Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fantasy in the Forest

When you go searching for weddings in Hawaii online, what comes up first are the big commercial establishments.   Hotels and resorts with big budgets and lots of visitors get the front page.  This turns out to be a challenge for us with our private spot here next to the volcano.  How will people discover us?

We have considered ads in wedding magazines, and going to wedding fairs, but our sense of those sorts of spots is they are dedicated to big splashy weddings, and that is opposite what we are about.

A wedding here at our pavilion has several unique characteristics:

  •  it is truly private.  You look out, and see the rainforest.  No tourists will wander by, and if you are rich and famous, as long as you keep it a secret, so will we.
  •  we are cost conscious.  We think you don't need to spend as much on a wedding as you would buying a luxury car. 
  • when you buy a package here, it is not just a ceremony and a bottle of sparkling cider.  It is a full on Hawaiian style ceremony.
  •  if you choose to add a treehouse stay, we will transport you to the pavilion and back from the treehouse in our sexy land rover
  •  there is a spiritual and magical essence to this rainforest, and you will feel it immediately.  It is like stepping into a romantic poem or a fairy tale.  
  • should you want more than a basic package, that's easy.  we publish some ideas on our website, and are happy to work with you.  
  • we will help you keep your wedding stress free
To give you a sense of how we work, consider wedding flowers.  In a traditional wedding, there will be flowers everywhere.  The bride carries the bouquet, and everywhere you look, there is an abundance of flowers, cut and arranged in vases, perhaps tied to pillars and posts and trellises.  

At a pavilion wedding, there are flowers growing along the forest path.  There are orchids and other tropical epiphytes actually growing in the trees.  There are tree ferns and ginger all around the pavilion.  We place living orchids at the entrance as you walk up.  And there are leis for a lei exchange.  All this is at no additional cost beyond the basic price.  

Depending on how much tradition you may want, or simply on your personal desires, we offer wedding bouquets.  These will be fashioned from ferns, orchids, and perhaps gardenias or proteas.  You specify the colors and whether you prefer a tight traditional "ball" or a flowing drape of flowers, and the colors of the ribbons.  The cost?  Usually $50.  

In Hawaii, the head lei is often worn by the bride.  Here in the sacred forest of Pele, a head lei made from the buds of the forest trees is what is worn for ceremonies and occasions.  Or a head lei of white orchids or other flowers may be worn.  

Altar flowers may be desired.  Bouquets range in price from $20 to $75.  If you choose to have a celebration feast, flowers for each table are included in the package.  Those will be anthuriums.  If more elaborate flowers are desired, or something special, we'll figure it out.  

 Leis are a part of the Hawaiian wedding.  The leis are included in our basic package.  If you want something in particular rather than what we offer, we will have them waiting for you. 

One of the attractions of the Hawaiian islands is the sense that here, you lose your cares.  The stresses of every day life fall away.  Your wedding can be stress free as well, and we are dedicated to helping create an environment for your celebration that is a reflection of the love you share.  We can do that for a beach wedding too.  

So where do we show ourselves such that couples looking for this sort of romantic place for a ceremony can find us?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A different sort of Hawaiian Honeymoon

The treehouse was built with honeymoons in mind, as a part of our full wedding business.

We began with a section of rainforest with a lavatube bubble protruding from the very center.  Sturdy trees grew from the bubble, their roots naturally aerated by the configuration of lava beneath, with its tunnels and air currents.  Kilauea Volcano has created a vast underground network of tunnels where lava once flowed to the sea.  As the lava flows decreased in serial eruptions, the tubes were left behind.  A large one in the park, Thurston Lava Tube, is one you can walk through.

We brought in a treehouse designer and builder, Roderick Romero.  Roderick studied the features and called in an arborist to test the trees for strength, health, and hardness, and designed this small two story structure to fit the existing tree space.

Experienced treehouse builders came in and using garnier limbs, suspended the structure from the trees as they built it.

Building materials used are mostly recycled floor and siding from a church on Oahu that was demolished, and bamboo, an ultimately sustainable building material that regrows rapidly.  The only trees lost in the process were dead ones and a couple of straggly saplings.  We moved a few giant hapu'u ferns to more suitable locations.  The doors and clear windows are all recycled.  The stained glass windows were commissioned from a local artist, Seneca Lalonde.  Inside, the plates and cups are all made by either local artists or were part of our collection of hand made pottery from before we moved to Hawaii.

We were unable to locate a wooden soaking tub on the island.  Here, the traditional soaking tubs are built of stone or concrete, dug into the ground.  That was not to be a part of a treehouse, so we brought over a cedar hot tub from Alaska, and sunk it in the first deck.

The house has two rooms, a sitting/eating/food prep room with soft chairs, an ottoman, a built in window table looking out over the forest with stools, a flat screen for viewing movies, and a small food prep area with sink, stovetop, refrigerator, microwave, and cooking and eating utensils.  Outdoors there is a grill.
Upstairs through a trap door is the bedroom, with a queensize memory foam mattress & down comforter, a couple of nightstands with drawers for clothes and such, and a corner dedicated to clothing storage on hooks.  The shape of the room is irregular with multiple walls, and the clothes corner is an angle recessed next to the bed in such a way that the contents re mostly hidden from view.  The shape of the room is what the trees said.  Since it can get chilly at night here on the mountaintop, there is a Jotul propane heating stove inside that looks like a fireplace, as you can watch the flames.  But it's a lot easier to use - no wood to carry, and no smoke in the little house.

Bathroom facilities include a composting toilet and sink in their own little room behind bamboo glass doors, bought on resale and then finished to fit, and an outdoor shower surrounded by bamboo, on the same level as the bathroom and living area and hot tub.

Access to the treehouse is up a forest path, a series of lava boulders set into the side of the lava tube, and then a ladder constructed of heavy beams that were once part of a parking structure.  It is an entry that involves the use of hands, so when bringing things into the treehouse, backpacks are preferable.  We offer daypacks to our guests to use.

So here it is, a small haven in the trees up where the birds fly, to celebrate love & romance.  Just a few minutes away, Pele puts on her show at Halema'uma'u, the crater inside Kilauea Volcano, where in the dusk of the day, the glow of lava rising and falling in a vast pool becomes apparent in the darkening sky.

Fragrant cedar hot tub on treehouse lanai

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

10-10-10 A lucky day for a wedding

We got married in the rainforest of Hawaii.  We stood out on the lanai, surrounded by giant tree ferns and the gentle whisper of evening tropical misty rain.  It was as if we had been blessed directly.  It was unplanned,  and from idea to inception a matter of an afternoon.  

When we decided to change our lives, we wanted to do something that would bring happiness to other people.  The plan evolved to put up a pavilion in the rainforest for weddings and other celebrations.   As the pavilion plan took shape, the plan needed something more - a beautiful and private honeymoon spot. 

For the honeymoon cottage, a treehouse.  A fantasy suspended from the trees, complete with cedar hot tub.  

Our goal is to offer a runaway wedding spot, an elopement destination drenched in romance, intimate, enchanting, unforgettable.

It turns out to be easy to rent a treehouse.  Even disguised among condo vacation rentals, people do happily stumble upon it.  

As for the wedding business, this is another story.  Everyone knows about Las Vegas, and everyone knows about getting married in Hawaii.  There are thousands of websites, and hundreds of bridal sites, magazines, shows ---  but --- we are not all about the production wedding.  We are about the romance of the mountaintop, the volcano, the magic of it all.  

Now the magical date of 10-10-10 approaches.  We've set aside the 10th and 11th at the treehouse.  We're putting it out there - we are here, we are available, and we are far from expensive.  Hawaiian Airlines lowered their prices today, and round trip from the Bay Area is under $333 on selected dates that encompass 10-10-10.   We can do the ceremony on the beach, at a waterfall, or in our pavilion in a private rainforest.  

Our website is http://www.mahinui.com.

Come take a look.  We'd love to have some celebrations.