I got married almost 7 years ago. And honestly I don’t feel the seven year itch coming on either. Maybe because my husband and I decided to scratch each other’s backs and fall in love with one another year after year. Love is a choice. And I am so happy I made the choice to get married to my love on an island with 75 of our closest friends and family. We had a barefoot wedding on Ka’anapali Beach– the beautiful island of Maui.
We have a little shelf under our coffee table with some wood drink coasters, a Banksy book and three photo albums from our Maui wedding. My daughter looks in these photo albums frequently. She tells me she wishes she was there and asks, “Why didn’t I get to go?” I remind her it’s best to get married before you have children. I hope that one sticks.
I do look forward to the day that my husband and I can renew our vows in the exact same location with our daughter by our side. My goal is to live my dream wedding all over again for our ten-year anniversary. But we’ll have to see where life takes us. I’m a gypsy like that.
I can’t help but feel lucky, super blessed and honored to have married in Hawaii. I would have never thought that our friends and family would fly from California to be a part of such a special day for us. All I can say is it was absolutely magical. And if you ever have a chance to plan a wedding or renew your wedding vows, I urge you to jump on the destination wedding airplane.
Why I am convinced destination weddings rock
- Your guest list will be small. A wedding is an intimate affair. And it feels really good to know that the people who attend your wedding think it’s worth it to spend money on plane tickets and accommodations to see it all happen.
- All of your guests are on vacation, so they are relaxed, happy and easy guests to please.
- Getting on a plane with your wedding dress feels super cool. They store it in the Captain’s closet.
- It’s one of the best vacations you will ever take and all of your best friends get to be a part of it.
Ways we saved money
- Having a destination wedding. I think when you choose a destination wedding, it cuts your list in half for guests that would normally attend a local wedding. We had 75 guests total. We double checked to make sure our immediate family and those we really cared about would be willing to pay and travel to witness us say our vows in Hawaii. Once everyone we cared about said yes, it was on like Donkey Kong. And the destination wedding obsession began…
- TheKnot.com. I was obsessed, addicted and obsessed. I was able to plan my entire wedding without hiring a wedding coordinator. I looked at photos for inspiration and looked at real brides who were married on Maui. I was able to find first-hand reviews on real brides’ experiences, locations and vendors. Did I mention that I was obsessed with The Knot?
- Having the ceremony on the beach. Hawaii beaches are public, so that means free ceremony location. Cha-ching!
- Inexpensive wedding dress. David’s Bridal dress on sale. Under $250. I’m a simple girl.
- Free Hair and Make-up. I did my hair myself with the help of my mom. I had a friend do my make-up.
- No bridal party. This means no bridal party coordination needed and no rehearsal dinner necessary. We invited our guests to join us at the Old Lahaina Luau two nights before the wedding. Most people who travel to Hawaii want to experience a luau anyway. Over half of our guests joined us and paid for their own luau dinner. It sprinkled a warm rain that evening which gave us a beautiful rainbow. Heavenly!
- Wedding + Honeymoon in one location. Traveling to an exotic destination or foreign city for your wedding ceremony saves you money because you’re already where you want to be for your honeymoon. Some people like to island hop, but we were happy with spending 13 days on Maui.
- Kept decor simple. When you have a tropical island as your back drop, you don’t need much for decor. I had chairs on the beach (which we moved in to use for the reception too) and an orchid aisle to walk on in the sand.
- Buffet dinner for reception. I’m a I want to try it all kind of girl. The buffet was less expensive and had a great variety like crab legs and prime rib. Our guests didn’t get stuck with the chicken or fish they thought they wanted over six months ago. We also added lechon (roasted pig) and shave ice to the menu.
- Set drink menu. I created a drink menu with four beverages to choose from– Something Old: Mai Tai; Something New: Signature drink – Vodka and Passion Fruit; Something Borrowed: Piña Colada; Something Blue: Blue Hawaii. I only bought the ingredients needed to make those drinks (plus soft drinks, beer and wine). We bought all of our drinks at Costco since you can return any unused bottles. We did not return anything. We were partying like rock stars.
Maui vendors we used
Ceremony Location: Kaanapali Beach, Maui (just north of Lahaina)
Photography: LaShawn Photographic (love his work, not sure if he is still doing photography)
Wedding Officiant: Rev. Valentine “Tino” Rosete
Reception: Royal Lahaina Resort – Royal Beach House, guests were able to walk from the beach straight to our backyard reception
DJ and Sound: Randy “DJ Skinny Guy” Bermudez
Bar Service: Maui Bars Are Us
My Maui wedding memories are priceless. If I could do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same. The only tip I would share is hire your photographer as long as possible. We hired our photographer to take pictures of us getting ready and during the ceremony up until all of the scheduled reception events were over: first dance, bouquet toss, cutting the cake. My husband and I wish we had our photographer stay to capture our friends partying, dancing and jumping in the pool! Yes, more than half of our guests jumped in the swimming pool at our reception location. I jumped in the pool too– in my wedding dress.
I always dreamed of getting married with my toes buried in the sand. I am so thankful I got to enjoy such a simple wedding with my best friend surrounded by people we both love so much. Love is such a wonderful feeling, so dance ’til you fall in love.
Speak your mind…
Would you have a destination wedding? Or do you prefer a wedding somewhere more close to home?