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Shena moved to Maui in 1990 and has worked in the travel industry for most of that time. She's currently an on-site wedding co-ordinator where she oversees the location, ministerial management, photography, videography, catering, music, flowers and a million more details to make sure that people more

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Article by Taj Barnhart

Tying the knot island-style? Borrow these practical tips from another Maui bride!

Maui Family Vacations

Message in A Bottle

Dance the wedding hula from the get-go. Integrate your stationary (save-the-date, invitation, travel information, website, RSVP card, wedding program, thank you note) with a Hawaiian look. Roll your announcement into a postal-approved bottle complete with sand, shells and a cocktail umbrella; insert into luggage tags; enclose vintage travel postcards; create imitation boarding passes or select a tropical design (palm tree, beach slippers or hibiscus flower) for a cohesive look. My "save-the-date" was a hula girl, hand cut from magnet paper - far less expensive then the magnets touted in bridal magazines! Since our primary registry was for our Hawaii honeymoon, our thank you notes were Hawaiian postcards.

Destination weddings require advance arrangements for all attendees. Mail "save-the-dates" no less then six months out and include the wedding location so guests can commence with travel plans. Traditional invitations are mailed six weeks prior but for destination weddings three months is perfectly appropriate. Include pre-set airline and hotel group codes (offer a range of budget to resort recommendations), activities and dining suggestions, childcare options, car rentals and an island map. Request guests' travel dates and accommodations on the RSVP card for quick reference if you chose to do arrival lei greetings or "out-of-towner" gift delivery.

After assembling your invitational package, have it weighed at the post office. For personalized postage upload a picture or thematic design on a site like

Have Wedding Gown, Will Travel

For the best rates, chose a slower tourist season. Plane fares, hotel rooms, car rentals, even restaurants are more likely to offer deals and incentives. Hawaiian Airlines has a program called "Wedding Wings," which upgrades the newlyweds when twenty guests reserve flights via a special group discount code. Check other airlines and hotels for similar group arrangements.

Shotgun Weddings Cost Less!

If you're in a hurry to get hitched, you might score great deals despite the season. Aloha Airlines often slashes fares for last minute travel. Some accommodations lower rates to fill pukas (holes) in their booking schedule.

Island Time

Saturday in June may be the norm in your hometown but when you and your guests are vacationing on Maui does it really matter which day you marry? Receptions held Monday-Thursday are often less expensive and you get the undivided attention of your florist, cake baker and photographer. A morning or afternoon reception lowers both the liquor bills and catering costs. Then enjoy the sunset glow at leisure with a beach photography session for just the two of you.


Having a local, resident wedding coordinator is doubly important for a destination bride. A professional planner serves as a personal concierge to the island, drawing on experience, knowledge and inside connections. Vendors know a pleased coordinator promises repeat business, unlike you, who will head home shortly afterwards and are highly unlikely to return for a duplicate wedding!

If cost is a concern, consider this: you will probably save more money, time and frustration by hiring a wedding planner then just using your wits and At the least, arrange for someone else besides you or a member of the wedding party, to be in charge on the big day. Even if it's a small wedding. Ask your minister, site host or caterer if they will package in those services. For example, my sister's florist organized the procession and then stayed to coordinate the musicians, caterer, and photographer. Some wedding planners will take "day of" assignments for as little as $500. This is a worthy investment for a little less worry.

  read more: Tips For an Outdoor Wedding >>