Hawaii Destination Wedding Tips


June 7, 2018
Words by Lauren Marshall
Photos courtesy of Rae Marshall

Planning a destination wedding, you’ll need all the help you can get. From announcing the decision to travel for your wedding to working out all of the minor details, it’s important to stay organized and ensure no one takes away from your fairy tale day. A couple who had their destination wedding on the lovely island of Oahu, Hawaii faced a few challenges, but ultimately ended up with a dream wedding.

Gisela being from New York and Christopher from Sydney, Australia, their families had never met. So, meeting halfway just made sense. In general, most people were super excited when the couple announced their plans.

“Some had not been to Hawaii before, some had and loved it and wanted to return. Some simply needed an excuse for a vacation,” the couple says.

But, the two realized they were planning the biggest day of their lives remotely for somewhere they’d never been. However, they found success and are sharing their recommended steps to the perfect destination wedding:

“Give yourself time to plan. Everything takes a little longer than expected.” Gisela and Christopher say their biggest hurdle was finding a venue. They relied heavily on the Internet, reviews, images and spending a lot of time on Google Maps, all of which took up oodles of time. 

“Pick three or four things that are most important to you, and spend your money in those areas.” It is so easy to get caught up on the little things that don’t matter and you end up spending a lot of money on things that didn’t impact the wedding in the end. The couple knew they wanted to prioritize the view, music, food and great cocktails! They cut down on other expenses by allowing Gisela’s family to get creative and make wedding favors and allowing the bridesmaids to hand paint the place cards.

“Destination Wedding? Get a planner!” The vendor coordination was twofold. The bride organized vendor contracts through emails, phone calls, and provided copies of the contracts to the extremely helpful planner, Gina Ho from Perfection. Gina primarily advised the couple along the way, provided references, suggested vendor lists, timelines and took care of everything on the day-of. “She made planning this wedding so much fun,” the newlyweds say. 

“Arrive early to your destination. There were a lot of unexpected last minute things that popped up.” Arriving about a week early was a great decision for the couple because not only did they set about meeting all of their vendors in person, but they got to spend sweet moments together before the wedding.

“Relax and have fun. Things go wrong and they make a great story after.” Part of fully relaxing into your destination wedding trip is about focusing simply on making memories. For Gisela and Christopher, this meant sipping mai tais, going hiking, exploring and swimming with their guests without a care in the world.

“Take time to know the material and meet with potential photographers and videographers.” Rae Marshall and Orig Media were the couple’s documentary team, and they got well acquainted with them beforehand. As a result, the team captured the day perfectly.

Planning can seem intimidating, but taking it step-by-step and prioritizing your desires will have you relaxed and ready to have fun sooner than expected.

Vendors: Photographer: Rae Marshall, Wedding Planner: Gina Ho from Perfection, Ceremony/Reception Site: Paliku Gardens, Florist: Jeff Alencastre from Creative Concepts by Jeff, Stationery: Zazzle, Hair & Makeup: Whik’d Hair and Makeup, Gown Designer: BHLDN, Bartender: Aloha On The Rocks, Caterers: Tanioka’s Fish Market, DJ: DJ Neekz, Ukulele Player: Jason Midro from Akahi Productions, Videographer: Orig Media, Furniture/Tent Rental: Pacific Party Rentals, Officiant: Mark Kurnow, Bus Transportation: Royal Star Hawaiian

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