It would have made for quite the twist ending.
Because at several moments while planning their dream Hawaiian vows, former Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. and his bride Lauren Burnham seriously considered scrapping the whole thing and heading to Vegas instead. "We always talked about just eloping because wedding planning got kind of stressful, to be honest," he confessed to fellow franchise lead Rachel Lindsay on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast in December 2019. "It's a lot."
And there were many times in the 12 months following his on-air proposal during his season's 2018 After the Final Rose broadcast when Burnham was more than ready to accept his proposition. "We're like, 'Ugh, why don't we just quit this and go elope in Vegas?'" she revealed. "And we thought seriously about it."
Ultimately what happened in Vegas was shared on Instagram, the pair taking advantage of Luyendyk's September 2019 press obligations and a chance encounter with Montell Jordan to have the songwriter marry them at Sin City's legendary Little White Wedding Chapel with their then 3-month-old daughter Alessi and Luyendyk's parents in attendance. Wrote the retired auto racer, "#thisishowwedoit."
But first, they celebrated here on the west side—the couple following through on their planned Jan. 12, 2019 Maui fantasy that blended elegant crystal chandeliers and lush greenery with the sort of whimsy you might expect from a pair that renewed their vows in the back of a pink Cadillac.
Consider their planned first look: A besuited Luyendyk (he opted for a three-piece Kenneth Cole tux) spent what felt like 10 minutes anxiously awaiting his bride to tap him on the shoulder only to discover she'd sent out best man Dustin Martin (in his own wedding dress!) instead. "Lauren definitely pulled one over on me and it was hilarious," he recalled to The Knot. "It honestly lightened the mood and help me shake my nerves a bit."
And it made Burnham's appearance atop the petal-strewn aisle at the island's historic Haiku Mill all the more, to borrow a bit of Bachelor parlance, dramatic.
"It was a moment I'll never forget," Luyendyk told the site of spying his tearful bride on the arm of her father Dave Burnham. "As soon as I saw her, I began to cry. All I could say to myself was, 'Hold it together!' She looked just as I had imagined when I played the scene in my head a thousand times before that day…perfect."
Having endured a rockier journey than most—pressed to make a choice on decision day, Luyendyk proposed to Becca Kufrin only to realize months later his heart remained tied to Burnham—the pair ("An absolutely perfect couple," crowed Harrison) relished the opportunity to cement their forever.
"For the past year, I have dreamt of this day," Luyendyk confessed to his bride. "This has been an incredible, life-changing year, and you've been the difference. You have the most gentle heart, and I can honestly say that you have made me a better man. I am the best version of myself because I'm with you."
Agreed Burnham, then just four-and-a-half months from welcoming their daughter Alessi, "I promise to always support you and encourage you to chase your passions. I promise to help share the weight of our challenges because together, there's nothing that we cannot face if we stand together."
The idea of eternity was woven into each and every detail, with Burnham lifting many of her best ideas from another beloved pop culture franchise. "Almost every inspiration photo that Lauren would text to me would be from the movie," wedding planner Kimiko Hosaki of K.H & co. told Us Weekly of the bride's affinity for Twilight: Breaking Dawn.
After swapping rings (by Neil Lane, naturally) and agreeing to "live together, play together, laugh together" and to fill each other's hearts and feed each other's souls "until the end of their forever," the two recessed down the aisle and into a reception space filled with hanging chandeliers, twinkle lights, flickering white pillar candles and not a single red rose.
Following a cocktail hour featuring pineapple-laced libations, guests raised their cotton candy-topped champagne glasses for a series of toasts recounting the pair's first televised date in Paris and a karaoke night that saw them attempt their best Cardi B.
Seated at communal farmhouse-style tables covered in floral runners made from native white Hawaiian blooms, their roughly 100 attendees feasted on their choice of Hawaiian rancher's strip sirloin or Hawaiian catch.
Then it was time to cut up the dance floor.
Once the newlyweds opened things up with a choreographed dance to Calum Scott's "You Are the Reason" (yes, they took lessons), the space rarely emptied as the Live Sound Maui DJ churned out the hits. "It was really fun," Burnham told Us Weekly. "The kids were dancing—it was hilarious, because they were just rocking out."
Basically, she summed up to the mag of the day, "Everything that I imagined, it was that and 10 times better."
While Luyendyk has put the kibosh on more kids ("We have our boy, we have the two girls," he explained on The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast. "And I'm already 40, guys. I can't be having kids any later than this in life"), future celebrations don't exactly seem out of the realm of possibility, considering his dramatic re-proposal this past October.
Back in Hawaii for a family trip, he and his bride returned to Haiku Mill and then the island's Nakalele Blowhole. At the spot where they first snapped their engagement photos, Luyendyk once again dropped to one knee. "The ring I gave her on The Bachelor was obviously paid for," he explained in a YouTube video of springing for a new bauble. "We never really felt like it was something I chose for her, so I got her another ring."
More specifically, he chose what his wife dubbed a "crazy big" oval diamond. "It's so pretty," Burnham raved. "You did so good, babe. You're so sweet."
Perhaps Montell Jordan should clear his schedule?