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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, October 17, 2004

Wedding included special guest in Iraq

By Tanya Bricking Leach
Advertiser Staff Writer

When she was 20 and single, Melanie Castillo was feeling emotionally exhausted.

Melanie Castillo and William Kapua Jr. were married June 19. in Waikiki. William's father, William Sr., was deployed to Iraq before their wedding but was able to watch the ceremony over the Internet.

Jerry Omo Jr. photo

So she said a prayer.

She told God if she was feeling better by Easter, she'd do something to celebrate.

About that time, William Kapua Jr. was feeling a little exhausted himself.

He was in a motorcycle accident that day and bumped his head. The doctor told him to try to stay awake to avoid possible concussion effects.

So Castillo and her friends and Kapua and his friends ended up at a mutual friend's party.

Castillo noticed the muscular local guy from afar. "I think it was divine intervention," she said.

She was studying foreign language at the time, and she told her friends in broken Ilocano, a Filipino language, that she liked the looks of Kapua.

She didn't know his friends were eavesdropping. They understood what she said, and they let their friend in on it. They met, and he even took her for a spin on his motorcycle.

Feeling bold, Castillo asked for his phone number. She thought he might ask for hers in return, but Kapua played it cool. He gave her his pager number and told her to page him. She was disappointed he didn't appear more interested.

After they parted, Kapua realized maybe he had played things a little too cool. He asked the party host for her number, and shortly thereafter, he gave her a call. They met up on her work break when she was working retail at Ala Moana Center, and their courtship took off.

One of their first dates was at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Kapua was into nutrition, hardly ever ate out and wasn't familiar with dining etiquette. Castillo had just had the bands on her braces tightened, and she was touched when Kapua began breaking the bread into pieces tiny enough for her to chew. Right there, she knew she was falling for him.

They dated for seven years and grew a little more settled each year. Castillo, a 1994 Sacred Hearts Academy grad who went to the University of Hawai'i and on to grad school at Chaminade, became a teacher at 'Aiea Intermediate. Kapua, a 1994 Waipahu High grad, became a Honolulu firefighter. Together, they bought a townhouse, and more recently, a home in Waikele.

Castillo says they are a good team.

"I'm the more hyper one, in some ways, the more assertive one. And he's the one who balances me out," she said. "He's perfect for me. Sometimes, I just see him as a gift, my Easter gift."

On Valentine's Day 2003, it was raining, and Kapua was bummed because the weather was ruining his plans for a special proposal. He let it slip to Castillo that he had a ring, but Mother Nature was spoiling things. Castillo gently asked him to keep the ring until later in the day when he could propose the way he wanted. So he took her to Kaka'ako Waterfront Park, the site of their first kiss, and proposed under a sprinkling of rain.

They wed June 19 at the Angel Chapel by the Sea next to the Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki Hotel.

The only hitch was someone who was missing. For all of 2003, they had put off getting married because they thought Kapua's father was going to be deployed. He ended up leaving in 2004, and urged his son and Castillo to keep their plans even though he couldn't be there.

It just so happened that Larry Fair, president of Live Internet Weddings, was getting his business started and wanted Castillo and Kapua to be a test couple for the videography service that is broadcast on the Internet.

Fair was putting a lapel microphone on the groom, and he said Kapua looked "kind of bummed out," so he asked what was wrong. Kapua said it was just that his dad wasn't there. However, through the magic of the Internet, his father was able to watch the wedding later online.

"When she walked down the aisle, she just took my breath away," the groom said, and he was thrilled that his dad got to see it online. "He sent me an e-mail and said he really liked it and was really happy."

The newlyweds, both 28, would like to renew their vows when William Kapua Sr. returns from Iraq.

And they have other news for him: He's going to be a grandpa.

The Kapuas are expecting their first child in March, just in time for Easter.

Tanya Bricking Leach writes about relationships. If you'd like her to tell your love story, write to tleach@honoluluadvertiser.com, call 525-8026 or mail your photo and details to Love Stories, Tanya Bricking Leach, The Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802.