Jamie Cottone-Serviss believes in signs.
You know, the kind where something happens, and you see it as a sign you’re supposed to do something because it’s going to work out, it’s fate, it’s destiny.
Matthew Serviss, her husband since they got married last week on Kauai, doesn’t believe in signs quite as strongly.
But he’s getting there.
“I’m convincing him,” Jamie said.
The New Yorkers shared wedding vows on a cool evening at Anini Beach Park. Friends since sixth grade, dating for five years, engaged four months, they ended up on Kauai because it’s a place that owns a piece of Jamie’s heart.
Her father, Jim Cottone, lived on Kauai for a time and worked at The Garden Island newspaper as one of two pressmen in the early ‘90s. Jamie was born on Kauai, not long before Hurricane Iniki hit. She had heart surgery when she was eight months old.
Shortly afterward, her family moved to New York, but Jamie always had a heart for Kauai, wrote her father.
“Kauai is always in the heart,” he wrote.
Jamie, 27, returned to Kauai briefly when she was 16, and not again until earlier this month when she and Matthew flew in for their wedding.
First, their wedding plans ran into roadblocks. Then, the flight, the hotel, fell into place.
“When we decided, it all just happened and suddenly we were on a plane here,” she said.
For Matthew, who spent five years in the Navy stationed in Japan, it was his first visit to Kauai.
“If I could find a job, I’d stay here,” he said.
“He loves the snorkeling,” Jamie added.
About those signs.
When Matthew drove to Montauk Lighthouse on Long Island with plans to pop the question last year, it was pouring rain. As soon as they got there, it stopped.
Her favorite song, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, came on the radio. She found a heart-shaped rock.
“Everything seemed to be happening the way it was supposed to,” said Matthew, also 27.
On Kauai, they found the exact wedding bands they were looking from a vendor at Spouting Horn.
And between the time of their arrival and the wedding ceremony, they saw a whale breach, a green sea turtle past closely by them, and a rainbow magically appear.
While people often see whales and turtles and rainbows, Jamie said on Kauai, these sightings seem to be in response to her heart’s desire.
“The island responds,” Jamie said, smiling. “I feel ridiculous saying that.”
“As soon as we got here, it was like, we were supposed to get married,” she added. “Things happen where they’re supposed to happen.”
Matthew isn’t as certain about the magical powers of Kauai, but he did admit the whale rising at the moment Jamie was looking for one seemed the work of a higher power.
“Everything seems to be falling into place,” Matthew added.
Jamie said though her stays on Kauai have been temporary, she feels a powerful connection. When she returned at 16, just as she did 11 years later, there was a feeling she said was hard to explain.
“When you see the islands when you’re coming in on the plane, it’s like a piece of you that you didn’t realize was missing,” she said. “It just fills your heart and you feel like you’re home.”
The signs kept coming.
The day of their wedding, with family friends Stuart and Mika Hollinger looking on as witnesses, it was raining — right up to the time for the ceremony.
“The rain stopped just long enough for our special moment, like we knew it would,” Jamie said. “We even got a beautiful blessing of makani right as we were announced we were wed, until that moment the beach was absolutely still. This island has a special place in my heart and always will. It’s welcomed us and blessed our union already. You always know when the islands welcome you and when they don’t.”