Reviews of my June Olowalu Wedding-- Very Long, but good info :)

I used this board so much in my planning, that I definitely wanted to give back in the form of reviews.  I know how helpful a review can be...so here they are.

Wedding Coordinator- Sandra Wagner from A Maui Wedding Day: B-

I worked with Sandra since the beginning of my planning process, so around 2 years total.  In the beginning I would email her here and there and although she took a while to respond I understood because my wedding was far out.  However, as the day drew closer, I would have to email her the same email 2-3 times before I would get a response. And even in her response, she would only respond to half of my questions. This was quite frustrating. On the day of the rehearsal, she seemed quite flustered as if she doesn’t do this all the time.  My wedding party left the rehearsal more confused than they came. She was also very soft spoken, and since we were outside most of the wedding party could barely here her talking.  In talking with her on rehearsal day, she started to scare me a bit because when I asked her specifics that I had paid for (a babysitter to watch my sisters twin infants) she responded with a puzzled demeanor and did not remember I hired one.  I had to show her on the contract where it was.  And then, she told me about the layout of the day, and she informed me where the buffet would be…that would be great if I had a buffet.  I had a sit down dinner service.  These little details worried me the day before my wedding but I assured myself she was just stressed because she had another wedding the day before mine (which is also nerve wrecking). On the day of the wedding she had most of the things under control.  With the help of my bridesmaids, she was on the right track with most of my DIY items I brought.  However, when it came to some of the vendors that she hired for me, I was very dissatisfied (see following reviews).  I allowed her to choose my officiant, the rentals, the music, and the DJ. 

Officiant- Pia Aluli: A

I only met Pia right before the ceremony.  He explained how everything would go and calmed my nerves.  At the ceremony he did a great job projecting his voice and doing a wonderful Hawaiian chant. He was very kind and did a great job.



I am unsure who did our rentals, as they were booked through the coordinator, but they did a great job with the setup and layout of the lights.

However, I was supposed to have a mic for the ceremony, and there was not one.  My coordinator later informed me that it didn’t work when they set it up. This was upsetting because it made it difficult for the crowd to hear us.  


Live Music: Junior Siqueria: A-

For the ceremony entrance, Junior played live on guitar. I did not hear most of it as I was like the last one down the aisle (obviously), but I did hear the song I wanted as I walked down the aisle.  However, the same cannot be said for my bridesmaids or my exit song. I specifically created a list of all the songs I wanted played, and it is my belief that he never received this from my coordinator.  Therefore, I am not downgrading him very much for it.  He did a great job playing throughout the cocktail hour as well.


DJ- I do not know his name as he was booked through my coordinator: C-

I was VERY upset with how the DJ worked out. I did not hire him myself, and I would NOT suggest him to anyone.  I am sure, once again, my coordinator played a role in his downfall, as I had set songs for all my dances, and I don’t think he ever received the list.  I also do not think he received my request list for the dancing hour.  LUCKILY, I had a very special mix for our first dance, so I had burned a CD with all our songs on it.  He used it for the first dance, and then he had to have one of my bridesmaids listen to the CD so she could tell him which ones to play for mother/son and father/daughter dance.  If I did not bring my own CD, I would have not had those dances (very sad, in my opinion).  When it came to cake cutting (which my coordinator insisted I do before dinner- didn’t make much sense to me) he didn’t even announce it to the family, so no one was even watching us cut.  I had to purposely stop cutting, and wait for him to get the clue to announce it. The night was almost over and I still did not have a money dance.  I had to go remind him, 5 minutes before the reception was over, that I wanted one (I have no idea where my coordinator was for that).  Also, the songs for bouquet toss and garter toss were definitely not what I had chosen.  Basically I wasted a lot of my time picking those songs for nothing.


Food-Food for the Soul Catering: A ++++++++++++ !!!!

I CANNOT GIVE ENOUGH GREAT REVIEWS for Food For the Soul.  Tina was awesome to work with, and had I known, I would have had her coordinate my whole day! She was so sweet over the phone and walked me through every step.  I had some picky eaters and she helped me out and made sure they were happy.  I never even had a chance to meet her the day of the wedding, but I know she was working hard behind the scenes.  Her staff was so courteous and my family loved the service.  They also cannot stop RAVING about the food.  I was so nervous and excited I couldn’t eat, but once I tasted the food, I MADE myself eat!! The appetizers, the food, the cake…. ALL OF IT was awesome!! The food was great and I cannot recommend them enough.  This was one of the few things I booked on my own, and I am very happy that I did.

FFTS also took care of the bar.  I had one signature drink, wine, and beer.  I bought all my alcohol ahead of time at Costco, and for about 50 people I spent around $400.  I feel this saved me a ton of money.


Venue-Olowalu Plantation House: A ++++++++++++!!!!!

Since I planned this entire wedding from California, I was hoping that Olowalu Plantation House would be everything I had hoped and dreamed of … and when I finally saw it in person, it was all that and more!!! It is such a gorgeous venue, and its beauty will just blow you away!! If you are unsure about having your wedding there, don’t be! It is worth every penny!! People are telling me daily about how it was the best wedding venue ever!! The plantation style porch was perfect for enjoying the morning and getting ready, and then the outdoor beachfront grass was the perfect spot for the reception and ceremony.  I would choose this place over and over again…it is PERFECT.


Hair and Makeup- Karine Cummings, Bridal Hair on Maui: A

After searching the boards to find a cheaper alternative for hair and makeup, I came across Karine and was happy I did.  She charged much less than other people I quoted for hair and airbrush makeup.  She had her assistant, Cherie, help with the makeup while she did the hair.  This was my first airbrush experience and I thought it came out very nice.  I absolutely LOVED my hair.  Both ladies were very nice.  Karine makes some very funny comments and jokes while she does your hair, so just be prepared ;)… but overall she made for a great fun time.  This was another item I booked on my own, and I am happy that  I did.


Photography- Melissa McClure at Melissa McClure Photography: A +++++++++

Melissa is amazing! I found out about her on this board originally, and since she was from San Diego, not far from me, I hired her right away.  She did our engagement shoot, and I loved the photos.  On Maui, we did a Trash the Dress Shoot, and she took us to MANY amazing locations.  It was so much fun.  She also made sure to get the underwater shots I wanted.  On the day of the wedding, she was like a photographer, a coordinator, and a personal drink lady! She was awesome and always on top of it!!! She would tell me where to be, what to do, and then she would bring my husband and I drinks! She was on top of it all night.  I am so THANKFUL for how amazing she is, and the GORGEOUS work she does.  So far I have only seen teasers, but I can’t even stop looking at those.  I know the rest will be just as gorgeous.  And, even though she got injured while at the wedding (a bee stung her!) she put on her tough girl face and acted like it didn’t hurt and pushed right through shooting photos! That, to me, is serious talent.  And…she was much cheaper than Maui photographers.  She is a great photographer overall and anyone interested in her should just contact her!


Overall, I had an amazing wedding.  Although almost none of my songs were played, I never let that get to me and I still danced the night away and had a great time.  Most of the things that could have been improved on were minor details, but I feel they could have been addressed ahead of time with a little bit better planning, which is why I mention them in my reviews. If you have any questions about anyone I worked with, I would be more than happy to answer them.  I have much more to share, but didn’t want to put in all the details to make it too much longer. 

Re: Reviews of my June Olowalu Wedding-- Very Long, but good info :)

  • Melissa shot our wedding at Olowalu and also shot year anniversary pics last year in Maui - we love her!  So glad you had a great day! 
    Photobucket Photobucket Anniversary
  • I believe I learned about her by reading one of your reviews... so thank you! thank you! for "introducing" me to the most amazing photographer I have ever met! She does amazing work!
  • lgoekelgoeke member
    Sixth Anniversary First Comment
    Thanks for the incite and reviews!!! I am wondering who you used for your flowers and how that turned out? 
  • I used Valerie Spalding for my flowers... I really only ordered a bridal bouquet because I used parasols for my bridesmaids (that was A LOT cheaper and looked super cute in photos).  My bouquet was made of roses and orchids, and it seemed to die very quickly throughout the night.  I was a little sad that it was not even holding up, as I planned to keep it in water for a few days, but instead since it looked so dead I used it for the bouquet toss.  I did also have fresh leis for myself and both moms, and those were gorgeous and very fragrant.  Hope that helps. Feel free to ask any other questions!
  • DazzlingDeb23  I sent you a Private message :)..
  • Valerie Spalding did some of my flowers too (specialty leis and monstera leaves for placemats). She was great - really reasonable.
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