Oahu couple weds on maui after making love connection in new york

>> Fashion first: Five of the attendants, whom Matsu­bara called his “warriors,” were dressed in i vory-colored power suits by Theory. Edward Barsamian, a style editor at Vogue.com and a close friend of the couple, donned a Victoria Beckham jumpsuit. The couple wore tuxedos by David Hart and each had the other’s initials monogrammed in hunter green on the cuffs of their shirts.

For starters, they attended rival high schools. Santos, 30, founder and chief executive of Homepolish, an interior design startup, went to the academically oriented ‘Iolani School. He carried so many books, he needed a rolling backpack to prevent injury to his back. Santos was elected senior class president after promising to get cushions for the concrete benches in the library.


Matsubara, 33, a vice president and style director at Nike Communications, who handles accounts for high-profile clients like Moet Champagne and Bombay Sapphire gin, attended Punahou School. The school had two famous alumni: former President Barack Obama and Steve Case, former chief executive of AOL. Matsubara was a member of the varsity kayak team. “I didn’t get the best grades,” he said. “I threw the parties.”

Matsubara was so taken with his new beau that he told his parents about him over Christmas, a huge feat considering he hadn’t even revealed he was gay. “I was watching, ‘It’s Complicated’ with Meryl Streep and Steve Martin with my mom, and I was texting on the couch,” he said. “When she asked who I kept texting, I said, ‘It’s my boyfriend.’”

On their next trip home to Hawaii they brought their parents together. Despite the personality differences, they stayed up until the early hours of the morning drinking sake, eating dinner and sharing stories. The two men were amazed by how well their families got along; they attribute it to the fact that both families had been in Hawaii for more than four generations.

Santos proposed in Paris over Memorial Day weekend in 2016. He had told his boyfriend they were there on a work trip and shocked him when he knelt down in front of a Dior flagship, Matsu­bara’s favorite store, with three rings: two from Tiffany and one from Cartier. What he said summed up their relationship: “Without you I am like a coloring book with no color. I am the structure, but you are the color.”

Matsubara’s mother, Arlene Matsubara, said the men complement each other, with Santos being the focused, responsible one and her son being the playful, social counterpart. She remembered early in their relationship when her son was eating a slice of papaya and announced he was done before it was all gone. Santos made him finish it. It was a strong example of “mottainai,” a belief with Japanese roots that you should not waste. “It just hit me in my heart,” Arlene Matsubara said.

Kimiko Hosaki, the event organizer (whom the couple calls the love of their lives), said she had never seen clients dive into their wedding with such passion or precision. “Working in places like Hawaii, you often have clients that want to mimic events that you’ve done in the past,” she said. “It was so energizing to be able to work with clients that had no interest in doing anything anyone had done before.”

They styled their ceremony, held on June 8, like a fashion show, facing guests’ chairs toward the aisle in the center and having their wedding party act like models. “Ross wanted us to be bosses, to be powerful and confident,” said Alicianne Rand, Matsubara’s childhood friend and maid of honor. “None of us are runway models, but we did this for Ross.”

There were also local touches. For the welcome cocktail party, Santos’ father, Alvin Santos, marinated 9 pounds of pork brought over on the 40-minute flight from Oahu. Arlene Matsubara and a friend made 90 floral bracelets for guests featuring a rare green flower from the ohia lehua tree. Two of the couple’s friends also performed a traditional Hawaiian hula dance, called Ka Uluwehi o ke Kai, which is often danced at parties.