Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Those Crazy Little Extras

If you read bridal blogs and subscribe to wedding newletters, chances are you are bombarded with ideas of fun things to add on to your wedding celebration to make it so especially your own.

To the left, we have a signature cocktail served in an antique glass. Because, what is a signature cocktail served up in plastic or those thick stemmed all purpose wine glasses?

For beach weddings we love those flip flops (slippahs if you from here) where your footprints leave words in the sand.

If you go to this Etsy shop you can custom order them with your names, and of course "just married" is already there for a standard order.

Maybe they don't look all that, but for the photo op after the ceremony, may be irresistible.

Chair decor is a current trend.  Maybe just the bride and groom need the prince and princess of the event treatment, or possibly all the chairs require a slip cover, a bow, and perhaps a garland. Or at least the garland or mini bouquet on the aisle seats. And don't forget the carpet of flower petals if you are going all out with the chair covers and garlands.

Then on the tables all the small touches, like the place holders - not just a card, but something twiggy and sentimental. I am not meaning to poke fun at all these extras, as nothing is quite so special as a wedding. And nothing is quite as much fun as putting together all the little extras to make a celebration special.

From a practical point of view, you may want to consider that "less is more" whereas "more" is absolutely "costlier". You will rarely see an item by item price description of your choices until or unless you request that after you have done your ordering or you are in the midst of it and all signed up.

One way to save big on the cost of your wedding extravaganza is to put the money into the big stuff.  Photography is number one. Those photos in an album are with you for a lifetime.  How many people pull out their wedding videotape?  Do they get it moved over to DVD or does it ride out the change on the shelf?  Have one photo matted and framed. It need not hang over the fireplace. But on your 10th and 15th and 25th wedding anniversary you will like to be reminded of what that day did look like.

If you have chosen a destination wedding, the sense of place in that photo is all important.  A sweet hazy shot where your smiles are the main feature is lovely, but do choose a photo where you can see where you were, right in the picture.  Even a courthouse wedding deserves a shot of the sweeping staircase or the sturdy pillars in the front.

Ah, the wedding gown... To the right, a delicate Amsale Aberra concoction befitting the most formal of occasions. And you can make your destination wedding a formal occasion, and wear such a gown.  You are probably equally aware you can go to a bridal shop and buy a knock off gown at a far lesser price, or even rent a gown.  For most brides do not see themselves re-donning the bridal attire for another function.

If however you are planning a destination wedding somewhere tropical and hot, maybe with ocean or forest in the mix, non-traditional attire is entirely appropriate.  To the left, a rayon wedding dress available from jadefashion.com.  The bustle effect gives way to a softer, easier style, where your wedding lei will match the loveliness of your attire.

For your Hawaii destination wedding, if you want something extravagent to commemorate the occasion, it would not be the diamond on your finger but the shell lei.  These ni'ihau lei are made of thousands of tiny shells gathered from the sand of the island of Ni'ihau. The lei are crafted by a few remaining Hawaiian lei makers who are keeping the art alive.  The crazy little extras would be orchid lei for your guests.

The elegance of your destination wedding comes not so much from the amount of money you spend on the extras, but how you select the main elements.  That would be the venue, your attire, the music, and the sensibility of those you work with.

May your wedding be brimming with aloha.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Beach Wedding, Hawaii Style

The so called toes in the sand Hawaiian wedding has such a universal appeal that couples from all around the globe select Hawaii as their destination wedding.

As those couples may suspect when they begin viewing vendors for these weddings, the quickie ceremony packages are more than a little bit like eating out at MacDonald's.  What's on your tray is pretty much what's on the tray next to you.  The wedding reality is there will be a couple ahead of you, then you step up to the front of the line, have your turn, and it's over.

Once you begin speaking to a wedding planner, you may find yourself steered away from the wedding on the actual sand.  There are many reasons for that. Hawaiian statute throws up roadblocks. All beaches are public. There is no way to simply reserve a piece of beach for a wedding. And this is just the beginning.  But take heart. There are ways to make it all come true.

The experience you may have had sitting out on a beach at sunset listening to a couple of guys play guitar while you sipped drinks and had coconut shrimp does not readily translate to a weddng ceremony with the same elements, because the beach is a place where children play and everyone with a camera phone stands up and starts walking between people's beach chairs when the light gets pretty.

All that being said, there are ways to have that beach wedding. The very best way is to reserve a beach front house or cottage.  This still does not guarantee you privacy, but it will allow the person who is setting up your wedding to stake out some territory and create what for lack of a more suitable phrase we call sacred space. This patch of sand dedicated to your wedding becomes a place even the children understand is special, and they respect it. The people bearing cameras get it that this is special, is yours, and they can generally be discouraged politely and kindly from intruding upon your ceremony.

If renting beachfront is not within your budget, we do have a choice spot where we can take you, away from the crowds. It means driving awhile, and walking a bit, and then you will be where it is just you, the sand, the waves, the palms. For this style of wedding, we recommend the party take place away from the ceremony spot. It can still be at the beach if you want it there, but it will be at a place not so isolated, where bringing in your cake and so on is much easier.

A third alternative is the lawn.

Here you can see the beach just beyond the lawn. The lawn is private. Here, your event designer can bring in an arch or chuppah and decorate it.  You can rent an open sided canopy as rain is highly unlikely, and in the middle of the day, you will like to have shade. Would you rather have cake and champagne or a fully catered party? Either is possible. And you can have photos done right on the sand, after the ceremony. Or before.

Now you maybe thinking, hey, I like those guys with the guitars. I like that beach. Can I just rent that place and get those guys to come out? Yes and no. Or, not exactly. You can only share the restaurant, and those guys will be playing for the restaurant.  As for the happy people in the background, even though you did not invite them to the party, they will come.

Perhaps now you are thinking, but wait! This is my wedding! Can't I just have a couple of guys with guitars, a nice beachfront, and a few dozen of my closest friends and family, without the paparazzi and the children running in and out of the water?  Yes ! But, that would be the beachfront house. Even the poshest resort on the island has myriad other guests, and they will have equal access to your sacred bit of beach. The beachfront house will be away from the public area of the beach, unlike the resort, and that is its secret.

Having thought about all this, you might mull over the recipe we have for a perfect beach wedding. There are some very nice houses in spectacular locations around the island that are available for rent. They generally rent with a five day minimum stay. Visually, some are like private resorts.  The per bedroom cost on these homes can be comparable to staying at a mid range resort in a garden view room.  These houses can be the party site, with the wedding a sweet walk away along the sand, on a part of the beach away from the crowds at the resorts.

And sure, the guys with the guitars can come to the party if you like.