I’ve noticed one of our most clicked on buttons on our contact form is “I Don’t Know – Please Help”. When planning a destination wedding or vow renewal, you are putting your very special day into someone’s hands that is far away and hoping that they will do the best for you. What can you do on your end that can help keep your wedding the way you want it to? Our best suggestion is to plan and prepare but you need to know what to plan and prepare for. Actually, every bride and groom needs to do the same, destination wedding, vow renewal or not.question mark
Maui is very expensive so when you are here, you don’t just want to have your special day and then not be able to enjoy all the island has to offer. Making sure you get the best for the right price is something your wedding planner should do for you. That is probably the most important first decision to make – who will help you plan this day to be all that you want it to be. As you go through this blog, you will come up with questions that can help you choose.
Where to start? If our bride and groom are coming from off island, one of your large expenses will be travel. Who is coming to your wedding/vow renewal? Is it just a romantic elopement where you will celebrate back home or will you have guests? Does your wedding planner have someone who can help with your travel? We know everyone makes their own travel plans on line, but are you getting the best arrangements? A travel specialist is important especially if you have groups because they can get you group rates. These experts have worked with the airlines and know how to work out group travel. How will you know which resorts, condos or home agencies are having the best deals at the time you will be getting married? Your travel specialist will, especially if they are actually located on the island. Do you want to stay in the country or right on the beach – which location will work best for you and your wedding plans? Which location has the pool, golf course, or tennis courts you want OR which location will give you privacy and peace – are questions they can answer. Which day of the week will you get the best rates? Once you know when you are coming and where you will be staying, your wedding planner will begin her/his job.
Once you arrive on Maui, what are some of the things that can fill up your days? The beach is wonderful but we are on an island and sitting and swimming at the beach is NOT something you want to do every day. Whether the sun gives you a nice tan or not, please take it in moderation. Are there tours you can go to and see what you came for or can you drive and tour yourselves? Yes, most hotels and resorts do but this is a person that you have a relationship with. They will help you get the best.
We’ve talked about your travel, where to stay and things to do – now about the wedding. You do have many choices to make. First, will you have a beach wedding, venue wedding or a grassy knoll? Talk to your planner about all of these options. Many people like to overlook the beach rather than have their dress in the sand especially if you are going to wear it at your reception back home. If you have many guests coming, you might want it at a place where you will have a reception so that there is not much traveling between the wedding and celebration. If it’s just the two of you, what restaurant will be romantic, lively or have your favorite food? Will it allow you to bring in a small wedding cake or do they have one of their own?
Now you are ready to decide on a time. Believe it or not our morning weddings are just as popular as our sunset weddings because the lighting is so perfect for your pictures. Also, many people like to celebrate all day long! Sunsets are very beautiful weddings. When they are planned and timed, not only will you have a beautiful ceremony but outstanding photo shots. After reading and planning this section, you will have your location and time for your wedding planned.
What type of wedding would you like? Is it to be traditional, Hawaiian traditional or religious? Your wedding planner will be able to explain what comes with each ceremony. Please do ask about that because when one wedding company may have all the extras, another company may do the same type of wedding very differently. When looking through the websites, make yourself a list of what you will be receiving in your wedding package.
Wedding packages start fairly inexpensively as you just pay for your minister and everything else is up to you. They go up to thousands as you choose many different items that you may want. For a simple beach wedding, you will need a minister, beach permit, an appointment for your wedding license (not needed with renewals of course) and location choices. The same is true for venue or up-country weddings but most times you will not need a permit. To get married at many resorts, hotels or other venues, a charge may be coming for using their grounds. You do need to check this out with your wedding planner so that you do not have any surprises at the end!
After your basic choices, then you can begin to make a list of all the other things you might want. After you do this, look for a wedding package that can accommodate you by offering most of the items. Photography is a big item and can be expensive. Good photographers start at $500 for a basic package and the price goes up. You can find packages where the photography is included which usually gives you a better deal. Your wedding planner should have a list of various photographers they recommend according to what you would like. If you need a photographer to take wonderful inside pictures of you getting ready and continue throughout the wedding – this is one type. If you need someone to take ceremony pictures and those great shots after the wedding, especially sunset shots, this could be another. Since you do not know the photographers and want the best memories, you will need to rely on your wedding planner. The planner can also help you with videos and slide shows that you want and may need for your reception. Packages can start from $300 for a basic video which is edited and wonderful on up to a full production.
Your color is also important because it will help decide on your flowers. In Hawaii, most ceremonies have a lei exchange. Many wedding packages will include the leis. If you are asking for custom leis, you will be charged extra just to replace what leis are already offered – if your package offers them. The choice of a bouquet is up to the bride and you can choose a medium or small size or go for the large cascade type. The leis and bouquet can be made of the same flowers. Hawaii has beautiful tropical flowers for a bouquet but also has many spectacular roses. Your wedding planner’s florist should be able to work with either. You should also be asked if you would like to send a picture so that the florist can replicate what you have seen. Besides leis and bouquets, hair flowers are wonderful and most brides choose this offer more than veils lately. The sturdiest and one of the best hair flowers is a sprig of Dendrobium orchids but you can have one large orchid or other tropical flowers too. Some packages will include a flower for your hair. Some choose to wear a Haku – which is a head piece made of fresh flowers that can also match the leis and bouquet. These are really beautiful as well. To add to your wedding/vow renewal, there can be petal aisles that are very reasonable or you can have a flower circle to get married in. Flower circles do make the ceremony extra special and the photography shows this. A circle can run from $180 and past $600. Some packages may offer a simple circle as well. Your wedding planner would be able to let you know what their packages include or how much a circle would be.
Music is always romantic and special at a wedding/vow renewal. From harps to ukulele’s to formal harps and bass players you can get them all. Prices can start from $100 for ukulele’s, $140 for harps and from there it can go higher. Some music is included in the weddings but most you must order from your wedding planner. Ask for choices and prices rather than just go with what their company suggests. This is definitely not a necessity for a great ceremony but it does add a special touch.
Other special touches to consider are a dove release at the end of the wedding, butterfly release, toast after the ceremony and of course the wedding cake. Check into all the packages to see what is included. Dove and butterfly releases are usually additions but some packages may offer them. A sparkling cider (cannot give out alcohol) toast is included in many packages. The wedding cake can be included but most times is extra. The wedding planner can help with all of these as add-ons if not included. These do not have to be real expensive. Dove releases are approximately $140 and wedding cakes start from $85 for a small party.
Most companies include a commemorative certificate at the end which is nice since your wedding license will not arrive until after you get home. It’s a special keepsake for you to have and show.
Hopefully, I have given you a bunch to think about and help you plan what you are going to ask your wedding planner. Be prepared and it will help you save time, money and possibly stress. If you have additional questions as to your wedding or vow renewal, please call me at Maui Aloha Weddings. I will not make you sign a contract – promise! It’s just to help you and my aloha to you. I encourage you to shop around.