Posted by: simplyelegant1 | July 19, 2010

Your Memorable Maui Wedding

Aloha Gentle Reader,

So, it’s time to plan your dream wedding on Maui… You and your beloved and those others whom you treasure will all be there to celebrate this most special and joyful occasion.

And, let’s be honest, you would love to have everybody talking about it and remembering it for decades as one of the best, if not the best, wedding ever!

So what will people remember most? Will it be your dress? Will it be the venue? Or the food? Or the music? The flowers?

Of course the  overall ambience and the experience as a whole will create the images that memories are made of. But there are usually a few things that stand out and some that will be forgotten. (We’ve all had the chicken breast and frozen carrot culinary experience at a hall. But it doesn’t take a prominent role as one of the highlights in our memories of the event…)

We remember the noteworthy, the things that delight and surprise us.  The things that make us laugh or cry. The things that make us ooh and aah.

Knowing that and putting it to good use is a great trick to have in your arsenal. Most couples don’t  have unlimited funds for their weddings and, when they’re traveling to Maui and staying in hotels or condos, it takes a bite out of the budget. And so prioritizing becomes essential.

Unfortunately you can’t plan exactly what will make people laugh or cry. (A note: Many of my clients are afraid that they will make a gaff and people will laugh. These people are there because they love you. It’s your day. There is nothing to worry about. It’s not like Mel Gibson being caught on tape…)

Are you and your guests foodies? If so you might want to allocate more money to that. Are you all music freaks? How about a band for the reception? Are you coming from someplace cold and snowy to the tropics for the first time? Flowers and their scents can emphasize the lush surroundings. Or perhaps there’s a certain era that tickles the romance in you. Any choice that you make will provide a theme.

Once you’ve decided what aspect of the celebration you want to concentrate on you have a foundation to build around. You can incorporate that into just about everything, from colors to speeches.

Let your photographer know what is important. And tell anybody that’s going to make a speech.

And worry not about cutting corners in other places. Less becomes less conspicuous. It’s like walking into a room where there is a huge painting on the wall. If you like it you won’t notice the lampshades.

This approach can also tweak your creativity. Do some surfing on the web and get some visuals that inspire you. You may easily provide inspiration for another bride in the future!

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit my main website here.

And please also visit my site about a new, very inexpensive, private wedding location  here.

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Posted by: simplyelegant1 | July 7, 2010

Guest List for Your Maui Wedding

Aloha gentle reader,

After cruising wedding and destination wedding forums one question seems to pop up almost everywhere.

And that question is who and how many people should we invite to our wedding on Maui? My clients typically start with an uncertain count. As the date approaches it always changes, sometimes dramatically.

There are generally several concerns. The biggest of which is the budget. Then there’s how far down the relative chain, just first cousins or as far as cousins twice removed. Should single guests be allowed to bring dates? What about the parents’ friends? Etc., etc., etc..

If you’re having your wedding on Maui it makes things a little bit easier. And a little bit harder.

It is usual to have a significantly smaller guest list for a destination wedding. After all, you’re asking people to leave home, fly (far) away, spend money on a hotel and all the other expenses associated with travel. (That’s the easier part…)

Your  guests probably suspect that the guest list has been radically trimmed and that they have made the cut. Reason #1 to accept.

They  have always wanted to come to Maui but plans for this dream vacation have been interrupted by life. (Instead of their trip to paradise the roof needs to be replaced, the refrigerator breaks down… You get it, any one of those thousands of life’s little emergency rears its pesky head.) Your invitation is tantamount to the proverbial excuse on a silver platter.

The point is that even though the guest list is smaller you can expect a higher rate of acceptances. And you run the risk of hurting the people you care about but don’t invite.

A nice way t o dodge this bullet is to have a less expensive party when you return. And you can entertain the masses with photos and videos of your exotic, romantic island ceremony.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit my main website here.

And please also visit my site about a new, very inexpensive, private wedding location  here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | June 13, 2010

Invitations to a Maui Destination Wedding

A destination wedding is an adventure and is full of unknowns. So why do so many couples choose to have their weddings on an island, Maui, so far for friends and family?

There are as many reasons as there are couples.

A destination wedding is often going to involve less people, or so conventional wisdom tells us. This is usually true, but not always. In the research that I’ve done, although the guest list is usually smaller for a Maui wedding than a wedding at home, you will find a higher percentage of acceptances for a destination wedding than one in your hometown.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

Most couples who decide on a destination wedding curtail their guest list and invite only those that they truly want to attend. Even this list can be extensive.

Don’t assume that because travel and expense is involved that many on your list will say nay. Some will. Others may ask you to help them financially so that they can be there for you. (A bit tacky in my opinion, but it happens.)

And then there are those who always wanted to come to Maui but put it on hold because the roof unexpectedly sprung a leak or some other expense hit them at just the wrong time. These are the people that perceive your invitation as the perfect excuse to spend that extra money.

So, how do you invite the people that you really want to be there without hurting feelings or taking their expenses on yourself.

Start early with save the date cards. And tactfully explain that you are unable to subsidize their trip should that come up. You can give them the people to contact to arrange accommodations. (Any wedding coordinator should be able to help you with this.)

And, again tactfully, let them know that an acceptance is not a casual thing. If they accept, you expect them to be there.

Don’t be afraid of calling them if you don’t hear from them in a timely manner.

Once list A is taken care of, go to list B if you want to. Same rules apply. You truly need to know how many guests will be attending.

Destination weddings aren’t like hotel banquet facilities where a few more or less don’t matter. You’ll need an accurate count, especially if you’re having a catered reception at a private venue. It affects not only the food but also the chairs, the napkins, etc., etc…

Maui weddings are magical. (And I graciously assume that all destination weddings are truly special regardless of the location…) Your guests will associate the venue and geographical location with the two of you.

A well done destination wedding is unforgettable for everybody who attends. They will talk about it for decades and compare every other wedding to yours.

And it’s always nice to be the best!

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit my main website here.

And please also visit my site about a new, very inexpensive, private wedding location  here.

Aloha gentle reader,

I can’t count the times that a bride  has said to me that a cousin wants to take the photos or a sister wants to do the flowers or their minister wants to do the ceremony.

Depending on the service I will sometimes say yes. But it’s usually not a good thing.

If your minister wants to perform the ceremony he or she needs to obtain a Hawaiian license or the marriage won’t be legal. One way around this is to have a licensed local minister on site to take care of the paperwork. (Many times he can also perform music at the ceremony.)

But there are a few things that your minister needs to be aware of. Our usual ceremonies here last 15 to 20 minutes and that timing is crucial to everything that follows. (We once had a minister that went on for an hour. The lighting for photographs was gone and everything else was thrown off kilter.) If it’s going to be a longer ceremony and we know it, we can simply start earlier. But let’s not be surprised by that.

As far as photography goes, that’s an extremely important component to most couples. If you ask a guest or a relative to do it, you’re putting a tremendous amount of stress on them. And what happens to your relationship with them later if you aren’t happy with the pictures?

The same goes for flowers. To do good floral arrangements you need a set up complete with tools. You need to know the flower vendors (who will charge you retail so you won’t be saving any money). You need a place to store the flowers so they remain fresh until they’re needed.

So there are a lot of things that can go wrong and whoever is trying to please you may well become so stressed as to be unrecognizable.

And I, personally, find it a little outside the limits to ask a guest to work your wedding. But that’s only me.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit my main website here.

And please also visit my site about a new, very inexpensive, private wedding location here on Maui.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | April 12, 2010

3 Ways to Get Romantic Photos at Your Maui Wedding

Your meeting was romantic. Your courtship was romantic. The proposal was romantic. Now your wedding pictures have to be romantic. But what is the best way to achieve this? Here are three good suggestions to make even the most ordinary photos fabulous.

1) Your choice of a photographer is paramount. He or she doesn’t necessarily have to be the most expensive. In fact, price should be a secondary consideration. Make Do you see the same poses over and over? This may be an indication that the shooter has a predetermined list. Most photographers do have some compositions that they use a lot because the compositions are good and the clients like them. But it shouldn’t have a cookie cutter feel. The photographer should also be sensitive to the uniqueness of each couple and it should be reflected in his work.

When you look at his work do the couples look relaxed? This is very important. A talented photographer is not only a master of the technical details but is also able to create a comfortable atmosphere for his subjects.

Are there a lot of “soft focus” shots? Sometimes this is because that’s what the couple wanted. But other times it’s a photoshop trick to cover less than great shots.

2) Interview the person that will be taking the photographs. If this is not the owner of the studio, insist on speaking with the person that will be there on the day.

When you do this, be very aware of your first impression. Is it a good one? First impressions are the most telling. Talk with him or her. If you feel they are rushing you, beware.

A big part of their job is to put you at ease. If you aren’t at least somewhat relaxed during the shoot the pictures will look stiff and the smiles false. And that’s something you certainly don’t want.

Don’t let them intimidate you. They may know more about cameras and such than you do but it’s your wedding. If you sense any arrogance at all, move on.

3) Remember that you are the focus. Try not to think so much about the camera. Think instead about the love that brought you here and the future that you will be making together. Let the love take over when you’re in front of the camera.

If there is anything about your appearance that you are uncomfortable with, let the photographer know. There are positions and angles that will minimize these features and make you look your best.

Another thing that you can do is to practice posing in front of a mirror. If this makes you feel too silly, have a glass of wine or two first. This is a way that you can help the photographer take shots that truly reflect the two of you as the unique couple that you are.

And, perhaps most importantly, breath. Relax. Smile. Let your joy shine through.

Basically you want to evaluate the photographer in terms of his work and his attitude. And you want to be an active participant in the process.

Peace, sunsets, and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit  my main website here.

And please visit my site that features a new, very inexpensive, private location here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | April 8, 2010

When You’re Bringing Your Own Stuff for Your Maui Wedding

Aloha Gentle Reader,

There are many times when brides want, or need, to bring things from home for their wedding and reception. Examples include unity candles, champagne glasses, cake toppers, favors, place cards, CDs, etc.

This is perfectly fine and I don’t know a wedding planner that has a problem with this. But please remember that her staff and she will be very busy, especially during set up and get the items to her in a timely manner.

If you’re doing place cards, please have the cards organized sequentially so that the staff knows who is supposed to be sitting with who. And have them organized by table. If you can get place cards and favors to your planner a day or two before The Day, it will be a big help.

I had a bride who was doing her own bows for the chairs and overlays for the tables. I visited with her and her mother the day before. I spoke mostly with her mother because the bride was so busy ironing the items she had brought. It was agreed that her mother would get the sashes and overlays to the site at least an hour before the ceremony was scheduled to start.

Well, the limo with the bride, her  mother and all the sashes and overlays arrived 15 minutes prior to the ceremony. The bride was extremely upset that they weren’t in place when she arrived.

It turned out that her mother had mentioned several times during the morning that she needed to deliver things to us but the bride didn’t want her to leave.

Had they called me, I would have gone by to pick the items up. But they didn’t.

We scrambled and managed to get the chairs done by ceremony time and the overlays done by the time the ceremony ended. But it was totally unnecessary stress for all involved and could easily have been avoided.

We’re more than happy to accommodate any personal touches that you would like to add. We only ask that you realize that we need to know about them and have them in a timely manner.

Peace, sunsets, and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit  my main website here.

And please visit my site that features a new, very inexpensive, private location here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | April 6, 2010

Top 10 Reasons for a Maui Wedding


There are many reasons to choose Maui for your wedding and here are ten good ones!

1) Maui is incredibly romantic. The breezes bear the subtle scent of tropical flowers while the palm trees sway above you.

2) You have a complete array of options. A simple ceremony on the beach for two or a private estate that can accommodate hundreds. And the prices vary as much as the venues do.

3) Wedding professionals. We have incredible talent here at reasonable prices! If you want a harpist, no problem. A bagpiper? Just a phone call away.

4) Activities. If you want to relax by the pool with a mai tai, fine. But you can also snorkel, scuba, horse back ride, hike through the dormant volcano, visit historical sites or learn to surf. There is something for everyone.

5) Accommodations. If you want a 5 star hotel, take your pick. If you want an economic condominium, we have those too. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to stay here.

6) We have some of the best beaches in the world. Some are suited for families and others for surfers and wind surfers.

7) Restaurants. Again, they range the gamut from super pricey to cheap. But a substandard restaurant won’t survive here. There’s just too much competition.

8) If you’re a shopper, Maui is for you! We have everything from high end designer boutiques to crafts fairs.

9) Aloha! Aloha isn’t just a word, it’s a way of life and you will feel its warmth while you’re here.

10) It’s Maui! There’s no place else in the world where you can get Maui’d!

Yes, Maui is magical. If you’re in tune with its magic you’ll feel it the first time you step off the plane!

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui!

Ellen

Please be sure to check out my main website here.

And our fabulous, new, inexpensive, private location here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | April 5, 2010

When You’ve Chosen Your Own Photographer For Your Maui Wedding

Aloha Gentle Reader,

Your Maui wedding planner will have suggestions about photographers. The company may have exclusive relationships with one or more photographers and not allow you to choose for yourself.

My company doesn’t have any exclusive relationships however I do have my “A Team”. This is based on years of working together and the confidence that has been built up over those years. I know they will be totally professional, deliver high quality images and deliver on time. I also know that they are team players.

However, if a client has her heart set on another photographer I will usually go along with her. (Unless I’ve had negative experiences with the person in the past.)

Here are a couple of examples of such experiences.

One photographer, who is very expensive and very talented, worked a wedding with us. It was after the ceremony and group shots, so he was just working with the bride and groom. While this was going on the guests were enjoying drinks and appetizers.

It was getting close to the planned time for dinner service and the caterer asked  me when she could dress the salads. I told her I’d ask the photographer how much longer he was going to be.

This I did and he told me that he would be about 15 more minutes. I relayed the message to the caterer and she planned to dress the salads in 30 minutes to allow everybody time to get seated and ready for dinner service.

Well, the photographer took another hour without notifying anybody. The caterer was very upset because the salads had wilted.

When he finally delivered the newlywed couple I approached him privately and told him the caterer was upset about the salads and that this was why I had asked him earlier how long he was going to need.

His response? “Salad, shmalad!”

I had to remind him that his art was photography and that the caterers art was food and that a little mutual respect was in order.

One example of a person that doesn’t play well with others.

On another occasion the couple had hired a photographer to stay until the party ended.

I was initially put off by his appearance. His clothes were wrinkled and his shirt was hanging out. (Professional appearance is important.)

Dinner time rolled around and the guests were going through the buffet. He asked me if he could go through the buffet as well. I told him that there would be plenty of food later and that he could eat in the kitchen.

He didn’t like my answer and intimidated one of my staff, who was upset almost to the point of tears, and she reluctantly said that she thought it might be okay.

He went through the buffet line and, since there were no seats for him under the tent, stood in the middle stuffing his face. He could have taken his plate outside of the middle of the party and eaten unobtrusively.

He upset my team and showed an unprofessional, selfish demeanor which embarrassed everybody.

So, things can and do go wrong when you choose vendors on your own.

There have been one or two occasions when there was no problem or grounds for complaint, but you’re rolling the dice.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit my main website here

And please visit my post about a new, very inexpensive, private location here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | April 3, 2010

When You’ve Decided on a Caterer Yourself for Your Maui Wedding

Aloha Gentle Reader,

Sometimes brides want to handle some aspects of their Maui Wedding themselves. Many companies don’t allow this at all. I do allow it although, due to past experiences, reluctantly.

I will explain why.

In one  case the client wanted to have a company that I hadn’t worked with do the catering for her wedding. She and her groom had their hearts set on this firm. So I went ahead and made the arrangements.

I called the caterer in question a month before the wedding to make sure that he had it on the books. (I had hired him several months earlier.) He said, “Oh, yeah. The breakfast on the 16th.” I replied, “No, the dinner on the 24th.”

He said that he had nothing on file for the wedding. And he informed me that the cost would be $145 per person.

All of this set up warning bells for me. I contacted the caterer I usually work with and he said that he could do the menu for $85. But the bride and groom said no after I expressed  my concerns and offered them the option.

The Day arrived. The caterer was late. His servers had extremely negative attitudes, one of my pet peeves. A bad attitude spreads faster than cholera.

The quality of the food was poor. And, on top of that, after charging $145 per, the coffee was served in paper cups. Unacceptable.

When I approached the bride to ask how she was enjoying the meal, she said,  “Please don’t say ‘I told you so.'”

I didn’t.  But it was an unhappy situation for all involved.

Don’t get me wrong. Besides the vendors I usually work  with, there are many that are good.  And there are many that aren’t.

I give my clients  my opinions but, in the end, the decision is theirs.

The moral? Listen to you wedding planners advice.  There are usually good reasons for it.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit my website here.

Also please visit information on a new location here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | March 5, 2010

Speech Time at Weddings

Aloha Gentle Reader,

In the many Maui weddings that I’ve done many, if not most, have had speeches.

I’m not against speeches. They  can be heart warming and humorous. They can also be longwinded and dull.

At one of my weddings the speeches started with the best man, the maid of honor and then the floor (or mike) was open to anybody who wanted  to say “a few words”. Many people grabbed the mike, but few of them limited their speech to “a few words”. (Everybody had a few cocktails in them by then.)

By the time the speeches were done, so was most of the evening.

There were a couple of problems that I saw with this way of doing things. The first is that while somebody is “holding forth” every polite person stops talking and listens. Fine if you’re in a lecture hall, not so good at a reception. The second is that the band, which cost the bride and groom a pretty penny, was on indefinite hold.

If it had been up to me, I would have limited the speeches to a few people and then ended them with the bride and groom thanking their guests for going to all the trouble of attending a destination wedding. I would even have gone so far as to ask those giving speeches to limit the time to no more than 5 minutes.

Speeches can be great if they aren’t over done.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,

Ellen

Please visit my main website here.

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