Whale of a Time

marriage, hawaii, lgbtq, wedding

Niki Buldun and Taelor Pleas tied the knot on the Big Island of Hawai‘i on their 10-year anniversary. Here is their love story, as told by Pleas.

Images by Megan Superman


Niki Buldun and Taelor Pleas
From: Sarasota, Florida
Married: January 16, 2015, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows

Why Hawai‘i: We went to Hawai‘i to get married because Paul Mitchell was flying us out there for its hair conference. We live in Florida, so we were waiting for Florida to pass equality, but we decided to have a destination wedding after I proposed to Niki in Poland in May 2014. With Paul Mitchell sending us out, we just felt it was the universe saying it’s time to get married. Funny enough, the day we were boarding the plane to fly to Hawai‘i was the day that Florida passed equality.

Advice for couples marrying in Hawai‘i: A destination location is the way to go. Whatever you can do to have as little stress as possible—like not having to make the dreaded list—is key. Hire the hotel’s wedding coordinator, and she will be your angel! She helped me with the flowers, cake, drinks, and she even recommended the best wedding officiant. It all went so smooth and seamlessly. Also, it was good that we were in Hawai‘i for two weeks before we got married. Our thought was that we wanted to get to Hawai‘i, relax, swim, tan, do the Paul Mitchell seminar, and end the amazing experience with us becoming wives.

Favorite wedding memory: Niki was waiting in the restaurant to walk across the bridge, and I was waiting on the other side in a cabana watching whale tails breach the water’s surface. Then the wedding team told us to start walking out toward each other. When Niki was crossing the bridge, a man was running, and when he saw Niki, he fell flat on his back like a turtle! Niki felt bad because she kept walking and didn’t stop to help him up. We all said her beauty knocked him off his feet.


marriage, hawaii, lgbt, wedding


Favorite thing about Hawai‘i: Hawai‘i was so much more than just pretty water and pretty beaches. Snorkeling with the turtles was an amazing experience, and watching whales breach was breathtaking. (The biggest animals in our Florida waters are “sea cows,” or manatees.) We went out on a catamaran and got to watch a mother whale teach her calf how to breach. Hawai‘i’s tagline should be, “If you have been there, then you know.” The energy, the people, the water is like nothing else in the United States. You have to go there to experience it.