The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 1st Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

#LetHawaiiHappen - A Surprise Wedding

Finalist in Social Justice


To appeal to the romance audience, the Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau tasked its advertising agency, MVNP, with the creation of a online video that would leverage their current "Let Hawai'i Happen" campaign. The compelling big idea behind the consumer brand is that in Hawai'i , the best parts of a vacation are often those wonderful, unexpected and surprising moments experienced off the beaten path just "Let Hawai'i Happen".

Strategy and Execution

On a prior photo shoot, HVCB and MVNP worked with Christian and Shayne, an engaged military couple who live in Honolulu. While they were being photographed in their role as talent for an LGBT wedding shoot on Hawai'i Island, they let it slip that they were really enjoying the shoot since they were interested in getting married at some point.

While that wasn't the time for them to get married, an idea was born at that very moment - that a surprise wedding within the "Let Hawai'i Happen" campaign was an idea worth exploring for the HVCB initiative to promote Hawai'i as a romance destination. HVCB quietly reached out to Christian to see if he would like to really "Let Hawai'i Happen" for his surprise wedding day – and if he asked Shayne to marry him that very day - would Shayne say yes?

Part of the truly unexpected aspect of the project was that Christian, HVCB and MVNP weren't sure how this would turn out. But just in case Shayne said yes, and the wedding went off, no detail was overlooked – HVCB connected with and invited friends, flew in family members, worked with various wedding vendors to set up the ceremony and reception site, and even made sure that the right song was ready to play for their first dance. The entire day was a series of "Let Hawai'i Happen" moments, both in front of and behind the camera. That sense of surprise and the potential for truly authentic emotional moments were the special ingredients that made this surprise wedding video not only compelling to watch, but ripe to go viral within the LGBT and romance communities, and beyond.

Partners included - The Knot, Alaska Airlines, Aqua-Aston Hospitality, The Kahala Hotel & Resort, and various wedding vendors on this island of O'ahu.


As part of its consumer leisure campaign, #LetHawaiiHappen, HVCB planned, executed, and filmed a surprise wedding for a Oahu-based gay couple to promote Hawaii as a wedding destination. Many partners got involved with the surprise wedding included The Knot, Alaska Airlines, Aqua-Aston Hospitality, The Kahala Hotel & Resort, and various wedding vendors on Oahu.

In December 2015, HVCB launched a three-part video, documenting the couple's story and wedding day, and received more than 9 million engagements across all social channels as of early January 2016. As of January 19, 2016, the video series generated 10 million views and has been featured on more than 20 news sites and blogs.


Video for #LetHawaiiHappen - A Surprise Wedding

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau


Entry Credits