Friday, August 31, 2012

Dreams Come True

Rainforest Weddings began as an idea that it is possible to have a elopement style wedding that has in it such elements of romance that it brings to life dreams of a fairytale wedding.

It began with the forest itself, emerald green understory of giant ferns, mossy paths, swaying ohia high overhead.  We found a high point in the forest, and added a Balinese style pavilion for creating private space and shelter.  We had an altar carved with shell ginger flowers, the flowers that grow at the end of the drive onto the grounds.  The altar converts to a bar for parties, and serves to add a sense of the sacred to the place that is already heavily imbued with the aura of Pele.  This is her sacred forest, and you can feel that as you walk up the mossy path set with beach washed lava stones.

Fire bowls bring Pele's element right into the pavilion and add warmth to cool afternoons and evenings.  Tiki torches illuminate the path.  Balinese benches and moss green velvet chenille upholstered chairs provide seating.

Island flowers such as the ones pictured to the left flank the pavilion entry.  The flowers that greet you there always depend on what is in season.  An ultra large arrangement of island flowers adorns the altar, usually a mix of anthurium, ginger, heliconia, fern, orchids, maybe bird of paradise, tuberose - again, the flowers of the season.

Clusters of candles sit amidst greens from the forest upon the railings.  A crystal and sea glass chandelier hangs overhead.  When you look out into the forest, you overlook the mid canopy of tree ferns due to the elevation of the pavilion.  In summer and fall, you will find the fragrance of ginger and tufts of bright yellow flowers.  Orchids planted in the ohia and hapu'u re-bloom year round.

And this is just the setting.  It is also just one setting, one venue, you may choose from for your remarkable island wedding.  If a beachfront wedding is what you have in mind, there are some locations that are far more spectacular and more private than others.

If you bring us your dream, it is with the same sense of place and beauty and respect we brought to our forest, to Pele's forest, that we will help you make that dream happen on this island.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Planning a Hawaii Island Wedding?

Aloha.  Welcome to our beautiful island.  Today you visit virtually, and if you are thinking about a Hawaii Island wedding, you will be here for real soon enough.

The Buddha face to the left represents the serenity we try to create for you as a wedding experience.  We have performed ceremonies and put together wedding packages both including our venue or others for many couples, in all seasons.  There are probably hundreds of purveyors of Hawaii weddings, and hundreds more vendors who provide the myriad parts that go into a wedding.

What are those parts?  The most basic piece is the venue.  Many people want a beach wedding.  There are beaches here, some of them white and pristine and remote, some black and oft visited by tour buses, one green, some golden.  All Hawaiian beaches are public.  The rules as to the use of the beach for weddings are such that many celebrants who have no venue to offer in particular will not do a beach wedding.  You may have seen photos of beautiful arches decorated with flowing silks and draped with orchids.  Those cannot go on the sand in Hawaii.  It's a rule.  So if you want a wedding with an arch, what do you do?  You will need to pay for a venue.  You may be thinking, wait, I have been to countless Hawaiian beaches and there are those pop-up pavilions all over the place.  I have seen Beach parks with wall to wall canopies where tarps are tied to poles, and you say I cannot have a beautiful arch?  It is not me who says that, but Hawaii.  You can have your beautiful arch on the lawn, and if you look closely, you will see those canopies are on the lawn too.  At private venues.

The very best way to have a beach wedding in Hawaii is to rent a house on the beach.  Our favorite beachfront location will run you $10,000 all inclusive, with the use of the house for three nights.  This includes your wedding dinner served to you ocean front or food served party style for up to 30 guests.  And your cake.  And your photography.  If you can afford a $10,000 wedding, and you want it in the sun, at the beach, in Hawaii, this is an elegant and happy choice.  And if your have more than 30 guests, this venue can be used for up to 50.

There are open air parks in Hawaii, and for celebrations in the out of doors on this island, there are tent rentals.  When you bring a tent to a wedding, you will be wanting to decorate those poles and probably drape the interior ceiling part.  To get it looking spectacular will require two people working a full half day each, at minimum, and that is after they bring in the greenery and flowers and drapes.  You may be thinking, why would I need a tent in Hawaii?  The answer is that it can rain anywhere, any time.  If you choose a dry side wedding in the summer or fall, your chances of not needing shelter from rain are better.  But then it is hot, and your guests will like shade.  For any outdoor wedding in Hawaii, a tent is a good investment.  If you find a house to rent on the island for your party with an open air pavilion, you will not need the tent.  Count on spending $1000 or more for a tent rental, delivery etc and decor to dress it up.

There are beach pavilions in Hawaii you can reserve.  The cost is very slight.  However, these pavilions have tables bolted down inside so you do not have floor space underneath, but tables.  This works nicely for having a sit down meal, but is not conducive to a wedding where people are watching the event.  Mostly these pavilions are used for birthday parties.

There are non-beachfront rental houses on the island that have grounds and sometimes covered spaces amenable to weddings.  The typical way these places do business is they have a fee for the use of the grounds for the wedding.  That fee may be $1000 or $4000 or $8500.  It is important to consider what you may have to bring in if the rental house is not fully equipped for an outdoor wedding.  There should be shelter for the wedding party in event of rain, shade from intense sun.  If not, shelter will need to be brought in. This can amp up the price considerably - figure $1000 for a tent with decor.  You will not want naked poles and a pop-up style ceiling, but soft drapes and flowers.

There is a lovely bed and breakfast on the Hamakua coast, on the east side of the island, that offers a wedding option.  When you open the page and see how the pricing structure is, they break down each part of the venue and charge a fee.  So it costs $250 to dress inside and have the bride come down the staircase.  There is a separate charge for use of the grounds, with a per person charge of $50 added onto  that, and in fact there are 3 separate site fees, all necessary to have the wedding.  The fees each go up with additional people, and the bride and groom must be guests of the facility.  To have the place to yourselves, all 8 rooms must be reserved, at a cost of $5800.  This is one of the prettiest locations on the island, and the cost of having a private wedding there tops $10,000 for a party of 16 without any decor, lei, food, drink, or taxes.  And they also have an hourly charge to talk to them.

There are also wedding services at nearly all the hotels.  It is the nature of hotels that their grounds are public.  This means that people will stroll by, and may stop and watch.  And talk.  Many hotels have private residences on site that may be reserved for weddings or simply for privacy.  Count on paying $5000 a night on up for these, usually with a seven night minimum.

Welcome to our wedding pavilion.
Here you have shelter from rain and sun, a hardwood floor, a carved altar.  We do not demand that anyone be our overnight guests, although most couples opt for a treehouse honeymoon.  There is a house on the grounds, and not only do we include its use  for the day in our standard fee, we make it available for guests of the bride and groom to spend the night.

The orchids you see flanking the entry are part of the decor, included in our pricing.  If you look closely behind the orchids on the left, you can see the sumptuous tropical bouquet gracing the altar.  No additional charge.  And outside the pavilion, everywhere you look are giant tree ferns and tall swaying ohia trees.  The path to the pavilion is lit by tiki torches, lined with anthurium and orchids. There will be seasonal orchids at the entrance for your wedding.  After your ceremony, they will be planted in the tree ferns along the path - the hapu'u.  Should you return for an anniversary stay at the chalet on the grounds, you may revisit your wedding flowers, perhaps in bloom again.

We love doing weddings, and will find a way for you to have the wedding of your dearest delight on our island.  We will do what we can to help you stay in budget.  Our prices include our conversations, and all the planning needed.  $2500.  That is for an intimate wedding in the pavilion with live music, the sounding of the triton shell, on site photography, lei, cake, use of the house on site before the wedding and after for guests as well, and a two night treehouse stay for the bride and groom.  We are on top of the volcano, with rainforest all around.  Private.  Emerald green forest, birdsong, orchids in the trees.  It is magical.  Clearly we will go elsewhere, but elsewhere there are significant additional costs.

as always, prices shown are subject to change.  These are prices in effect as of this writing August 2012