Posted by: simplyelegant1 | February 13, 2010

Long Time, No Wedding Blog

Aloha Gentle Reader,

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a Maui wedding blog. Sometimes life and weddings get in the way.

I’ll skip the life part other than saying that I broke my shoulder which certainly affects blogging adversely. The good news is that I’m a medical miracle and my shoulder is mending far better than it should without surgery.

In the interim I’ve done two weddings which were both fabulous!

The one thing that they had in common was that they both had hula dancers.

I usually am a bit leery about having that type of entertainment at a wedding because it can limit the social interaction between guests. Or so I thought. Happily, I was wrong.

The dancers invited the guests to come up and give it a try. I cringed. Again, happily, I was wrong.

The dancers were so warm and open and the guests were so warm and open that it worked beautifully.

I’ve been to my share of luaus and have seen this embarrass everybody.(Except the attendees that were too inebriated to be embarrassed by anything.)

What I learned is that when people are at a private location with only friends and family in attendance, it’s a whole different thing.

Virtually every able bodied person got up there and gave it a try. And loved it. Why? Because they were totally comfortable with  the atmosphere. And they had a great time.

Another plus seemed to be that it limited the “speech time”. I’ll go into that in a different blog, But it was such fun for everybody to try and hula. Not surprisingly some were, shall we say, less serious about doing the dance correctly. But it was great fun!

I  highly recommend incorporating hula dancers and their musicians into your wedding, especially if you are at a private location where they laugh with you. As opposed to….

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,


Please visit my main website here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | December 30, 2009

What to Wear to a Destination Wedding?

If you’re getting married in your hometown what to wear is usually not a huge mystery. The biggest difficulty is finding that perfect dress. And the groom will often wear a traditional tuxedo. However, a destination in a tropical climate like Maui can complicate matters.

When I say the tropics, I’m not necessarily talking about the equator.

Maui and most destinations are not on the equator. It may seem that we don’t have seasons, but we do.

Even though I live here, I have light sweaters and jackets for the wintertime.

So, first find out what the temperature is likely to be. On Maui it can be completely comfortable until the sun sets. And then it can be chilly. If your wedding is in the winter months, bring a shawl or a light sweater for after dark.

And don’t forget that locations below the equator have opposite seasons. It may seem obvious, but July below the equator is winter.

Also, on Maui, there are different climactic zones. It may be warm in one place and chilly in another.

There is far more flexibility here than in most mainland ceremonies. Some brides want the traditional white wedding dress while some make their vows in bikinis. It’s completely up to you. Let your imagination run wild.

One thing that I would not suggest is a long veil. Most weddings here are held outside and the wind can play havoc with a long veil. If you really, really want a veil, bring a couple of clothespins to anchor the veil in place if needed.

For guests there’s the question of what the bride wants… Never wear black or white. And try to stay away from her colors. I know…. Easier said than done.

Does she want formal or casual? (By the way, casual does not usually mean cut off jeans and flip flops.) Honor her by dressing appropriately. But don’t forget the weather…

And to the brides. If you truly love your groom, don’t ask him to wear a black wool tuxedo in the tropics. It’s torture for the poor man. A linen suit will look great and make him much more comfortable.

The attire depends on the location and the time of year. If you don’t take both into consideration everybody may be less than comfortable.

You won’t need furs for your Maui wedding, but you may want to bring  a   light sweater or shawl.

After all, you don’t want your teeth chattering during the “I do”s.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,


Please visit my main website here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | December 19, 2009

When Should You Start Planning Your Destination Wedding?

When should you start planning your destination wedding? The answer to this depends on a number of things.

As a Maui wedding planner my speciality is weddings and receptions at private sites. This entails a lot of people. There’s the rental company, the officiant, the florist, the photographers, the caterer, the DJ, etc. In order to hire the best and most reasonable talent, the earlier the better. And, since the number of private locations is limited, the availability must also be considered. Most of my clients start planning at least six months prior and many begin a year or even two before the date of the wedding.

If you’re having a smaller beach wedding you don’t need as much time.

The most popular dates are Valentines Day and the month and date that correspond to the year, for example October 10, 2010. These dates usually get completely booked at least a year ahead of time. I don’t usually book anything on Valentines Day because it’s almost impossible to find vendors.

One thing you don’t have to worry about is weekends. When people have a Maui wedding, they’re on vacation. So Saturdays aren’t significantly busier than any other day of the week. Or more expensive. So don’t be surprised when you don’t get less expensive prices for a wedding on Wednesday.

Be sure to give yourself enough time to get a marriage license. There’s no waiting period on Maui and no blood tests are necessary but most licensing agents don’t work on weekends.

So, the answer to the question is, it depends.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,


Please visit my main website here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | December 8, 2009

Why You Really Need a Maui Wedding Planner

Aloha Dear Reader,

There are several reasons why you need a Maui wedding planner. Or a planner for any destination wedding for that matter.

Let’s begin by defining a Maui wedding planner’s role in your destination wedding. She (or he) will  be the means by which your dreams become reality. Your wedding consultant will be able (we hope) to contribute valuable tips and suggestion based on extensive experience. She knows what works and what doesn’t.

Your destination wedding consultant has important relationships with local vendors allowing him, or her, to get better prices than you could get on your own. (I sometimes receive up to a 60% discount on retail prices.)

So let’s ask some questions. We’ll start with the basics.

  1. Do you have an intimate knowledge of the place you have chosen for your destination wedding? If you’re planning a Maui wedding, for example, do you know what the weather is like on different parts of the island during different times of year? (You’ll want to know that to choose a location.)
  2. Do you know how long it takes to travel from your hotel or condo to your Maui wedding location? This one’s kind of important too.
  3. Do you know the vendors well? Can you distinguish between them based on anything other than price? (More expensive isn’t always better. And cheaper isn’t always a bargain.)
  4. Are you certain that you won’t forget any of the pieces of what can be an intricate  puzzle? (I’ve seen DYI weddings where the bride ordered tables and assumed they’d come with tablecloths. Wrong.)
  5. What will you do if something goes wrong? (This could be anything from running out of ice to somebody getting injured.)
  6. Do you know all the rules for the specific wedding location that you’ve chosen? If not, you could innocently break one and face a financial penalty.
  7. Do you really want to work your own wedding? Any entertaining entails work and a wedding requires significantly more work than more casual events. Do you want to be worrying about where your photographer is while you’re getting your makeup done?

One path many DYI brides take is using family or friends in place of professionals for many of the services. Apart from the obvious faux pas of asking your guests to work for their dinner, you’re putting a lot of pressure on them to perform flawlessly. What if you don’t like Cousin Danny’s photos? What if people become ill from Aunt Sue’s casserole?

The answers… They’ll feel terrible and you’ll be responsible.

Another path I’ve seen over and over is the “user”. This is where a DIY bride consults a professional planner in the guise of being a potential client when, in reality, she is just trying to get information.

If you’re considering this, be advised. It’s not only unethical, it usually doesn’t work. The vendors won’t respond the same way to you as they do  to her and you probably won’t end up saving any money. Also, the Maui wedding community is pretty closely knit and word will get around. You may find that within a few weeks nobody is willing to talk to you, let alone help you.

Your Maui wedding consultant can help make your wedding day the smooth flowing, stressless dream that you want. You can bask in the attention and love that flow around you knowing that there is somebody in the background making certain that all the loose end are securely tied.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,


Please visit my website here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | November 17, 2009

Medieval and Renaissance Weddings

(Authors note: there is very little difference between the customs of the Middle Ages and Renaissance weddings. We know very little about the common folk and their customs but the wealthier traditions carried through for the most part.)

This was it. As the morning sun streams faintly through the leaded windows of my chambers, my maid awakened me. Rather abruptly I thought. But she has been with is for so long, I couldn’t get angry with her.

“It’s time m’lady,” she said.

She meant, of course, time for me to get ready for my marriage to Sir Richard.

The customary banns had been posted on the church and, had there been any objections to  our union, nobody would have dared voice them.

This had all been arranged when I was only a child and, like a child, I didn’t take it too seriously. The future was a long way away.

My father, on the other hand, was almost giddy with delight. It was, in his opinion, a good match. The monetary and land rights were just what he wanted. That and an alliance between our families.

I have only met my betrothed once. He is, of course much older than I. He’s not pleasing to the eye but seemed to have a good nature. I count myself lucky in that respect.

I spent weeks beforehand bleaching my hair in the sun. And I naturally had my eyebrows plucked to make my hairline higher. Today I would wear my hair down and have blossoms woven into my tresses. (I was excited about that. This would be my only chance to where my hair that way. And it is frightfully romantic looking.)

I bathed in warm waters scented with exotic flower petals and herbs.

Then it was time for the cosmetics. As anybody knows, they should cover the whole face. I can’t imagine and don’t want to imagine the lack of make up in the old days. The brides must have looked a fright!

My gown was an exquisite shade of blue silk, representing purity, and it also happened to match my eyes exactly! All of my attendants wore the same color of blue to confuse any evil spirits that may have been lurking about.

My jewelry consisted of red jasper for love, emeralds for Christian hope and sapphires indicating that we were heaven bound.

After all had been completed I must admit, not out of vanity but out of honesty that I was a vision that would dazzle all eyes.

Some marriages take place on the steps of the church but ours was in the castle and the priest blessed us later.

And what a wedding celebration we had!

We feasted on roast quail, turtle doves, partridge, goose, venison, roasted peacock along with cheese, nuts, fruits and tarts. The mead and the ale flowed freely.

As we feasted we were regaled by minstrels, jugglers and all other kinds of entertainment.

After everybody  had eaten their fill, the excess was given to the beggars who waited outside the gates with anticipation.

All of the guests brought cakes which were piled. If we were able to jump over them without toppling them, good luck and prosperity awaited us. We were and it does.

And then  we danced. How we danced! Until it was time to go to the bedchamber.

The priest blessed the bed and we were left to truly become husband  and wife.

The next morning my husband presented me with many fine gifts to show his appreciation of our connubial relations.

The honeymoon was traditional. We drank mead (a honey based wine) for a month in hopes of producing a male heir. (Thus the term honeymoon.)

I am pleased to tell you that I am happily married. My husband is considerate and thrilled with the fact that I have just birthed our first child.

A healthy boy infant! Life is good and smiles abound.


By Ellen Chatillon

A Simply Elegant Wedding Maui

Please visit my main website here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | November 2, 2009

Ancient Roman Weddings

ancient Roman Wedding betrothal.jg

Greetings friend,

My name is Cassia which means empty and vain and I’m sorry to admit that it fits. My husband is called Avitus which means ancestral.

His name puts a lot of pressure on me to produce children. I make many sacrifices to Diana, the goddess of fertility.

Our marriages here in Rome, unlike many lesser civilizations are monogamous. There is almost no divorce here. The husband can initiate divorce on the grounds of infidelity or infertility, but it rarely happens.

There are several ways to become betrothed.

For non-citizens, they lived together and if they were happy, they needed to make a formal announcement. This was very simple. They just held hands in public. They would have a ceremony but no contract.

In my case, my father decided on my fiance and a formal betrothal was announced. Avitus gave me a ring symbolizing that he trusted me with his worldly belongings. (This may well be the precursor to the modern engagement ring.)

The dowry was arranged and the day of the wedding was set. Choosing the day was complicated. February and May were taboo. June was a good month (thus the June Bride) but it was still necessary to consult the oracles for the specific date.

I must admit that I lived up to my name. I was not the most  patient or serene of brides to be. If it were to be done, I wanted  it done now.

Finally the day arrived! And all my impatience turned to nervousness.

My mother arrived to bath and anoint me. Then she dressed me in the traditional white robes which would never be used again.

I argued and fussed as she did my hair. And then she put on my off white veil. Almost done.

The most important part of my costume was a sash tied with the knot of Hercules. Only my husband would be allowed to remove it.

The wedding ceremony itself was relatively painless.

We had the 10 witnesses necessary and held hands in front of the priest where we chanted out vows. We then sat on stools facing the altar and made offerings to Jupiter. We offered a pig and a cake, which we ate afterwards.

We had the wedding breakfast, paid for by Avitus, but held at my father’s house. And we received many beautiful gifts which made me very happy.

Then it was time for the procession to my husband’s house. Before this could begin we had to re-enact a version of abduction of the Sabines where my mother pretended to try to save me but Avitus “abducted” me with a mock show of force.

abduction2Then I was escorted to my new home.

The threshold was adorned with garlands and the torches were thrown away. I  made an oath to my marriage and my husband. It was also my duty to rub the threshold with oil and fat and wrap it with wool, a symbol of my becoming a domestic wife.

I was carried over the threshold to honor Venus, the goddess of virgins.

Avitus and I both touched fire and water to ensure that our unity will last through eternity. (Poor Avitus, I only hope he can endure me that long…)

I was presented with a key and then the festivities began in earnest. Feasting, music, dancing… It was a marvelous celebration!

Before we entered the bedchamber, I lit a special torch, blew it out and tossed it to the crowd who scrambled to get it. For good luck.

The next morning I emerged a matron. No less vain, but a matron.

By Ellen Chatillon

A Simply Elegant Wedding

Please visit my main website here. And my Squidoo lens here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | November 1, 2009

An Ancient Greek Wedding


“Agethe, Agethe” I could hear my mother calling me.

It was my wedding day.

I was 14, which assured my virginity. My betrothed was 30, hopefully haven outgrown the youthful wandering passions that afflict men.

We had been promised to each other when I was 5. That’s normal and the arrangements were made by my father. He might have based his decision on money or on the alliance of our two houses. But I had no special doubts or fears because my husband to be’s name is Chariton which means grace and kindness.

We had the nuptial bath, with water brought in by a special child. His presence was said to insure purity and fertility.

As I sat in the bath, the water gently running over my body, I thought of my new life as a wife. I would not be able to mingle with men and so could not attend most public functions.

I would, of course, be able to leave the house if I were with other women of similar social standing.

My main tasks would be to manage the house, take care of the children and bath and anoint my husband, Chariton. If I chose to I could also weave to provide our family with clothing  and even add to the household income.

The bath finished and myself anointed, my mother and other ladies assisted in dressing me.

The most important of the garments was the veil. It would remain in place until  I belonged to Chariton and not my father.

We also prepared the banquet and sacrifices.

And then came the wedding feast, one of the few events women were permitted to attend. We had all kinds of delicacies, my favorite was honey and sesame seeds.

There were professional singers and a toast before each song. The songs were special, encouraging our future, our relationship, the births of our children and even comparing us to gods.

But the most important part took place at the end of the feasting.

I was unveiled and this symbolized that I was no longer part of my father’s family but was now united with Chariton.

A boy, wearing a crown of nuts and thorns, took bread from a basket that was shaped like a cradle and gave it to the guests saying,”I fled worse and found better.”

There was a traditional drama where I show distress at leaving my family but Chariton grabs my wrist and Father says that he gives me up for childbearing. I became a symbolic captive of my groom.

Then began the procession from my father’s house to my new home. Sometimes the whole town would take part. The women carried baskets filled with all kinds of things, from flowers to sandals, which they threw at us in the spirit of a victory celebration.

I was welcomed by Chariton’s mother with torches when we arrived. And there was a familiar series of rites for prosperity and fertility. I ate a quince and burned a chariot wheel signifying that I could never go back to my family home.

Outside  the bedchamber there were statues of gods to bring us harmony, pleasure and fertility. We entered with some of the guests  who  stayed a little bit and were then shooed out.

My friends sang outside the door to comfort me as I became a woman. They also beat on the door to frighten away any evil spirits.

The final day of the festivities was relatively quiet. We were waken by songs sung by maidens who had stayed awake all night to sing and guard us as we slept.

And I was presented with many lovely gifts.

Now I tend to my house, my children and my beloved Chariton.

By Ellen Chatillon

A Simply Elegant Wedding   Please visit my main website here.


Posted by: simplyelegant1 | October 17, 2009

Ancient Egyptian Marriages

Ancient Egyptian Marriage Ceremonies and Customs

Egyptian Bride and Groom


Bride: Husn (name means beauty)

Groom: Bes (name means protector)

Brides Father: Ammon (name means the hidden one)

Bride’s Mother: Tawaret (name means she who is great)

I’m so excited, we will be entertaining Husn this evening. It’s not the first time, we entertain him often. But each time, I grow more excited.

My family chose him, but he is perfect for me. He stands tall and powerful and yet I detect a gentleness in his soul.

I’m taking special care with my appearance today. I’ve decided on the ground lapis lazuli for my eyes. I could have chosen kohl or the ground green malachite, but the lapis sets my eyes off better and I believe it is the best for warding off the evil eye.

But first I must anoint my body. Which to choose? Rose, lily, cinnamon, orange, myrrh or sandalwood. They’re all so expensive because we have to import them from far way lands. I think I will choose the orange because it is light and blends in with the other scents.

I dress, with the help of my maid, in a simply white garment. It is transparent because that is the custom. Then we must choose a sash and a collar. I choose a blue sash and a blue and gold collar.

I am oiled and scented. Now I apply my eye paint. I am pleased with the result. A little red ochre for rouge and I am ready.

I hope to receive the ring tonight. The one that promises us to each other.

I leave my room, with my heart pounding, and am met with joyous music and an abundance of food. Meats, not pork of course because it causes illness, fruits but few vegetables. They are not plenty in our dry land.

I am seated next to Bes, my intended. His eyes glow and I’m sure mine too.

He presents me with an exquisite ring which, of course, all the women and my father, Ammon, wish to see.

The ring is deemed worthy and is seems that I and my dear Bes are to become husband and wife.

He has yet to come up with the other precious gifts that I am entitled to. But he is not a poor man and I have confidence that they will come.

I retire and in bed reflect on my luck. Almost all marriages are happy here and there are laws about divorce.

Among them are childless marriages but most couples adopt if they cannot have their own. We are a monogamous culture, and that is another cause for divorce, adultery. But the social stigma against that is so great that it almost never happens.

I have received the gifts from Bes and we are to be married. It is good. It’s also good for my younger sisters because if I were not wed, they could not.

I shall become an honored woman. I will rule the house. I will bear children and care for them. All the world will see me as a paragon.

It is the night before the wedding. And the men and women celebrate separately.

Bes will spend his time dancing and probably drinking until the early morning.

I will be with my female friends and we will do henna symbols and dance and laugh until we can no more.

The marriage ceremony itself is not complicated. We make out sacred vows with the roles that we commit to.. Green wheat is tossed into the air to promote fertility.

The feasting and dancing commences.

This man and I will be happy!

Ancient Egyptian marriages were almost always happy.

And women were equal to men. (Except in writing because they weren’t taught how.)

Please visit my main website here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | October 16, 2009

Ancient and not so Ancient Weddings

girl-studying-and-writing1Aloha Dear Reader,

I’ve decided to do some research and find out more about weddings and customs from the distant past to the present.

I’ll try to post as much as I can but it does take some time to gather the information.

The posts will be in story form.

I certainly hope that you enjoy them as much as I do writing them.

Peace, sunsets and aloha from Maui,


Please be sure to visit my main website here.

Posted by: simplyelegant1 | October 15, 2009

Diary of a Wedding Planner, Part 5


My main website is here.

It is about a week before your wedding.

I have already confirmed and reconfirmed the vendors. I will do it again at least twice before the date. This is not because I don’t trust them, it’s more of a bonding thing. And making sure that any details have slipped beneath the cracks. We’re all on the same page.

And that page is your page.


My staff and all vendors will be there 2 to 3 hours before the wedding. (All rented items will already be there.)

This  is when we set up the ceremony location, the lights and centerpieces, name cards and anything else that needs to be done.

This is really where your coordinator is vital. She knows the location and any rules they have, she knows the vendors, she is the one that has all the information to create your dream. And, most importantly, she knows what that dream is.

In general terms, she is the general contractor. You have told her what you want and it’s up to her to make it happen.

Everybody is there to make it perfect.

And we will.

Peace, sunsets  and aloha from Maui,


Please take the time t o visit my main website here.gazLawn-1
Read More…

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »