Pleasantly Surprised

A Marvelous Maui Wedding


July 22, 2016
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Anna Kim Photography

Barbara and Zack knew a destination wedding was the best decision for them because they wanted a cozy event complete with lots of quality time. “A destination wedding allowed us to have an intimate wedding in a beautiful location and a vacation all in one!” says Barbara. “Maui is a special place to us. We have been coming to Maui together every summer since we started dating and we had both visited previously with our families as well. We love the energy, the natural beauty, the food, the people and the memories we have made in Maui together.”

While it’s obvious the couple was confident in their decision, sometimes guests don’t react quite as enthusiastically. Thankfully, that was not the case with Barbara and Zack’s loved ones. “It’s hard to have a negative reaction to Hawaii, everyone was ecstatic and booked their travel right away! We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of people that were able to attend, we anticipated a smaller guest count due to it being a destination, but we still had over 50 guests!” Fortunately, things continued to roll along perfectly for the couple.

The summer before their wedding and during their annual vacation, the couple took the opportunity to scout-out a venue and make other wedding decisions. “We arranged some time to go see Merriman’s after some research online,” explains the bride. “The second we walked into the restaurant, we were sold! The view is unbeatable and the simplistic elegance of Merriman’s sells itself.” Thankfully, their chosen venue was a one-stop-shop because of the excellent on-site planning team. “The coordinators at Merriman’s were fantastic, we had no issues throughout the entire planning process, they made it relaxed and simple!”

A common struggle for couples planning a wedding away is accepting the fact that they can’t control every aspect of the day. This bride made the most of the situation and turned the distance into a positive thing. “It can be nerve-wracking to plan a wedding without being able to meet vendors and be on the site, but we had complete confidence that our coordinators would deliver on our vision. Most of the planning was done via email and using resources like a Pinterest board. This makes it easier to share your vision and likes/dislikes. The team at Merriman’s made it easy for us, they give you a few options on most vendors and you pick based on their recommendations. I loved this, because it made my research simple.”

It sounds like Barbara and Zack knew what to expect when it came to planning a destination wedding and were able to roll with the punches throughout the planning process. Perhaps not surprisingly, their guests were equally as efficient. “We left the travel logistics up to our guests individually. Some stayed in resorts and others stayed together at timeshares or places they found on Airbnb or VRBO. The great thing about Maui is our guests were able to extend their time there and build in activities and excursions throughout the week.”

Making an alterative decision like not opting for a hometown wedding often comes with its pros and cons. Thankfully, a wedding in Maui seems to have been the ideal situation for Barbara and Zack. For example, we asked about how their budget might have differed for a hometown event. “We probably spent the same amount of money we would have for a larger wedding closer to home. However, we really wanted the intimacy of a destination wedding and we were able to use the extra money from a lower guest count towards a nicer venue with amazing food and cocktails. We are ‘foodies,’ so it was important that the food was memorable. Our guests are still raving about how delicious everything was, which usually is not the case with wedding food!”

When we asked what advice she might offer other couples considering or planning a destination wedding, Barbara had some smart suggestions. “If you are considering a destination wedding, DO IT! It was the best decision we made. Most importantly, pick a venue that represents your destination, do your research and make sure they have a great reputation, and allow the vendors and the coordinators to work their magic. They are professionals with amazing vision and creativity and allowing them to be creative was the best decision we ever made. Also, incorporate elements that represent you as a couple, it makes the day more personal and fun!”

Vendors: Photographer: Anna Kim Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: Merriman’s, Florist: Dellables Wedding Florals & Design, Stationery: Minted, Cake: Merriman’s, Hair & Makeup: Maui Hair and Makeup Artistry, Gown Designer: Love Marley by Watters, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Egara from Men’s Wearhouse, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: David’s Bridal, Music: David Wolf, Officiant: Ernest Puaa, Da Barefoot Warrior, Calligraphy/Place Cards: Mollie Mae Calligraphy, Guestbook: Starboardpress

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