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Tropical Maui Wedding Fueled By Sunshine, Pineapples and Love

Fair warning, this post is sure to induce summertime nostalgia. It’s all sunshine and pineapples, glowing Bride and a head over heals Groom and the most charming of backdrops. To have a family property in Maui is like winning the wedding venue jackpot after all. Wendy Laurel captured all the Maui beauty and you can take a little tropical vacay courtesy of the vault right here.

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Winter
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It’s not everyday a real Maui wedding happens. This wedding was between a girl (Olena) who grew up on Maui and her fiance (Billy) she met while at graduate school in New York City. It was held on her family’s land in the Iao Valley with all their family and friends. Her family owns and runs the Iao Valley Inn. The amazing backstory is that 2 months before the wedding date, there was a major storm on Maui and the Iao stream flooded Iao Valley causing major damage. Neighbors had to be rescued and the stream overflow caused alot of damage to her family’s land. Her brother and Dad pulled together with all the neighbors and friends to help everyone in the valley and got the land back into a place where the wedding could still be held there. Olena’s brother officiated the emotional ceremony which included a Hawaiian chant and prayer, lei exchange, special readings by friends and handwritten vows. Olena choose vintage hawaii aloha fabrics and prints for her wedding. The bridesmaids all had mismatching floral patterns and dresses which looked fabulous together. Instead of a bridal bouquet, the girls wore floral hakus made by the bride and her friends the day before the wedding using locally sourced flowers. The cake was topped with two small pineapples and the table decor was all locally sourced with pineapples, ti leaves, palm leaves and local flowers. Olena and Billy’s wedding will be featured on the local television channel here in Hawaii on Hot Hawaiian Weddings.

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Photography: Wendy Laurel | Videographer: hot hawaiian weddings | Dessert: Ululanis Hawaiian Shave Ice | Photography - Assistance: Jeffrey Oltman | inn: iao valley inn

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Proof that you Can Have a Vineyard Wedding in Hawaii

It’s not every day that one of our very own Little Black Book members ties the knot. So when it happens, we take alll the wedding notes. Today’s fete featuring gorgeous Bride Lena, event planning genius behind Belle Destination Weddings & Events, is no exception. Did you know there were vineyards as beautiful as this in Hawaii? More right this way from Tamiz Photography in The Vault.

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Fall
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Vineyard
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Romantic

From Belle Destination Weddings & EventsAs a wedding planner and event designer, planning my own wedding was one of my great joys and also one of my great challenges. As a designer, I knew that my options were limitless and to be honest, this was a bit daunting to me at first. So I went back to the basics of how I build my own ideas and designs, drawing inspiration from the love story that I shared with my now-husband.

It all started in the produce aisle of our little grocery store in Paia, Maui. Maui is a small island and Paia is an even smaller town, so I already knew a little bit about Keith when we ran into each other that day. Keith is the shaper and co-owner of Quatro International, and KT Surfing.

After a relaxed conversation, Keith asked me on a date. Not just any date… a 5 hour marathon drive around the island to spend the day in Hana, Maui! No pressure or anything! Fortunately, on that date we discovered quickly that this was going to last and the connection was strong. We had so much in common. We both had an interesting upbringing living abroad – I was born on the Big Island, Hawaii but spent my formative years in Paris and the South of France. Keith was born in Madagascar, his father being French and mother American. After leaving Madagascar, his family lived in Guadeloupe, and eventually he found his way to Maui, where I had moved after college. As a result of our upbringing, we are both bilingual in French, learning to speak it as a second language growing up in two vastly different cultures. We both shared a love for wine, travel, and great food – especially oysters. Our relationship became second nature and soon it was clear we would spend our lives together.

The proposal brought us back to Hana, where Keith suggested we go to take a break from our insane schedules. On the balcony of our bungalow at Travaasa Hana Resort, looking out over the ocean, Keith surprised me with a tray of shucked oysters and laying elegantly in an empty oyster shell, was a stunning rose gold and champagne diamond ring! He had my heart and the answer was so undeniably, yes!

Since we both have lived on Maui for a long time, we knew that we wanted to have our wedding on the island. As a co-owner of a boutique destination wedding planning company, I knew it would be a breeze to organize our big day. We had all of the best vendors, tips and tricks right at my fingertips. With the help of my dear friend, business partner and co-owner of Belle, Jane Park-Gonzales; Keith and I were able to have a wedding of our dreams.

The Villa at the Calasa Olive Farm was the perfect venue for us. The Villa and surrounding property literally looks like it was plucked from the hills of Tuscany and planted on the mountain slope of Maui. Rolling hills with neat rows of olive trees and a vineyard make up the gorgeous surroundings of this beautiful venue. I gave us a nod to the European-based cultures that we grew up with on the island that we call home.

We wanted a celebration with our closest friends and family in a beautiful and elegant atmosphere that also felt comfortable and festive. Choosing our vendors was definitely a no-brainer since we here on Maui are so fortunate to be able to have some of the best talents in the industry. The vendors we work with are really our extended family and having them be a part of our experience was incredibly special. Mandy Grace designs created THE most stunning compliments to the landscape, bringing in rich berry hues to elevate the aesthetic. We served freshly shucked oysters on the half-shell, passed cigarette-girl style in custom-made trays. We set up a sommelier wine tasting and cheese bar for guests to sample some of our favorite fine wines. Sugar Beach Events curated a Tuscan family-style menu which created a great feeling of warmth as guests shared their stories, laughter, and passed platters of ravioli. Garnish Craft Cocktail Catering served delectable fresh craft cocktails behind a beautiful bar with a 9ft custom made bar menu by the talented Miss B Calligraphy. These are just to name a few, because each and every vendor that contributed to our day was priceless and phenomenal. Everything we incorporated in to the wedding day was a true reflection of who we are as a couple, which made it very personal. It really allowed us an opportunity to share elements of our lives with our guests.

All said and done, it felt so amazing to be on the other side of it all! At the events that I plan, I am typically the one running around, making sure that everything is perfect for our clients. The fact that I was able to relax and enjoy the incredible feeling of being a Bride was incredible. I was able to be fully present and focus on this life changing moment with Keith and the people that we hold most dear to us. It truly was a night I will always look back on with the fondest of memories!

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Photography: Tamiz Photography | Cinematography: Sunlit Films | Event Planning + Design: Belle Destination Weddings & Events, Inc. | Floral Design: Mandy Grace Floral & Event Design | Invitations: ERICA KEUTER DESIGNS | Catering: Sugar Beach Events | Hair + Makeup: Maui Makeup Artistry | DJ: DJ Del Sol | Bar Services: Garnish Craft Cocktail Catering | Calligraphy + Paper Goods: Miss B Calligraphy | Dessert: Maui Sweet Cakes | Onsite Planners: Sherri Vann & Katy Roberts | Private Estate: Villa at Calasa Olive Farm | Rentals: Winters Events | Rentals: Hawaiian Style Event Rentals | Rentals: Signature Boutique Event Rentals | Rentals: Set

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Take Your Breath Away Anniversary Shoot

When I was pulling together this feature, I was torn on what to focus on. Because the images themselves are so utterly beautiful. The backdrop and the photos from Artiese Studios…breathtaking. The bride and her handsome groom…stunning. The Gossamer gown, the florals from Passion Roots, the everything. But then I read the sage advice that accompanied the piece (featured below) and thought that perhaps the real beauty was tucked into the story. Then I decided to just let you soak up all of the gorgeous and decide for yourself what you love the most. Click here for even more.

From the Bride…My words of advice…for the wedding day, I’d say to make the celebration as personal as possible. At our wedding, we had our favorite pizza and played all our favorite songs and danced with our favorite people. Don’t worry about everything being “perfect” because if you’re surrounded by all the people and things you love, then it will be perfect. Bonus tip speaking as a photographer, plan your schedule/location around the light (no high noon ceremonies in the desert, please!)

For marriage, it’s cliche but making time for each other is *so* important! Date nights at least once a month, and don’t forget to kiss every single day! You might thing it sounds simple, but things get lost in the chaos! Everything in life can get so busy that you forget to really cherish each other, and it’s so important to take a moment to step out of everything together and just enjoy being in each other’s company once in a while.

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Photography: ARTIESE Studios | Floral Design: Passion Roots | Dress: Gossamer | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here