We recently had a fun newlywed couple come to us with a GREAT engagement story.  Ever think about proposing to your loved one with a flash mob in the middle of the Las Vegas strip followed by a small Maui beach wedding?  We love it!

“Here is our story…

I met John several years back at a pet store that we worked at. I was going in to purchase dog food and treats for my two labs and chose this mom and pop pet store (since I love to support local stores.) From there it was love at first sight, a firefighter (myself) and a pet store manager lol. Neither of us were “out” at the time so it took us a while to finally come out to our friends and family, sharing our relationship and who we truly were.
Several years later, when we traveled to Las Vegas so I could run the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon, I set up a flash mob proposal in front of our family and friends along with everyone on the Vegas strip. John was totally shocked and everything was perfect.
Then a year later while planning our wedding, gay marriage at the time wasn’t legal in our home state of Texas and we knew Texas would be one of the last states to approve it, so we had to think of a place that was important to us. We also knew that once Texas approved same-sex marriages we still couldn’t have our friend pastors marry us in our own church because Methodist in our conference still don’t approve.

So back in 2013, after we both come out, we took a family cruise to all the Hawaiian islands and really enjoyed Maui the most. Thats when we decided that Maui was the place we wanted to get married at. On 09/24/16, twenty of our close friends and family flew to Maui to witness John and I share our “I do’s”. Our wedding was held on Palauea Beach on a gorgeous sunny day. It was truly amazing and something that neither of us will ever forget. We had come a long way in our relationship, and our lives, to finally join as one.

Maui will forever hold a place in our hearts and our marriage and we can’t wait to return to such a beautiful island!”

Jason & John Barron-Ethridge
Spring, Texas

Photos by Tim Clark at Hawaiian Island Weddings.

Thank you for sharing your amazing proposal and perfect Maui beach wedding with us!  If you have a story with great photos, please share it with us!  Mahalo and aloha!


When A Dream Wedding In Hawaii Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Reprinted from Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lanee-lee/when-a-dream-wedding-in_b_2864133.html#
For many around the world, a destination wedding is a dream. At the top of the list for desired destinations each year is Hawaii. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?
I heard the following story from my friend and fellow travel writer Lindsay Taub and felt compelled to share it. The insights gleaned from this Estonian couple’s journey to realizing their destination wedding in Hawaii are invaluable, especially if you’re planning a Hawaiian wedding from overseas.
When Lindsay’s cousins, Mariliis Leek, and future husband Marko Miggur met, they knew instantly they were soul mates. After six years of dating, they got engaged and the wedding planning began. Their dream was to get married in the tropical paradise of Hawaii that for years had captivated their fantasies.
But there was one obstacle. They’re Estonian and getting to Hawaii from their tiny town north of the country’s capital Tallinn would be no easy feat. Budget would be an issue.
However, it was their dream and they started saving. Seven months later, they embarked on a 23-hour trek to Honolulu to get married on the upcoming weekend.
Although family who had been to Hawaii advised them that perhaps it was worth taking yet another flight to another island such as Kauai, they opted to keep it simple and make Oahu the final destination. Now, dreams are relative and not all Hawaiian wedding dreams are created equal.
Mariliis and Marko’s arrival in Honolulu was a bit of a shock. They didn’t realize that Honolulu would be such a busy, traffic-heavy, fast food-laden, cosmopolitan city. Yes, there were the fragrant leis, the palm trees swaying in the breeze, the juicy tropical fruits, and the warm waters of the Pacific. But it was hardly what they imagined Hawaii would be like.
Upon arrival, they went to the Department of Health to apply for their marriage license. The lines were long but the process was easy enough. But because Estonia requires all legal documents to have an apostille (akin to a notary), they would have to go back after the wedding and again stand in line to process the paperwork.
Sticking with their budget of $5k (not including flights), the couple found a local company who provided a minister and photographer on Waialae Beach near the Kahala Hotel, five miles east of Waikiki. They were promised an expansive grassy lawn area with palm trees, a picturesque sandy beach, a peninsula that lead out to a small tropical off-shore island, and a panoramic view of Koko Head.
The wedding day came. Mariliis was frantic to put the final touches on her dress (she’s an expert seamstress) and exhibited some of the typical nerves of a bride-to-be who wants everything to be perfect. Yet she remained calm.
So too, did the groom, who despite being horrified that they’d found a condom wrapper under the bed in their hotel room the night before (not theirs!), he glowed as he held her hand and they arrived at the ceremony location, which wasn’t quite as picturesque as they expected. Nice, yes. But the beautiful beach and palms were set alongside a condominium’s boardwalk.
And where was the minister?
It turned out the minister had gone to the wrong park. It would be another 20 minutes before he arrived. The clouds were billowing in. The photographer was worried about not getting the ‘dream Hawaii wedding’ shots.
If “Saturday Night Live” created a script for a potential wedding disaster, it might have looked something like this day. Everyone around them seemed to notice that the play-by-play was anything but the dream they’d envisioned, yet it didn’t seem to faze them.
Eventually the short ceremony was performed, including the traditional blow of the conch shell at the end. Although the minister mispronounced Mariliis’ name throughout, to his credit, his spirit was vibrant despite knowing this was not the first or last wedding he’d perform that day.
Were it not for this couple’s palpable and ever-present love for one another, the day might have been disastrous. Was it the paradise they thought it would be? Not so much. Nonetheless, the photographs turned out beautifully, capturing a romantic young couple stepping into life together.
Their celebratory dinner took place at the La Mer, the Halekulani’s AAA Five-Diamond award-winning restaurant along the shores of Waikiki. Meaning “House Befitting Heaven,” Halekulani is a gem of a hotel if large luxury is the objective. Weddings at the property are highly sought-after and booked months in advance at a hefty price (weddings here can cost upwards of $45k).
Based on Lindsay’s recommendations, if you’re headed to Waikiki, for a wedding or otherwise, the prize properties are the Waikiki Parc for the trendy, younger crowd who will enjoy having Nobu sushi at their fingertips and the Halekulani for its fabulous restaurants, seaside pool, shopping and above all else SpaHalekulani, the first spa anywhere to authentically explore the indigenous healing cultures and practices of Polynesia.
Budget options are somewhat limited, but the Aqua hotel chain has various properties in and around Waikiki that are welcoming and efficient. See it as a place to sleep comfortably but take friends or family up on their invitation to relax at their hotel if staying somewhere such as Halekulani.
The biggest challenge with getting married in Hawaii on a budget is that most are not able to take a trip to the islands ahead of time to scope out the location and plan the details.
If you’re the city type, Oahu has much to offer. But if you’re the rustic, away-from the-hustle-and-bustle type, take the extra flight and head for the less populated islands, like Maui, Big Island or Kauai, instead.
Most importantly, keep the focus on what matters most — the love shared and the commitment being made. Mariliis and Marko’s Hawaii experience may not have been everything they thought it would be, but beginning their marital journey by realizing a longtime dream made the day momentous despite the mishaps.
Because they had their families in mind that couldn’t be there for the wedding, they brought along an extra suitcase to bring home a piece of Hawaii. From leis to tiki torches to flowers and music, they hosted a Hawaiian-themed celebration with friends and family in Estonia upon their return. The spirit of aloha was alive in the Baltics.
The couple recently welcomed their first daughter, Mia, into the world. Aloha, indeed.


Press Release: Hawaiian Island Weddings New Wedding Coordinator

Kihei, HI:  Hawaiian Island Weddings Inc. President Tim Clark has just announced  the appointment of a new Wedding Coordinator, Ms. Rachel Venner. Hawaiian Island Weddings, Inc has been providing wedding services throughout Hawaii for over 25 years and provides wedding services on the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii. "Over the years we have hired over 14 wedding coordinators who are the representatives of our Company at our weddings", said Tim Clark, President of Hawaiian Island Weddings, Inc.  

"I feel very comfortable and am enjoying and loving every aspect of on-site wedding coordination as well as the behind the scenes coordination". explained Ms. Venner.

Ms. Venner is a welcome addition to the Hawaiian Island Weddings Team. She has shown her interest in arranging elements of our couples' wedding, making changes to webpages, keeping us updated on our calendar, and making slide show presentations for our wedding couples. Rachel is very smart and confident, we are very excited to be working closely with her on our wedding projects. 

"I feel very comfortable and am enjoying and loving every aspect of on-site wedding coordination as well as the behind the scenes coordination". explained Ms. Venner.


Press Release: Hawaiian Island Weddings New COO

Kihei, HI:  Hawaiian Island Weddings Inc. President Tim Clark has just announced  the appointment of a new Chief Operations Officer, Ms. Molly Balzano. Hawaiian Island Weddings, Inc. has been providing wedding services throughout Hawaii for over 25 years and provides wedding services on the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii. For many years the COO of the company was also the company's Vice President Sheri Clark. In 2014 Mrs. Clark succumb to cancer and passed away. The position was taken over by the President until now. "Ms. Balzano is a very capable and intelligent member of the team", said Tim Clark, President of Hawaiian Island Weddings Inc. "I'm very excited to be working closely with her on every aspect of our couples' special day".

"I'm very excited to be working closely with her on every aspect of our couples' special day".

Ms. Balzano was previously the Sales Manager and Marketing Associate with the Maui Bed Store in Kihei, HI, where she increased sales by energizing her sales team and writing extensive marketing strategies for the business.

Prior to that, she was the Office Manager for Maui Dental Group in Kihei, HI. Where her duties involved working closely with patients, invoicing and bookkeeping, advertising and marketing, procuring new offices, and generally handling all the "non-dental" duties.

"I love new challenges and had a calling (a sign from above even) that I needed to fulfill my destiny in the wedding business"

"I'm very happy to be with the team at Hawaiian Island Weddings! I love new challenges and had a calling (a sign from above even) that I needed to fulfill my destiny in the wedding business", Molly stated. "I'm very happy working with Mr. Clark and Ms. Berce at the corporate offices, and with all the vendors I've met at weddings throughout Maui. I look forward to traveling to other islands to take part in events we arrange over there as well!" Ms. Balzano added.


The Maui Wedding Association 30 Sec. TV Commerciat

Back in 2009, I believe,  I produced this 30 second TV commercial for the Maui Wedding Association. Since then, it had been deleted from the MWA website files for "acting up" with the website apparently.  Since in personal computer years, this was like a million years ago, and since it was no longer available on the internet - I searched, and even the OC16 TV people had not archived it... probably cus it was a commercial,  I had to resurrect two very old computers that I believed it was archived on. Low and behold (does anyone still say that? Showing my age here I guess), I found it in my ancient desktop. God I wish I could have saved that old Doom game I had from years ago too.

Anyway, I tried plugging in my external hard drive but the computer couldn't load the driver for that, and since it's not online, it couldn't search for the correct driver (boy, that's always a headache), so I plugged in an old ScanDisk flash drive, I think one of the first ones ever made, since I knew this computer had used that before. So, that said, here it is. Anti-climactic I suppose.

Full Moon in Cupid Today Friday 2/10/17

Full Moon in Cupid Today Friday. Look at the moon tonight.
Cupid is an inner satellite of Uranus. It was discovered by Mark R. Showalter and Jack J. Lissauer in 2003 using the Hubble Space Telescope. It was named after a character in William Shakespeare's play Timon of Athens.
It is the smallest of inner Uranian satellites, crudely estimated to be only about 18 km in diameter. This and the dark surface made it too dim to be detected by the Voyager 2 cameras during its Uranus flyby in 1986.
The orbit of Cupid differs only by 863 km from the orbit of the larger moon Belinda. Unlike Mab and Perdita, Uranian satellites also discovered in 2003, it does not seem to be perturbed.

Side note: It's comforting to note that Cupid is not "Perturbed", haha


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Hawaiian Island Weddings 16 Year Analysis of Trends

We started talking a lot about how the real estate crash as an effect on Hawaiian Island Weddings and the growth or loss involved with each president in office. George W. Bush was in office 2000 - 2008. There was not much decline in number of weddings post 911, even though we were in wars, people felt safe traveling to Hawaii. The sharp decline in revenues after 2008 is a direct response to 6 million people loosing their homes and 8 million people being put out of work.

During the Barack Obama presidency from 2008 - 2016, we see a recovery in 2010 where, although we are only doing slightly more weddings, revenues are higher as people are spending more money on their weddings. This peeks in 2012 but declines from 2013 - 2015. We can't say this is all caused by the economy, as there are other factors involved, such as millennials doing more searching from social platforms and Google search results resulting in fewer bookings.

2016 shows an upswing in both weddings & revenues. 2017 has started out promising with approximately 55 weddings on the books at the start of 2017. Being that the average number of weddings per year has been around the 100, and with the February engagement season just around the corner (Valentine's Day is the second most popular engagement season after Christmas & New Years) we are hoping for an increase in the number of weddings over the 2008 - 2016 flat era.    

Hoping for continued upswing in 2017 under the Donald Trump administration. How can we use the tactics that got Trump elected to convenience more couple to be married in Hawaii. 

Graphs show years 2001 - 2016

The Gen Xers are on the decline and are not the ones who are getting married. The Millennials are moving back in with their parents, have high college debt, and are don't see any financial benefit from being married, and can't afford to have children although, they must be having children as there are 69 million post millennials (no name for them yet), but can they afford to come to Hawaii to be married.

LGBT Couples gained the right to legally marry in June 26, 2015. Although it was legal to marry in Hawaii in 2014.
Hawaiian Island Weddings performed 12 same-sex marriages in 2014 (12% of our total weddings), but only 6 in 2015 (8% of our total weddings). Since it was legal throughout the country in 2015, couples chose to be married at home. In 2016 we performed only 1 same-sex wedding (less than 1% of our total weddings).  Even though our website "Hawaii Gay Weddings"
( http://hawaiigayweddings.org/ ) comes up #1 in Google search for the term Hawaii Gay Weddings.


Common Mistakes Brides Make During Wedding Planning

10 of the most common mistakes brides make while planning, so you know what to look out for when prepping for the big day.
What to Avoid:
- Announcing your engagement on social media right away; take the time to inform close friends and family first.
- Making decisions (especially venue and catering selections) before creating a guest list. It’s important to know the rough size of your wedding so there’s enough room.
- On a similar note, though the average turnout can be expected to be 80% of your guest list, you cannot guarantee that and should not invite more people than can fit in your venue, or than you can afford.
- Getting started on planning before you’ve figured out your budget is an easy way to go over your spending limit.
- Be sure to carefully read and negotiate your vendor contracts so you know you’re getting everything you expect.
- Not having a “Plan B” in case of rain can lead to a disaster for outdoor nuptials.
- Overestimating your DIY skill set is likely to cost more time and money than simply buying or commissioning what you were hoping to make.
- Ordering a dress in too small of a size doesn’t mean you will fit into it; it’s easier to alter a dress that’s too big than the other way around. Besides, you should not try crash diets in an attempt to completely change your body anyway.
- Don’t forget to break in your shoes, otherwise you’ll spend the day in pain instead of bliss.
- It may be your day, but it’s also your future spouse’s day, and both of your families likely care deeply. Ignoring all of their opinions starts everything off on the wrong foot.


Stolen Camera Finder

I wonder if this works. Also, what are you gonna do if you know someone has your camera?