Oh no, it’s another one of those frigging lists! Don’t worry, there’s no click bait here or a gallery full of advertisements. You’ve entered Steven’s Hawaii wedding-safe-space. A nice place where there are unicorns and nothing but free-flowing information that will hopefully “un-confuse” you, when it comes to planning that big day in Hawaii.
So, onto the topic of Four essential ingredients to the Perfect Hawaii Wedding. If you don’t have these four ingredients, sorry, you’re Shit Out of Luck or you didn’t book with me, (Oh no! I swore! Sue me)
- THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – A beach wedding isn’t for everyone. If you or your significant other have a fig tree stuck up your ass, make mountains out of molehills, and have a habit of overreacting, I would pass on the idea of having a beach wedding. You can plan for the perfect wedding, but mother nature may have something different in mind. It can rain on your wedding day. And other than running to another location that’s away from the rain, there really isn’t a plan C. Then there’s the other God created circumstances that you can’t plan for. Big Waves, Hurricanes, and the occasional endangered monk seal that decides to take a nap on the beach. Add fake nuclear missile crisis to that list.Just the other day, I had a perfect couple, with the perfect attitude. On their wedding day, it stormed; dogs, cats, and elephants. There was no real safe outdoor venue to run to as the entire island was under a gigantic thundercloud. The decision was made to have their wedding at their vacation rental. After we did the ceremony on the porch, the rain subsided for just fifteen minutes and we were able to grab a handful of beach shots. There were no blue skies, no sunset pics. So, I asked my clients if they would want a quick complimentary photoshoot on another day, where we could grab sunset shots. They answered no. The groom pointed out to me, with a huge grin on his face, “Steve, this is our story. The rain, the running around. It was a lot of fun. Everything was perfect. There’s no need for a shoot, I don’t want to tell a different story.” This groom and his wife knew what was important. Not the weather, not the wedding sunset photos, but the journey.
- AN AWESOME WEDDING PLANNER – Let me tell ya, it’s hard to find a dependable wedding planner who knows their stuff. If you find one (other than me), let me know. I’ll hire them out. So what are the characteristics of a great planner?
- They’re not lazy. I’ve encountered way too many planners who take forever to return phone calls and emails.
- They are looking out for their clients, not themselves. If you’re wondering why the majority of wedding planners do their weddings at Waialae Beach Park, it’s because it’s convenient for them. It’s not the best location on Oahu.
- They are honest about their pricing. Too many wedding companies pad their wedding packages with cheap stuff then mark it up through the roof. Hey, I’m all for making a profit, but have at least some value to it, right? By the way, if you’re booking with a hotel wedding planner, don’t think they have to be honest either. I know a person who got married at a very popular hotel and they were charged $7 per “slicing” of prime rib. Not per slice…per “slicing…” the action. They were charged for the prime rib roast, then every time the carver sliced a prime rib for their guest, it was $7. Total charge, just for slicing came out to $1200! What the hell right? Tack on that charge and an open bar tab, slicing charges for their cake, their bill was much more than what was promised. Oh yeah, they were charged for the set up of the chairs and the transportation of them, even though they were on the hotel grounds. That’s freaking bullshit.
- They know much more than just wedding planning. To me, wedding planning is very easy. It’s just glorified order taking. You want this, I’ll get you that. But the real art to wedding planning comes when things don’t go according to plan. Say it rains on the North Shore, what does that planner do? How do they react? What happens if the brides dress rips. What happens if she falls into the mud? What happens if the groom gets lost? When I’ve worked as a photographer at weddings I’ve seen planner just crumble under the pressure of chaos. I’ve seen them panic, cry. One gal just upped and left. Hate to toot my own horn, but this where I really separate myself from the competition. When the shit hits the fan, operating and presenting realistic plans helps. I’m like the Macgyver of wedding planners!
- THE IDEAL LOCATION – The right location for your beach wedding is like finding a good location for a business. It’s all about the location. If you have a big wedding party, you need a beach that has a lot of parking. If you are wearing your hair down, you need a location that isn’t windy. If you’re looking for a sunset, you need to be on shore that faces the west. If you’re looking a sunrise wedding, you need to be on a shore facing the east. Maybe it’s all about convenience for you, and need a location near your vacation rental. What’s strange is that I find so many wedding companies that only offer locations that convenient for them, not you. Try asking them if they can do a wedding on the North Shore. Most would pass. They want you to get married in town, at a park, that’s very ugly, so they can pound out conveyor style weddings. Did you travel halfway across the world to get married on a crappy beach behind a condo? I don’t think so.
- GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER AND/OR VIDEOGRAPHER – You’ve traveled halfway around the earth to tie the knot, you better get some damn good photos to make everyone jealous! That’s what half-jokingly say. But the truth of it is that great photos are what you’ll have to remember this special day. Shooting at the beach isn’t too hard (I think), but for some reason, not many people do it right. They look cheesy. Book a great photographer to get you those nice shots. And if you want to document your wedding ceremony, which is great if you have a reception back at home or family who can’t make it, then booking a videographer is also ideal. Oh, let’s not forget. BOOK A GREAT HAIR AND MAKE-UP ARTIST. Hair and Make-Up is basically everythign when it comes to getting great photos and video.By rule of thumb, photography tends to glamorize everything. A video, on the other hand, tends to document everything. Technically, you can glamourize video production and make it more cinematic, but when you do that, it tends to be more artificial than real. It’s like watching a football game. When you see an NFL game in the movies, it’s glamorized, and you have no idea what’s going on. But when it’s on TV, you know exactly what’s happening. As a last note on this topic. You want to make sure the photographer and videographer that show up at your wedding, is the person you want. Not some college graduate, not some friend of the photographer who just got a camera at Costco. I know a dude who runs a video company, charges an arm and a leg for his video services. He doesn’t show up at his weddings, but these guys he hired out on craigslist do. I know of a gal who just shows her face at weddings, then gets people she doesn’t know to shoot her weddings for her. Crazy huh? This industry is filled with characters.
So, by now you’re probably pulling out your hair and thinking about backing out of the idea of having a Hawaii wedding. Hey, if you can’t get pass step-one and see yourself turning into a bridezilla or groomzilla, by all means, back out. But if you’re cool, then definitely take that leap forward and look into Hawaii. Hawaii’s a magical place. You’ll love it here. It’s a great place to start the next chapter in your life.