Realistically, how far in advance should one start planning?

KiMA3KiMA3 member
Aloha ladies, I just had a question for you all.

I just recently got engaged in Maui and my fiance and I are planning to have the wedding there as well. We live in Canada so I am a little nervous about planning this from far away and I don't know if we'll be able to go back to check out venues and vendors and etc.

For any of you who have planned a DW in Hawaii, how much time did you allow for planning? We're most likely going to have a beach wedding with no more than 30 people or so.

Thanks in advance!

Re: Realistically, how far in advance should one start planning?

  • My engagement was 2 years, but that was mostly so we could save enough money to pay for it all, as well as that was the timing that worked out for me school-timeline-wise.  Other than that, a lot of girls plan for a year, but I have heard of girls doing it a few months out as well.  Just depends, because if you have your heart set on something you need to make sure it is available.  Things book up fast in Maui, especially in the summer months.
  • KiMA3KiMA3 member
    Thanks DazzlingDeb23, it looks like we have a similar plan to yours. We have chosen a date that is roughly 2 years after the day he proposed (April 2015) for more or less the same reasons so I was really curious as to when we should actually start booking vendors and what not. Thanks for your advice!
  • For the big ticket items that I really wanted (venue, food, photographer) I actually booked those 2 years out (18 months-2 years). I felt like that was really early but it was so nice to get those things off my mind and know that they were set in stone! Then after that I hired my coordinator and she slowly started filling in the rest.  By about 1 year out I had everything booked (hair, makeup, etc). Then it was just a waiting game for the last minute details.  Overall this worked out great because I had plenty of time between when I placed deposits and when to pay in full (most people want the remainder about 30 days out).

    Also, to rest your worries, I never did a planning trip or visited the venue or met anyone in person.  I HEAVILY relied on this board, many reviews, and Yelp.  I was worried at first, but once I got to the island and my big day came, everything went perfectly.  Some small issues here and there may have arisen, but I was the only one who ever noticed and everyone had a great time. Planning from home can totally be done, but I would highly suggest at least a day of coordinator so you can relax and enjoy the day. 
  • 12-18 months out for venue and 12 months out for vendors.
  • KiMA3KiMA3 member
    This is some really awesome info and it sounds like a great way to go about it. Spacing out the time will definitely put me at ease. Thank you so much!
  • For most private estate weddings in Maui you'll have to find a wedding coordinator for insurance issues. I found mine about 8 months ahead of time and she helped book everything from there.  A lot of things we didn't have to confirm until a month ahead of the wedding date. I also never visited Maui and just relied on the board and web searches to pick everything out and it turned out just fine! We had 40 guests and 8 months was more than enough time to get everything ready. 

    Big things to decide first are the date/venue! If you have your heart set on a popular wedding spot then I'd try to book that as soon as you decide. For example, when you start researching you'll see that Olawalu is a very popular wedding spot, but wasn't available for the date/time I wanted when I started to inquire 8 months before my May wedding. Also, time of year you're getting married will also impact availability of venues/vendors...Good luck planning!
  • KiMA3KiMA3 member
    I checked out some of the private estates and some of them look GORGEOUS! Some of them are way beyond our price range but hey, a girl can dream ;) I think we might go with something a little smaller though as we are more likely to just have our family and close friends in attendance, so we will probably have something like 30 guests, give or take.

    We definitely have 2 things set so far: the time of year and the fact that we want a pre-sunset wedding. I was thinking that maybe a chartered sunset dinner cruise might make a nice reception idea as well...

    By the way Pillbug88, did you plan everything on your own or did you hire a wedding planner?
  • I was engaged and planned everything six months out.  I'm doing a fall wedding on the Big Island at a resort for around 30 people and since it's not going to be in high season and I was looking to get married on either a Sunday or Monday I had no problem finding venues with availability.  You can certainly fill 12 months if you choose to wait that long, but it can be done in 6 months. Best of luck!!!
  • KiMA3KiMA3 member
    I looove the Big Island. My fiance drove around the entire island when we visited Hawaii in April and although those roads are nuts on the north and south coasts, I loved how much there was to see and do. I know your wedding will be beautiful!

    If you don't mind my asking, how much was your budget? I'm just curious because we're anticipating about the same number of guests and we're doing ours on a weekday as well.
  • Kima3 PM'd you.
  • Kima3, I PM'd you as well!! Let me know if you have any further questions!!
  • depends on your venue, most of the ones we looked at booked 12-14 months in advance

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