Beautiful Hawaii Destination Wedding


January 13, 2017
Words by Melina Zúñiga
Photos courtesy of Anna Kim Photography

When choosing a location for their destination wedding, Kim and Daniel dreamed of the peaceful sounds of waves, fine sand between their toes, the thought of chasing fish and the happiness and carefree feelings that only Maui, Hawaii would bring. “My parents took me to Waikiki on vacation when I was about three years old and these picturesque memories became dreams,” says Kim. “When I saw pictures of Maui and read how other couples described it as being romantic and the best island – I wanted to save this island to go with someone special. I knew I wanted to get Maui’d someday.”

Referring to the destination as their “paradise,” the couple describe the crystal clear waters, the hospitality of the people and the stunning views of Haleakala as the reason for the calm and relaxed vibe of their big day. But not everyone responded well to a 2400-mile trip from the Bay Area. “We thought everyone would be [as] excited as we were,” says Kim. “At the beginning there was some negativity due to various reasons and it made us feel horrible and selfish for wanting to get Maui’d. My best friend, Anne, told me, ‘Everyone only gets married once in their lifetime and it should be a time when you get to choose what you two want. Politely remind them you only have this one wedding like they had theirs.’ What got us through this difficult time was the support of several close family and friends.”

Despite the hiccups of missed flights, non-pet-friendly hotels and Mother Nature’s unpredictable ways, the lovebird’s destination wedding turned into the perfect day alongside their 96 guests and their Shih Tzu, Stitch. “In the end, everything worked out great!” Exclaims the bride. “The sun was shining and [there was] no rain. Everyone had a blast. [Even] my 85-year-old grandfather, Yem Tran, traveled over 16,000 miles from Ho Chi Minh City to the Bay Area and then Maui!”

With personalized party favors of Hawaiian Host chocolate packages with love tags, seashells as name tag holders and a “message in a bottle” activity for the guests, the couple incorporated the magic of Maui for their loved ones to remember. The lovebirds cannot imagine getting married anywhere else having said their vows only a few hundred feet away from the sandy beach.

The couple attributes the success of their special day in paradise to the extra help of their wedding planner. “Having a destination wedding is difficult without one,” says Kim. “I would say it is essential if you would like a streamlined execution. Melissa Woodley did a fantastic job at creating our dream wedding. She gave us advice when we needed it and was always there to support us along the way.”

Following their perfect wedding, the beautiful bride shares some special advice for other brides also planning on having a destination wedding. “Wedding planning can be stressful and things will not always go as planned. If you focus on what is most important – the love between two people – everything else will fall into place. Have fun with the details and incorporate a few items that are important to you as a couple. Remember not to let the details consume you.

“Not everything leading up to our wedding day went as planned. I reminded myself that nothing else really mattered except for the two of us. I made a choice to focus on our love. Although not everything went as planned, everything was PERFECT. We were smiling the entire time and our happiness radiated to others. Our guests could see just how happy we were and during the ceremony there were so many tears of joy among the crowd. I am glad I made the choice to absorb and take things slowly that day and to live in the moment with Daniel.”

Vendors: Photographer: Anna Kim Photography, Wedding Planner: Melissa Woodley and her team from Andaz, Ceremony/Reception Site: Laule’a Lawn III for ceremony; Laule’a Lawn II for cocktails & reception Florist: Bella Bloom Stationery: Wedding Paper Diva Cake: Pastry Chef at Andaz Hair & Makeup: Maui Mira Gown Designer: Essence of Australia Groom’s Clothing Designer: Broletto, Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: BCBG/Tommy Bahamas Mai Tai the Knot Linen Pants, Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Kate Spade Other Vendors: DJ Scott Duran, Pia Aluli, Joey & her team from Manutea Nui E, Emi and her team from Ululani Shaved Ice

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