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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 from...read more

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Ice Bars and Hearts in the Sky - Part 2

Opulent transport is another way to add "wow" to the wedding. Higashino's clients have shuttled attendees in floral wrapped, satin-seated golf carts accompanied by an orchestra; provided guests with 24-hour limousine service at their disposal; and flown the bridal party via helicopter for inter-island spa pampering.

Subtle or dramatic, details can take a wedding from traditional to over-the-top. If a typical cake server set from Things Remembered is $40, purchase the sterling silver Elsa Peretti design from Tiffany & Co. for $490. Replace the $14.95 Wedding Channel toasting flutes for $135 Neiman Marcus' Waterford Crystal. Upgrade the champagne toast to Dom Perignon. Choose gardenias over orchids and lei greet every guest! Engrave, emboss, embroider and imprint your monogram on any available surface from chair covers, to aisle runner, to bridal parasol, to cocktail napkins.

"We had a wedding at the Grand Wailea Resort and during cocktails, monogrammed sunglasses were given to each guest," said Higashino. "Just a few minutes later we had an airplane skywriter create a 'heart' in the sky and their initials to match, then drop thousands of white orchids over the celebration."

For striking visual effect, volume is an easy way to lavish on romance. Cascades of silk, mounds of roses, and carpets of petals convey abundance. One bride has commissioned arch-after-blossom-laden-arch to accent her two minute aisle walk, culminating at a flower strewn altar. Lori Lawrence of Tropical Maui Weddings is already calculating the heavy work load. "It will take a lot of people on the day of the wedding just to place the flowers, an entourage of workers to place them, and then four to five hours to clean up afterwards."

And it doesn't stop with onsite grandeur. Destination decadence skyrockets when more then the wedding dress is flown over, says Lawrence. "A photographer from home, or often a pastor from the home area, brings a more personal touch." One bride this fall is shipping over a favorite chandelier to hang in the reception hall. China, linens, art work, and especially out-of-season blooms make the trek from around the globe. How about an entire chuppah (Jewish ceremonial canopy) complete with thousands of roses? Carolee Higashino recalls an event that required three shipping containers. But the sweetest package was a groom's surprise to his bride, twenty lemon cakes baked by the bride's grandmother who was unable to attend.

Whether it's diamonds on the soles of her shoes or a rock on her a finger, a bride with no budget is sure to plan an extraordinary island affair.

Taj Barnhart is the author of "Ice Bars & Hearts in the Sky"

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