A Pleasant Surprise

A Beautiful Maui Beach Wedding


June 21, 2019
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of MeewMeew Studios

McKenna and Greg have attended hometown weddings where they didn’t even get a chance to talk with the bride and groom, since they were so busy. So, they decided to make quality time with their friends and family a top priority for their own wedding. “We wanted somewhere warm and tropical, as we both love the beach, but the primary reason we chose destination was because we wanted more than just one evening with all of our guests.” The couple looked up and down the California coast for a wedding venue, but kept coming back to one place – Maui.

“When we got engaged, we explored venues in Northern and Southern California, and while those venues and locations were beautiful, we realized that we didn’t have a strong connection with any of them like we did with Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort,” recalls McKenna. “The property and Maui itself had such significance to us, and we wanted all of our loved ones to experience the magic with us.” The couple first fell in love with the Andaz Maui while on their baby-moon. “We truly fell in love with Maui and the resort: the food was outstanding, we loved the cascading pools and the laid back elegance of it.”

Greg and McKenna’s one reservation about hosting a destination wedding in Maui was that it would be difficult for some of their guests to attend. “Our mentality was, ‘We’re going to invite everybody, but we fully understand if people can’t make it. Absolutely no pressure for guests to come if it’s too much,’” says the bride. “We had a few key family members who were not able to make it for health reasons, so that was difficult, but aside from that, we were actually very surprised by how many of our guests were able to make it; we were truly honored. We knew it was expensive for everyone, and not an easy trek for a lot of our guests, so we were so touched that so many people came! Our hearts were very full.”

Once the destination and venue were decided, wedding planning got into full swing. The bride has a background in event planning, so her experience, combined with coordinator Sarah Snyder at Andaz Maui, meant the process went smoothly. “With my background, I know that planning an event always has hiccups and nothing is 100% perfect, and I was ok with that,” says the McKenna. “I kept thinking, ‘What could really go that wrong? All of our favorite people are together in the most beautiful place, celebrating with us,’ and having that mindset really took the pressure off.”

Having planned events at home, we asked the bride if planning a wedding from afar was more difficult. “I didn’t find it to be problematic to coordinate from afar. This day and age, with Internet and email, distance isn’t really an issue. I actually found it to be very beneficial to communicate via email instead of phone because I was able to refer back to emails when I forgot specific details discussed. I would recommend recapping every phone call with a follow up email outlining what was discussed on the call and any decisions made, as well as any outstanding or action items that need addressing. That way, everyone is on the same page.”

One minor speed bump was that the couple did experience a bit of sticker shock after choosing to host their destination wedding in Maui. “Everything is more expensive in Hawaii: flowers, rentals, food, drinks, so be prepared for that,” says McKenna. “Sarah Snyder at Andaz Maui was so great at helping us figure out ways to cut costs, yet still maintain the look we were going for. It was definitely more expensive in regards to the per-person cost, but it was a smaller group than we would have had [at home], so it came out to about the same. We did have a bit of sticker shock, but in the end, we kept reminding ourselves that we only get married once, and the memories made would last a lifetime.”

We asked this savvy and successful destination wedding bride what her final words of advice would be for other couples currently planning their own dream wedding away: “It sounds cliché, but my advice would be not obsessing over every little detail. No one will notice the little hiccups that you may be worried about. At the end of the day, you’re on vacation with the love of your life and all of your closest friends and family; it’s something to be thoroughly enjoyed, not stressed over!”

Vendors: Photographer: MeewMeew Studios, Ceremony/Reception Site & Cake: Andaz Maui, Florist: Bella Bloom, Stationery: Minted, Calligraphy: Bloom Ink Paper Company, Makeup: Maui Makeup Artistry, Hair: Amanda Fitch Hair, Gown Designer: Olvi’s, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Tommy Bahama, Groom’s Shoes: Sperry, Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo, DJ: Maui Tunes Entertainment and Production, Minister: Pia Aluli, Favors: Honolulu Cookie Company & Musicians: Derick Sebastian and David Wolf Weddings

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