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azhuskergirl's Maui wedding review - A Paradise Dream Wedding


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#1 azhuskergirl

azhuskergirl
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    Posted 13 September 2008 - 04:48 PM

    Alright, since I still haven't posted my planning thread, I figured I'd better get my Maui review posted before too much time goes by. I've also included some reviews from our honeymoon in Waikiki. Reviews first, then I go into detail about the actual wedding day. Enjoy!

    Maui Review
    US Airways – B flight from Phoenix to Maui was great. We landed about ½ early. Easy, easy. I did have to put my dress in the overhead, but it had to be pressed in Maui anyway, so that was no big deal.

    Avis Rental Car – B+apparently we landed at a very busy time. It took us about ½ hour to snake around the line waiting for assistance. Once we got up to the counter, everything was perfect. They let us pick the color of our convertible (red, in case you wondered) & we we’re off to the hotel.

    Ka’anapali Beach Hotel – A Hotel staff were very friendly. Check in was easy. Our room was very spacious & had a sunken sitting area which was great for the day of the wedding. The General Manager of the hotel even had a bottle of champagne waiting for us upon arrival. Each night we received turndown service with these fantastic coconut shortbread cookies, too! Yum! The property is not as new or modern as say, the Marriott, but was fine for our needs. Only 1 condominium stood between out hotel & Whaler’s Village, so it was a short walk to the ABC Store or Hula Grill’s happy hour!!! And each evening there was live Hawaiian music & dance performed at the hotel. I highly recommend this location for going swimming at Ka’anapali Beach. Black Rock was really close (we saw turtles & manta rays while snorkeling there). And upon checkout there was a farewell ceremony where the hotel staff sang & presented us with a kukui nut lei which they will restring with different shades each time you return to the hotel. It was quite nice.

    A Paradise Dream Wedding –A+++++++ I can NOT say enough good things about this company. Brad & I decided to use them based on Gordon Nash’s amazing photography on his website & we were blown away. Joanne Earles set up the contract with me & was great with all of my questions. She’s the one that encouraged us to have a morning wedding, because it would better capture the color of the ocean. She was right. Jo Thurman was the coordinator that I ironed out all the details with, & she was fantastic. Jo was always quick to respond & pleasant to work with. I miss our correspondence & will probably keep in touch personally with her! My on-site was Della Peacock. She is a rock star. She took care of everything, set up the cake & cider & cleaned up with out me even realizing (during the ceremony). She was the brains behind my adorable pineapple in my bouquet! I love her….I want to be friends with her. Kimo Kirkman was our minister. Fantastic! He was funny & had a calming air about him. We hadn’t even spoken to him before, but he made us both feel at ease. Our guitarist was Tarvin Makia. He was great….very talented. Highly recommend. Our videographer was Dan McMahon. He, like Eric & Arien, was very comforting, gave us great direction, & made us laugh. We can’t wait to see the final cut of the DVD! You are taking such a chance when you plan an event from thousands of miles away, but it’s a no-brainer when you use APDW. You can just relax & enjoy this wonderful day.

    Old Lahaina Luau – A+++ We worked with Kona Pokipala at Old Lahaina Luau & it was so easy. We reserved a group rate for the luau about 8 months in advance & she was great about keeping up with my guarantees & reconfirming everything a few days prior to our luau. I would highly recommend paying the $5/pp gratuity when you pay for the reservations as it seemed to get us better table placement. We were front & center for the show. Our server D’artanian mentioned several times that we must have done something special to get our tables. Our photographers came back to shoot for 2 hours at the luau. Eric, the lead photographer mentioned that he had never had a couple shoot both in the am & then at sunset. He thought it was such a good idea. We got some fantastic shots of us at sunset as well as the show & candies of our guests during the reception hour. It was worth the additional cost. We did have to pay for Eric & Arien to attend the luau, but they get a ka’amaina rate which is about $60/each (and they were so grateful when we made them eat with us). The food was incredible. I’ve been to at least 5 luaus & this was the best luau food I’ve had (Feast at Le Le would be a close 2nd in my opinion).

    Kapalua Adventures (zipline tour) – A+ This was really fun. The tour goes out with 8 people & we were able to fill each slot with our wedding guests, so it was as if we had a private tour. The cost was about $150/pp. They do have tandem lines, so you can zip with your spouse, which was nice. Brad always beat me….he does have a few more lbs on me. We have some fun video from that. Oh, but be warned, big cameras (my uncle has a really nice professional-type camera) aren’t allowed for safety purposes. Only the small ones that can be tied onto your harness are allowed. And be warned, it’ll probably rain at some point on your tour. It didn’t bother us (& they provide you with a rain jacket). Also, you must weigh less than 250 lbs for this tour.

    Oahu (honeymoon) Review

    Waikiki Parc Hotel – A+ Such a cool, funky hotel. The entry into the hotel is a long hallway with these blue & green lights along the side. We we’re upgraded to an ocean view room on the 17th floor (I met someone in the corporate office at a function back home & swung it) & they had a bottle of wine in the room for us when we arrived. We ate at Nobu one night (located inside the hotel). It was ok. I’d recommend sitting at the sushi bar rather than a table though. We were the only non-Japanese people in there & seemed to get much worse service than anyone else. The sushi was good though as was the mushroom soup.

    Hula Grill has some really great prix fixe dinner specials from 4:45pm – 6/6:30pm. And try some of the Fire Water with their bread. It’s sooooo good.

    North Shore Shark Adventures – A+++ such an awesome adventure. We recommend going on the 1st trip of the day (7am). On our way out to the achor spot we stopped to see a pod of spinner dolphins. That was so cool. As soon as we pulled up to our spot there were 7 sharks immediately swimming off our bow. That was a trip! There were 10 people on our boat & because I volunteered 1st we went in the cage alone (they can put up to 4 people in at a time & we didn’t know the other people). My breathing took about 5 minutes to calm down once we were in the cage, but it was such an adrenaline rush. My mind knew that we were safe, but seeing an 11 ft shark 3 feet from you still gets you nervous. Buy the DVD! They ask before you go in the water if you want it & if you’re even thinking that you may want it….GET IT. It’s about $60, but so worth it. We broke our 2nd underwater camera of the trip while on this tour, so we we're thrilled that we have this footage (our other footage still came out, but we didn't know that until we gor back to our room).

    For breakfast after the shark tour, we recommend Caf© Haliewa. Good food, very good prices by Hawaii standards.

    Now for the big day recap!

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    We didn’t wake up too early (5:30am). I slept like a log, Brad later admitted (after first saying that he slept great) that he tossed & turned quite a bit. We hit the breakfast buffet (which was included in our hotel’s daily rate) right when it opened at 6:15am in order to make it back to the room by 7am when Regina (my make-up artist) was set to arrive. No heavy breakfast for either of us this morning….lots of fruit. We ran into my mom & dad as we were leaving to go back to our room. Regina arrived promptly & began work on my face. Brad bid me adieu & left to get ready in my parent’s room. Make-up took about an hour & Regina was great (Maui brides, she also does hair). My best friend’s sister (who is a hair stylist) did my hair which took about 45 minutes. Then I jumped into the dress & was ready to go by 8:45am! After drinking another mimosa with my mom & taking some pictures in the room, we were off to the beach!

    Brad & a few friends went to the Kapalua Bay Beach about 20 minutes ahead of my parents & I to make sure all was well (a few of my friends are also meeting planners, & they wanted to make sure the wedding coordinator did her job). There was some construction that we did not anticipate (or run into when we were there earlier in the week) & parking was hell. There ended up being another couple who must’ve had an 8:30am ceremony at the same beach a little way down from us. My on-site coordinator, Della, was a rock star though. She blocked my space ahead of time that morning. Della also did our florals & I fell in love with my bouquet. When I was told that Gardenias were out of season earlier in the year I was so bummed. I ended up telling my coordinator, Jo, “just have the florist create something fun & tropical with birds of paradise or something.” That could have bit me right in the butt, however Della made me the best bouquet (it even had a mini pineapple in it). Anyway, back to the ceremony…. It was a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the ceremony site with lots of opportunities for Brad to sneak a peek, but my friends, the minister, & the photographers wouldn’t let him look. We got into place & it was showtime. As soon as I saw Brad catch my eye I could tell he was tearing up which made me start the waterworks, too. That only lasted for a minute or so & then we just tried to minimize the damage in front of people with the tissue. He looked amazing. They positioned us so that we were facing the guests (the guests got the ocean view) with the minister on our left & guitarist on our right. The guests got a great view of a pack of kayakers who came around the bay & were set to land right next to us. Luckily they paddled around us & landed in another area. We had no idea until everyone mentioned it during the cake cutting. Kimo, our minister, said prayers in both Hawaiian & English. We exchanged our leis before our vows & rings. Kimo had us kiss after each of us got lei’d (which was great…I think we kissed about 5 times before THE KISS). We exchanged vows (little tearing up) & rings. Then came the introduction of Mr & Mrs Benson & we kissed. Then the guitarist played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and we danced in the sand. Pictures followed, then our cider toast (no alcohol on Hawaiian beaches), followed by the cutting of our cake (white sponge cake with Vanilla whip cream custard with layer of raspberry). There’s nothing like cake at 10am! We used the same cake server that my parents used 40 years ago at their wedding. We took more professional pictures with family & friends before they all took off & we finished up our photo session by ourselves. We had Eric Dahl & Arien Sherman for our photographers & they couldn’t have been more professional & easygoing. I highly recommend either of them. You can see their portfolios at Maui Wedding Photography . As we were leaving around 11:30am we ran into one of our friends who was going to warn us that our car was about to be towed. We got out of there just in time!

    We headed back to the hotel for some newlywed time…..’nuff said.

    At 5pm we donned our wedding attire once more for the luau! Everyone arrived by 5:30pm & doors opened at 5:45pm. We were greeted with a fresh flower lei & a mai tai (my kind of party). Our photographers came back to shoot for 2 hours at the luau. Eric, the lead photographer mentioned that he had never had a couple shoot both in the am & then at sunset. He thought it was such a good idea. We got some fantastic shots of us at sunset as well as the show & candies of our guests during the reception hour. We all mixed & mingled for an hour or so taking pictures & drinking fruity concoctions. We even ran into the other wedding couple from Kapalua Bay (nice coincidence that we both decided on Old Lahiana Luau receptions). We watched the imu ceremony & prepared for the feast. The food was incredible. I’ve been to at least 5 luaus & this was the best luau food I’ve had (Feast at Le Le would be a close 2nd in my opinion). Brad went back for 2nds! After dinner they brought out the desserts (family style) to each table & started the show. About 2 dances into the show it began to rain. Then it started to rain harded. Brad & I just laughed as everyone hurried to get their rain ponchos on (that the luau staff handed out). It was perfect. Our pictures were over with, who cares if we get a little wet. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day. The show continued & soon the rain subsided. We headed back to the hotel with our “Just Married” sign on our Mustang & called it the most perfect day of our lives!

    Whew! I think I need a nap now!

    #2 azhuskergirl

    azhuskergirl
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      Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:00 PM

      here's a picture of the kayakers:
      Click the image to open in full size. we had no idea.

      Here's me discovering the pineapple in my bouquet:
      Click the image to open in full size.

      And here is an shot of the bouquet (& starfish hidden in there):
      Click the image to open in full size.

      #3 Kat81

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        Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:08 PM

        How cute are you?! You looked amazing!! Congrats!

        #4 azhuskergirl

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          Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:12 PM

          ok gorgeous, you looked amazing yourself! Love the siggy picture!

          #5 Andi

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            Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:20 PM

            Hooray! I am glad everything turned out well! Your bouquet is really cool with the pineapple in it! Congrats again!

            Waikiki Parc IS amazing (especially for the price)! My FI and I stayed there in March when we went to Honolulu! Actually it is kind of funny, I read your blog and noticed that picture from your balcony! I have almost the SAME picture and I was going to ask you if that is where you guys stayed!

            #6 A10CalGal

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              Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:25 PM

              Yay!! Great review. I am thrilled to hear what an easy experience you had. And I love the morning wedding, then a break, and the reception later. That's fun!

              #7 kevsgirl

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                Posted 13 September 2008 - 05:28 PM

                Congratulations! I just logged on and can't believe how many of you have just gotten married! :)
                Thanks for your review. It looks like your coordinators were fantastic and your day was just perfect.

                Enjoy being a newlywed :)

                #8 Angel

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                  Posted 13 September 2008 - 07:49 PM

                  Congrats. Great review, glad everything went well. You look beautiful.

                  #9 azhuskergirl

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                    Posted 13 September 2008 - 10:46 PM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by Andi
                    Waikiki Parc IS amazing (especially for the price)! My FI and I stayed there in March when we went to Honolulu! Actually it is kind of funny, I read your blog and noticed that picture from your balcony! I have almost the SAME picture and I was going to ask you if that is where you guys stayed!
                    That's awesome. Great minds think alike. Did you go to the wine reception? I swear, for the first 5 days there it seemed like we were in Tokyo. We only saw Japanese folks staying in our hotel.

                    #10 Tracy

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                      Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:18 PM

                      It sounds like everything was perfect - CONGRATS! BTW, I used to work as a cocktail waitress at Kaanapali Beach Hotel, and I worked the dance show and pool for drinks...and we always learned Hawaiian songs and sang to guests as they left - it was my favorite part of the job - ha ha.
                      Congrats again......looks like your day had much ALOHA!!!




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