Five Thousand Miles Away (Wedding Advice Pt. 4)

Have you ever wondered why people go through the hassle of planning a destination wedding? Sure, some couples want an embarrassingly intimate ceremony, while others opt to combine it with their honeymoon. But I think the real seduction of the destination wedding is that it’s an excuse to travel, and have all your loved ones travel with you. Although almost all of Anthony’s family and friends live in California, and my folks are scattered around the world, a wedding in Hawaii made the most sense for us. The main reasons are because we met there and have relatives on Oahu — but also, who doesn’t want their wedding in Hawaii?

Without the internet, we probably would have given up the entire idea and instead forced everyone to fly out to New York, which is notoriously the most expensive city to have a wedding. However, planning our wedding 5,000 miles away hasn’t been too difficult — no more difficult than any other wedding, I imagine, so anyone interested in tying the knot at some random exotic place should go for it.

Most of the planning can be easily done online (read my previous post for all of that), but a few things do require being at the destination, and one week in Hawaii was all I had. That week was probably the most productive I’ve ever been in Hawaii, aside from that winter break of 2010 during which I had to conduct all my fieldwork for my sociology thesis.

The most important thing I did was visit the wedding venue. Though I had been to Cafe Julia a handful of times as a child, it was my first time seeing it through “wedding eyes”. The estate really is stunning, with Mediterranean architecture and open-air courtyards. I was relieved to confirm to Anthony that we had definitely made the right decision about the venue. My friend and I had fun planning potential photo ops around the estate and in the surrounding area of downtown Honolulu.

View from the top floor
Where the ceremony will take place, sans high school reunion banner
Where our cocktail hour will take place while the reception is set up in the outdoor courtyard

My parents, brother, and Maid of Honor attended the menu tasting with me. I hadn’t realize how crucial a menu tasting was until the five of us ended up preferring some dishes that I hadn’t expected us to choose. (So, folks, definitely have a menu tasting.) We tried kalua pig, furikake-crusted salmon, macadamia nut-crusted chicken, fried noodles, roasted vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes, and three kinds of salads. After stuffing ourselves with delicious local food, we voted and finalized the buffet menu. If only politics was that easy.

The other appointment I had was a meeting at a coffee shop with my DJ. The meeting was somewhat unnecessary, since we’ve been able to communicate online, but it was still nice to put a face to his words and reaffirm that our personalities mesh well, which is crucial for a DJ.

Unfortunately, my hair and makeup artist was out of town that week, so I couldn’t schedule a trial session. (Dear guests, if my face looks horrendous at the wedding, you’ll know why.)

Besides appointments, I had a few purchases to make in Hawaii. Before my trip, we made sure to size Anthony’s finger so I could find the perfect ring for him. Since we had already discussed what he wanted, it was a simple purchase. I also helped my Maid of Honor find her bridesmaid dress. I didn’t have an exact idea of what I wanted any of my girls to wear, so it was nice to finally start somewhere.

As for the rest of my wedding-related tasks, they were really excuses for me to have fun: I ate lunch at the restaurant at which my bachelorette party dinner will take place (Morimoto). I had afternoon tea at the hotel at which Anthony and I will be staying (Kahala Hotel). And I went to a couple of beaches to decide which one will be the location of our welcome party. Hard work, I know.

A preview of the food at my bachelorette party
Lobby of our hotel
One of the beaches

As a future bride, I’ve felt an inexplicable pressure to feel stressed out. I must not be trying hard enough if I’m not freaking out — otherwise, why else do people spend thousands of dollars on wedding planners? Yet I’ve enjoyed so much of this planning process, and having a destination wedding has allowed me to partake in something I love doing even more: traveling to beautiful places.

Regardless of where your wedding is, enjoy the mundane aspects of the entire process. See it all as just an excuse to travel to Hawaii or Mauritius or Positano, to meet new people, to see old faces, to spend more money on yourself than society has ever given you an excuse to… It’s just a party, and your favorite people will be flying from all over the world to attend it. That in itself is worth celebrating.

Five months to go!

4 thoughts on “Five Thousand Miles Away (Wedding Advice Pt. 4)

  1. Can I just say that I found your blog via Google while searching the YWCA in Hawaii and your blog posts have been SO helpful. My fiancé and I are trying to plan a wedding in Hawaii since it’s the midpoint between his home (SF) and my home (Tokyo) – I also lived there for 3 years and that’s when we started dating 🙂 finding your blog and seeing your process made it seem so much less daunting. I am looking forward to reading more when you get the chance to update! So excited for your big day!

    1. This comment made my day! Thank you so much, and congratulations to you too! Also, you’re from Tokyo?! That’s so cool! That will be the first stop on our honeymoon. (Our worlds seem to keep overlapping!) Good luck with the wedding planning, and if you have any questions about Hawaii or this whole intimidating planning process, I’d love to help if I can 😀

      1. Oh jeez, more coincidences: My fiancé is from the Bay Area and moved to Hawaii for three years, during which we met as well. This is crazy!

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