A dream come true for couples around the world, deciding to host your wedding on one of the most beautiful islands in the world is a true gift to yourself and your guests! While getting Maui’d comes with its fair share of obvious perks, many couples underestimate the amount of work it takes, especially when planning from thousands of miles away. Photos from successful Maui weddings by Natalie Brown.
Here we offer our advice for common mistakes to avoid when planning your perfect Maui wedding, and remember, you’re on island time. Enjoy it!
#1 Not Enlisting Help
One of the most crucial mistakes in planning any wedding is not enlisting help, and often, the right kind of help. While you may initially think you can handle all the details on your own or with just the help of friends and family – from the cocktail menu to the place settings to the floral arrangements, marriage license and officiant – it’s highly recommended to hire a professional that knows the ins and outs of the local wedding industry and can recommend other vendors in the process.
Luckily, as Maui is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the country, there are a multitude of professional wedding planners and agencies that are all too happy to help you get the details right the first time!
#2 Not Setting a Realistic Budget
Often this begins with creating a finalized guest list. As soon as you know how many people are going to make it to Maui for the wedding, it’s best to set a realistic budget with a little room for error. The last thing you want is to blow your budget, adding extra stress to the planning process and not accounting for last minute expenses like wedding transportation, license fees and day-of preparations such as hair and makeup. Sit down and have a serious discussion about your wedding budget with your partner, families and wedding planner, and save yourself the anxiety of accidentally going way over budget.
#3 Not Booking a Photographer Early Enough
Don’t leave this until the last minute! Take time to browse the best Maui wedding photographers, such as Natalie Brown, and reserve their services (and wedding date) as far in advance as possible. One of the most important aspects of your Maui wedding day, you want to ensure that the memories of you and your loved ones are captured by a true professional whose style you admire and trust.
After all the hard work to make sure your tropical wedding is everything you’ve imagined it would be, it’s nice to have someone on your side capturing the happiness and beauty of your big day!
#4 Not Preparing for the Weather
While it’s all too easy to assume Maui has 365 of nonstop weather perfection, that’s actually not the case. When planning your wedding, be sure to prepare for rain, wind, and other unpleasant weather scenarios (minus extreme cold and snow, of course). We recommend reserving a tent for your seating area in case of a surprise rainstorm, and be sure to consider the average weather of your chosen Maui location. While south and west Maui are typically dry and hot, areas like Upcountry, Haiku and east Maui often see much more rain and humidity.
#5 Lack of Communication with Guests
First off, you shouldn’t assume that everyone you invite will be able to make it to your wedding. Maui is far, and plane tickets alone can cost upwards of $1,000 depending on their point of origin. For the guests who can make it, be sure to give them plenty of notice to book their accomodation, rental cars, and final details of the trip. You’ll also want to thank them for making the journey (though Maui isn’t the worst of destinations, obviously), and let it be known that you appreciate the effort!
#6 Not Confirming Wedding Details
It’s easy to get lost in the details of your big day, but one of the biggest bummers is realizing too late that you never actually finalized arrangements with your preferred vendor. Be sure to get everything in writing, as contracts are a standard part of reserving any major service or business for your Maui wedding day. This also helps ensure that no big surprises or issues come up the day of your wedding, as you have written proof of what was previously agreed upon and the associated costs with it. Once again, a wedding planner can be crucial for this stage of planning!
#7 Getting Overwhelmed & Indecisive
From Pinterest boards to magazines to suggestions from your friends and family, deciding what you actually want on your wedding day is a task in and of itself. However, it’s recommended that you make decisions and stick with them, especially later in the planning process, as changing at the last minute can prove to be a costly, time consuming and stressful task. While the details of your big day are important, remember that you’re likely the only one who’s going to remember what your centerpieces looked like or what the 4th song on your playlist was. Make quick decisions you know you’ll be happy with, and move on!
#8 Leaving Everything Until the Last Minute
There’s nothing worse than realizing the day before the wedding that you haven’t called to update the caterer with the final guest count, reserved times with your photographer or finalized the transportation details to and from your venue. Plan ahead, make lists, ask your wedding party and family for help with tasks that can be taken care of ahead of time, and spend the day before your wedding relaxing and enjoying the scenery instead of running around trying to get in touch with vendors for last minute changes, favors and suggestions. Everyone is ultimately there to celebrate you, so make sure they have a good time as well!
#9 Forgetting to Take Precautions
Thrilled by your arrival in paradise, don’t forget to take common precautions the few days leading up to your wedding. On Maui, this particularly includes applying plenty of sunscreen, making sure your bathing suit doesn’t create unwanted tan lines for you or your wedding party, taking time to drink plenty of water (skip that 4th mai tai for now), watching out for the powerful shore break (namely at Big Beach), and not partying too hard the night before the wedding. While it can be tempting to celebrate the wedding early, nothing ruins your big day quite like being hungover, sunburnt, injured, exhausted, or all of the above. Rest, relax, hydrate, and don’t underestimate the power of the sun!
#10 Stressing Over the Little Things
As far as we know, no one has ever died because the caterer didn’t pack enough salad forks or the flowers didn’t perfectly match the cocktail garnishes. Mistakes happen, and you shouldn’t expect everything to go perfectly to plan, even on Maui. Remember to be thankful for the opportunity to celebrate your love in such a gorgeous location, and don’t let the small things ruin a gorgeous wedding celebration. Relax, enjoy the island as much as possible, and remember why you came to Maui in the first place!