Destination I Do
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Destination Wedding Maui: A Guest's Dream Come True

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Blueberry Photography

Luke and Mandy hail from California, but wanted a truly intimate and magical destination for their wedding. Their choice – Maui, Hawaii. Thankfully, their families were fully on board and most were looking forward to a Hawaiian vacation. The couple chose the Sheraton Maui for its “old Hawaiian feel” and the island of Maui was the perfect host with tons of activities and sites to explore for the guests. 

The couple embraced the destination wedding planning process from the beginning and knew it wouldn’t be without some sacrifices. “Planning a wedding from far away can be understandably stressful,” says Mandy. “However, if you do your research and have a good contact person at your destination, many issues can be resolved. You will likely have to give up certain luxuries such as doing a food tasting or meeting with you officiant in advance, but I read many reviews, communicated closely with the site’s wedding coordinator and trusted they would do a great job – which they did.”

This bride and groom were smart to do their research as they ended up saving their guests quite a bit of money in travel costs. The couple ensured a discount code for flights with two different airlines since they were a part of a wedding group. They also got a discount through Budget for their guests’ car rentals. The Sheraton Maui didn’t let them down either with a block of rooms for their 50 guests, all at a discounted rate. Another convenience of their chosen hotel was that it ran a free shuttle service to the local restaurant and shopping areas – including the rehearsal dinner site. Who says a destination wedding doesn’t have its perks?

Once Mandy and Luke arrived in Maui, they set to putting together welcome bags for their guests. It was important to the couple that their guests have as good a time as possible. “[The welcome bags] included underwater cameras, Hawaiian lotions and soaps, sunscreen, aloe vera gel, a deck of playing cards with our names and wedding date on them, bottled water and other Hawaiian treats.” The couple also wrote personalized welcome notes for each guest and included a schedule of events for the weekend.

In the end, the couple doesn’t feel they had to compromise much in having their dream destination wedding in Maui. Granted, they had far fewer people in attendance than they would have had at home in California. “What we spent to have 50 guests in Hawaii would have probably covered 100 people in California,” recalls the Mandy. “We felt that since our guests were traveling so far to share our special day with us, we wanted to include everyone as much as possible by inviting all our guests to our rehearsal dinner, a catamaran excusion, golf day and other fun activities during the week. This added to our overall cost of having a destination wedding, but we got to maximize our time spent with all those who traveled so far to be with us. There is just nothing better than being on vacation with your 50 closest friends and family in celebration of your marriage.”

Photographer: Blueberry Photography
Ceremony/Reception Venue: Sheraton Resort and Spa, Maui
Florist: Terri Fukushimo
DJ: DJ Dan
Gown Designer: La Sposa
Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss
Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: J. Crew/Kenneth Cole

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