An Old Fashioned Valentine

What’s the only thing better than a Valentine’s Day discount? 

How about a classic, old fashioned love story that seems to be pulled from the pages of a fairy tail, but has all played out in real life? 

Henry and Lili, our Island Essence owners, were married in 1998 inside England’s Sudeley Castle—a building which dates to the 15th century and boasts nine different gardens that burst with colors from 80 varieties of roses. Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds countryside, it’s often regarded as one of England’s most romantic places to be married. 

It’s the only castle in all of England with a Queen that’s buried on the grounds, and one that Henry knows quite well—after all, it’s his family’s home.

Their start, however, was mildly less rosy, as Lili literally played hard to get in the week the two first met....

The date was 1996, and a mutual friend invited Henry and Lili to spend a week in the Mediterranean on the Spanish island of Mallorca. As it turns out, the two were the only people on the trip not traveling with a partner, or spouse, so naturally they spent much of the week hanging out as the only two single people in the house. 

When it was time to say the goodbyes, however, Henry asked Lili if he could get her phone number—but she didn’t immediately share it. 

She went back to England where she was modeling for Vogue, and Henry, who was living in Los Angeles at the time, tracked her down all the way in London for the chance to gain just a few more hours, and maybe, a second chance. 

Fast forward to a rainy day at Sudeley, and Henry is planning to drop to one knee and ask Lili Maltese for her hand in marriage, which they’ll share for the rest of their lives. 

At 5pm, having rained all day, the clouds parted just long enough for Henry to make a heartfelt proposal while surrounded by roses in front of the church where they’d soon throw a wedding attended by models, musicians, and famous celebs. They’d cut the cake with an antique sword, and host a Hawaiian-themed reception for Lili, who—prior to working in London and Paris while modeling for various brands—was raised in Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii, and has longtime roots to the islands. 

Where the fairy tale part of the story comes in is the fact that Lili—an American girl of humble beginnings who was raised by a single mom—would marry a man who was once considered as “England’s most eligible bachelor.” It’s a winding journey from the plains of Waimea to the gardens of Sudeley Castle, and the story itself seems a bit surreal, as if pulled from the pages of a book. 

Despite the regal residence, however, and the chance to live in a castle, Lili and Henry both feel more grounded and at home back here in Hawaii. While the entire wedding was steeped in romance and draped in Hawaiian decor, it was a floral foreshadowing of their future in Maui, where they’d buy Island Essence in 2008 and help share Hawaii’s tropical splendors with guests from around the world.

To celebrate their love, and this Valentine season, Island Essence is offering $5 off oils, including healing oils like kukui and tamanu, as well as vintage fragrances like mango, coconut, or maile bath and body oil. Just enter promo code VALENTINE when buying and shopping online. 

Anyone still looking to treat that special someone will also find discounted gift basket deals and a Sweetheart Deal of Vintage Colognes like pikake, plumeria, and white ginger.  Promotion runs February 5th-14th, and Happy Valentine’s Day from Henry, Lili, and the entire Island Essence team.