Flag Programs

Maui Tropical Plantation Wedding


February 28, 2020
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Angela Nelson Photography

Today’s couple’s dish is all about DIY projects and advice from a couple who decided to wed on Hawaii’s beautiful island of Maui. Melissa and Patrick’s decision to host a destination wedding came naturally to them – their family and friends are spread throughout the globe and Maui was easy for guests to get to, and it had a good variety of fun things to do, e.g. beach, hiking, shopping, etc. As the couple’s Q&A overflowed with helpful, honest advice, we thought you may like to hear directly from them!

Q: Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?
A: We both live in an area without any close family nearby. Patrick’s family is all in southern CA and Nevada. Melissa’s family is primarily on the East Coast and Asia. Plus, Melissa went to college in Europe and lived in NYC for a number of years, so most of her friends are based around Europe and in New York. Meaning, having a destination wedding in Maui would actually be more convenient for a large number of our guests as opposed to having it in NYC (where Melissa is from), Denver (where we currently live) or Lake Tahoe area (where Patrick is from).

Q: Did you use any resources when planning your destination wedding that you feel would be helpful to other couples?
A: We found the best resources came from our vendors. For example, we hired our DJ based on our photographer’s recommendation and he was AWESOME! 

Q: Did you include any DIY projects in your wedding/reception? If so, please describe them.
A: In thinking about things now, we had quite a few DIY projects – sometimes to save money and other times because we wanted to be creative. For example, Melissa made her veil – I went to a fabric shop, bought some nice tulle, and googled how to make a veil (spoiler: it’s ridiculously easy). And then I somehow had the bright idea to make things harder for myself by cutting up lace fabric into appliques and sewing each individual piece onto the tulle fabric.

Other DIY projects included:

  • Paper plane escort cards: Melissa saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be cute since everyone came to Maui on an airplane.
  • Bridesmaids bouquets: We thought we should keep things simple.
  • Gold pineapple centerpieces: Because the venue grows pineapples and used to be a sugar plantation, and Hawaii used to be one of the largest exporters of pineapples, we wanted to pay homage to that past by spray painting fresh pineapples gold (again, an idea Melissa saw on Pinterest).
  • Invitations: Because most people eventually throw away invitations, we did not feel it was necessary to literally throw hundreds of dollars into the trash. As such, we bought a template from Etsy, printed the invitations via Costco and then Melissa spray painted the backs gold, created a vellum jacket for the invitation suite and created envelope liners from cut-up gold/black/green pineapple wrapping paper. Note: this took a lot longer than I had anticipated. In the future, I intend to simplify any invitation DIY projects.
  • Wedding Programs: Similar to the invitations, these are typically thrown out after the fact. As such, Melissa googled creative ideas and came up with a flag template, which she then adapted for our wedding colors. Note: this was really cheap and easy to make. I bought ribbon on sale from Hobby Lobby and wooden dowels, and with the use of a glue gun, made some pretty cute wedding program flags.

Q: What were the travel logistics like for your guests? Did you run into issues and how did you resolve them?
A: Because we were not hosting the wedding at a hotel, no hotel was willing to offer a decently discounted rate for our guests, so we told our guests they would have to fend for themselves. Everyone was fine with this idea anyway because it created more flexibility for groups of friends to share Airbnb’s, etc. and vacation together.

Q: Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share to our readers to help prepare them for their day?
A: In order of magnitude:
1) If you can, go on a scouting trip to find your venue. We did and let’s just say there are some very talented photographers out there. Case in point, one popular venue looked phenomenal based on photos found online but in person, was located right off the main road and sandwiched between two old apartment buildings… neither of which came through on photos.
2) Ask around for recommendations then verify those recommendations with past clients and/or other vendors. Case in point, we almost booked a venue but in mentioning it to another vendor, she cautioned us not to give them our deposit because that particular venue location had seen several bankruptcies over the years – meaning, although the venue was beautiful, no business operating there had been able to stay in business for longer than a couple of years, so there was a strong likelihood of our being SOL.
3) Find a good wedding planner or coordinator who is responsive, hands-on and will act as your advocate.
4) If you’re not getting a response, pick up the phone and call.
5) Give yourself plenty of time for any DIY projects. Also, simplify any DIY projects, especially if you have a full-time job!

Vendors: Photographer: Angela Nelson Photography; Wedding Planner: Maui Tropical Plantation Events; Ceremony Site: Mango Orchard at Maui Tropical Plantation; Reception Site: Orchard Lawn at Maui Tropical Plantation; Cake: Whole Foods; Hair: MeiLi Autumn Beauty; Gown Designer: Georgia Young Couture; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss; Bridesmaids Clothing Designer: BHLDN; ; DJ: Clarity Entertainment; Rentals: Accel Rentals & Signature Rentals; Doughnuts: Donut Dynamite

Couple in Punta Cana doing a destination wedding by the ocean
Destination Weddings at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva
Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Destination Weddings
Black couple getting married in Jamaica
Jamaica Destination Weddings
Destination I Do Podcast
White couple getting married in Punta Cana, DR
destination wedding couple throwing rose petals in costa mujeres
Iberostar Weddings

Find a Vendor

Access our list of vendors based on your destination location.