Just Maui'd - our magical beach wedding
My husband and I are celebrating our 6 month wedding anniversary today (and my birthday, oh and Easter - Wow so many amazing things this April 1st). I thought what better way to honor 6 months of wedding bliss than to write a blog post all about our beautiful wedding day! It was truly a dream come true and the most magical and memorable day of my life.
I've been asked by so many people how we chose our amazing photographer, how we chose Maui for our destination and if it was difficult to plan a destination wedding. So here it is ladies, whether you're a fiance yourself, or just dreaming about the big day, here is some inspo, advice and a whole lot of love!
A Tid Bit Of Our Story:
My husband and I have been together for 8 years now. We got engaged two years ago today on my birthday in 2016 and we met in college at the University of Nevada, Reno. We did long distance from Reno to Las Vegas for 4 years, and no it wasn't easy at all lol, but it was beyond WORTH IT! If you are in a long distance relationship, push through, there is a light at the end of that dark tunnel ;) When we got engaged we both knew we wanted a small intimate beach wedding. Neither of us wanted a huge wedding with hundreds of people. We wanted our closest friends and family there, the ones who have been there for us from day 1! My mom had a small intimate wedding in St. Lucia where her and my stepdad got married and I remember it being on the beach and it was so beautiful and sweet. We figured it would be pretty awesome to have our families get a vacation out of our wedding too. We had never been to Maui and our families hadn't either.
Now onto the fun stuff! The planning... This part can be stressful at times, but it's also the most fun! Try not to stress as best as you can - I personally was a ball of stress especially when my planner quit with the company EEEEEEKK!!! But remember, you only get to plan a wedding once in your life and this should be the most enjoyable time for you and your fiance. This is a moment no one can take away from you so sit back with a glass of wine, get out that wedding planner book (I used this one and loved it) and get to PLANNING the wedding of your dreams :)
The destination for our wedding venue and finding the perfect photographer were our biggest decisions and our number one priority for our big day. We had looked into Mexico, San Diego, Honolulu and I was getting discouraged because I couldn't find the perfect place... We held off and saved for about 6 months and finally picked the perfect destination! After doing my research and looking up numerous venues and photographers in Maui and Honolulu, I found Angie Diaz in Maui, Hawaii. After looking at her feed I immediately showed my fiance. He looked at it, then looked up at me and we both said SHE'S THE ONE! We wanted someone that knew how to shoot the beautiful landscape of Hawaii, and that was her! Not to mention her editing skills are off the charts! We wanted photos that were natural and light & airy. When you put these two elements together plus someone who knows how to bring out the true love in pictures you get fairy tale photos to last a lifetime!
Ironically, when we chose Angie Diaz to be our wedding photographer, that's how we found the perfect venue! We knew we wanted to get married on the beach in Maui. We had options to get married on a grassy knoll that overlooked the ocean, but the whole reason we wanted to get married in Maui was to get married in the sand on the beach. We were going through a recent wedding that Angie had shot and that's when it hit us - Ironwoods Beach (AKA: Oneloa Beach)! The black lava rock that reaches out into the deep and vivid blue ocean waters was exactly where we wanted to shoot our wedding photos! Words cannot describe the blue I'm talking about, you'll see in the photos I've posted what I mean. They turned out like everything we wanted and more!
We highly prioritized photography for our wedding day because really that is the only way to get a memory of the most important day of our lives. Then came the thought of a videographer.... I had always wanted a videographer, but my fiance wasn't too thrilled about the price especially the high prices of video in Maui. After showing him a couple of videos from Maui weddings, he said "Book it!" without hesitation. After again, doing my research on theknot.com, I found the holy grail Sunlit Films. It took a while to get our video, and I was so anxious to see it! When we finally did get it a couple weeks ago, I sat and watched it with my husband after getting home from work where I cried the happiest tears. To be able to see our love for each other and our entire day unfold so perfectly on film is something we will cherish forever and one day show our children. If you are on the fence about a video or think it may not be in your budget, plan for it and get it! The saving will be worth it! Video and photos are our most cherished items from our wedding day. Video allows you to hear your vows and go back to that exact moment and live in it forever. Sunlit Films fulfilled all of our dreams; we not only got the full edited 3-minute video, but also the raw footage from our full ceremony that day.
The Wedding Planner:
Now we just had to piece everything together with a planner. I highly recommend hiring a wedding planner ESPECIALLY if you are having a destination wedding to a place you have never been to like us. I found a luxury wedding planner, Maui's Angels on theknot.com and chose them because they had outstanding reviews and the style was exactly what I was looking for - romantic, chic and beach elegant! They offer a huge variety of wedding planning from beach elopements and small intimate weddings like ours to extremely large weddings with hundreds of people. My initial wedding planner quit the company after having her for the entire first half of planning and I was beyond stressed! That is a bride's worst nightmare, but it all worked out in the end and Lorrie, the owner of the company ensured me I was in good hands with my new planner, Marnie. The real planning didn't start until about 6 months out, which kind of stressed me out a bit, but that's how destination weddings work. Danielle, from the design department, created a vision board with me about 3 months out. I chose all of the details down to the florals, cake, centerpieces, and tablescape about 1 month prior. We got to hand pick our officiant as well. After having a long conversation on the phone I knew Maui Minister, Ernest, would be the perfect person to marry my fiance and me.
We chose our reception venue through our wedding planner. She had given me some options that weren't far from our beach location. We knew we wanted to have a dinner outside right on the beach. And WOW! We were amazed at the location right against the water. We had our reception at Merriman's Kapalua right at sunset. It was a private balcony all to ourselves. It was stunning and we had the MOST GORGEOUS views! It made for a moment we will never forget and it was probably the most stunning restaurant we have ever been to. The restaurant provided us with a customizable menu and wine list and they worked closely within our budget. They had a ton of options for our wedding cake which the design and baking team assisted in making for us. Even if you aren't getting married this place has an amazing happy hour and live music! We attended another night just for fun! The food is out of this world!
From Las Vegas to Maui, we traveled a total of 2,690 miles to get to the perfect destination to begin the rest of our lives. We had a nonstop flight that totaled 5 hours. The majority of our friends and family were coming from Nevada and California. We chose to arrive 3 days before the wedding to get our marriage license in order, meet with our planner and visit our venue and reception venue. Our family and friends all arrived anywhere from 2-3 days before the wedding day. My biggest concern was getting my dress to Hawaii. I bought this garment bag on sale on Black Friday. Luckily I didn't have a huge poofy dress so we fit my dress and my fiance's suit in it and used it as a carry-on on the plane. It also has a ton of little compartments where I put my shoes and jewelry. A little piece of advice - NEVER check in your wedding dress or the groom's suit in case it was to get lost. I chose to carry-on all things for the wedding day I couldn't risk losing: jewelry, shoes, vow books, robes for me and my girls, etc. I shipped my wedding signage and things for the reception in advance so that I didn't have to worry about carrying big items. Our wedding planner offered to have me ship my dress, but I declined because I am very type A and wanted it in my possession where I knew it was safe, but that's always an option.
We thought about doing room blocks, but we didn't have a ton of people only about 15 or so. All of our family stayed at The Westin Maui Resort and it was beautiful! We had a balcony view that overlooked the ocean. This hotel has a few water slides so it is fun for people of all ages and it has a shopping mall - Whaler's Village within walking distance right next door. There is so much to do on the West side of Maui where we stayed! I'll be making a blog post in the near future about our trip to Maui in more detail ;)
Ceremony To Honor Our Loved Ones:
Because we had family that could not attend our ceremony for the ones that have passed on, we still wanted to honor them and that fact that they were there in spirit with us. I informed our officiant how important this was to us. We came up with a ceremony to honor our loved ones that would incorporate everyone who attended. We had two large bags of flower petals and after we said our vows, my fiance and I walked over the ocean, said a prayer and threw our flowers into the ocean in their honor. Our family and friends then came right behind us and did the same. Even if they didn't know the person, it was an opportunity to remember someone they have lost as well. We couldn't miss out on the opportunity to play "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" on the ukulele in the background by Marvin Tevaga. This is something we would not have been able to do had we not been right next to the ocean. Remember, it's your wedding day and you can do your ceremony however you want! This was something super important to us and our officiant was willing to do whatever it took to make it special and memorable.
Bride's Dress: Poipu Gown from Katie May
Bridal Boutique: Swoon Bridal Salon
Bride's Heels: Betsey Johnson
Hair/Makeup: MeiLi Autumn Beauty
Groom's Attire: Linen Navy Suit
Resort: Westin Maui Resort
Rehearsal Dinner Location: Duke's Maui
Wedding Planner / Florals / Design: Maui's Angels
Venue: Ironwoods Beach (AKA: Oneloa Beach)
Photography: Angie Diaz
Videography: Sunlit Films
Officiant: Ernest Pua'a
Music Instrumental: Marvin Tevaga
Reception Venue/Cake: Merriman's Kapalua Restaurant
Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar
Seashell Ring Holder: BHLDN
"Aloha" Signage: OAKY Designs
Sing Our Ukulele Guestbook: The Pumpkin Paper Co
Vow Books: Wild Confetti Workshop
J"ust Maui'd" Cake Topper: Alexis Mattox Design
My ring holder: Mrs Box
Wedding Hangers: Fox Blossom Co
Wedding jewelry: Amy O Bridal
I used this destination guidebook by THE KNOT and highly recommend it to help you plan your perfect destination wedding! It's super helpful and has it's own checklist inside as well :)
I hope this blog post has inspired you or helped you to plan your dream wedding whether it be big or small! Leave any comments or questions below! I'd love to help in anyway! Happy planning!