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Alyssa

Kona Village Wedding Review 9.5.2008

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Wedding Date:

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Wedding Location:

Kona Village Resort, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (Big Island)

Wedding Guests:

Approximately 40

 

VENDOR LIST:

Travel Agent:

Dina Krulikowski, SunKissed Vacations or TA Dina on BDW

Airlines:

Delta and Mesa / IFlyGo

Wedding Coordinator:

Vidal Demonti, Kona Village

Groups Coordinator:

Tracie Brewer, Kona Village

Ground Transfers:

Speedy Shuttle

Photographers:

Mark & Gwyne Owens

Officiate:

Elizabeth Theriault

Relationship Story:

Ellen Braunstein of Courtship Stories (for OOT Bags)

MiniBook Design / Thank You Cards / Announcements:

Sproullie Designs or Sarah on BDW

Passport Invites:

Prim & Pixie

Update Newsletter / Ceremony Fan Design / Candle Favor Design:

Sandra Evans or SandraE. on BDW

Bridesmaids Gifts (embroidered robes / cosmetic cases):

Smarty Pants

Groomsmen Gifts (Cross pens & leather journals):

Holtâ€s

Wedding gift for DH:

Boudoir Photography by Jen Capone. Book by, My Publisher

Wedding Dress & Veil:

Priscilla of Boston

Bridesmaidâ€s Dresses:

Victoriaâ€s Secret, 7 in 1 Dress (Teal)

Parasols (including “B†parasol):

I Do Originals

Custom Wedding Certificate (Ketuba):

Documents and Designs

 

*click here for MY PLANNING THREAD*

 

We originally had booked our wedding for the Island of Molokai at The Lodge at Molokai Ranch – they closed down in March 2008 and we quick scrambled to re-book not only our entire wedding but all of our guests who had non-refundable airfare to Hawaii – we had to keep the same dates and budget – not an easy task for anywhere, but especially in Hawaii.

 

We were in the process of finalizing our Honeymoon (which was partially booked at Kona Village) and after making a bunch of inquiries – Kona Village was the best match for us to relocate the wedding events and the guests.

 

From that point on – we were in touch with 2 main contacts at Kona Village – Vidal Demonti (in house Wedding and Events Coordinator) and Tracie Brewer (Sales and Groups Coordinator). These two have been nothing but accommodating, kind and generous throughout the ENTIRE process – Kona Village is lucky to have them.

 

With all that being said there were a few little things that didnâ€t go exactly as planned but honestly my DH and I expected that there would be a couple little things (b/c that is always the case with a DW) and were just hoping that A. whatever went wrong wouldnâ€t be too big of a deal and B. none of our guests would notice. The little things that did go wrong were nothing that anyone else noticed, cared about and didnâ€t really impact DH and I in a big way so, in this regard, we were extremely LUCKY!!!!!!

 

The things that were not according to plan were:

  • FLOWERS: initially I had specified Fuchsia. About 2 weeks before the wedding, I spoke multiple times with Vidal (WC) about changing the color to a burgundy – it was confirmed and I moved forward with my burgundy shoes and handbag. Well, the day of the wedding, my bouquet came and it was fuchsia, at that point it was too late to do anything, the boutonnière was done, and some décor at the ceremony site so my initial reaction was definitely disappointment but I got over it in about 10 minutes and just moved on. The bouquet was quite beautiful anyway so it wasnâ€t that hard to get over.
  • AISLE FLOWERS: our contract specified an aisle of 2000 white orchids so that they would be very dense. The orchids were beautiful and definitely white but there is no way in hell there were 2000 of them – it was more ‘scattered†looking than dense but again not the end of the world.
  • CAKE: DH and I were very specific about our cake - we used a picture from Martha Stewart Weddings of a simple 3 tier cake with toasted coconut on the tops of the layers. We asked for exactly that but with chocolate icing, we specified no flowers or décor and that would we would be bringing our own cake topper. Well, when we got to the reception, we noticed that our cake was the cake we wanted from the picture but with 2 pretty distinctive differences – it was ‘milk chocolate†color instead of ‘dark chocolate†and it was decorated with real flowers. It was not exactly what we wanted but still looked nice and really was one of the best tasting wedding cakes (according to almost all of our guests and us) so we wound up not caring all that much.
  • RECEPTION CHAIRS: I confirmed a couple of times with our WC that we would have brown wood chairs for the reception but when we got there WE (DH and I) have really beautiful brown, high back wood chairs but our guests had green lawn chairs, now they were not the super cheap Wal-Mart kind but in my opinion they took away from the overall look and décor we wanted. The irony is that a bunch of guests came up to us during the reception and randomly commented on how roomy and comfortable the chairs were – figures! So, in the end, our guests were really comfortable and that is what matters most.
Things that were GREAT and beyond our expectations:
  • Since there are no telephones in the rooms, the staff had custom maps with everyone in our partyâ€s Hale noted at check in – for ALL of our guests! This was great and made it easy for all us to stay in contact.
  • They gave us the “run of the house rate†which meant that they would upgrade our group upon check in based on availability – almost everyone got upgraded (whether they knew it or not) and had amazing Haleâ€s that costs at least double what they were paying per night!
  • WC had his staff decorate the Wedding Hale at no charge.
  • WC Had cold, bottled water at the Ceremony for all of our guests at no charge.
  • WC brought potted plants to both Ceremony and Reception site to add to the ambiance.
  • WC used beautiful Lava Rocks to help decorate the reception tables – it was gorgeous!!
  • WC and Tracie upgraded us to a very large, Ocean Front hale situated right outside of our wedding ceremony site.
  • They also sent us a welcome gift and 2 wedding gifts (one of them is a graphic reproduction of the hale we stayed in!)
  • The location is insane – it is so beautiful – definitely one of the best places we have EVER stayed at.
  • The staff is great – very attentive but not obtrusive!
  • The food at Kona Village is very, very good!!! Our reception food was out of this world – everyone is still raving about the food and cake!
  • The weather – AMAZING and perfect on our wedding day as well as the Sunset – it was the best sunset we had all week on our wedding day – that was really cool!
Some other things….
  • Kona Village does not have air-conditioning anywhere except for in the Spa – this is not a big deal b/c of the trade winds – you really donâ€t need it – EXCEPT sometimes in the middle of the day it got a bit hot in the Haleâ€s and it just so happened to be an absolutely beautiful but HOT day the day of our wedding - so this made it a bit uncomfortable for me while getting ready for the ceremony. I was very hot and sweaty and my hair was not cooperating – I really wish there would have been an air-conditioned place for the bridal party to get ready in.
  • Kona Village is mostly an all-inclusive, well at least with the food plan so while their restaurants are amazing – if you are not on the food plan (which our entire group was not – we were on a Bed & Breakfast rate) – then Dinner is offensively expensive – there are only 2 dining options and BOTH are price fixes - $75 and $85 PER PERSON, not including gratuity and drinks (an average drink is about $12). We did not know this beforehand and werenâ€t prepared for it – the big joke in our group was that we had to go next door to The Four Seasons a la carte Beach Grill for $19 individual pizzaâ€s to save a couple bucks. Luckily, all of our guests were good sports about it and nobody freaked out (at least not to us LOL).
  • MARK & GWYNE OWENS – PHOTOGRAPHERS – Mark & Gwyne were great – they are married and very much in love – they have a great energy in their relationship and the way they work together that translates to their photography and creativity. We won their BDW contest so we paid for their airfare and hotel accommodations and a food allowance so were EXTREMELY lucky in that regard and we feel that it was fate b/c they fit in perfectly with our group and our personalities. At this point, we have only seen a handful of photos (which have all been AMAZING) so we canâ€t do a full review but we are very happy with the Owens†and would HIGHLY RECOMMEND them!!!!
Overall, we LOVED Kona Village so much, that we plan on going back – we never usually go to the same place twice (b/c there are so many great places to see in this world!). In the gym, there is a wall with the names of repeat guests, there were many names that we recognize (celebrities and politicians) – after spending a week there and hosting our wedding, DH and I completely understand why these people who can afford to go anywhere choose to keep going back to Kona Village.

 

I know that there are not as many Big Island brides as some of the other areas (Mexico, D.R., JA, etc.) so if there is anyone considering Big Island or Kona Village, please post any questions you have and I will do a full review for the other elements of our wedding that apply.

 

Side note – as for funny celeb stories – Richie Sambora was there while we were there – I only saw him once when we were checking in but I saw the girl he was with like 4 different times. And Steve Jobs of Apple was on the wall for over 30 repeat visits – my DH loved that! J

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the beach right outside of our Hale...

 

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View from Breakfast...

 

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our Rehearsal...

 

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one of the pools...

 

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wedding cake...

 

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view from our reception...

 

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typical sunset...

 

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bridal party gifts...

 

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sea turtles on the beach (all the time!)...

 

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Alyssa, great review and so glad you had such a good time. And, omg, if there are sea turtles on the beach like that regularly I have to go there asap! I am in love with them! lol

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