Wedding Review- Dec 30, 2008 in Wailea, Maui HI
Note- skip past my long airline story if you want!
Flights- United Airlines
from Victoria BC – overall B
It is hard to say whether or not our travel difficulties were unique or whether it was typical holiday travel. We left on Dec 20 for our wedding. We had a complicated flight schedule because we moved part-way through this year and had purchased our tickets from our hometown. So we had to make our way back to Victoria before flying to Maui (we live in Kelowna now for those of you who know BC at all). We just so happened to choose a winter in which the entire country had massive storms right before Christmas that majorly disrupted our flight plans, as well as everyone else who was coming to Maui for our wedding.
We had a flight purchased to get us to Victoria on the evening of Dec 19. We were passed security and waiting at the gates when they announced that the flight was cancelled, due to the major storm in Toronto preventing our plane from arriving in Kelowna. Panic set in, as our flight the next day from Victoria was a non-refundable flight from United, a different airline than the one who was cancelling our original flight. I knew if we didn’t make it to Victoria on time that we would be SOL and in major debt buying last minute tickets to Maui.
“Luckily” we managed to get a flight to Vancouver that evening (not until 2am mind you). But we did have to purchase last minute tickets to Victoria from Vancouver, which set us back $400 before our vacation had even started.
Once we made it to Victoria, everything seemed safe. We checked in Victoria at 11am for our 2pm flight to San Franciso. We were told that we didn’t have assigned seats for the San Fran-Maui connection yet, but that once we arrived in San Fran, to go to the agent and she would give us her seats. All seemed good.
When we arrived in San Fran, with only an hour to go through customs and check our bags, we made it to the counter with about 10 min before boarding. The lady said, ‘yes, we are about 15 min behind because of radio problems, but we will call you up to give you your seats shortly.” They were dealing with lots, so I thought nothing of it and went to sit down and wait at the gate with my now husband.
About 25 min later, I notice a TV screen with details of our flight. On the TV it flashed between three separate screens; one was titled “Confirmed with seats” followed by names, the second was “Confirmed without seats”, the third was stand-by. We were on the part that said, “confirmed without seats”. Not sure what this meant, I went back to the counter. This is when the lady told me that the flight was overbooked, and they were going to need volunteers to get off the flight and wait until Monday night to leave (it was Sat night). My mind started racing. Not only did we have a line-up of appointments for Monday morning in Maui, but my brother was meeting us in Maui at 11:30pm when his flight got in and we had no way of contacting him if we hadn’t arrived. I was in tears thinking that we may not make it to Maui until Monday... thus missing 2 days, missed appointments to be remade... losing out on $500 in accommodation we had already pre-paid. The whole concept of an overbooked flight was something I had never heard of, but apparently it is very common over the holidays. In fact, the ticket agents told us that they always overbook, with the expectation that not everyone will make their connections. Because they had had some radio difficulties and the plane was delayed 20 min, everyone actually made it to the gate on time and thus they had extra people.
So they started offering deals to people... eventually, 4 people got off the plane for us (there were two people ahead of us on the list). The agent actually had to get on the plane and tell the sad story that we were leaving for our wedding and that there was a bride in tears at the gate (which was true). I am honestly still in shock that 4 people got off and halted their vacation for us. Sure, they got two free round-trip tickets to anywhere in the US, and they got hotel and food in San Fran for 2 days, but they were on their way to Maui!
Luckily we didn’t have any difficulties on the way home. This season was particularly bad for travel it seemed, as the weather on the westcoast was extremely a-typical. The Vancouver airport shut down for 2 days, and tons of flights out of Victoria were cancelled. Every single person who came to our wedding had to deal with either a cancelled flight or an extremely delayed flight. Colin’s family sat on the tarmac for 6 hours because after loading their flight the airport closed and they were stuck! Their flight was 7 hours delayed for a 5 hour flight. It was nasty all around.
Wedding Coordinator: Makena Weddings
Laurie Terry A+++++
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Laurie. From the moment I began planning with her until the end of our wedding night, Laurie took care of everything and was extremely organized. She was very calm, kind and just gave me peace of mind with everything. The vendors she used were all fantastic and there was not a single problem with the evening, except that our venue unfortunately got rained out and moved inside, but obviously this had nothing to do with her! She actually made them set it up outside for us because she knew how much I wanted it done even though they knew it was going to rain and have to be moved. Sure enough we got back from photos and sat down and within 5 min it started a torrential downpour and everything had to be relocated inside. But I couldn’t care at all. Even the inside was beautiful and we had an amazing night despite the loss of scenery.
Minister: Al Terry (Laurie’s husband)
Again, I can’t say enough good things about Al. He was a superb entertainer, and everyone said that our ceremony was the best they had ever attended. He interacted with our guests throughout, and picked up on so many little things that were unique to us and our loved ones. Everyone commented on what a great job he did and asked how we had found him. He was also well known on the island and when people asked who our minister was and we told them they said, “oh, he’s the best”.
Venue: Ceremony- Lower Lawn at the Wailea Golf Course
Reception- Seawatch Restaurant
The original outdoor set-up was amazing. We had our own private patio with a private bar, and the setting was just magical. I am disappointed that it was moved indoors, although our guests did enjoy the area while we were off doing pictures. That evening there just so happened to be an absolutely amazing sunset- one that our photographer said was the best of the year. I guess we traded the later evening rain for the sunset because our pictures were unbelievable.
The staff at the Seawatch were all exceptional- always seemed to be there when you needed them, but never in the way. The food was phenomenal. My sister said it was actually the best piece of meat she had ever eaten! haha All of our guests really enjoyed themselves.
Photographer: Kinga Clayton
Kinga was a pleasure to work with and she did phenomenal work. She was full of ideas and did a variety of shots with us. We had her services for about 3 hours and eventually did upgrade our package once we saw her work. The day after the wedding we had a meeting with her and she had set up a slide show of the day for us with over 700 photos. She had narrowed down the best of over 1700! They were all beautiful and she captured so much emotion that I had never anticipated seeing again. I would highly recommend her. She had an assistant working with her as well. Her price was very reasonable as well. We are receiving 2 coffee table books with 60 photos, and another 16 we ordered “a la carte” and will be receiving the digital files as well. All this was only $1100.
I don’t know where he came from, as Laurie found him for us, but he was fantastic. He acted as our DJ and did a great job. Everything was low-stress and he “rolled with the punches.” After we got rained out it took him about 15 min to get everything re-set up in the inside so he stayed an extra 30 min that night. He played an awesome variety of songs and read the crowd perfectly. Everyone had a blast dancing and we were all very entertained. I actually got quite a workout!
Hair & Make-up: Jean
Again, a vendor who works with Laurie. She did a phenomenal job- she tried one style, didn’t like one aspect of it and re-did the whole thing. She was a total perfectionist and I LOVED what she did with my hair. She also did a fantastic job with my make-up. It was not heavy and cakey and it looked like me, which I really liked. I was very pleased with her work.
Wedding Cake: Maui Wedding Cakes
Again, everyone loved our cake. They all said it was the best wedding cake they had ever tasted and it was beautiful too.
Nails: Nail Bar (South Kihei Rd, next to Denny's)
Although this salon was very reasonably priced and did good work, they were extremely behind in appointments. Our appts were 45 min late. We chose the place because they had great prices, were walk-in (it was a last minute decision for me and my bm’s to get pedi’s the day of), and they have 6 massage chairs in a row. I had acrylic nails done and the three of us had pedicures. Luckily we had enough time, but it was kind of annoying.
I hope I’m not forgetting anything. Our wedding day was the best day of my life- full of love and on the most magical place to me & my husband (which still feels weird to say!). We love Maui and cannot wait to go back for an anniversary.
Although it was the perfect day for us, I am honestly still on the fence a little as to whether having a DW was the right decision. The stress I felt for everyone during travel was way more than I expected and I don’t think I would do a DW again. I know everyone had a wonderful time, but I also know it was a huge financial strain for some and I think I will always feel somewhat guilty for that.
Accommodations: Maui Banyan
Sadly, we were disappointed with the Banyan. We stayed here in 2005, but obviously got a really well maintained unit then. This time around we were on the ground floor and it was a very run-down unit. The kitchen was not well stocked at all- in fact we only had two mugs and four plates for dishes! I was so disappointed, since our last condo here had every kitchen gadget you could ever ask for. We also found that we ended up eating out way more this time around and really didn’t make enough use of the kitchen to justify the extra daily cost of having it. Next time we will get a basic hotel room.
My parents stayed at Menehune Shores, which was a nicer building, but way too far away from the main strip in Kihei. It was good for them, but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone young as you have to drive at least 15 min to get to the beaches, shops, etc. There also always seemed to be tons of wind there as compared to where we were.
Here are some non-pro pics to share with all of you!