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Friday, June 8, 2012

Bride Beware: You Can’t Always Trust what you Read on the Internet

Words by Jennifer Stein
Words by Jennifer Stein

When brides are looking for vendors for their upcoming destination weddings, the internet can be a fantastic source. It can also be a little scary because you’re trusting one of your most important days to someone you may have never met or even talked to. I implore you to get referrals from other brides or trusted individuals. Why? I’ll tell you.

On June 2nd, two of my friends of over 15 years were married on Shipwreck Beach in Kauai (you’ll see the full wedding story in our Fall/Winter 2012 print issue). It was an amazing day. The bride (Shana) and groom (Ryan) couldn’t have been more laid back when it came to the festivities. Shana did extensive research on procuring the proper permits and insurance to guarantee the wedding would be a drama-free event. Come W-day, Shana’s brother and girlfriend, scoped out a prime spot on the beach early in the morning and created an absolutely stunning aisle and altar out of lava rock and tropical foliage.

When it came time for the sunset ceremony, about 40 guests made their way to the site which was nowhere near other sunbathers or visitors. The rest of us in the bridal party made our way down to stand with our dear friends as they said their I do’s. The wedding ceremony was joyful, tearful and beautiful with the ocean waves crashing in the background.

After the ceremony, the photographer took pictures on the same area of beach we’d been occupying. Meanwhile, a wedding officiant (Rev. Christine Kube) and a wedding couple approached. The officiant was visibly frustrated and mumbled something about the bride obviously not having proper permits. Shana’s mother, overhearing this, approached the woman and her couple and asked if there was a problem. The officiant explained in an angry tone that Shana had no permit and was not authorized to get married on this beach. The bride’s mother explained calmly that she did in fact have a permit. With the Reverend’s unknowing couple waiting to get married standing there staring at this scene, Shana was forced to approach the officiant and explain she did indeed have the necessary documents to have her wedding on Shipwreck beach. The officiant again disagreed saying she had just checked the DNLR’s website and no permits had been issued. Shana offered to show her the document, but she’d need to accompany her to the car where the permit was. The officiant heatedly declined, creating even more of a scene.

After we left the beach, Shana’s father returned to have a word with Rev. Kube. He was understandably frustrated and angry that this woman had disrupted his daughter’s wedding. They had words and Rev. Kube went so far as to call the police, escalating the problem even further.

What was unfortunate about the situation was not that two brides were getting married on the same day and had crossed paths, it was the uncomfortable situation the officiant had created. Had she waited another five minutes, she would have had a beautiful background and could have married her couple on the same altar which was so intricately put together. Instead she created the very drama Shana had worked so hard to avoid.

Rev. Kube wrote to the Garden Isle Newspaper in a letter to the editor about the incident grossly misstating what happened saying the bride was shouting at her and a “large local man” was threatening her.

Afterward, we did a little research to determine if Rev. Kube had a permit, and in fact, she did not. Not only did she ruin the couple’s wedding she was performing, but she created needless drama for another. By the looks of Rev. Kube’s couple and the “wedding package” they had purchased, I’d venture to guess they found her online and trusted her website (which is professional and seems legitimate). For that couple, I’m so sorry your day was ruined as a result of an unprofessional vendor. If you want a do-over, I can personally put you in touch with someone who will do a great job for you.

A wedding day is a milestone and should be treated with care and respect. The good news is there are far more good vendors out there than bad, just make sure you get a personal referral or get to know who will be working with you on your special day.

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