Three years ago I today we tied the knot, got hitched, jumped the broom, or whatever you like to call it! I walked down the virgin road (that's what they call the aisle in Japan!! HA!!) in Hawaii of all places!! I'd never been there before, but it seemed like the perfect romantic and beautiful halfway meeting ground for our family and friends to join from America and Japan (as well as from Canada, Australia, and England). And it was!! It was such an amazing experience, one that I hope I will never forget!! Thank goodness we have the photos and videos to help us relive it anytime we want!
For a regular run of the mill couple, a destination wedding can be special and exciting, but for an international couple with families on opposite sides of the globe, I think there can't be anything better suited!! Rather than a one day thing, we stretched it into a long weekend full of events so everyone could meet and get acquainted and have fun! I did all of the planning from my computer in Japan, and it was a lot of work but definitely not impossible and worth the TONS of money we saved by not hiring a coordinator! Also saved a bunch by buying my dress used online! I found the style and size I wanted at David's Bridal during a visit home to the States, then searched high and low and got a second hand one online for all of $200 (new was about $900)!! To make matters even sweeter, I re-sold it after my wedding and made a slight profit!!
I got a room block and booked the wedding reception at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and the wedding ceremony at the Ocean Crystal Chapel on the grounds of the Hilton. I considered a beach wedding but knew I'd be one ball of stress worrying about the weather!! I fell in love with the chapel the moment I saw it on the internet, and booked everything else at the Hilton because 1) it's beautiful and 2) we wouldn't have to worry about getting everyone to and fro on the wedding day.
One of the first nights, we had our two immediate families meet over dinner. The next day we hosted the entire group (about 30 guests) on a charter bus tour of the main island. We went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation, cute North Shore town of Haleiwa, Laniakea (Turtle Beach), Sunset Beach, the Shrimp Fields and lunch at a Shrimp Shack, Kualoa Park, and Pali Lookout. It was an awesome tour and I got a guide for the bus that was Japanese-English bilingual which was sooooo helpful! That night we had the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner at Tiki's Grill & Bar - which was YUM-O and with a very fun and festive Hawaiian atmosphere. Everyone got a commemorative t-shirt and wore them for a couple of pictures which was fun! All were free and did their own thing the morning of the wedding, and the ceremony started in the afternoon followed by the reception, all at the Hilton. We got a bilingual non-denominational minister and a bilingual MC who ended up being a HUGE help and took charge of many things a coordinator would have!! While we were pretty good with budgeting, we were still able to get all the important stuff like photographer and videographer (Fisheye), DJ, yummy cake and food and BOOOOOOZ (no choice with those last 3 - Hilton catered - was delish but a pretty penny!!). The morning after we all went for brunch at Shore Birds and then everyone flew off to their respective homes across the globe and Ryoji and I jumped off to the Big Island for our hot and steamy honeymoon.
Bish bash bosh - we were married, our families and friends met and loved each other, and we all just had the best most amazing vacation of a lifetime!! I HIGHLY recommend this kind of wedding, especially if you have loved ones spread out all around. But you have to be comfortable with the fact that certain people (i.e. elderly grandparents, friends with tight budgets or tough work schedules, about-to-pop preggos, etc) won't be able to join. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding your destination wedding!! I'm very proud with how ours turned out, and didn't even come close to breaking the bank, thank god!!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!