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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, February 13, 2005

Erin Worsham and Sunti Kumjim
Their relationship was 'meant to be'

By Tanya Bricking Leach
Advertiser Staff Writer

Sparks flew the night Erin Worsham and Sunti Kumjim met. Fireworks had just gone off at Aloha Tower to ring in 2002.

Erin and Sunti Kumjim of Newport Beach, Calif., first met while vacationing on O'ahu.

Chrissy Lambert Rhodes Photography

Then, just after midnight at Don Ho's Island Grill, the pair met when a friend of a friend of Kumjim's introduced them.

It so happened that they both were living in Southern California and vacationing that week in Hawai'i. Worsham, who grew up in Kane'ohe, was here to visit family for the holidays.

She gave Kumjim her phone number. He called the next day, and their first date was a group outing that night at Duke's Canoe Club Waikiki.

The next day, Kumjim's vacation was over, and he went home to San Diego. Worsham kept thinking about him that week when she was staying at her mom's, and when she returned to Newport Beach, she gave him a call.

They hit it off immediately.

"The more I got to know her, the more I enjoyed spending time with her," Kumjim said. "We both kind of wanted the same things."

On dates, they went wine-tasting, camping and to bed-and-breakfasts. She'd watch him kite surf. He'd remember the kind of wine she liked and the kind of books she read, and he'd surprise her with them.

"He was very considerate," she said. "He wasn't giving me lines. He was just himself."

They discovered they had a lot in common, from their quirky senses of humor to even their names. Hers means "peace" in Irish. His means the same in Thai.

By the time December 2002 rolled around, they planned a vacation back to Hawai'i, including a stop on Maui. They rented a Jeep and drove the road to Hana. Near the end, Kumjim suggested they four-wheel it to the beach and take a picture of themselves. Then he told her he wanted to try a second picture, and he returned to the Jeep to set up the camera again and to prepare his surprise. He returned with an engagement ring, and proposed.

She said yes, and they celebrated with champagne and a view of the sunset.

The wedding was just as picture-perfect, so much so that it's featured as a four-page spread, "A Tropical Wedding," in the February/March edition of Modern Bride magazine.

Their wedding date was April 17, 2004. It was oceanfront at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hawaii, before 80 guests. The bride walked down the aisle, accompanied by her mother, Pauline Worsham, to the "Hawaiian Wedding Song," performed by the Hawaiian band Puamana.

For the groom, one highlight was when the bride danced the hula as a gift to him to the song "Ka Lehua I Milia."

For the bride, now Erin Noelani Kumjim, a highlight was just after that, when her new husband made a speech about how beautifully she danced and how much he loved her.

Acceptance, respect and admiration for each other are what make their relationship work, the bride said.

"I've had friends say that when you meet 'the one,' you will just know," the bride said. "Before meeting Sunti, I thought this was a clichˇ, but now I realize just how true that saying is.

"When you date people, you are learning about yourself and relationships — what you like and don't like, what you will put up with and what you won't, what works and what doesn't," she said. "When the right person comes along, everything falls into place. It's easy. ... Dating shouldn't

be hard; it should be fun when you are with the right person."

It was so clear that that's what she had engraved on her husband's wedding band: "Meant to be."

The bride, 28, who works for a national Yellow Pages advertising agency, and the groom, 32, who works for a home-building company, live in Newport Beach. But they say they plan on moving to Hawai'i when they start a family.

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