The best place to start planning your Maui destination wedding is to decide if you would like a beach wedding or are you more interested in a venue wedding. Beach weddings in Maui are the most popular and it just costs $20 for a permit which your coordinator can secure for you. All beaches in Hawaii are public and in Maui all but two are allowed to have ceremonies. Two beaches are under protection by the state and are not allowed to have ceremonies on them.
We have many wonderful venues where you can have your ceremony and/or reception. Some are overlooking the ocean, on golf courses, in gardens and at private estates rented out for weddings. The venues will have site fees ranging from $350 and up depending on which venue you choose.
It doesn’t take very long to plan a destination wedding. In fact, it probably takes much less time than planning your wedding at home. Most of the planning is done on line and can be done within six weeks’ time but we have been known to plan one within 48 hours too! However, if you are planning on having many guests attend, it is good to start planning around one year in advance to give the guests time to plan their trip as well. This will also be a good time to work with a travel agent to help you book blocks of rooms which will save your guests time and money from doing it themselves. Maui Aloha Weddings has a wonderful travel agent that will do this for you. This does not cost extra as many think. A travel agent receives their commissions from the venues, hotels, travel that they book. Take advantage of a great service.
Although wedding invitations usually go out 6 weeks in advance, for a destination wedding it would be better to send them three months in advance unless you have sent out Save the Date notices. Your RSVPs do not have to be so early which will give your guests a chance to see if they can attend. Most event planners only need to know the final count within the week before the wedding. Asking for RSVPs a few weeks before will give everyone enough time to plan and finalize their arrangements. Save the Date notes usually aren’t sent when you are having a wedding at home unless it is over a holiday. With a destination wedding, they take on more importance allowing everyone to know when the wedding will take place and where. These notes should go out about one year in advance.
Destination guest lists are usually going to be much smaller than a wedding you would plan at home. You may invite as many people as you wish but fewer will attend since it’s a destination wedding. Always start with your close family and friends. They may discuss dates with you as well so that you will have the people you really want to attend. Don’t feel bad when many guests cannot attend as the travel expense will be hard on many people. It’s actually one reason why so many choose to have a destination wedding so they can have the small, intimate wedding that they really want to have without hurting people’s feelings.
Many couples decide to have a second reception or party when they return home so that those who could not attend have the chance to celebrate with them. If you can do this, it’s a wonderful option as the wedding is over and you have the chance to celebrate with friends and family.
Rehearsal dinners are not usually done for destination weddings. The minister/officiant will discuss what will happen just before the wedding with both the bride and groom. Your coordinator can tell you what will take place in the ceremony well in advance as well. Many couples do plan some group activities for their wedding guests which do not have to be paid by the bride and groom. These are suggested activities that you can plan ahead of coming to Maui so that people can say they want to join in and will know the cost of the activity. At Maui Aloha Weddings, we have someone who can help with planning these activities for your guests which make it much easier on you. Many of your guests are using this time as their vacation and will probably enjoy the beautiful Maui beaches so don’t try to plan too many activities letting them have down time too. One way to show your gratitude outside of the wedding reception is to have a welcome cocktail party where you can keep the cost down or to host a farewell breakfast. These can be done informally at your hotel or even in a park. Most hotels/condos have areas to host such an event. Your wedding coordinator will also be able to suggest places for you.
When we attend Bridal Fairs the number one thing couple will say to us is that they cannot afford a destination wedding. The truth is, most destination weddings are more reasonable than weddings you may plan at home. Also, don’t forget that a destination wedding is a wedding and honeymoon combined. Most of your expenses are in the venue and food. Since you will probably have fewer guests at your wedding and you can use smaller venues, these expenses are way down. Most times you can have a dinner set up in a restaurant without even paying venue fees. A destination wedding alleviates many of the costs such as centerpieces for many tables, catering, rentals of equipment – tables, chairs, etc. All of the many extras you need for your wedding at home, is not necessarily needed for your wedding on an island.
If you have any questions about destination weddings that we can help you with, please feel free to call us at Maui Aloha Weddings (808)344-8805. We will help you and you do not have to sign up for our services! We are happy to assist all couples contemplating destination weddings in Maui or other wonderful destinations.