Destination I Do
Friday, January 4, 2013

Destination Wedding: Overcomes Opposition

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Nate and Jenna Photography
After visiting Maui on a family vacation when she was 16, Erica always knew she would say “I do” on this beautiful Hawaiian island. Luckily, her fiancé Justin agreed whole-heartedly and the planning began. “We tried considering locations closer to home, but the size of the guest list was daunting,” recalls the couple. “At the end of the day, we knew what we wanted: a relaxed, fun, intimate gathering of the closest people in our lives celebrating together. There is no better place to have a wedding like that than Maui. There is just something about Hawaii; something in the air, something about the nature of the people, the smell of the ocean, that is addicting, relaxing and full of warmth. We wanted to channel that into the spirit of our wedding.”

The couple’s initial guest list for a hometown, California wedding was in the three-hundreds and they knew this wasn’t conducive to the intimate atmosphere necessary for them to really relax, be in the moment and enjoy their wedding day. “Neither of us wanted a parade, or a day where we spent the whole time going table to table,” says the couple. “This was the most important factor for us in deciding to have a destination wedding.”

Unfortunately, Erica and Justin got quite a lot of push-back from family and friends about their decision to travel to Maui. “Some people took it personally that we wanted a destination wedding,” says Erica. “Others flat out said they would not be coming if we got married in Maui. We really had to stick to our vision for what we wanted that moment to look like when we made that lifelong commitment to each other. It wasn’t always easy, but because we could picture what the end result would be like, we stuck with it and the result was a magical day which was exactly what we had been dreaming of and holding out for.”

After endless hours of online research, Erica came across Haiku Mill online and knew instantly it was the venue for her and Justin’s nuptials. “I was determined to find something that would provide us with the privacy we craved, but beautiful enough to be a truly unique experience,” says the bride. “[Haiku Mill was] exactly what we were looking for: that fantasy, secret garden, other-world feel in the middle of a beautiful island.” With the help of a wedding planning team headed-up by Jane Schumacher, the couple’s months of planning went relatively smoothly. Erica and Justin say they couldn’t have achieved the day of their dreams without their planning team. “We didn’t just have planners, we had a team of visionaries who were personally invested in our wedding day and creating the feeling that we wanted,” says Erica. “We whole-heartily recommend hiring a wedding planner. Or two. Or three. Or a whole team of people – whatever it takes.”

When it comes to planning your dream destination wedding, Erica and Justin said it’s all about one thing: balance. “I would absolutely say to any bride that you have two balance two very important factors when planning a wedding: you and your fiance’s  wishes and respect for your family and friends. We needed to stay true to our personal wishes, but at the same time, provide an experience which allowed everyone to feel special and important. The gift bags, good food and drinks and intimacy of the setting allowed our guests to let their hair down and really have a good time. A wedding should bring people and families together. If that is always the goal and the focus, then there will be no regrets.”

Photographer: Nate and Jenna Photography
Wedding Planner: Jane Schumacher with Haiku Mill
Ceremony/Reception Site: Haiku Mill
Florist: Bella Grace Flowers
Catering: Maui Executive Catering
Rentals: Island Rents
Bar Garnish: NoSh
Videography: Video Artistry
Harpist: Kristine Snyder
Groom’s Clothing Designer: Jos. A Banks/Tommy Bahama
Bride’s Gown: Mikaella Bridal with custom sash from Etsy

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