Maui Wedding Coordinator Review

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!!
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Re: Maui Wedding Coordinator Review

  • edited December 2012
    This sounds horrible!!! I'm so sorry that you have to go through this. I did consider to hire her and now I'm glad that I didn't do it.

    Just curious... Did you pay her tips after the wedding?
  • Wow, that is unfortunate.  I'm glad your other vendors worked out.  The wedding industry is interesting over there.  Big business and hard to know who you can trust.
    I also interviewed Lori and she had rave reviews, but her fee was too high for me.  Interestingly, the quote she gave me fit my budget even with her high fee.  Makes me tend to agree with you that she gets kick backs and can adjust prices accordingly.
    I ended up using Cherise from The Perfect Wedding Maui and I loved her because she was very professional and upfront.  I researched a lot of my own vendors and she was totally fine with that.  It made me confident that she wasn't ripping me off at all.
  • I did not tip her. I'd read that you're not supposed to tip owners of businesses, only their assistants. I also read that you could give a gift to your coordinator if you felt they did a good job, so obviously, I didn't give her a gift, either. I was never told about her assistant by Lori, but Jackie did send me 2 emails for Lori. I didn't feel like I did any actual business with Jackie, so I don't know anything about her. 

    Lori did send me a check for $97 this week to reimburse me the for the "transportation fee" for the makeup artist that I didn't use. Because I talked to the artist, I now know that this isn't her transportation fee and is merely a sum that Lori made up. But, whatever. Lori had quoted me $230 for makeup. I misquoted the price in my above review. I got the makeup and hair quotes mixed up, so she actually only added $100 to the total of what the makeup artist actually charges. However, I don't know how much the lady who actually did my makeup charged. It still appears that I paid at least $130 after receiving a refund check (and I did give the makeup/hair person a 20% tip). 

    I would like to add that I don't think Lori is a bad person. She just really irritated me with her unprofessional behavior. I think that she's probably a nice person. I just think she's a very disorganized wedding planner, and a wedding planner should be nothing if not organized. 
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  • Wow I am so sorry to hear about your experience. The wedding coordinator is the one person who should NOT cause additional stress. I'm sure your pictures will be beautiful.

    I actually almost booked with Lori, but something told me no. Plus I also thought her fee for day of coordination was a little much. 
  • So sorry to hear that you had such a frustrating experience! Thank you for sharing your experience so other brides can be aware. I saw she had rave reviews and almost booked her but ended up going with a different WC. Some brides who used her before mentioned that she is slow to reply, but your experience is ridiculous... At least everything else worked out and it sounds like the wedding was wonderful despite the unnecessary stress you went through!
  • My total for Jessica's in room make up package which I believe is the standard one was $155 for Bride Service + $75 for Travel = $239.59 - so $230 is right in line with that.  
  • Martie,

    I looked at your profile to see your other posts, but it's all marked private. How did you know that Jessica was the makeup artist I was supposed to have? I never said what my makeup artist's name was. That's kind of odd...
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  • Wow that sounds like my experience with them. I had to dismiss them as the service was so horrible. I spoke with other people on the island as well and the said that this company only likes to use her vendors , reason is they have agreements to raise the prices. Thats why they do not want you to use you own vendors. Check your invoices and search around. I found them to be dishonest and very hard to get a hold of. Made my experience horrible. Honestly. I would not recommend them to anyone.
  • zachsmommy11,

    I am so sorry to hear that your wedding event didn't go well.  I had the exact opposite experience with Lori and Jamie.   They both were very helpful and accommodating and never felt a hint of them pushing me to hire one vendor over another.  They gave us a list of vendors and we did our own homework and decided on who would be best for us.  We also used vendors that were not on her list that we found on the internet.  I can honestly say that my wedding was as perfect as I imagined it to be.  No hiccups other than the threat of rain that never came.  Our over 85 guests were very impressed with the whole event which was held at the Olowalu Plantation House.  Lori and Jamie went out of their way to make sure that everything went well.  Every little detail was taken care of.  I have Jamie and Lori to thank for a very memorable wedding.  I would gladly recommend them to anyone.

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