We got married on Nov 23rd and just returned this past Saturday. I didn't write much on here during the wedding planning, but I feel I must warn brides about some issues I had with my coordinator. We got engaged a year ago, and at the time this wedding coordinator had good reviews, which is why I chose her. However, she did not live up to her reviews. The coordinator is Lori Lawrence at Tropical Maui Weddings. Lori was very nice and helpful until we chose our photographer
. We ended up LOVING our photographer, but for some reason, she tried to talk me out of using him (he's even on her website). I think the real reason must be that she doesn't get kickbacks from this photographer, because after we chose him, she became hard to reach and generally unavailable.
I was not a demanding bride. I had a small wedding on the beach, and I didn't need that much. I asker her opinion on shuttles for our wedding party to spend Thanksgiving in Lahaina (we were staying at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea). She told me she'd get quotes for me on the shuttles. That was on March 26th. She FINALLY gave me a quote on September 30th. That's 6 months after I first asked for a quote! Obviously, I'd ended up booking the shuttles myself by then. Another example: I went from July 6th until August 23rd without hearing from her at all. After that, I was done. I was still nice when I did hear from her again(which wasn't until October 10th), because I knew I was going to have to work with her when I got to Maui. I finally started getting information from her the week before we left for Maui. It was absolutely crazy! Even worse, she told me 3 times in a phone call last spring that she wasn't making any money off of our wedding...3 TIMES!!
The kicker came on the wedding day when my makeup artist didn't show up. I have since talked to that makeup artist (for the 1st time), and guess what??? Lori NEVER BOOKED HER!!! Last spring, she'd tried to talk me out of using her, but I was adamant. So, when the makeup artist I wanted didn't show up on my wedding day (2 hours before the ceremony) lo and behold, the person Lori originally wanted me to hire was available to do my makeup. Does anyone else smell a rat? I'd originally wanted a makeup artist so I could have my makeup airbrushed on. This person applied makeup the normal way. I was sweaty looking, had faded lipstick and had black under my eyes by the end of the ceremony. I could have done a much better job on my own. I will never forget this, because I'll have pictures to remind me of it for the rest of my life. Hopefully, the photographer can photoshop the pictures.
I LOVED our photographer, LOVED our florist, LOVED our videographer and LOVED our officiant!! I also LOVED our musician, Jamie (who is Lori's husband). Ironically, the wedding coordinator is the ONLY person involved with the wedding who caused me any stress at all. I can't tell you how many tears I shed over the past few months because of this woman. But, I was scared to fire her because I didn't want to lose vendors. I now know that wouldn't have happened.
I heard from a few people who are in the wedding business on Maui that they wish brides would just book directly with them and not use a wedding planner at all. I found out that Lori had jacked up my quote on my makeup artist by almost $200 (and I STILL wanted her). In hindsight, if I were just starting the wedding process, I'd find my own vendors based on reviews and vendor websites. You can usually tell if you're going to click with someone by talking to them on the phone and seeing their work. Our photographer and minister are the ones who told everyone where to be on the actual day, and they were so easy to work with. I will write reviews (GREAT REVIEWS) of all the other people involved in our wedding in the next few days. But, please, please, please think twice when hiring a wedding planner!!