We have the most amazing flowers here in Maui. God was really showing his most colorful, spectacular and bright side, when he created Hawaiian flowers. After 32 years of seeing them, I am still surprised and delighted at these vivid, diverse and fragrant creations.
As a wedding planner, I speak to brides almost every day, about flowers and am sometimes a bit disappointed about how many brides choose flowers they are used to seeing at weddings back home. I understand the human tendency to favor the familiar. However, choosing a Hawaiian wedding is already a great adventure and departure from the norm, so why not stick with that adventurous spirit?
Of course, a rose or white calla lily bouquet is pretty and adequate. However, why not be daring and opt for a tropical bouquet with astounding protea or tropical orchids? Not only do Hawaiian flowers befit your Hawaiian wedding, they are also practical. They grow here, so they are fresh and less expensive than imported flowers, and hold up better in the heat and sun. So, my advice is to pick Maui flowers for your Maui wedding. I predict, you will be pleased and your friends will be amazed at your wedding photographs filled with tropical colors.
This is a direct plea to wedding guests, and the brides and grooms that invite them: Please don’t have everyone be a photographer (and/or videographer) during, at least, the ceremony portion of your wedding. It hampers the wedding and destroys the photography by the professional photographer you have hired. This situation is getting worse every day, to the point that sometimes every single guest is pointing a camera, even though a professional photographer is present, already doing the job, and doing it better than a non-pro could ever do.
I am not exaggerating. This is a typical scenario we see: “Dino & Desiree” have been working with us for nine months to create a beautiful Maui beach wedding with 20 guests. Finally, the great day arrives. The bride and groom look perfect in their wedding attire, standing in the lovely flower “Circle of Love.” A guitarist strums sweet Hawaiian music. It’s a gorgeous day in Maui. The photographer and videographer are in place. The minister begins the ceremony at the blowing of the conch shell, and all but two guests leap to their feet to take photos! The remaining two are the elderly grandparents – they take photos from their chairs.
This doesn’t look right, no guests, just wannabe photographers, running around, getting in the way of the processional, the aisleway and the professionals that the bride and groom had thoughtfully hired so that the guests could relax and enjoy the wedding. One cannot properly appreciate a wedding through the viewfinder of a camera. After the ceremony, when guests are supposed to be in an orderly receiving line, they are running amok, stumbling over each other, tripping the professional photographer, to capture precious moments on camera, instead of living them. The hired camera people can scarcely get an unobstructed photo of the bride and groom and precious greetings are clumsy and rushed. Then, the pros attempt to photograph group shots, but the guests have their own agenda, trying to arrange their own shots and, again, getting in the way.
Finally, the pro photographers try to lead Dino & Desiree to a secluded part of the beautiful Maui beach cove for some romance beach photography. But, the guests won’t take the hint, and follow, acting like paparazzi, refusing to grant privacy to their bride and groom. Later, in the studio, we view the results, which can be discouraging. So many photos are ruined by people holding cameras against their faces. It looks quite ludicrous. So many of the romance photos feature guest photographers who have leaped into the scene being photographed, even during the ceremony, pointing their cameras, completely unaware that they are in the backgrounds of the photos being taken.
Please, wedding guests, don’t be paparazzi, behave as guests. You can discreetly take some photos before and after the wedding. But, let the pros do their job and ask the bride and groom to send you prints or email images. You will see yourselves looking lovely and relaxed, instead of crouching with a camera in front of your face. The bride and groom will have a beautiful wedding and great professional photographs. If the bride and groom can’t afford professional photographers, assign one or two guests, only, to take photos. You will be glad you did.
We had so many lovely weddings the month of May, a record number for our company. May was especially beautiful this year and I am glad so many adorable couples could witness it and celebrate their wedding amongst the splendor of a profusion of trees, flowers and shrubs in full spring bloom.We began June with a very sweet wedding, Gabriella and Seth, this afternoon, in Kula Gardens and are off now to Carmen and John tie the knot at Aloha Beach.AlohaAyesha Sandra Lee
I am addressing the real problem of bridezillas. For anyone not aware of this phenomena, I will define the term. A “bridezilla,” is a bride, whose behavior is abusive, angry, hysterical, overwrought, offensive, paranoid and delusional, or even violent, in time of planning or during her wedding. In my experience, as a
So, engaged ladies, I give you some reasons, here, to not allow yourselves to indulge in bridezilla-ness.
1) Hinder the success of their own wedding. Their rude, impulsive, aggressive behaviors alienate and confuse wedding planners, dress designers, caterers, site providers, florists, etc. While professionals will try to do their best, anyway, hysterical harassment provokes attacks of post traumatic stress disorder. Do you want your seamstress to be shaking and crying while she snips and pins your wedding dress? Do you want your catering staff to hide in the bathroom when they see you coming?
2) Are ugly. Unfortunately, anger and fear cause sleepless nights, compulsive eating and other conditions, which result in black circles under eyes, puffy skin, blemishes, weight problems, bloating and other unattractive symptoms. Is it worth it? Bridezillas are not attractive.
3) Alienate their own family and friends. You might think they will forgive you and just have to put up with you, but that is not always true. Bridezillas are not cute. They tend to resemble the Seawitch in the “The Little Mermaid” animated movie.
4) Worst of all – Bridezillas turn off grooms. I have seen prolonged, intense bridezilla behavior lead to the groom calling the whole thing off.
So, brides, it’s worth the effort to be nice.
I love cultural diversity (a big part of my appreciation for Hawaii), so I enjoyed the wedding of Iqbal, of Indian descent, and Donian, of Chinese, both now living in the Bay Area. They chose Aloha Beach Bluff for their Maui sunset beach wedding. Iqbal wore crimson red and Donian was in white. They chose Hawaiian music, beautifully played by ukulele and guitar virtuoso Kai Akin and hula by Ayesha Sandra Lee, who also performed the Hawaiian/ Christian ceremony. Vincent Salamander took breath taking pictures of the gorgeous sunset on October 6, 2009.
Teresita and Geraldo were married August 6, 2009, in a beautiful sunset ceremony near Lele beach in Kihei, Maui. They were such a lovely and distinquished looking couple. She wore a gorgeous, traditonal white wedding dress, that glowed in the golden light of the setting sun, as they exchanged their vows. They made me think of a prince and princess in a fairy tale wedding.
Okay, this is the question, ladies: Do you want to wear your wedding dress or do you want it to wear you (out)?
Last week, I saw a clear example of a dress wearing a bride. Tina and Tony (not their real names) planned a Maui beach wedding with a few family members and friends. Overall, it was a beautiful wedding, but there were a few problems.
1) Tina was late to her wedding.
2) She had difficulty posing for the spontaneous, playful beach pictures.
3) She was hot and uncomfortable.
4) She was very late to her reception.
The above problems were all caused by “The Dress,” which was a modified version of what Princess Diana wore to her ill-fated wedding. Diana’s dress worked because her wedding was in a huge church and she had a limo and a zillion attendants.
Tina’s “Dress” did not work, because she had a beach wedding, no limo, and only one overworked attendant. Tina was late because The Dress was hard to get on and then, worse, did not fit in the compact car planned to take her to her wedding. She had to be crammed in with the seat all the way back and the dress stuffed up to the ceiling of the car. The groom informed us that the process of stuffing the bride and her dress into the car took one half hour and three persons. Thus, Tina was late, forcing her guests and wedding staff to wait, uncomfortably, in the bright Maui sun.
The Dress was disastrous in the sand. Her bridesmaid and groom tried to manage the “runaway train,” but it was difficult to do. Sea creatures, shells, seaweed and a small surfboard all ended up netted in that train (small exaggeration – there was only a small piece of surfboard).
Then, there was the exhausting, undignified struggle to get her and The Dress back in the car, to the restaurant, and then back out. Thus, she missed much of her reception. She enjoyed her wedding and reception, but it probably would have been better without the “Tyranny of The Dress.”
Subsequent articles will ad”dress” other dresses, inappropriate for their bride and/or event.
Fourth of July was gorgeous, as usual, on Maui this year. Many couples are very excited on this day, preparing for their sunset beach wedding, followed by gorgeous fireworks exploding in the sky over them, and reflecting off the ocean.Yes, the Fourth of July is a popular day for Maui beach weddings. Some people have commented that they day seems an odd choice for a celebration of marriage, since it is a very worldly kind of holiday.It’s true that Fourth of July festivities often are full of beerdrinking before noon, loud parties and even louder firecrackers, but I believe that the Fourth has a deeper meaning – after all, it is a commemoration of the birth of the United States of America, “…one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” How beautiful is that?Our founding fathers understood that God created us, as free people, and that loving Him back is a gift freely chosen and given. When I perform a Fourth of July wedding, I often explain that celebrating commitment on a day that commemorates freedom could be seen as a paradox – however, commitment is a decision we freely make, to live in the grace of true love. This love sets our hearts and spirits free!
I was in the early planning stages of a destination wedding with an enthusiastic and sweet-tempered bride. It was her long cherished dream to be wed on a beautiful Hawaiian beach on Maui at sunset, with as many of her friends and family, in attendance, as possible. Afterwards, she wanted to have a Hawaiian style reception. She had a lot of good, creative ideas and I was enjoying working with her.
The bride had left a message for me to call her, but when I did so, a man answered the phone. I assumed he was the groom and politely identified myself and asked to speak to the bride. To my shock, he let loose a torrent of abuse that I won’t repeat. He dropped the phone and I could easily hear him yelling and cursing at people in the room. I was very surprised, because she had told me her groom supported and was paying for the Maui wedding and reception.
Finally, she came to the phone and said, “I’m sorry. That was my dad. He doesn’t like the idea of a wedding on Maui. But, don’t worry, everything is fine. He will come around.” A few days later, I was dismayed but not surprised to read her sad email, saying that she was forced to cancel her Hawaii wedding, to please her family.
I wrote her back saying I understood and offered our usual solution to such disappointments: Make the best of the family wedding, then come to Hawaii for a private beach vow renewal, as part of the honeymoon, or even a year later. Many couples do this and are happy to be able to please their family and still enjoy a simple, romantic beach wedding.
Often, couples are coerced into accepting the family plan because of the finances – the parents are paying and expect to be able to call the shots. I think that such power plays tend towards the manipulative, but it’s somewhat understandable. In this case, however, the groom was paying but still the parents forced their will on the couple, through emotional manipulation.
Somehow, it just feels wrong to me, that an adult couple can’t choose to have the wedding they want., Of course, weddings are important for the whole family but the main purpose is for a man and woman to begin THEIR life together as husband and wife, and the beginning of a new family. “Therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 11:24.
For many couples, marriage is the first time the bride and groom act fully as adults, moving out to start a new life of their own. By denying a son or daughter the right to freely choose their own wedding plans, the parents are in effect holding on and controlling when they should be letting go, allowing their grown children to choose their own life. It also sets a dangerous precedent. Will they try to also control where the new couple lives and how they raise their children?
For many people, a wedding is the first and maybe only event in their lives, in which they are able to create their own dream and vision. I feel that denying one’s children that right is cruel and selfish. Didn’t the parents get to choose how their own wedding would be celebrated? If not, maybe they should plan a vow renewal or anniversary party for themselves, the way they want it. (How would they like it, if their children tried to control their parent’s event?)
In conclusion, a wedding is a rite of passage, in which a couple moves from their families to create a new life and a new family. If the couple are very young, it is also a rite of moving into adulthood. It is the job of their families to be supportive and loving but also to let go – let the bride and groom fly with their new wings.
Coming Soon, Part II – What to do When Controlling Families Won’t Let Go.
A wedding is meant to be a celebration of love, but many weddings begin in an atmosphere of anxiety and tension. Something has gone wrong. The limo was late or the pink roses were too orangey or the breeze is scattering the petals all over the sand… something not perfect.
The groom and best man and I are awaiting the processional that will bring the bride to his side. He is smiling at first, but time is passing – no bride arrives. I glance at my watch – seven minutes late, not so bad. I regard the groom. He seems to be in a state of high anxiety. I say, “It’s okay, she will be here soon.” The groom shuffles his feet in the sand. Sweat is running down his face. He looks down and says, “She has been so nervous about this wedding. I can’t wait ‘til it’s over.”
His cellphone rings. He pulls it out of his pocket and looks at it as though it’s a man-eating tiger, about to pounce. “It’s her,” he says. “Answer it,” I say calmly. “Hey, babe…” he says in a squeaky, strained voice, “you comin’ down here? Okay, okay, see ‘ya soon.” He puts away the phone. “She’s coming. Her maid of honor forgot the ‘something borrowed’ garter in her hotel room. They’ll be right here.”
“Great,” I say. “Look at that gorgeous blue sky. “Yeah,” he mutters. “It’s been hard trying to get it all together.” He can’t see the sky. The conch blows. The harp player begins “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The bridal procession comes down the petal path and soon the bride is standing beside her groom. They look at each other, nervously. They try to smile and the ceremony begins. She doesn’t seem to realize it, but she is gorgeous.
After a few minutes, we get to the part where I say, “A marriage has moods and seasons.” They look at each other and one of them begins to laugh, then the other. The ice breaks. They clasp hands. They both realize they have already passed one of the tests of married love. Planning a wedding was stressful, probably much more than it needed to be. But, they made it. They saw each other’s dark side, but they’re saying “yes” to love!