Wednesday, November 4, 2015

That Toes In the Sand Hawaii Wedding

There are a few places on this planet that seem to be the ones we dream about when we think of the idyllic. Wailea Bay on Hawaii Island tends to fit into that mind niche. It is an out of the way beach where storm washed keawe trees serve to carve out intimate spaces on the sand, places where you and your friends will be somewhat apart from others who have discovered this special spot. There are no signs pointing it out, just a parking lot off a winding road. It is not a total secret, but enough of a one that you can have a sense of owning the place late in the day.

As wedding providers in Hawaii, we are asked about beach weddings.  There are many ways to go about having a beachfront wedding. The least expensive is to do it Las Vegas style - get an officiant, show up, exchange vows and maybe lei, have a couple photos taken, and go on into your day. 

We suggest that you rent yourself a beachfront house on Wailea Bay. There is one we know of that will allow the wedding party to happen there. At the rest, you will have the house as your pied a terre, or that cottage you go to after the beach gets dark. If your wedding is small enough, you can rent the house and everyone who will be at your wedding is already there. After the party, you may wish to sneak off down the beach to some other little hideaway you have tucked away, your secret. 

The Hawaii beach wedding is the ultimate in casual. You and your friends get out on the sand early and stake out your spot. Hang up a hammock. Invite a ukulele player to join you. Carry your feast out in picnic baskets, and spread striped Turkish linens on the sand. If you want this casual and photogenic look, we can arrange it for you. It will be as if it simply happened. 

If we designed your wedding, we would build a ceremony space on the sand, a circle of flowers and coral. Some lava.  Or, your wedding circle can be all flowers and shells. The ceremony circle defines your wedding place, now and always. The tides bring daily changes to the beach, but your circle is forever.  It's nice to bring along lei for your guests. Have an ice chest with bubbly for your toast. Make it honestly beachy. Have plenty of photographs by a real photographer. We do that. Persuade your guests to let the photos be by others, so when they are in the pictures, they are not holding up their cameras and phones. They can sleep over and take plenty of photos another day. Photobombs will be out of style soon, and you will be happier with wedding pictures of friends having a beach day instead of a gear fest.

There would be strings of the tiniest lights wound into the trees so as the sky grows dark, the way back is lit in the most romantic way. 

When it comes to the end of the day, darkness falls quickly after this showy sky. If you have rented that beach house that says yes to weddings, or if all your guests are beach house guests, the party can continue at the house.  Poke served in shells with a bit of sea salad, taro chips, imu smoked pork, island fruits, easily arranged at minimal costs. Add a Hawaiian cake with orchids, champagne in hollow stems, your favorite music - this is magic.

If you want to go late and noisy, there are other options. We can just as easily make that happen, with a beach wedding in Kona and after party at a local club where the dancing can be wild into the night.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

A Wedding Planner's Guide to Keeping Costs in Check

Weddings are similar to construction projects in that they are notorious for going over budget. Maybe you are wise enough to select a venue that offers packages that include everything, and then you discover that "everything" is not what you saw in the photographs but something different. Instead of the handsome Chiavari chairs, there is white plastic. The lovely draping and tiny lights in the trees costs extra. And the arch you fell in love with? A specialty item someone had built for their wedding and kept for their garden at home. 

Shopping for a wedding can cause the most patient of people to growl and seek solace. It is somewhat like planning a dinner party on paper and then shopping for items you expected to find at your specialty shop and then cannot find, except on line and you really do not want to pay overnight shipping. Like planning any meal, it is far easier if you go into your shopping expedition with an idea of what you want, but no set menu in place.

So here are some of the items you are likely to have to pay extra for, and some that you might luck out with and find at the venue of your choice.

Many venues have a stock of some items. Any of these are great to find but beware ~ chances are they will not be precisely what you are seeking:

tables: long tables are more likely to be on hand than rounds. If you can work with the rectangular shapes, you might be able to save the rental fees. 

chairs: typical chairs on site will be stacking plastic or folding style. The elegant Chiavari style is almost always an additional cost item. Chair covers are typically used with the folding chairs for a banquet, whereas the plainer chairs appear as is for the ceremony. When your ceremony venue and reception venue are the same, expect the chairs to be moved from the ceremony site to the banquet site while a cocktail hour is staged somewhere on the grounds, or pay double the cost. 

flowers: there are inclusive pricing structures that will offer you table arrangements as part of your package. It is almost always worth it to go with the package offer on the flowers. You will have seasonal beauty, and can usually have some say in the choices. Expect your choices to be more on the side of eliminating certain flower types rather than demanding certain choices.  Demands for certain flowers almost always add to costs. 

linens: custom linens in pretty colors tend to make the rounds of the wedding blogs, and all custom linens will add heft to your budget, especially the textured kinds that are not likely to launder well. If you are budget conscious standard linens are your better choice. Sometimes there is even a no linens option. That generally will work only with heavy plank tables, sometimes available at rural venues. 

table settings: This is an opportunity to either spend a lot of money or not.  One of the surprising costs of a large wedding is right here. You may be shocked to find out that you seem to buying a table setting instead of renting one. If you choose a restaurant for your reception, this cost vanishes into the per person costs of the party, as the restaurant has all that on hand. The caterer on the other hand, particularly your less expensive caterer, brings the food, not the place settings. The venue may tell you the caterer will provide, and then when you contact the caterer, it is on a per person cost. Wine and champagne glasses, china for the entree, the cocktail hour, the cake, silverware for both banquet and cake are likely to cost $30 per person and up. The larger your guest list, the more likely you are to face these costs. There are a couple of ways to avert this. Some wedding coordinators can provide non-matching vintage style table settings at a much lower price. Wedding providers will collect items over the years, and can put together a beautiful set of tables, where some of the glasses are gold rimmed, some tall, some shorter, and the plates come from different makers and times, as does the flatware.  Another option is to purchase disposables. Recylables made of bamboo are good for both plates and flatware. Glasses can be plastic. Or, rent only the glassware.  For matching everything, and a quality set up, the costs will add significantly to your bottom line.  

restaurant or outdoor venue in the countryside: Here is the single other truly big ticket item on your agenda. When you plan your wedding celebration, that is, the reception, in a restaurant, they are prepared for you already. They do food service, and have everything they need including the wait staff. When you see the bill and they have tacked on a hefty surcharge (25% where we are affiliated) understand that this charge represents the cost of the wait staff and the clean up. Your planner will be doing the set up, and most likely be present for the take down. Be aware that those charges will be included in the planner's bill to you. These charges will be far less than the costs for your lovely wine country style picnic in the woods, where every item will be trucked in, set up, taken down, cleaned up, and stored again. So hear ka-ching ka-ching when you see the words "country" and "rural". These are not ordinarily cost saving wedding venues. 

So how can you save money on a rural sort of wedding, where everything is less formal? How much sense does it make to try to do-it-yourself? 

The first step is to find a wedding designer who seems to be a fit for you in terms of personality, and then start asking questions. Do not expect to keep coming back to this person without engaging them and paying for their time, once your initial session has taken place. Let the designer know your budget, and what you have in mind. Ask if your budget is realistic. Ask the designer how you can trim costs if you find what you want and what you can afford are not in line. 

Take the time to visit the venue with the person you are working with to put your entire wedding together, and see what is available there. You may be surprised to find that those old plank tables are stored somewhere and no one even thought about using them for an outdoor picnic. If you are going to be using a destination wedding venue, visiting it may not work for you. In that case, your far away partner is essential. Ask that person to make that visit for you, and work out what the costs will be to you for that. I typically charge $150- $200 for a site visit to plan a particular wedding, take photos and send them to the bridal couple, and then go over all the details that are all about that particular place.  

As for the DIY aspect, where this begins to make sense is when the couple have a large family who want to help out. In that case, people to help with the set up and take down can be provided. Even chair movers between the ceremony and the banquet can come from willing hands. Family or friend can step up and act as cocktail hour bartender. Music can come from inside the circle of friends and family. Even folding chairs and tables can arrive early in someone's van. If your wedding needs just a few extras to complete the set up, this is where it can be easy to round up those things yourself. When thinking of "a few extras" those would be another half dozen table settings, not 40 more. When the numbers begin to go up, the do-it-yourself part begins to make very little sense. 

The very best way to keep your costs down is to keep your guest list small. Venues that work for 20 people are likely to be far less costly even on a per person basis than venues for 200. And finally, you do not want to turn your wedding over to a committee. A typical committee will involve the wedding couple, two or more mothers, a best friend, a sister or three, perhaps an aunt, and the professional. This is how weddings turn into comedies or nightmares. The mother of the bride often wants to be the planner, and that is sweet, and loving, but chances are she is best involved in the invitations, coordinating the bride's maids, setting up a shower.  Costs where there are multiple decision makers are seldom kept in check. 

Putting together a wedding does not have to be intense or nerve wracking. The wedding itself can happen within the budget of your choice. Remember this, and have fun! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

How Do You Choose a Venue?

The place where your wedding will take place is a choice that usually begins broadly, with a region in mind and then focuses down. For most, cost factors in. Availability of your chosen venue can be an extreme issue if you are not planning far in advance. One of the most significant parts in making your final choice will be the size of your wedding. And probably the choice of your venue will very much set the parameters for the rest of your costs and even for the number of guests you may invite.

So let's explore venues. A rose is a rose is a rose, but a venue might also be a kitchen and a chef, or it might be a meeting hall in need of decor, or it could be a place so lovely you need little else to set the scene. What the venue offers beyond the place for your celebration can matter greatly. For practical purposes, this means that a more expensive on-the-face-of-it venue can sometimes save you thousands of dollars in added costs, or the cost you see may be the tip of the iceberg.

With a tent, you can transform certain otherwise not so glamorous spaces.  But with a tent, you will need to rent the entire infrastructure for your party, possibly right down to a generator for electricity. The main reason you see so many lavishly decorated wedding tents is that the tent is the way to provide sheltering space for your large party, if you are not going to rent a ballroom. The tent gives you flexibility as to date, decor, and view that you will not have with a ballroom.  And on the subject of ballrooms, many are not all that elegant. Those crystal chandeliers you see in wedding albums are more likely to be rented items hung in tents than what comes with the hotel. One major upside to the ballroom is the temperature control. If you are not having your wedding where the temperature is in the mid 70's to mid 80's, you might need an adjustment to keep your guests comfortable.

Many venues surprisingly enough will not come stocked with those items you most need for your event, and this can add massively to your per person cost. Most venues will come with per person charges as well as venue charges, as every place setting and plate of food carries additional cost. And yet, on the wedding sites we frequently see couples hoping to put together an elegant wedding for 200 people for under $50 a person. Sadly, tables, chairs and linens will gobble up most of that budget. So, is it even possible? The answer is yes, but… you will probably have to redefine "elegant" unless you are borrowing all those accessories from a kindly source who happens to have 200 matching elegant chairs. We can see a beach pavilion with picnic tables dressed in white cloths, with hanging lanterns, within that budget.  Oddly, on this island in the middle of the ocean, weddings of couples who live here tend to fall into two categories. One is the 30 person wedding, held on an estate or at another sort of oceanfront venue, and the other is the 500 person wedding held in a park or stadium. Hawaiians are not shy about stadiums for family events. No caterer, no tablecloths. Everyone brings food, and drinks kava. But, if you want a sit down party, and your budget is trying to be as small as possible, you too may decide to forgo tablecloths.

Indoor or outdoor?  Most couples have a strong preference, and for outdoors, will need to consider what kind of weather might be anticipated. Will you risk no shelter in event of rain? Do you have a back up plan to the lovely outdoor seating should an unseasonal storm blow in?

Here on our Hawaii island, choices are many, but there are some considerations that you will not run into in other less isolated places. If your wedding is planned during the wedding season or during holiday times, if the venue you choose does not come with chairs, tables, and linens, you must plan far far ahead, as the vendors of those items get spoken for a year or more in advance. This is of course is not a consideration in an elopement style wedding.

Instead of well defined seasons in Hawaii, we have altitude changes. Summer is year round on the west side of the island, with "summer showers" in the spring. Summer is at sea level, where there are luxurious rentable houses on the water, resorts, and fine restaurants. Spring happens at about 1000 feet, pretty much all over the island. In some areas, it brings mists, and lush tropical environments. Coffee farms are found at this elevation, and spreading estates with gorgeous grounds. Fall is almost a state of mind on this island, an idea of a time and place where the tree leaves change colors and fall to the ground. If you like the warm toasty aspect of fall, you will like the upcountry of Volcano, where you can have a fire going any time of the year. But the foliage of fall is replaced by the Jurassic essence of the rainforest, emerald green and often dripping wet, or misty and mysterious. Winter on this island can be complete with snow, and a January wedding in Waimea may give you a full view of Mauna Kea crowned in white, and be cool enough for velvet and tuxedos. A formal occasion in Hawaii with formal western attire like suits and ties is best planned for a cooler altitude, like Waimea.

When thinking about a venue, if you have budget in mind, it is well worth your while to find out what comes with the venue, and what you will need to bring in.  If you are having a wedding celebration for 30 people you can expect to pay $1000 for ordinary, very plain table settings including the seating. Any place you will be renting a tent, you will most likely be renting the seating and linens. Expect to pay another $1000 for a very plain undecorated tent. Draping and simple lighting is likely to cost another $1000, and if your decor includes specialty lighting and table flowers, candles and table runners, expect to spend another $1500.  For that $4500 you could rent an oceanfront masterpiece of a home, and bring in flowers for interior decor. You may still need the table and chairs, but the tent? Not always, but sometimes. Specialty lighting? Your choice, perhaps $250 to $300 in exterior lights, nothing more.  If your party is 200 rather than 30,  look what happens to your costs for renting linens. Have you seen the bohemian style wood table reception, out under trees strung with lanterns, mix and match china and cutlery, vintage glasses of all shapes?  Now you know where that comes from. Yes, your ten best friends lend you their stuff, and you bring on the paper napkins or buy the dollar kind, because if you go for the $3 kind, it's already $400 extra dollars.

Here is where our coffee plantation venue begins to become very interesting. Not only is it truly gorgeous, but it comes with shelter, a dance floor, a sound system, specialty lighting, and very importantly your own wedding designer. Let's not use "planner" - it sounds so office like. The person who will put together your wedding will take your ideas and weave them into exactly what you wish.  Spectacular? Yes, we will even bring in sparklers if you want. Exotic? Oh yeah. Elegant? How about crystal chandeliers and mercury glass candle holders, with fountains of orchids?

So how do the prices compare, venue type to venue type? Restaurant dinner costs will tend to be about half or even a quarter of catering fees. You will be asked to pay an automatic gratuity almost everywhere, and that is 20%. This gratuity charge is not usually a part of an elopement package, but is to be expected if your small wedding party exceeds six. Cost of decor goes way down, as you can almost always go with whatever the restaurant offers in the way of lighting, and your tables require whatever attention brings the party to the level you wish. The least expensive table decor you can use is a combination of the bridal bouquet and the groom's maile lei as a runner, a white table cloth, and a few candles.  Expect to pay a little extra for the service of prepping the table for you.  If you want an elaborate setting, remember that your wedding provider will love to do this, and will also need to cover costs of finding the things you want, set up, and removal. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 on up for this service, remembering someone will have to make two trips - one to set up, one to take down. If it is more than a single table, you may need the help of two people to get it all done in the time frame the restaurant will require. Even at this, your costs for decor are going to be a fraction of what you would spend decorating a tent.  There are however few restaurants on this island that will handle a wedding of over 50. Daylight Mind in Kailua-Kona, the restaurant with the view above, is one of them, and yes, you get your own wedding specialist to put it all together for you.

Resorts typically have the highest fees in the scale. We recently priced out a private dinner for 30, served oceanside, at a mid-tier resort, the kind where an oceanfront room is $200 a night. $8500 was the cost, plus the 20% gratuity. Generally speaking, you can expect costs of a similar celebration to rise accordingly at resorts with more expensive rooms.

So how do you choose a venue when you are 3000 to 6000 miles away, and all you have to look at are a few photos online? The very best way is with the help of someone who knows what is out there, and understands your sensibilities, and your budget.

We are Mahinui Hawaii Island Weddings

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hawaii Island Wedding ~ Putting it All Together

If the idea of planning your wedding in all its complexities on an island far away seems too difficult and too expensive, but would be your dream come true, read on.

Today someone who was looking at our website asked what we do. Do we send you to venues? Do we help you connect with whoever you might need?  The answer to those questions is that we start with your dreams and ideas. Once we have a good sense of what you are hoping for in terms of your wedding and how much money you want to spend, we move on to venue possibilities.  As we talk together, your wedding takes shape, and we take care of making sure it happens just as you wish.

We are the direct wedding planners for four distinctly different Hawaii Island venues.

  • There is our Rainforest Pavilion at Kilauea volcano, in the midst of emerald green tree ferns, ohia lehua trees, surrounded by birdsong.  
  • Daylight Mind is an oceanfront venue in Kailua Kona, where the upstairs event space is made exclusively available for the wedding, and you have the services of one of the most accomplished chefs on the island for your wedding feast. The sound of the waves breaking just below the deck and dolphins and whales in season out upon the water plus the promise of the sunset set the stage for your event.  
  • The Kona Coffee Plantation includes layers of tropical gardens, an event tent, a dance floor, panoramic ocean views from South Kona up the Kohala Coast, and the choice of an authentic luau with fire dancers or the services of the same fine chef from Daylight Mind to complete your fest. With the latter selection, you can combine the sensibility of a wine country wedding with the soft breezes scented with plumeria and orchids of Hawaii. 
  • Should you wish something more directly on the water, there is the private catamaran cruise, with or without an ukulele player and singer. You can choose to be married with dolphins as guests, and linger into the Hawaiian sunset on the ocean.  

In the process of selecting the venue, we talk about your anticipated number of guests, any special needs they or you may have, and plan the festivities to fit your budget.  If you anticipate a large number of guests and the only way that can work is if costs are minimized, we can show you ways to work that out so that your guests end up with a Hawaii vacation that costs about half what they would otherwise be spending even for budget travel.  If you are flush and have plans for something people would agree is the party of the decade, we would be delighted to help you with every marvelous detail.  We do not offer you a boatload of suggestions and leave you to sort through them.  As we help you make your plans, we talk about details in terms of wishes you have already communicated to us.

Your honeymoon stay is also on our radar.  We offer a treehouse stay in any package, and can arrange for a romantic cottage on the sand, or an oceanfront suite at one of the top resorts in the world, right here on this island.

Many wedding planners start with a color palette and go from there.  We start with who you are and what you see in your dreams.  We invite you to give us a call.  There is no charge for that conversation.  Let's talk about your wedding.

Please visit our website:

Make Hawaii Island with its sun drenched promises your wedding destination 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

First comes Yes, then comes Stress… or does it?

The Big Question has been asked and answered: yes, you are getting married. What is number one on the agenda?

Do you begin a set of Pinterest boards dedicated to everything from invitations to napkin folds? Do you visit wedding sites looking for inspiration or something that looks like your own style? Do you begin to look at this wedding venue and that, within a short drive, or maybe a longer drive?  Do you sign up to have vendors contact you, where you are asked to pick colors and describe the wedding you want but have not yet put together?

All this makes sense on many levels, as you want your wedding to be the very best party you have ever been to. It is also certain to begin to add to your stress level, as your weekends are given over to visiting venues while answering calls from friends and family whose well meaning advice and serious questions begin to make you wonder if it is OK to reduce your guest list based on who annoys you the most. The fantasy of you, stress free, in a hammock overlooking the ocean on a golden beach seems as far away as the moon.

Your prospective mother-in-law suggests you can save money and please all your friends by throwing a vegetarian potluck in the park, and you find yourself shrieking that you do not intend to turn your friends into a catering service. She smiles wickedly (did she ever seem wicked before? Will she ever seem sweet again?) and suggests you go with her friend Margot's catering service then. She has a brochure for you, featuring snails and pureed meats on crackers. You try to smile and briefly wonder if that sick feeling in your stomach might mean on top of everything else you are pregnant.

But, as it turns out you have a fairy godmother. She visits your room while you are sitting on your bed getting it for the first time other why some couples elope somewhere far far away. She leads you outside to the porch swing and waves her magic wand in the air.

"Here is where we start," she smiles at you. "Let's talk about the money. How much are you going to spend on this gorgeous party?"

You give her the impossibly low number of dollars you know you can get your hands on and add in a thousand from your credit line. She says, "Great! Now let's get started."

Over the next hour or so she walks through your fantasy with you. As you tell her things, she shows you pictures. Once in awhile she says things like "If you are willing to stray a little from convention and go with a table seating chart instead of place tags, we can get you that light curtain and stay on track with your budget."

When your mother calls the next day to offer up her friend Helene to make your wedding dress and save you money over store bought, you smile and tell her your fitting appointment is already in the works.  It was a small fib, and not the first or last you will tell during this process, but you know there will be a fitting and there will be a wedding, without snails.

This is the role of the wedding designer. This person begins with the given of how much money you are going to spend,  takes your wishes of what the elements of the wedding should be, and almost like magic puts it all together to become all you want it to be. Generally this can happen without a potluck in the park.

If it is a Hawaii Island wedding you might be interested in, we are here, wand in hand. And yes, you could be in that hammock, at that very spot. It can all happen.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wedding Colors, Hawaii Style

Hawaii weddings can follow many pathways, and along the way, couples will encounter the latest trends. Some of these such as flowers strewn along the outdoor "path to the altar" lend themselves perfectly to a certain style of outdoor wedding.  Like other styles, colors tend to trend, regardless of context. When choosing themes and colors for your wedding, it is helpful to look at photos from your venue, to get to know what colors are already prominent there. That scheme will form the basis for your palette. If you are using a tent with top and sides that are non-see through, the whole scheme is up to you. Otherwise, how much blue sky and ocean, or  deep forest and green or gray tropical mountainscape fill your view?  Does a color emerge as dominant? Will the outdoors fade to black because your wedding is at sunset and when the party starts, it will be dark night outside?

If the flowers at your wedding are important to your sense of color scheme, browse what is in season on the date you have selected, in the region of your wedding. Local flowers will be the freshest, often transported a short distance with great care to avoid bruising and bending of petals.

Here you see a cymbidium orchid, as it grows on the plant. The plant itself is large and unsuitable for table decor. The stems and sprays and the individual blooms are sculptural and lend themselves to idyllic styles in wedding table arrangements. These particular orchids are seasonal, your flower bonus for choosing a winter date in Hawaii for your celebration.  Some growers can produce blooms year round, but the color selection will not be as extensive for out of season flowers. In choosing colors for a Hawaiian destination wedding, taking cues from this particular flower will give you ivory, golden yellow and old rose.  The way this can play out is to combine this orchid with other kinds of orchids, anthuriums, and tuberose in the same colors.

The Hawaii Island style weddings often incorporate whatever flowers are in season. These blooms are sometimes gigantic, like the heliconia may be, and are best used in ultra large arrangements for places other than the dining tables. Huge dramatic flower arrangements can also be informal, tied to the tent poles at the entrance, for example. Often palm fronds are combined with heliconia and ginger in local wedding celebrations held at beach pavilions. No alcohol permitted, however, at beach pavilions, or at the beach. To have a beachfront wedding in Hawaii with alcohol and a reception, you rent a beachfront house or estate. We have located a selection of these particularly suited to weddings.

So for colors to express your style… or to inform your choice of brides maids dresses… take a look at Hawaiian flowers. Think about the colors that will surround you here. If you are choosing a rainforest wedding, you are in the midst of emerald green. There will be red accents of the forest birds and anthuriums in the landscape. From the riot of colors available, you may be drawn to the reds and oranges, or to lighter shades like the chartreuse of the newly opening fern fronds. For a beach wedding, look at the color of Hawaiian waters. Brilliant aqua. The sands tend to be golden along the Kohala coast rather than white. Black edges most Big Island shorelines.

When sending your invitations, remember that how your guests dress will play into the overall visual of your extravaganza. We have seen Hawaiian wedding guests take the casual nature of the island to the extreme, showing up dressed more as if they were going to build a rock wall than participate in a fancy party. We have also seen men struggle for comfort in suit jackets and ties with the weather in the mid 80s.  We suggest this:  "Cocktail attire, aloha style".  Generally this will be interpreted as aloha shirts and linen or cotton slacks for the men, and Hawaii style dresses for the women, upscale rather than ABC store casual. Be careful of the use of the word "casual" to describe Hawaii style - casual in Hawaii, especially on the Big Island, translates to halter tops, tee-shirts, slippahs, and shorts.  You may think your mainland friends would not come to your classy oceanfront wedding looking they were on their way to the beach to strip down and boogie board, but the surprise is many visitors are quick to adopt the local style.

When your big event is all over, what you will have is the memory and the photos. When we help plan weddings, we think about how it is all going to look when you look back. We want your thoughts to be that it was all more beautiful than you ever dreamed, the moment you see it, and every time you look back through your memory and at your photographs.

We wish you much aloha in planning your event. If you are considering a Hawaii Island wedding, please visit our website and see if we might be a good fit for your style and dreams.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Oceanfront Wedding, Kona Style

Kailua-Kona is a Big Island village generally thought of as the liveliest locale on the island, with its boutique restaurants and shops, sunset cruises and parasailing, Hulihe'e Palace and rich Hawaiian heritgage, wild dolphin journeys and whale watches. The weather is likely to be close to perfect. Since 1981, Kona has hosted the Ironman triathlon, an event that originated on Oahu and then moved over to the less congested Big Island.  Ironman gear can found year-round in Kailua-Kona. One of the beautiful aspects of Kona town is the walk along the seawall, the village across the street, the streets humming with life but not stuffed with traffic. Faces of the people you see are happy to be here. Happy to be alive, in this place of uncompromising beauty and Hawaiian style.

This oceanside town has three major hotels. One is at each end of Alii Drive where the shops and restaurants are, and the Sheraton is a bit farther south, at Keauhou. Visitors to Kona may stay at one of these resorts, a condo, or rent one of the many private homes either along the waterfront, in town, or above the village in the coffee country. Some choose the resorts along the Kohala Coast to the north for their ample beachfront. The history of old Hawaii is evident in Kona, and efforts over the decades of development that came along with an expanding mainland economy to preserve the essence of Kona have paid off. The businesses along Alii Drive tend to cherish the island history and culture, and extend a warm aloha to visitors and locals alike.

A newcomer to Kona town is Daylight Mind Restaurant and Coffee Company, in the heart of Kona, along the Alii Drive promenade. The photo above is from the first wedding they have hosted. The restaurant is downstairs. Up a wide koa staircase is their event area, dedicated to private parties.

The event area wraps around the bay side and ocean face of the building, that juts out almost right over the water. There is strip of lawn between the rear of the building and the waves below. It is not uncommon to see whales breaching and tail slapping in the winter, and pods of spinner dolphins cavorting in the endless blue. Palms reach out into the view like graceful dancers. Sunsets fill the sky nearly every evening, washing it in golds, oranges, reds and pinks.  Sitting at a table along the glass wall, your view is directly to the waves breaking onto the flat smooth pahoehoe edging the ocean here. Patches of coral sand are interspersed along the black edge of the island. The water is pure turquoise under the clear sky.

Despite the lure of the sunset, the very best time for a party is the afternoon. You are welcome to linger as the sky fills with colors, however we encouraage you and your guests to enjoy the sheer beauty of the location in its glory when the sun is still high in the sky.

Here, you see part of the view of Kona Village ringing the Bay. From a side table, you are treated to the sweep of the waterfront with its orange roofline.

The owners of Daylight Mind have great enthusiasm about sharing the beauty of their location with wedding parties. The chefs are eager to show off their versatility and imagination, to create one of a kind celebratory feasts. We will be back next week to show off some of their efforts.

To learn more, visit us with your wedding inquiry:

We wish you much aloha.