Oahu Destination WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Doug Falter Photography
NYC couple Roxy and Hal lead busy lives, so when the time came to plan their wedding, they wanted a true escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. Their destination of choice? O’ahu, Hawaii! “We wanted a small, intimate wedding that would also feel like an escape from our busy New York City lifestyle,” says the bride. “Plus, weddings in NYC are ridiculously expensive.” Thankfully, the couple’s family and friends were completely on board with an O'ahu destination wedding. “Our immediate family members were thrilled,” says Roxy. “Of course, why wouldn’t they be? They’re going to Hawaii!”
While the majority of the couple’s loved ones were able to make it to O’ahu for the official “I do’s,” there were some who weren’t able. “We compromised by throwing a huge local party a month after the wedding for everyone, friends and family, to celebrate our ‘Happily Ever After’ with us,” reminisces the bride. Despite her busy schedule, Roxy decided to plan their destination wedding on her own, without the help of a wedding planner. The keys to her success were thinking ahead, keeping calm and staying organized.
“I found the website Thumbtack to be incredibly useful when researching vendors. Basically you post exactly what you need and your budget. Then sit back, relax and the vendors come to you. I ended up hiring a personal trainer and our wedding florist off Thumbtack.” The couple found their photographer, Doug Falter, by referral from a friend who got married in Hawaii a few months before. Natural beauty aside, Hawaii offered other major perks for the NYC-based bride. “We did [all the planning] over email and on the phone. It worked out great because by the time I got off work (7 p.m. EST) all the vendors in Hawaii were still in the middle of their work day, so I had plenty of time to talk things through with them. I booked everything about three months in advance and then followed up a month before and again a week before.”
Not only was the time difference ideal for Roxy and Hal, but the Hawaiian scenery perfectly captured their vision for their dream wedding. “Hawaii was the best location for us because of the diverse landscapes,” says the bride. “At our wedding ceremony spot, Paliku Gardens, you look one direction and you’re facing luscious rainforest mountains, then turn around and you’re staring out into a beautiful, blue ocean.” Looking at the couple’s wedding photos, there’s no doubt that their wedding dream became a reality.
Amazingly, there was really only one hiccup throughout the entire planning process and wedding weekend. En route to Hawaii, the bride’s parents’ flight was canceled, so they missed one day at the destination. “They had already planned to arrive two days early, so they didn’t miss out on any wedding festivities,” says Roxy. “My recommendation for everyone involved in a destination wedding is to get in a few days early!”
When we asked the bride to describe her overall wedding planning experience she had a lovingly positive response. “It was a fairy tale dream came true. Everyone from the venue management team to the makeup artists were extraordinary to work with. I’d send them photos (mostly from Pinterest) and they executed 100% to my liking.” Her experience was so positive, in fact, that she encourages other couples not to settle for anything less than their dream.
“You don’t have to settle for an all-inclusive resort style-wedding package. I admit I almost went down that road because it seemed the easiest and that’s what the hotels will try to sell you. However, for my boho-chic style, the packages weren't the right fit for me. Often with resort wedding packages you have to select from their vendor list, which also didn’t suit my style. With easy access to the Internet and social media, you have plenty of options! It also only took me four months to plan my wedding and I was able to get all of my first-choice vendors. I did not feel stressed or pressed on time, either. So, it's possible to sit back with a glass of wine and think of wedding planning as a fun new adventure. Enjoy the most magical moment of your life!”
To view the couple's wedding video, click here.
Vendors: Photographer: Doug Falter Photography, Videographer: Pure Media Hawaii, Wedding Planner: Bride, Ceremony/Reception Site: Paliku Gardens at Kualoa Ranch, Florist: Vida Chic Weddings and Events, Cake/Catering: Ke Nui Kitchen, Hair & Makeup: Leslie Fair, Gown Designer: Marchesa Notte for BHLDN, Groom’s Clothing Designer: J.Crew, Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Various including BCBG and Ted Baker.
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