in love, and married. Tia and I are building a life for ourselves and we are just getting started. Our future looks so bright."

"Her total acceptance of me for who I am and her gentle demeanor," said Tia of what she loves most about her bride. "Brandi is the first person I’ve ever dated that did not try to change me into the person they wanted. Brandi accepts me for me and I appreciate that more than anything. I also appreciate that Brandi has a kind and gentle approach to life. Her way of being helps to balance my high energy, she is the calming force in my life."

"12 of our closest friends and family flew 10 + hours to celebrate our marriage in Honolulu," revealed the brides of their small, intimate beach chic nuptials.

"Tia really loves me and shows me every day. Our lives intersect in so many ways. We work and play together and I love that we are able to balance both aspects of our lives. Tia makes me stop and have fun. She really treats me better than I treat myself. She is always going above and beyond to make sure I am ok. We are pescetarian because I asked if she would be open to it. Tia cooks for me every day, so I am happy that she was open to modifying her whole life because I suddenly (and it was sudden) decided I did not want to eat meat. I asked about vegan, but she shut that down. She loves eggs and cheese too much!"

"Our wedding cake, like everything else, was simple. We had a small 10” round lilikoi flavored cake with whipped cream frosting. It was absolutely delicious."

"Our “reception” – more like dinner – was a beach side cabana dinner at the renowned Azure Waikiki. Our guests were given handmade lip balm and mini bundt cakes from one of the local bakeries, Pipeline Bakeshop, to enjoy."

"Our cake topper, however, was anything but simple. We had a custom “drunk brides” cake topper made in the likes of ourselves. Both laid out across the top of the cake with mini champagne bottles tossed about. Our cake topper was quite reminiscent of our Sunday Fundays!"

Congratulations to the beautiful brides and their bliss!

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