I wonder how many times that title has been said? Probably every person that ever has and ever will get married in Maui!
I just got back from a long weekend in Maui where I assisted my friend, the fabulous Beth Helmstetter of Beth Helmstetter Events, on one of her island weddings. Beth has recently moved to LA due to her husband's job transfer and is now in the process of changing regions. I asked her if I could assist her on any of her upcoming Hawaiian weddings as I am keen on the destinations and when she emailed me her dossier for the 2008 I asked her which one was the most challenging that she needed the most assistance? Valentines Weekend, 5 day event for 172 people she said. Chris & Kim's wedding. So it was off to Maui I went. Trailing my ever travel ready husband, as well. He's always up for an adventure!
We got into Maui Wednesday night and got settled in a wonderful guest cottage of a florist couple Beth knows and on Thursday (Valentines Day) Eric and I hit the west side of the island. Beth didn't need my help that day as the wedding guests were on a sailing trip and fairly self sufficient. My husband and I had a fun and momentarily terrifying time driving the one lane road on the north west side of the island. I kid you not: we were 2" from rolling down a mountain.
Friday, I jumped in and kicked it into high gear with Beth. We met at the Seawatch Restaurant with the two other people that were going to be assisting Beth since the event was so large: Christine, one of Beth's good friends who has helped her out on many weddings in the past and island planner Evonne Wong of Events by Evonne, LLC who also took these beautiful detail shots. We pow wowed and got the low down for the intricate event that involved gutting the restaurant, extensive set up, and perfectly timed shuttles transporting the guests up to Molokini Lookout for the ceremony and then to the party after the ceremony. The rest of the day consisted of errands, more timeline reviews, transporting decor & items to the site, and the assembly of all of the sand dollar napkin rings custom made by the bride. Oh, and I met the bride, groom, bridal party & family and they were honestly the NICEST group of people I could ever imagine! Score!
Wedding day dawned bright and hot and set up began. I got a good 4 hour workout unstacking, tying on ribbons & starfish, tying on the cushions, then stacking 172 gold chivari chairs. Whew! The final outcome was worth it though.
The ceremony was gorgeous up at Molokini Lookout. The clouds were dark and rainy behind us on Haleakala, but rays of sun were breaking through the dramatic clouds by the time the ceremony started. It was gorgeous.
Keikie (children) Dancers performed a Hula for the guests before the ceremony started, and the bride was escorted into the ceremony alighting from a groovy old Woody to the blowing of a conch shell
The reception setup was a whirlwind of 20+ catering staff turning the cute Hawaiian restaurant into a romantic and glamorous venue for a truly spectacular wedding reception. The pictures just don't do it justice.
These are my favorite professional shots from San Diego photographer John Mireles of Ventana Photography. You can view more great wedding shots on his blog
The next day, despite my intentions of getting up super early to drive the renown road to Hana since that was my last full day in Maui, I crankily got up at the crack of 9:00am to get on it. As gorgeous as it was, I was pretty pooped after the weekend.Wedding Coordination is not as glamorous as most think: if people want to continue to think that this is a glam job, I invite you to come work manual labor with us! There are some great perks though:
This is what I did (in the shade, of course) on the world famous black sand beaches. Thanks, honey, that is a really flattering shot...
(Yes, my skin is really that white. No, it is not an illusion since I am laying on pitch black sand. Can't change or beat genetics....)
All in all though, it was a really educational trip. A lot of work, and a lot of fun. Weddings are pretty different on the islands and brides need to be very discerning when they are planning their dream days there (and anywhere, for that matter)
A word of advice for brides wanting to wed in the exotic Hawaii Islands:
There are a LOT of brides, and not that many vendors. The odds are in the vendors' favor. There are some of good ones, and there are a LOT of bad ones. It's best to find a good coordinator who will work in your best interests by not taking kickbacks, performing markups, or charging a percentage of your wedding.