So I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of 5 years on December 17. It happened at the French Laundry in Napa, California. It was on my desert I discovered a piece of chocolate with the words written "Will you marry me?". Well anyways, my mind has been racing thinking of nothing but the wedding of course! We have yet to set a date but expect it to be within between 1 year (December 2011) to 1 1/2 years (Summer 2012), depending on his entrance and acceptance into medical school. Our favorite place to travel together is Maui, Hawaii, so therefore we plan to have a destination wedding with just our close family and friends. The venue we are currently interested in is The Grand Wailea Chapel which has a sunset wedding package that we are interested in for about $8,000. Although it is a pretty much all inclusive package, it still seems very expensive. However, there is the other option of just reserving only the chapel and chapel lawn for $5,600, which includes only a wedding planner. Therefore, I was wondering whether the knot community thinks it would be best and most affordable to do the package, or to just reserve the chapel and have the wedding planner assist me with outsourcing the other details to local businesses (florists,officiants, musician, etc.)
Also, considering we have a lot of family and friends we know will not be able to make it due to being a destination wedding, we are expecting pretty much only our immediate family and a few uncles and aunts to attend. After the ceremony we plan to go to Mama's Fish House or a Wailea restaurant for dinner as a small reception. Because we have so much family and friends who I know would make it if it was local, would it make sense to also have a large reception once we return from the honeymoon so everyone could celebrate with us? If so, we planned on having an outdoor tent reception with catering, music, and a video montage of the actual ceremony, as well as a cupcake tier. So would having a reception after seem like a good idea?
For my last question, we have many close friends who we would have chosen to be our bridesmaids and groomsmen if the wedding was local. However, because they are all college students like us, we know it is likely many would not be able to attend a destination wedding. Although we would love for them to join us, we know we can not afford to pay for their flight and accomodations. Therefore, should we even have a wedding party? If not, is there any way we could somehow still include them or honor them at the reception, if they cannot make our ceremony?
Having a Hawaiian beach wedding has always been my dream and one I think we both share, I just want to get these final details in order before reserving my dates. Thanks for any help, opinions, or advice you can give me!
-A Racing Mind