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KAUAI WEDDING REVIEW! (w/ pics!!)


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#1 JayBee

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    Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:32 PM

    It has taken me some time to get this review out. I had many thoughts to sort out, much stress to recoup from, and a few personal issues to endure upon returning from Hawaii six weeks ago. The past 16 months have been informative, and although I will never get to put the lessons learned to practice in the future, I hope that by sharing my thoughts and experiences I can help at least one person on this forum with some insight and feedback.

    First off, I feel that there are ups and downs along the road of planning a DW, and that this forum has been more than accommodating my rants and babbles. Also, I've taken quite a few weeks to reflect upon my experience (and I wanted to make sure I got my deposits, pictures, etc) before I opened my mouth again. As I write this, I have to ask myself again if the entire experience was worth it- the money, the trouble, the people who couldn't travel- to go all the way to Hawaii to marry the man I've already spent a third of my life with...

    I am going to start off with grades, then go on to the detailed review, and add in some pictures, too!

    AIR TRAVEL: US AIRWAYS, F,F,F,F!!!!!
    can I just say WORST EXPERIENCE EVER, and leave it at that? And btw, they don't have closets anymore, so you have to crush your gown into an overhead bin...

    CAR RENTAL: Alamo, A I don't drive, so I don't really have an opinion, but if DH is happy, so am I.

    ACCOMMODATIONS: Private vacation rental, Shangri-la, Moloa'a Bay (6 guests) A Gorgeous! Amazing! Private! Minutes from beach! They do rent out 3 sections of the house & the cottage separately, however, I couldn't imagine sharing the main propery with another party. The wing is gorgeous, it's a perfect master suite, but I didn't think it had enough of a kitchen, and there's no delivery down there! Also, in places this secluded your cell phone may not work (ours didn't, but moh's did). The six of us hung out all night on the wrap-around lanai, eating dinner we prepared in the giant kitchen in the main house.Click the image to open in full size. We took moonlit walks to the beach and saw sea turtles resting on shore. There was a pool, and a jacuzzi further behind the house, closer to the cottage. Other than that, the cottage is set a good way off from the house, and has it's own driveway, which goes behind the main house. There were issues with that part of the property being rented to someone else on our wedding day, which I found surprising because we also paid an additional fee for the event, so I thought we had the entire estate on our wedding day. All in all, it worked out, and was quite the awesome place to stay.

    WEDDING COORDINATOR: Alohana Weddings, A
    Overall, great job! They went above and beyond all expectations...

    CATERING: Contemporary Flavors, A
    Great food, exceptional service...

    HAIR: Christie, Blue Sky Styling A
    She's awesome, and has great stories! Also told me I did a good job on my own make-up, very reassuring!

    PHOTO: Kilohana Studios A
    Very easy to work with. Got our preview pics up in about 10 days. Also gave us the photos in their original format, in addition to hi-res JPEG, which made DH happy.

    What else?? Oh yeah... THE SITE!! Again, Moloa'a Shangri-la...B+
    Beautiful place, full of flowering trees and buddhas, indonesian art, even a sculpted pool! Everyone was blown away by the beauty of this place. We were lucky to find it. The only negative was this thing with the cottage, and that I didn't know that they considered it to be separate from the property, therefore were free to rent it to someone else on the day of the event. To be fair, it is far enough away from where we were, but you never know who may come wandering out! Also the misunderstanding caused serious headaches. On top of that, I was very worried about my guests doing any kind of damage inside or outside of the house, because the place is someone's home. I was very glad we got to enjoy it, but if I had a rowdy bunch, there's no way I could've taken the chance!

    Click the image to open in full size.

    #2 JayBee

    JayBee
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      Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:41 PM

      PART 1

      Although we traveled from NYC to Kauai, it hardly felt like a destination wedding. I think it’s mostly because we wanted a private location to hold the ceremony and the reception, and we planned for 30 – 40 guests. This was by far the most complicated part of planning this wedding. I tried contacting wedding coordinators, rental agents, even property owners, but no one could or would find a location to accommodate our needs. The thing is, if you manage to find a house that will allow a wedding, you’ll need to rent the property for 7 nights, plus put down an event fee, hire a coordinator, put up a tent, and probably provide a porto-potty for that many guests. We were about to go to a resort in Maui when I contacted the owner of an estate called Shangri-La in Moloa’a. She was amazingly nice and was willing to accommodate an event for up to 70 guests, and I don’t think she even had a minimum night’s stay in the house. She even recommended a WC, Alohana weddings. This ended up being the best advice I got throughout the troublesome planning stage. I worked with Diana, and she was so down to earth, and easy to talk to. She never tried to tell me what I wanted, or what would work out best- she listened to me and actually worked with the (sometimes vague) ideas I had.
      Diana and her team handled the entire set-up of the ceremony, and all the flowers and table settings for the tent. She described how she was going to decorate the tent poles, but I had to include the picture or you’d never believe how amazing it was! It’s pretty much what all the guests commented on! Click the image to open in full size.
      Click the image to open in full size.
      Christie from blue sky styling showed up to do my hair. She’s a very cool chick and loves reggae just like me. And yes, she’s a terrific hairdresser. She also help my bm’s pin flowers in their hair, since we were all pretty clueless.
      Click the image to open in full size.
      The photographer was from Kilohana studios, another very cool guy. He did get some of the “getting ready” pics, which initially I didn’t want, but of course I’m glad I have. He did a great job getting great candid photos along with all of the posed photographs you’d expect.

      Click the image to open in full size.

      #3 JayBee

      JayBee
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        Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:51 PM

        PART 2

        The most important thing, of course, was the ceremony. We had originally planned to have our friend perform the ceremony, but that was left up in the air until the last moment. So the wc booked minister Kelvin Ho. Since our friend did make it, we asked minister Ho to perform the invocation and blessing, and our minister did the sermon and the vows. You should know that minister Ho does a ritual that involves breaking open a coconut that the bride and groom share, then offer to their ancestors. It’s really is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen during a wedding ceremony. It’s very real and spiritual, and now showy at all.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        There were flowers everywhere, all tropical varieties including tons of orchids. Our bouquets were beautiful, even though I wasn’t specific about colors or blooms- I just requested that everything be as local as possible. We had a solo guitarist who played Blackbird by The Beatles. I had a pretty long walk from the room where I got ready, down the stairs that wrapped around the house, and across the lawn. I probably walked too fast but at least I took a moment to take everything in. And I didn’t forget to breathe- until I got to the altar! Luckily minister Ho provided us with a moment to collect ourselves and got us centered on the task at hand, thus avoiding a teary breakdown for everyone. Minister Ho ended his part at exactly 11:11, which I took as a good omen.

        The most meaningful part of the entire day was our dear friend’s sermon. It means so much to have someone who truly knows you stand up before all of your family and friends, and declare that you and your husband belong together, then lead you through the vows of marriage. It was a ceremony that not only bonded my fianc© and I together as husband and wife, but also bonded everyone present to us as family. That experience made every other detail of the day, and all the planning, wane in importance and significance. Although every piece was special, and contributed in making every moment of the day meaningful, nothing could’ve made more of an impression on us than that ceremony.
        Click the image to open in full size.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        I really can’t say enough how beautiful a day it was, how amazing the location or how exceptional everything was. We were married in the morning, and followed with a brunch reception. The food was great, and the service was excellent. The wc hired Contemporary Flavors catering service to do our buffet-style brunch reception and the wedding cake, which was coconut cake with macadamia filling. Yummy. Sooo yummy! I went to a wedding in Kauai earlier this year and that cake was not nearly as good. We went through hell (long story) to provide our own liquor, which was purchased at Costco. We figured we’d just return whatever wasn’t used. Unfortunately, at least 4 unused bottles of liquor were opened, rendering them non-returnable. I’m not sure if we saved any money in the long run, but I can tell you that it took a lot of time and cause some major headaches. I still would’ve provided the champagne, but maybe asked the caterers to bring the liquor and mixers.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        There are upsides and downsides with choosing a private locale over a resort or a beach, and vice versa. We were thrilled to find a spacious and amazingly beautiful location, though it wasn’t on the beach. Luckily beautiful and secluded Moloa’a Bay was just down the road, and provided an amazing backdrop for our photos. We did have to rent a tent and a porto-potty for the number of guests we had, which was ok. I had wanted just tables and umbrellas (because the wedding was in August), but with the weather constantly changing in Kauai, what can you do. Once I saw what the WC did with it, I was in awe! Everything she did with the flowers and arrangements was above and beyond anything I had asked or expected. It was truly a tropical paradise. She also put some small cocktail tables outside the tent, which came in handy because in the midday heat that tent was getting warm. We had a small dance floor, which served mostly to entertain the kids, and just used our iPod for music, since we were very specific about what we wanted to play. For a daytime reception, dancing wasn’t that important, so after our first dance I changed into a white sundress for the cake cutting. That was the best decision I made… next to getting eyelash extensions! I was so much more comfortable and I didn’t have to worry about my gown getting ruined.

        It’s not easy planning a DW, because you’re basically relying on someone else to carry out your vision and pick up on the nuances, and leaving so many details in someone else’s hands. You are going to make sacrifices, and mistakes, and have regrets. The only thing I know from this experience (and really, knew all along), is that no matter how big of a dilemma you face now, in the end it will work out, and in planning your DW, you must, above all else, believe that.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        the end!!

        #4 Erika J

        Erika J

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          Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:57 PM

          Wow, what amazing pics and a ton of detail. Great review.

          #5 ClintsGurl09

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            Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:11 PM

            Excellent review!

            #6 da.shmoopies

            da.shmoopies
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              Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:17 PM

              Yay! A Hawaii Wedding Review. All your flowers were amazing! Everything looked beautiful. Even though planning a DW can be a hassle and there were a few issues, it looks like everything turned out wonderful.

              Bummer about US Airways. Airline service now adays blows. Don't get me started with the surly airline stewards on Delta. We are flying Hawaiian... besides Southwest, they've had decent service.

              Congratulations!

              #7 Ginalyn

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                Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:49 PM

                Amazing review, sounds like everything went well aside from the travel part. Everything looked absolutely beautiful (including you)! I love all the flowers. Congrats Mrs!

                #8 ~Angela~

                ~Angela~
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                  Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:54 PM

                  Amazing review!! Thanks for sharing!
                  I love your reception setup! :)

                  #9 SusieQ

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                    Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:55 PM

                    Every detail looked amazing, including you and your new hubby.... congrats and thanks for sharing with us your beautiful day

                    #10 Butterflyf369

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                      Posted 28 September 2009 - 07:57 PM

                      Thanks for the great review. It's always great to read the reflections from other brides.As well, I loved your set up, it's perhaps the prettiest I've seend.




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