The bar tab is always something to consider. With a big formal wedding, many couples choose to have an “open bar” where everyone can drink all night and the couple picks up the tab. This is wonderful and very gracious but also very expensive on top of everything else. If you are having a bar service, see if you can buy your own alcohol. They may charge you a “corkage” fee which is a fee to serve your alcohol (they have to make money too) but it will be less expensive. Some of the venues will also do that as well and just charge you a fee for each bottle opened. Do check that out! Costco is here on the island and you can get some great deals there to purchase your own alcohol. Think about having just wine and beer which would also cut your expense down. When having a reception in the park, Maui Aloha Weddings can get you ice tubs so you can buy the wine and beer, keep it chilled and have people serve themselves. If you feel that this needs to be controlled as you know your guests better then we do, have a good friend as your designated bartender. If you feel that you have to supply some alcohol but are on a budget, give them two tickets for free drinks. Once they use them up, they are on their own to purchase their drinks. However, this can not be done in the park as drinks cannot be sold there. You can also have a bar service where people do buy their own drinks all night. Most people understand the expense that you have and do not mind this at all. You will have to pay for the bartender’s services.
While we are on alcohol – skip the champagne toast and let everyone raise their glasses to whatever they are drinking. Believe it or not, even with a house champagne, you will be cutting your expenses by $5 and up per person just to do that.
Most ceremonies in Maui are fairly short and end before 30 minutes so it is easy for your guests to stand. We cannot have chairs on the beaches as the state of Hawaii prohibits that. However for the elderly or people who need to sit, have your coordinator rent a few beach chairs. This is definitely permitted but not to have one for everyone as that is breaking the law. If you are having a reception at a venue, sometimes they will include chairs for you. If not, check the price that the venue is charging you with the price that your coordinator can get from their supplier. It is usually a big difference. If you are having a ceremony in one place and a reception at the same venue but a different location, see if you can use the same chairs if you are renting them. It is not necessary to rent them twice. Have your ushers help move them to the other location. I am sure they won’t mind helping you out.
Engagement announcements and wedding/vow renewal invitations are also expensive. Save your money for professional invitations and use your imagination for the rest of the invitations you may want to send out. With today’s social media available, you can come up with some wonderful email invites that will even do all of the calculating of who is coming and who cannot attend. If you want to send out engagement party or rehearsal dinner invites, design your own, print them out and send them. You can become very creative with these! When ordering your wedding invitations, remember that black ink is typically less expensive then colored inks and classic white or ivory paper is less expensive then colored paper invites. Have a friend who has nice handwriting address the envelopes (friends are always looking to help out) and forgo the cost of calligraphy. Saving the money is the key and then you will have the additional to splurge on your wedding invitations.
Entertainment and Dancing is big in the islands just as it is in the mainland. What do you do with your guests after they eat? If you are okay with a shorter reception/dinner then it is perfect to have the guests leave after dessert. However, if you are like many couples, YOU still want to party. On the main land and in Maui, it is always less expensive to use a DJ then a live band. To save money, have the DJ or band, stop at an appointed hour so you don’t have overtime charges. Use an MPG3 Player for your dinner music and only hire the DJ or band when it’s time to party after the dinner. You can also hire a single musician to play during dinner if you would rather do that then have recorded music. This would also be less expensive. On Maui, most music has to stop by 10 PM as it is a state law. Your coordinator will know the places that will allow music after the 10 PM curfew.
In Maui, many couples will go to a luau for their celebration dinner. This is not a inexpensive idea as you will be paying $85 and up for a group ticket per person. However, when you consider the cost of the dinner, alcohol and entertainment – you are probably paying close to the same amount. Going to the luau allows other people take care of dinner, drinks and entertainment and you get to enjoy yourself too! Ask your wedding coordinator for assistance with the tickets. They can probably get you a better deal then if you try to do it yourself as they work with the luau staff often. Another idea is to go on a sunset dinner cruise either after the ceremony or have the ceremony on the deck. Dinner will be served and on some boats there is dancing below deck afterwards. Tickets would be about $60 and up per ticket.