JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Douglass Owens and Naomi Dunhour will wed on the beach at Kailua on July 7, 2007.
Isle natives traveled to upstate New York to find each other
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Some couples believe that July 7 is a lucky date for a wedding. Others believe it may be easier to remember their anniversary date or that the number 7 is blessed because of its prominence in the Bible. Whether the reasons -- hitting the jackpot, biblical numbers or practicality -- the idea of a July 7, 2007, wedding has thousands of couples across the nation tying the knot on Saturday.
Winston Gample, president of Kahala Caterers, has seen an increase in weddings centered on numbers since the dawning of the millennium. "It's the new, trendy thing," said Gample. "It will keep continuing through 12-12-12 (Dec. 12, 2012)."
Many people were turned away early last year, because caterers were already beyond their quotas, explained Gample. And they are already booked for 8/8/08, next year. Service providers are actually overbooked.
Sasha Reichart of Cakelava has done nothing but turn people away. "I've had brides begging me. We don't even know where to send them. Everyone is overbooked. It's crazy," she said. Cakelava is already handling four weddings that day. "The first person booked more than a year ago," Reichart said. Reichart is also completely booked for Aug. 8, 2008.
Floral designer Terrie Easley has also turned away dozens of brides. She's also handling many weddings on the days surrounding Saturday, for couples not lucky enough to snag the actual date.
"When a bride has a certain idea in mind, you don't want to tell her to do something different," Easley said. "But, I had to let them know in advance that a particular flower may be hard to get and they may need to consider a replacement."
Morgan Childs, creative director for moana.events, says the craze about lucky numbers is all about wanting every advantage in a new marriage. "Couples want to start off on the right foot."
The next big wedding date is actually June 7, 2008 (6/7/08). Couples seemed to shy away from last year's 6/6/06 date, Childs added, considering it unlucky. "Although, thankfully, it fell on a Tuesday which has never been a popular day to get married."
Childs suggests that couples looking at popular dates consider booking all necessary items well ahead of time. Because of the lack of resources, "people are definitely getting creative."
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Naomi Dunhour and Douglass Owens definitely believe in luck. In fact, they attribute their entire relationship to chance happenings.
Dunhour, a local girl from Kalihi, was living in Buffalo, N.Y.
Owens, a restaurant owner originally from Maui, was cooking up local grinds in the same area.
"We could have met many times in our lives," Dunhour said.
They both were athletic and musical pursuits took them to other islands during high school. Dunhour even lived on Maui for a few years with her family. But their paths never crossed until they discovered their shared cultural roots while living on the East Coast.
Owens and Dunhour are to be married on July 7, the most sought-after wedding day this year, and even that wasn't planned.
"We looked at our calendar ... every other month was just too busy," said Dunhour. "It must be the luck of 7-7-7."
Owens added, "We chose that date because we both have big families. With birthdays and all of the other celebrations, July was definitely the only workable month."
Their wedding will be at Kailua Beach Park. Originally, only the small pavilion in the park was available on their chosen date, even though Dunhour put in her reservation more than 18 months in advance. She decided on a tent to accommodate their guests, but the person holding the permit for the other pavilion wanted her space as well -- and when Dunhour wouldn't budge, she ended up with both pavilions. Another lucky strike.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Dunhour gets measured by her aunt Patti Akiyama, who is making her wedding dress.
The large families have come in handy, especially in finding services for such an in-demand date. "We really haven't had trouble getting things ... we have lots of connections," Dunhour said.
One of their family friends owns a floral shop and another is a baker. They are trying to find a band, but nothing is secure yet. At this point, Dunhour assumes they will be playing their own music, deejay style.
Dunhour's aunt is sewing her dress, and Owens plans to prepare the food with the help of family members and some chefs from New York.
Dunhour learned about Owens' New York restaurant from "a big Hawaiian guy" who noticed the "island girl" stickers on her truck. But when she called the restaurant, Owens -- thinking she was from the mainland -- only told her about the fancy dishes. "I was expecting him to tell me that they served lomilomi and kalua pig ... instead he talked about filet, lobster and vinaigrette, blah, blah, blah," she said.
So she didn't check it out. Instead the two met months later while working on their boats. Lucky again.
Similarities were immediately apparent, they said. She had a little truck, he had a big truck. She had a small boat, he had a big boat. Their children were the same age. They both planned to return to Hawaii.
For the wedding, "Everything is very casual," said Dunhour, who warned that people had better be on time for the photographs. "After the ceremony is finished, the makeup is coming off," she said.
"We are so in tune with each other. This is a party and we want to have fun," added Owens.
They hope that starting their marriage in a relaxed state will be a preview of what is to come. They're both feeling lucky this time around.
Match of 'Prince' and 'princess' was made on internet
Denise Feliciano describes her fiancé, Nefftaly Lugardo, as her Prince Charming. Lugardo describes her as a princess, an absolute gift from God.
The two plan to bring their personal fairy tale to life as they wed on July 7 after a five-year courtship, along with countless couples across the nation.
"This was our dream come true," said Feliciano. "The number 7 is my favorite number, and his. We can't believe so many couples are getting married on this day." Feliciano's wedding band even sports seven stones, incorporating the ruby, the birthstone for July, the seventh month.
Seven is also a number that appears frequently in Bible -- the seven days of creation and the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer, added Lugardo.
Lugardo was a Marine stationed in New Jersey with orders to come to Hawaii. He met Feliciano via the Internet on MiGente.com, a version of MySpace for Hispanics. "I wanted to make friends before I got to Hawaii," he said. "I started talking to Denise."
Feliciano had joined MiGente.com to meet people and wasn't looking for more than friendship. She had been four months pregnant when her boyfriend of 10 years was killed in a motorcycle accident. That was several years ago.
"I wasn't ready for a relationship. I was a single mom," she said.
But several months later, Feliciano was picking up Lugardo at the airport. The pair realized they had much in common -- from the way they were raised to their views on religion -- and knew it was a match made in heaven. "Everything just clicked. Her family is my adopted family, which is nice because my family is so far away," he said.
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Denise Feliciano and fiancé Nefftaly Lugardo walk away from their wedding parties during a wedding rehearsal at the Kahala Hotel.
The relationship and wedding date may be secure, but obtaining services is another issue. "The person who was supposed to make our cake forgot to write it down; now they are overbooked. We are looking at other places," said Feliciano. On the other hand, Feliciano has heard horror stories from her florist, who continues to turn desperate couples away.
The couple will wed at the Kahala Resort & Hotel, but need to move to the Sheraton Moana Surfrider for the reception, because they couldn't get reservations for both at a single location. They are not complaining, though.
"Everything seems so perfect for us. The Moana looks like a castle," said Feliciano. "And getting married by the beach in Kahala will be beautiful."
And although the vows will be made on the beach, the affair promises to be anything but casual.
"Everything is old-fashioned," said Lugardo.
"We have something, old, new, borrowed and blue," Feliciano chimed in.
A long path leads to the pavilion on the beach and that is one of the reasons they picked that site. "It takes a long time to walk in," Lugardo said. "I'm glad, because I want her to take her time and enjoy the moment. I want her to really enjoy our special day."