An Informed Guest List

Dramatic Maui Destination Wedding


June 7, 2019
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Angela Nelson Photography

Kim and Orlando’s favorite place in the world is Maui, Hawaii, so it was an obvious choice for their destination wedding! While the destination didn’t disappoint, the couple was shocked with how their “small and intimate” wedding evolved. “We had 50 guests in mind, but that turned into 93!” recalls Kim. Clearly the couple’s Maui location was a popular choice among their friends and family and no one could say “no.” After a smooth planning process, it was the more the merrier for their dramatic Maui destination wedding! 

When it came to choosing a venue, the couple had a few requirements in mind and took to Internet reviews to narrow down their choices. “Olowalu had great reviews all over the Internet,” says the bride. “We wanted a wedding overlooking the beach, but not at a hotel (we wanted more privacy). The venue was available on the date we wanted, so it worked out perfectly.”

The couple was hoping for a smooth and stress-free planning process, so opted to hire a wedding planner with Tropical Maui Weddings. “[Planning] was honestly a great experience with the help from our wedding planners,” says Kim. “They truly made it a stress-free experience. They were very pleasant to work with, approachable, attentive and they listened to all my expectations. They paid attention both to the little and big details.”

Kim and Orlando wanted to make traveling for their guests as seamless as possible, so included lots of information about flights and accommodations on their wedding website. Ultimately, a lot of the guests ended up on the same flights, which streamlined transportation.

The bride and her bridesmaids were quite handy in putting together some of the décor details of the wedding and reception. The bride chose to purchase her flowers at Costco and then she and her bridesmaids designed the bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces. Almost all of the celebratory desserts were also handmade! A professional did the floral ceremony arch, however, thus leaving this dramatic detail to a professional.

When asked about their budget, the couple admits they ultimately spent more on a destination wedding in Maui than a hometown wedding; largely due to the cost of travel, hotel and hosting a few “thank you” events for their guests. However, in the couple’s eyes, this was all money well spent! “We wanted to thank our guests for traveling from afar to celebrate with us, so we treated them to a sunset cruise hosted by The Pacific Whale Foundation the day after the wedding. [A hometown wedding] definitely would have been 500+ guests and that was a huge factor we wanted to avoid.”

When we asked Kim what special advice she would share with other couple’s currently planning their own destination wedding and she had lots of helpful hints:

  • “Definitely research [and hire] a wedding planner if you want zero stress.”
  • “Invest in an amazing photographer that’s shot at the venue before, because they’ll know all the details and perfect areas to take your photos. You don’t want to go cheap on this, because these photos are forever!”
  • “If your wedding ceremony and reception are outdoors, be prepared for unexpected weather conditions. Think of a contingency plan – tents, heat lamps, etc. It stormed the day before and the morning of our wedding, but Mother Nature was on our side when we needed her [and] the rain stopped a few hours right before our ceremony. Everything dried up, the sun was out and we were blessed with not one rainbow, but two!”
  • “Don’t stress over the small details or is something doesn’t go as planned. No one will know the difference but you.” 

Vendors: Photographer: Angela Nelson Photography, Wedding Planner: Tropical Maui Weddings, Ceremony/Reception Site: Olowalu Plantation House, Floist/Ceremony Arch: Feather and Fern, Bouquets/Flowers: Costco, Gown Designer: Louvienne, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss, Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lulus, Groomsmen’s Suits: Calvin Klein, Bartender: Aloha Bars Maui, Caterer: Café O’Lei Restaurants & DJ: Ace Beats

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