Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Destination Wedding, Mahinui Style

The pros and cons of a destination wedding make their way to many a wedding blog.  We cannot remark on what they are for you, but we can talk about how they play out from our end.

The couples who come to us are usually looking for a wedding experience that mirrors the excitement they have for their relationship.  The idea of being married on top of a volcano has a zing and a zest that appeals.  They quickly pick up on the feeling that the goddess Pele is hovering in the wings, unpredictable and endowed with an ultimate feminine power.  Emotional chords are strummed.  There is some contemplation of being present as the earth itself is forming, while beginning a new phase of life.  It's potent and exciting.

Once the decision is made to go ahead with a wedding at our pavilion, the dreams and wishes begin to spill out. Sometimes it is a poetic, surreal set of wishes. Sometimes, the couple likes the idea of the rainforest but wants the ocean to figure into it somehow. This is where the fact that this is an island in the middle of the ocean with almost every climate found on the globe comes in. We can do the wedding in the rainforest and go down to the ocean for photos.  You want the blue ocean around your toes?  Let's go!

Because the weather is unpredictable, it is nice to be able to offer protection from the wind and rain at the same time as the experience of the full out of doors. The rainforest is all around, and the pavilion lets everyone stay comfortable. Then the photo sessions can bring it all on, and in that part of the drama accepting whatever the island offers up in the way of weather is more fun.

On the practical side, we make it easy. Whatever is uppermost in the bride and groom's mindset is what drives how it all unfolds. Sometimes it is budget, sometimes fulfilling a fantasy. We try to ask the right questions so it all comes together in the most beautiful way possible, and exciting in all good ways.

Somehow, this is not so hard to do when your props include a fiery volcano, an emerald green rain forest, and a treehouse.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fantasy Wedding - chapter 5

The day after the wedding is the photo shoot.

Morning begins with coffee that tastes almost like chocolate, sliced papaya with a squeeze of lime, and croissants with lilikoi butter and macadamia nut butter.  They sit on the treehouse lanai and watch the cardinals flitting from limb to limb at their eye level.

They call their hosts when they are ready, and within minutes are picked up for their island photo adventure.  The couple feels like celebrities everywhere they are taken around the island, from private lagoons where the waters are pristine aquamarine and clear as jewels to beaches studded with flowering trees where sea turtles come out to sun themselves.

The island around them feels alive and interactive, playing with them with mist and sun, soft breezes, offering up flowers and colors in the most unexpected of places.

Throughout the day the colors of the sky change around them, as if a kaleidoscope had been on order just for their wedding photography.

A feeling of playfulness that began in the treehouse spills over throughout the day, as they clown for the camera and each other.

There is a stop at the rim of the volcano, where from a hole in the caldera a white plume rises and wafts upward and away in the breeze.  They will be back at dusk, after sunset at the ocean on a deserted beach, to watch the orange red glow begin, the lava lake rising and falling in the caldera of Halema'uma'u.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fantasy Wedding ~ the Honeymoon - chapter 4

It had been friends of theirs who told them about the treehouse.  Someone they knew had stayed there, come back and told all their friends.  Another friend said they thought it was on Facebook.  Finally they had located the website from which they had launched their wedding plans:

And now they were on their way to their honeymoon at the treehouse.

The Land Rover arrived, and they walked together through the moongate.  It was like entering another world, a forest from eons ago.  Hungry pitcher plants hung down from giant ferns.  The air was so different, it was as it if had the color of the ginger flowers that permeated it.    

As they stepped around a curve in the path and began the ascent to the house, a trail of orchids marked the way.  The orchids led them up and up to the bedroom.  Candles surrounded by orchids lined the window sills.  A bottle of champagne was chilling on the bedside table.  Next to it were two champagne flutes etched with heliconia flowers.  This would be for later.

For now, it was time to celebrate the blessing of their marriage.
The candlelight was reflected in the stained glass windows that surrounded the bed.  The music of the moment was the night sounds of the rainforest.  The vaulted ceiling overhead was lined with woven bamboo, over which black bamboo purlins supported the roof overhead.  Outside, a light mist turned suddenly to rain, dancing on the metal roof overhead.  The magic was just beginning.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fantasy Rainforest Wedding part 3

During the ceremony, the wedding cake has been on display on this white draped table in the pavilion.  The couple have decided for their wedding it will be dessert first.  There is great fanfare as they remove a slice of cake and first tenderly accept morsels from each other before playfully drawing frosting designs across each other's lips.  The cake is then served to the guests, and a thick slice removed for later...

As the light of the day fades into dusk, the songs of birds also begin to quiet. The guests bid a fond farewell to the newlyweds and a caterer whisks away the cake plates and sets two place settings at the table.  Dinner music replaces the festive slack key, a jazzy accompaniment to the very private wedding meal about to be served.  The bride slips away to the house below to change into a slinky dinner gown and cozy cashmere wrap while the dressing assistant carefully puts away her jeweled wedding dress.  When she re-enters the pavilion, the groom touches his lips to her neck and removes pins from her hair so it cascades down onto her shoulders.

A bottle of 20 year old Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice library selection, sits on the table, uncorked and breathing, as it has throughout the ceremony.  The groom has prepared the menu with the caterer.  He chose her favorite wine to accompany island lobster tails and a delicate array of barely heated through julienned island vegetables tossed lightly with miso and a variety of sea vegetables.  The greens are both tender and crisp in the mouth.  The buttery dip for the lobster has been made delectable by fresh lilikoi and tiny slices of hot pepper.  There is root vegetable puree that perfectly complements the rest of the meal.  Water with ice and thin cucumber slices accompanies the food.

The entire scene is now lit by candles and strands of tiny lights embedded in strands of crystals strung across the tall Balinese ceiling.  Firebowls add both light and heat.  Natalie and Nat King Cole sing "Unforgettable" and the groom sweeps the bride into the dance.  As Frank Sinatra begins "The Way You Look Tonight", they head arm in arm down the path along the tiki torch lit way, where the driver meets them.

Opening the rear door of the Land Rover, he helps them in, the canopy of stars winking above, and within minutes they are at their honeymoon destination.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fantasy Wedding ~ chapter 2

The deep sounding of the conch announced the groom's arrival.  He fairly sprints up the forest path along the tiki torch lit way, so eager for his first glimpse of his bride.

In a reversal of the standard order, she awaits him, glowing in the center of a circle of flickering candles, blushing orchids and fern tendrils.  The entire scene is lit by hundreds of candles, the forest outside a brilliant emerald green in the late day light.  The scent of puakinikini and tuberose mingles with the sweet air of the forest, and hundreds of birds sing, chirp, call, filling the air with the song of the forest.

The groom steps into the circle of candlelight as if in a dream, the pu sounds once more, and the music of the marriage begins.

Gentle Hawaiian slack key guitar mingles with the bird song, the artist a reknowned musician whose art has appeared in movies and who has been awarded small statues of excellence.

The couple face the altar, draped with ferns braided together, and topped with a bouquet of island orchids, tuberose, bird of paradise, and palm. Smiling, selves entwined such that they feel each within the other, they  have eyes only for each other, as the ceremony that celebrates the joining of their hearts and beings commences.  They have studied the words, but as they experience what is happening, it is more than words and feelings.  A nearly supernatural sense is all around, as if unseen beings carrying blessings were in attendance.  When the part of the ceremony arrives where they exchange lei and rings and share the sacred breath; the ha, the joy of the extended moment becomes a part of all there is.  Now and forever, both timeless and ephemeral...

The music of the guitar, the birds, laughter becomes jubilation and celebration.  The candles of the blessing circle are moved to the bases of the fire bowls.  The soft short phhffft of a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne being uncorked is all but lost in the song of knowing love.  Antique hollow stem champagne glasses are passed to the couple and their guests, and the toast to the marriage is made.  Out in the forest a pair of bright red honeycreepers known by their Hawaiian name apapane  flit and play as if to echo the heart song of the couple in the pavilion, who see them and raise a toast to the birds, guests in their wooded mountain abode.  Then from the darkening jungle comes rhythmic ipu drumming and a Hawaiian chant, as if the forest itself had raised a voice, the words calling down blessings of the ancestors on the couple.  The chanting halau enters the pavilion, completes the chant, and bestows more lei on the couple, then disappears back into the ferns and ohia. The mystical magical sense is much like the ancestors had heard them and made an appearance.  

... to be continued...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fantasy Wedding!

Imagine an ultimate romantic fantasy, set on an island in the middle of the ocean.  Your plane lands in a lava field, the blackest black you can imagine, with the bluest ocean beyond.  A short conveyor belt deposits your luggage, and you are greeted by a smiling island guy with lei.

Your luggage is stowed in the back of the Land Rover and wreathed in fragrant soft petals, you are transported to a sandy beachfront for cocktails and small plates of delectable treats, while you watch the sky change color at sunset.

Now rested from your transoceanic flight, you settle in to being transported up the volcano.  Through the darkness the headlights reveal a canopy of giant ferns you travel beneath, to the first night in your adventure.  Your bags are carried into the house, where bouquets of orchids, birds of paradise, heart shaped anthurium, and other tropical flowers greet you.  A bottle of your favorite beverage is at hand, with appropriate glassware, and plenty of ice, should you need it.

The driver leaves, and you settle into the steaming hot tub, glasses in hand, Hawaiian slack key guitar music in the background and candlelight making dancing shadows around you and your favorite person.

Your day begins with the best coffee you have ever had, an array of delectable fruits, creme fraiche, and delicate pastry.  Granola and yogurt are also at hand.  A note on the table lets you know your massage  for two is scheduled for 11.  You enjoy your breakfast while sitting on the level of the lower canopy. 

During the massage, the trade winds gently caress your skin as the last of the weariness of life before is rubbed away.  Another languid soak in the tub, and it is time to ready yourself for the wedding event itself.  The smiling island guy returns to take the groom off to the treehouse to prepare himself, and a dressing assistant helps the bride into her gown covered with faintly aquamarine tinted sequins and jewels, and a headpiece of white orchids and tuberose, accented with tendrils of fern. 

There is the sound of the conch, like the horn of an ocean liner, and a torchbearer ascends the path, lighting tiki torches and adding the element of fire to the path.

In a switch from tradition, the bride secretly ascends a forested path adorned with living orchids and lined with anthurium to a chorus of birdsong.  Meanwhile, the groom has been readying not only himself but also preparing the boudoir in the trees for his bride. 

Another sound of the conch, and the groom walks the path through the flickering flames, and enters the pavilion, where the bride awaits in a circle of candles and lavish white orchids.  An award winning island musician is playing.  The conch sounds again, and the ceremony begins!

... to be continued! ...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Treehouse honeymoon and beachfront wedding

We are lucky enough at the moment to have access to a home with a lanai directly across from this beautiful spot.  We love our pavilion in the rainforest, and those who have chosen vow renewals and weddings there have been delighted with every detail.  We are aware that there are those who think Hawaii -> wedding -> beach.  There are those who specialize in beach weddings.  And there is our lanai.  It overlooks a pond with koi and local fishes.  Today I floated orchids in it. It is a dreamy, special place.

The photo below shows one of the ponds, and a small table set up on the lawn.  The lanai is to the right, over the pond.  We have set aside a single weekend in September for a wedding on the lanai.  The package will include two nights in the treehouse and photography at Leleiwi, the beaches and ponds in the area.

The two days are September 23 and 24 2011.  The wedding date would be September 23.  We may be reached through the blog information or our website,  Cost will be $1500 inclusive.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tropical Mahinui Treehouse on MTV Extreme Cribs

And here we are.  Hoping the MTV website will eventually post the episode online.  It might be repeated Sunday August 28.

The show, MTV Extreme Cribs,  featured our daughter Stephanie touring the treehouse, with some commentary from us, and a quick view of the pavilion.  If you saw the show, you got a look at everything about the place.  I think they showed the bed, and maybe not the upper lanai.  You didn't get the view from the upper lanai into the canopy either, but you can see and hear the amazing forest.

What wasn't mentioned is that you can honeymoon at the treehouse, and have a marriage ceremony or other celebration in the pavilion.  The way to do that is to contact us through our website,

Meantime, it was fun to do the show, especially so for daughter Steph.  We all love seeing ourselves on TV especially when it's all good.

Aloha from Mahinui Na Lani!  A hui hou!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aloha from the Volcano.

Madam Pele has been dancing up a show these last several days.  There was a perched lake at Pu'u O'o that collapsed, sending lava streaming down the mountain in multiple flows.

The perched lake was very much like a above ground swimming pool.  Hardened lava sides built up and the interior drained, then began filling.  When the volume had sufficiently increased,  it blew out a hole in the side or opened a crack and the wall came down, releasing the flow. 

Views from helicopters have been amazing.  Here is a link to movie clip on the usgs site.

Slowly we are being discovered, mainly via the treehouse.  The Today show had a clip featuring the treehouse, but didn't say where it was beyond "Hawaii".  Some people did find us.  MTV Cribs has filmed the treehouse and the wedding pavilion for an upcoming episode of Extreme Cribs, their new show that premiered August 1.  Keola Magazine featured the treehouse in an article, and it may be seen online:  

The house at Volcano where the pavilion rests has now been converted to use for the wedding parties as well as for other guests when no weddings are scheduled.  This makes it convenient and easy to stage catering, and offer a place for guests to stay after the party is over and the bride and groom have gone over to the treehouse.

Our wedding packages now can include both treehouse and conventional house stays along with the weddings at the pavilion. 

The orchids and anthuriums at the pavilion are looking particularly lovely this summer.  The ginger came into bloom early, perfuming the forest by day.  The datura adds its rich notes at dusk.  Summer evenings are cool without being chilly.  The firebowls add light, warmth, and the element of fire that matches the spirit of the volcano. 

There is still availability for summer weddings, as well as deep fall and winter. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Treehouse Weddings

The treehouse and grounds are a potential wedding location in addition to the rainforest pavilion.  While the pavilion is a setting protected from the rain, the grotto at the treehouse is open and bathed in dappled light.  The hammock comes down and the bride and groom stand amidst fragrant orchids and gardenias, ginger if in season.

The treehouse lanai is another spot where a ceremony can take place.

Standing in the grotto, you are below the treehouse, and across from the lava tube.  The tree ferns or hapu'u that form the mid canopy of the rainforest wave gently ovehead.  Above them, the red flowered ohia trees reach into the sky.

The orchids are epiphytes, and like the nepenthes pitcher plants, grow directly in the tree ferns and on the trees.  Exotic island mosses drape the tree branches and grow along the paths.

From the moment you arrive until you depart, you can choose to stay in the magical forest, never setting foot back in a car.  Personal catering is available, and your wedding photography can all be done in the treehouse and around the grounds.

To see more photos, look through the blog.  You may reach us through  aloha!