By Emily Strohm
Published on October 14, 2022 05:08 PM
Lesley Murphy's wedding celebrations have officially begun!
The Bachelor alum, 35, and her fiancé Alex Kavanagh, 35, kicked off their destination wedding weekend at the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua on Oct. 13th with a luau welcome party.
"It just kind of grew into this big celebration of a rehearsal dinner," Murphy tells PEOPLE. "We wanted to have everyone there as a thank you for coming so far for our wedding."
Murphy and Australian-born Kavanagh will exchange vows on Oct. 14.
The welcome party took place on the oceanfront Casa Bella lawn, where beer and guava spritzers were served as a nod to the groom's Australian heritage and love of beer.
During the event, guests enjoyed an open bar and passed hors d'oeuvres, followed by a seated dinner and a luau with hula dancers and music.
"I really wanted everybody to experience that sense of place: Hawaiian food, a luau, the culture," says Murphy." It was perfect."
The couple, who are parents to 20-month-old-daughter Nora, got engaged in Feb. 2020 after a year of dating.
"It was such a special night on the beach during sunset. We met a couple of years ago through a drone, and being the exceptional drone pilot he is, I loved that he incorporated a drone in the most unique way during the proposal," Murphy tells PEOPLE about Kavanagh, who is a professional drone pilot from Australia. "I can't wait to marry this man! 202? is our year!"
Murphy and Kavanagh made their relationship public in January 2018 with a photo of them kissing while sitting on the edge of a cliff in Norway.
"Boy meets world — World, meet boy," she captioned the stunning photo. "Thought it was about time to let y'all in on the newest addition to The Road Les Traveled! We're 3 continents down together…with the next one being Alex's home country soon."
Murphy first appeared on Sean Lowe's season of The Bachelor in 2013. She was sent home the episode before hometown dates.
She made her reality TV return on The Bachelor Winter Games, where she met and started dating Dean Unglert. In February 2018, Unglert got down on one knee during the special Winter Games: World Tells All finale to ask Murphy to move in with him, but they split that April.