I love when I receive destination weddings because it allows me to dream about palm trees, sandy beaches and mai tais. Likely you’ll be doing the same after seeing this wedding so you can thank me later :)
Kendra & Rene opted for a wedding in beautiful Oahu because we all know you can never be certain about Canadian weather. As a laid back couple, all they requested was a tropical wedding and what they got was unbelievable weather, vibrant colors and Shandro Photo to capture every detail. I asked Kendra to share her experience planning a destination wedding and I thought I’d leave in all the details because for those of you in the same situation, it’s nice hear it from the bride herself and learn from her experience. Enjoy!
What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?
I think there’s too many to pick from, but I would have to say the ceremony. We had a Hawaiian officiant who did a traditional Hawaiian ceremony, with leis, the meaning of Aloha, and Hawaiian chants. It was amazing and something a little different from a traditional Canadian ceremony. The officiant wouldn’t let my then fiancé turn around to look until I was at the end of the aisle, so it was pretty fun to watch his Best Man give him grins and thumbs up before he could turn around.
We decided to do a destination wedding for several reasons. We both loved the idea of being outdoors, but weather in Alberta is never reliable. We also couldn’t find a venue that we liked with a good rain back-up. We have both been to Hawaii, and I grew up going there on vacation, so it was an easy choice to go there. As well, I realized very early on that the details of planning a wedding were not going to be something I would enjoy in large amounts. The idea of having a checklist and options already included for us appealed to us. We ended up with details we would have never planned ourselves, such as our Hawaiian guitarist, who played at the ceremony & part way into cocktail hour. We were able to plan a few small things that were important to us and the rest just fell into place.
The inspiration for the colours and decor came from the flowers. Since ours was a package wedding through the hotel and we were not planning to visit Hawaii before the wedding we were not too concerned with many of the details. Part of our package included a bridal bouquet of either lilacs, roses or tropical flowers. The tropical flowers seem to suit us best, so we chose those and asked the hotel to use those as our basis for decor. All of our decor was included in the package with the exception of the centrepieces. We asked for something that matched the flowers already being used and our banquet coordinator sent us a photo of some used in a past wedding with a bamboo like vase. The few small things we did do (escort cards, menus) had a tropical feel to them to tie in with Hawaii. Our place cards were leftovers from our invitations in a coral holder and we found hand fans with a plumeria design online. Our invitations were done in three different tropical colours and were a boarding pass style with palm trees, turtles and hibiscus flowers.
Do you have any advice for other brides-to-be who are planning a destination wedding?
I think to do a Destination Wedding you have to be more willing to either go with the flow and have less control, or be willing to put in way more work to get everything you want. If you’re like us, we were very easygoing with the set up, style, feel, decor, etc. and we weren’t too worried about what the end result turned out to be. We knew we’d still get married regardless of what might go wrong and nothing else really mattered. If you want more control and input into the event, you have to be willing to research vendors that you won’t meet potentially until the day of and book vendors based on your gut and through conversation. You also have to plan ahead for what you want to bring with you; how will it get there and what will you do with it when you’re done. It can be a lot more work than getting married at home, but we wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Hair & Makeup: Leslie Gallagher
Planner: Cara Sawai (Outrigger Reef)
Florals: Outrigger Reef
Cake: A Cake Life
Photography: Shandro Photo
Wedding gown: Alfred Sung 6836 in Champagne from Bridal Debut (Sherwood Park, AB)