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Posted on Oct 7, 2013 | 0 comments

How to Throw a DIY Destination Maui Wedding

How to Throw a DIY Destination Maui Wedding

Regardless of your budget, we all want the wedding of our dreams. When working with a smaller budget, like we did, you have to be willing to be more creative and do more of the work yourself. With some extra work, an array of DIY wedding projects, and taking on the planning of your own destination Maui wedding, your wedding day can still be perfect. We share with you all we did to plan and create the destination Maui wedding on our dreams.

No Wedding Planner for a Destination Wedding

The thought of not having a wedding planner for a destination wedding may seem impossible to some, but it actually ended up being extremely easy. I did my own research, contacted companies directly, and never had to wait for a planner to get back to me. I also didn’t have to pay anyone to do something that I was already doing myself. If you are already emailing or calling someone with your questions, why do you need a middle man to go through?

I connected with other Maui destination brides through different on-line communities and the complaint I heard again and again was how their wedding planner never got back to them. Many even had to give up the money they paid for their wedding planner to find another planner and pay the money all over again. All of that seemed like way more stress than I wanted. Planning our own destination wedding on Maui, I never had that kind of stress and saved on hundreds of dollars at the same time.

To plan your own destination Maui wedding you will need to search which vendors you would like to use. We’ve provided information below on all the Maui vendors we used to pull together our own DIY destination Maui wedding. You can get started there or start being doing your own on-line search for Maui vendors. With Maui not being a very big island, there are a limited amount of vendors to work with.

A Wedding at Mama’s Fish House

Our wedding ceremony and reception were both held at Mama’s Fish House in the north shore town of Paia. Mama’s truly has one of the best locations on the island.  It’s away from the resort areas, on the oceanfront in the small Kuau community, along the Hana Highway.

Destination Maui Wedding at Mama’s Fish House

Once a private beach home, this friendly spot among a coconut grove on a secluded white sand beach now serves up the freshest of fish, along with an ample amount of hospitality. The lush coconut grove provides shade as you walk along a sidewalk of artwork to a beautifully decorated, homelike restaurant that has authentically captured the essence of old Hawaii.

The restaurant may be on the small side, but it is big on personality with a hip, retro interior that’s reminiscent of Elvis’ Blue Hawaii. Once inside, hinged windows open to let the trade winds in and Polynesian artifacts and original paintings decorate the tropical hardwood walls. Staff displaying flowers in their hair and adorning vintage Hawaiian dresses and aloha shirts also help to recreate the welcoming vibe of old Hawaii. The rooms are filled with spectacular tropical flower arrangements and tapa print cloths cover each table. The daily menu proudly announces the day’s fresh catches, along with the fishermen responsible for that catch.

Everything about Mama’s Fish House is wonderful. We stayed at the Inn at Mama’s Fish House for 10 days, had our wedding ceremony on their beach, had our lunch reception at their restaurant, and they even made our wedding cake. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect location for us if we had built it ourselves. Everything was just perfect.

Because we stayed at their inn, we got 15% off all of our meals we ate at the restaurant. Yes, even our reception lunch. It was nice having that discount. The $200 deposit we paid to have our wedding and reception at Mama’s was also applied to our check. I had forgotten about that so it was nice to have that surprise of $200 taken off of our bill at the end.

From what I have heard, the $200 deposit fee to have your wedding at Mama’s Fish House has gone up since we had our own wedding there. However, the deposit is still much lower than any of the other locations we looked into having our wedding with. Always make sure to check on price increases before deciding if a venue is the right one for you or not.

Mama’s set up everything for us at the restaurant including our favors, place settings, bride and groom signs on the chairs, and everything else we asked of them. They even created custom menus for us that everyone got to take home at the end. Everything turned out amazing and all of our guests kept remarking how great everything looked and how much they liked all of the little details. We were so happy with all that Mama’s was able to do for us to help bring our perfect day together.

A great added perk of having your wedding at Mama’s Fish House is they own the land that the ceremony is held on. This means that you do not need to pay to get a permit to have your wedding on the beach.

I can’t say enough good stuff about Mama’s Fish House. I could go on and on about how happy we were with them, how much they helped us, and how much they went above and beyond. Staying there made everything so convenient. I planned the whole wedding without a wedding planner and working with Mama’s made it incredibly easy. They said I made it easy by not being a demanding bride, but if they hadn’t have been so easy to work with I wouldn’t have been so easy going.

Maui Wedding Flowers and Leis

For all of our wedding flowers and leis, we worked with MaryAnn of Ha’awina Farms. We were introduced to MaryAnn’s work through Mama’s Fish House, where she makes all of their leis. MaryAnn’s work is incredible. Besides leis, she can also do flower rings and bouquets.

MaryAnn is a local who really knows her Hawaii flowers. She’s known for her work throughout Maui and has made leis for the Maui Film Festival. Many of her leis have been seen in the newspaper and other media on many of the actors that attended the event.

MaryAnn was so easy to work with. She said it was because I was so easy to work with, but it makes for a great vendor to have that easy experience. I highly recommend her.Her prices are more than reasonable. If you are ordering a large amount, she will work with you on a price. We were seriously thrilled with everything she did for us.

If you decide to work with MaryAnn there are a few things that you should keep in mind. She knows her flowers and what she’s talking about, trust her with that. She likes to work with local Hawaiian flowers, not have to have flowers flown in from places like Thailand.

Those purple orchid leis that you get at Costco and at the Old Lahaina Luau are not local flowers. She has to fly them in from Thailand and needs the time to be able to do that. She’s on an island that’s the most isolated from any other place in the world and needs time for supplies to get to her. She’s on island time not because she’s slow, but because she has to wait for non-local supplies to get to her. She’s actually really fast in corresponding. If you are going to want to use flowers that aren’t local, she needs at least a month’s notice to be able to order everything and have it get there on time.

Again, trust her and her knowledge of flowers. I thought I wanted to order some other flowers and she advised me to order others. The ones I was going to order looked pretty, but didn’t have any scent. The ones she recommended were amazing and the people they went to loved them. MaryAnn made leis for all of family, wedding guests, and wedding party. Every single person loved their leis.

I highly recommend ordering local flowers, not ones from other countries. You are on a beautiful tropical island and you picked Hawaii for a reason. Use Hawaii flowers and they will be fresher, smell better, and last longer. Be flexible with what color your flowers are. The week of your wedding yellow plumerias might not be blooming enough for all of your leis, but the rainbow ones are. Don’t stress about it, they will be beautiful no matter what the color is. Our flowers were all different colors and they all looked great. We loved all of them!

As a sweet surprise, MaryAnn made special leis for us that were waiting for us our last night at Mama’s Fish House. We had a nice dinner just the two of us before we left for Hana for 3 days. It was such a nice touch and we loved getting to wear her leis one more time. We got complements from many locals on how beautiful and well made the leis we were wearing were.

To reach MaryAnn you can call her at 808.264.4949.

Maui Wedding Hair and Makeup

For my wedding day make-up, I worked with Jessica Waite. Jessica is a splurge, but worth every penny. She’s super sweet and makes you feel really relaxed all while making you look fabulous. The airbrush make-up is amazing. I have really oily skin and that stuff stayed on and I didn’t get oil through-out the day. We are talking from 7am to 10pm shine-free!

I also got her groom’s package for Drew. He burned the very top of his forehead two days before because he didn’t go all the way up to his hairline with sunscreen. Jessica said guys do that all the time and was able to cover up the red with the airbrushing. You couldn’t tell he had anything on and he looked great.

I know Jessica isn’t cheap, but she’s really worth it. I promise you won’t be disappointed hiring her. Your make-up will be amazing and it will stay on all day. This is one splurge you should go for.

For my wedding day hair, I worked with Hair by Shelly. Shelly is a character! She’s loud and over the top, but it works for her. She not only did my hair, but also all of the wedding parties, and my mom’s hair. Everyone’s hair came out great and she made these really pretty plumeria petal flowers to put in everyone’s hair. I really liked how the plumeria petal flowers looked on everyone.

Shelly’s prices were very reasonable. I had originally booked another well known hairdresser on Maui, but his prices were so high I couldn’t bring myself to stick with him. Shelly’s prices were less than half of what my original vendor charged and she was just as good.

Destination Maui Wedding

Maui manicures and pedicures.

Maui Manicure and Pedicure

Nail Care Center is your standard nail salon. It was close to where we were staying and they were able to fit 11 of us in all at one time. Out of all of us, everyone was happy with the service. Almost everyone got either nail art done on their toes or nails. After one person got it done almost everyone else followed. Prices were reasonable for Maui.

Destination Maui Wedding

An early morning beach wedding made for no one, but us on the beach.

Morning Beach Wedding Ceremony

We opted for an early morning beach wedding ceremony. Doing so meant less people on the beach, the water being its most blue during the day, and the temperatures being their lowest for the day. All of this helped our wedding pictures be even more beautiful and kept us and our guests more comfortable during the ceremony.

Maui Wedding Ceremony Officiant

Our ceremony was performed by Reverend Pia Aluli. We had a more traditional Hawaiian wedding with lei exchange, blowing on the conch shell, and even the Hawaiian wedding song.

This man is wonderful! His service was just what we wanted and we had many guests remark that it was the best wedding ceremony that they’d ever been to. He hah a really peaceful nature to him that really comes through during the ceremony. We highly recommend him.

It was taking longer than planned to get me ready and he entertained everyone while they waited. It was pouring crazy during that time and we weren’t able to use our iPod music we had to walk to. He stepped right in saying he knew all of the songs we were planning on using and he could play them on his guitar and sing them for us instead. Yes, he just jumped right in and offered to do that free of charge. He literally saved the day and made our ceremony even better than we had planned.

Maui Cocktail Hour

Staying at the Inn at Mama’s Fish House gave us the opportunity to offer our guests a morning cocktail hour at a fraction of the price. With our Maid of Honor also staying at the inn, we were able to hold the cocktail hour at her cottage. Mama’s didn’t have any problem with this and helped us out in anyway they could. They provided us with enough champagne glasses for all of our guests and everything else that was needed.

While we took some pictures on the beach after the wedding ceremony, our guests enjoyed a tropical mimosa bar and Hawaiian doughnuts from T. Komoda Bakery. We set up a self-serve mimosa station with sparkling wine, pineapple, lychee, and mango juice. Drew got up extra early that morning to pick up an assortment of Hawaiian doughnuts. The doughnuts were a fun and tasty local treat to serve with the tropical mimosas. The stick doughnuts were our favorite!

Vintage Hawaii postcards were used instead of the typical guestbook.

Vintage Hawaii postcards were used instead of the typical guestbook.

Vintage Hawaii Postcards Guestbook

Instead of a traditional wedding guestbook, we collected vintage Hawaii postcards from Etsy to have our guests sign. We put out all of the vintage postcards for guests to pick which one they wanted to write on. When we returned home from the wedding, we post all the postcards into a small paper scrapbook that we picked up on Maui.

Reception at Mama’s Fish House

The food prepared by Mama’s Fish House for our wedding day was outstanding. By far, the best meal we had on the island. Before the big day, we pre-selected their wasabi crusted calamari to come out as an appetizer. The calamari at Mama’s is the best I’ve ever had. So light and fresh, you will swear it will just plucked from the sea.

The chef also sent out the Polynesian Beef as a complementary appetizer for us and our guests. The Polynesian Beef was the perfect balance of tropical flavors and a hint of spice. The best part is after you have finished the beef, you are served coconut water lilikoi sorbet to cleanse your palette. All of our guests were really impressed with all of the courses from the bread to the bisque to the appetizers to the entrees they selected. Many are still talking about it.

Destination Maui Wedding

DIY Destination Maui Wedding Favors

Destination Maui Wedding Flavors

When our guests arrived for our lunch reception, they found wedding favors with each person’s name on them. Besides being a wedding favor, they also doubled as a place marker.

The destination Maui wedding favors started off with miniature lauhala boxes. The boxes were filled with macadamia nut Kisses- made special for the Hawaiian Islands. We wrapped the lauhala boxes with ribbon in our wedding colors and topped them with scalloped circles with our wedding logo and miniature luggage tags with guests names in both English and Hawaiian.

Wedding Cake on Maui

Our wedding cake was also made by Mama’s Fish House and came out exactly as we wanted. It was a sweet little cake decorated with fresh tropical flowers from the grounds at Mama’s, lilikoi, and our hand-carved tiki cake toppers. The cake toppers were a little heavy so they were put to the side of the cake. We were so happy with how it looked.

The cake was light and not too sweet. There was a layer of lilikoi cake with raspberry fruit mousse and another layer of coconut cake with mango fruit mousse all covered in an Italian butter cream meringue. When the cake was cut and came out from the kitchen each slice was presented so beautifully with lilikoi and vanilla bean sauce on the side. It was all so tasty. Every time I think about it I’m remember how it was the best wedding cake I’d ever had and wish I had another piece.

Destination Maui Wedding

The back of our tiki wedding cake toppers were carved were with our wedding date.

Wedding Cake Tiki Toppers

Our fun tiki cake toppers were custom carved for us by carver Kirby Fleming. Kirby was easy to work with, gave us updates along the way, and created exactly what we wanted for our cake toppers.

Destination Maui Wedding

Enjoying the Old Lahaina Luau.

Destination Maui Wedding After Party

With a morning wedding ceremony, and lunch reception, we wanted something to do that night to keep the wedding celebrating going. We decided on the Old Lahaina Luau for our after party and were so glad that we did. It was so much fun!

It was nice not having to do anything to have an after the wedding party, except show up. All of our guests (who had been to a luau before) said it was the best luau that they had ever been to and thoroughly enjoyed it. Those who hadn’t been to one before all said it was great and they didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. There was tons of food and drinks for everyone. We had front row traditional mat seating and it made for an incredibly memorable night.

Wedding Photographer

Sara Sanger is a fantastic photographer who doesn’t normally do weddings, but will on occasion for her friends. We are very lucky to be considered friends and have her travel from California to photograph our wedding and time leading up to it on Maui.

Sara is a friend of ours who also did our engagement photos in San Fransisco. We flew her to Maui and paid for her trip to do all of our wedding photos. She took photos for us for all the events leading up to the wedding and our wedding day. It was great not having to take pictures during that whole time and are very happy with all of the photos.

If we had not flown Sara Sanger to Maui, we would have worked had our wedding photos done by Anna Kim.

If you have any questions on how we put together our own DIY destination Maui wedding, don’t hesitate to ask. We are happy to answer any questions and share any information that we have. IS there any questions you have on throwing your own destination Maui wedding.

All photography by Sara Sanger © 2013.

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About Kimmy Hayes


Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.

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