Samantha and Derrill met through a mutual friend in college. After a few photos and text messages back and forth, Derrill and Samantha started chatting on the phone. The first time Samantha heard his voice, she asked her friend, “Why is his voice so high?” He explained to her later his voice was so high because of how nervous he was! The first time they met in person was at Samantha’s grandma’s house. Before she walked out of the house to greet Derrill and his friend, Derrill pulled his friend to the side of the house to create a game plan. The two huddled up and figured out what they were going to say. Derrill went home that night after meeting Samantha for the first time and told his friend, “I’m gonna make her my girl”—she’s been his girl ever since.
Give us the details! When? Where? How?
Although we’ve always known we were in it for the long haul, between years four and five, we decided we were going to be with each other for a lifetime. While eager to bring life into this world, we both knew that a commitment to each other first would be a great foundation for our future keiki (children). We talked about marriage heavily and our goals as husband and wife and mom and dad. 2015 was a tough year for us after the passing of Derrill’s favorite uncle on Christmas Eve in 2014. He was a father figure in his life. While Derrill was grieving the loss of one of his best friends and role models, I was finishing my master’s degree. There were days where we couldn’t see eye-to-eye and days where I felt helpless in his grievance. We worked through every obstacle because we knew that we were each other’s light at the end of every dark tunnel.
By the holiday season in 2015, Derrill wanted to remember Christmas with joy rather than sorrow. He decided he would propose to me on Christmas day—my favorite holiday. The day he went to pick up my ring, he was sitting at a stoplight right before the Wedding Ring Shop. His nerves crept up on him and he asked his late uncle to send him a sign that he was doing the right thing. A limousine drove past him and on the back it read, ‘Just Married.’ Needless to say, he bought the ring without hesitation.
Christmas day came and my family members gathered at our house. Dinner was served, Secret Santa gifts were exchanged, and the kids were content with their new toys. Everyone was having a good time. My eldest cousin asked me to grab the ukulele from the house. Excited for the kanikapila session (jam session), I darted in the house to find the ukulele. I came outside, handed her the instrument, and she started singing a song she wrote when I was a little girl called Together Forever. When she strummed the last chord, there was my best friend standing in front of me and my family cheering him on. He read me a love note, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. I was the happiest woman, with the love of my family all around me, the blessing of my parents, his parents, and his uncle on my favorite day of the year!
What has been your favorite experience planning the wedding?
Planning a day for our families to be together. Since Derrill’s from Pittsburgh and mine is from Hawaii, our parents and loved ones have yet to meet each other! It’ll be one big meet & greet + family reunion.
How do you stay sane under the pressures of wedding planning?
Knowing that we’re going to marry our best friend. Sounds cliche, but we met each other while we were young cats. We’ve struggled through unpaid electric bills, canned food, the loss of loved ones, and family emergencies together. On the flip side, we’ve celebrated life, compromise, love, new beginnings, graduations, and new careers together. Essentially, we have grown up together and have molded into one being. We’re so stoked to get to make this love friendship official and sealed for eternity.
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy should last forever. What does that mean to you?
Joy means feeling whole, even if you two have had a huge disagreement. It means sitting in silence and busting out with laughter at a funny thought of your better half or driving in 2 MPH traffic at 7:30 AM and smiling from ear to ear remembering a certain gesture they made. Joy means compromising the most difficult disagreement and making sure your other half still feels safe. Joy means my mother and father who have been married for 28 years and still hold each others’ hands while walking in the mall. We hope to carry joy in our marriage and will be marrying on my parents’ 29th wedding anniversary. When they celebrate their 30th, we’ll be celebrating our first.