Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Best of the Best Hawaii Wedding Destinations

Aloha from Hawaii Island.

When you begin planning a Hawaii wedding while living on the mainland, or on some other continent, what you will notice right away is there are so many choices it can be bewildering. Maybe you have a picture floating in your mind of how your wedding will look or even how it will feel.  Or perhaps you have the romance of Hawaii firmly rooted in your being, and being married in Hawaii is perfection.

Where do you start?

Your venue matters.  Many people think of a beach wedding, and that can absolutely be your first choice.  Bear in mind that all beaches in Hawaii are public.  Some are more remote than others, and if very remote, getting there can pose difficulties you do not want as part of your wedding day. The very best way to have a beach wedding in Hawaii is to rent a beach house. We have thoroughly researched what is out there, and frequently check all over again. There is one rental house that is a complete stand out from everything else.  It gives you privacy, a lovely lawn, beach beyond, and an open lanai leading into the house itself that is gorgeous.  It has a turquoise infinity pool and sumptuous interior.

The lanai of this house is broad and deep enough to hold several tables for the wedding feast, and beyond the pool is the beach.   Picture this lanai simply decorated with hanging candles in glass bubbles at sunset, the tables in pristine white linen, table runners of tropical flowers with candles nestled amongst them.

The venue cost for this house is $4000 for up to 50 guests.  If you rent the house at $1500 a day for 4 nights, the venue cost drops to $2000.  Cost of table and chair rental is additional.   When you choose this as your wedding location, we take care of every detail while you relax and think about how spectacular it will all be.

This home offers you a level of privacy simply not attainable at a resort, and the cost is about half what you would expect to pay for the use of a comparable home at the island's premier Kohala Coast resort complex.

At the right you will see a large and enchanting older structure from the sugar cane days.  This location is just outside Hilo, and is available as a wedding destination.  The cost to use this venue includes their wedding tent, as well as the set up and removal of the tent after your celebration. The cost for tent and venue is $3800 for up to 4 hours, and $4200 for up to 6 hours.  What you get is a venue for large celebrations and privacy. The beauty of the location is rooted in its history and ultra tropical location.  Future blogs will have some photos of the grounds.

We can arrange for large weddings here and coordinate catering and decor.  Specialty lighting, live music, lei, a profusion of island flowers, an amazing cake, your photography and videography, sounding of the sacred triton shell and custom ceremony are all a part of what you can expect should you choose this venue and ask us to handle the details.

The venue costs can be pushed way down by staging your celebration at a beach park.  Costs for the tent, chairs and tables will drop price by 2/3.  However, you will sacrifice privacy, and not have the use of the kitchen for catering.  This venue adds the option of a sunset wedding, whereas beach parks close their gates when the sun goes down.  An East Hawaii sunset means colors in the sky but no setting sun in your eyes as the sun sinks low on the horizon.

Our specialty continues to be weddings in the pavilion at Kilauea volcano.  If you are planning a small destination wedding, this setting can be yours. The pavilion is perfect for a romantic wedding or civil union if it is just the two of you, or if you are including a few people who matter most.  The $2500 cost includes everything, even a 2 night honeymoon stay in the treehouse nearby.  For a look at the treehouse, come visit it virtually on Facebook at Hawaii Treehouse.

What is everything, you may wonder.  Flowers and music, cake and a toast.  Custom ceremony.  Tiki torches if your celebration is late in the day.  Candle light.  The sacred triton shell is sounded to announce the beginning of your celebration.  You will have the use of the chalet on the grounds to dress and relax before the ceremony.  You will have fully edited professional photographs to commemorate your ceremony, digitally delivered and easily converted to a photo book or slide show or video.

The caterers we use can offer you resort quality menus and preparation of the highest caliber.

If you have friends who need a place to spend the night, the chalet is available.  If you would like to spend the night before at the chalet, that too may be arranged.

Our goal is to give you the wedding of your dreams and desires with no stress, always with an eye on your costs.

We leave you now with an East Hawaii sunset as illustration of just how glorious they can be.

Contact information:  gail@mahinui.com or by phone  808-238-0633

Mahalo nui loa ~ thank you so much!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weddings, Wedding Planners, and Costs

Aloha!  Today there are three photos of candles on the page.  These photos will illustrate how weddings can end up costing less rather than more, and how a wedding planner is invaluable as you put together your wedding.

At the right is a simple candle in glass.  There are bits of fern from our rainforest, called uluhe, tied to the candle with a bit of raffia.  The fern fronds shield the candle flame from the eyes, and bring a perky bit of rainforest feel to the candle.  As it happens, this candle treatment is a bit work intensive.  The fern pieces need to be gathered and trimmed, as in their natural state they are too long and curly to be of much use for this.  Then they have to be tied to the candle.  Prep time for say 40 candles will be maybe 3 hours.  If you add an hourly wage of $15 for someone to put this together, this adds $45 to your wedding costs.
This is not a lot in the grand picture, but as it happens, almost every addition to a wedding carries a cost.  It can be mind boggling if you are paying for your wedding a la carte.  At Rainforest Weddings, we try not to charge a la carte prices.  Instead, we try to work within your budget.

To the left is another candle treatment.  A piece of ribbon is tied in a bow on the same candle.  The ribbon can match any color scheme.  It can tie into the orchids or other flowers for the wedding, match the bride's sash, be white...  This is not nearly as work intensive.  Although the cost to the planner is higher for the materials, the time to tie 40 pieces of ribbon to 40 candles is only about an hour.  Savings:  not $30 as there is a cost for the ribbon.  So, $25 or $20.

Are you thinking, maybe you will do this yourself?  On your wedding day?  Maybe you have a friend who will do this.  Savings:  $35 - $40!

We are not counting the costs of placing the candles, as that will be the same no matter what.  Where will they go?  If depends on your venue.  Perhaps on a railing, like this one.  Perhaps defining the edge of a swimming pool, or as part of the table decor.

At the right is choice number three.  The flame is clearly visible here.  If the candle glass was frosted, the flame would be hidden.  Maybe you like the look of the flame.  And, notice how the ribbon color matches the orchid.  And there is the uluhe in its natural form.  For this treatment the uluhe still must be gathered, and the orchid purchased, and those costs are absorbed at Rainforest Weddings into the standard package.  The placement is also absorbed in a standard package.  Savings on this treatment is $45.

The wedding planner ~ where does the wedding planner factor in?   Wherever your wedding will take place, there are things to think about.  Lighting is one of them.  When you rent a venue, you get the house lights.  Candles are more romantic.  How many candles do you need?  Where will they be?  Are they going to be an important source of light, or mainly for the mood? And how much do you want to spend on candles?

At Rainforest Weddings, when we do everything at our own venue, we include candles in the basic package price, with the orchids and ferns included.  When we go off site and have to bring everything along, the pricing is different.

If you were to go online and purchase candles like this, you might end up with votives in glass, and those are different.  They will burn out after a couple of hours. Tea lights burn out even faster, and are not good at staying lit. The candles need to be lit before the guests arrive.  We use candles with a 9 hour life.  Your chances of spending from $7 to $10 per candle are pretty good.  That is $280 to $400 for 40 candles.  And if you need 80, the costs begin to crescendo.  We will not spend your money like that.  If you are spending $280 for candles with us, maybe you are getting candles suspended in glass bubbles because in your dream wedding there is that effect.  It is costing more because having just sourced glass bubbles the best we can do for the cost of each is $11.  And that is without the candle.  You probably will not need forty bubbles.  But chances are you will need 40 candles, or like one wedding, "a million" candles.  We asked for a candle budget, and it was $200.  They had a dazzling array.

Maybe you are wondering what you are paying the wedding planner, and if it is worth it.  At Rainforest Weddings, you get a wedding planner, with every package.  You can't have a wedding here without the planner.  The cost is built in to the package.  Elsewhere, you will pay $60 an hour, or perhaps $1500 to start.  What you get is a wedding where someone else thinks through every little detail and makes sure everything is as you wish and dream.  That someone will look after you like a fairy godmother.  And when you walk into your wedding, it will be like magic.