Our favourite destination wedding of 2011, our beautiful friends Kristina and Josh were married on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Turtle Bay Resort was the perfect setting for their nuptials.
Truly a fairytale story, Josh and Kristina met by chance on St Patricks Day while Kristina was backpacking around Australia, and Josh was on business in Sydney. A story that you would only believe hearing it first hand from the couple themselves, it was complete fate that brought those two together. A leap of faith by Kristina in moving to Australia, here they are now, married 4 years later. (See Kristina & Josh’s story at the end of this post)
Planning a destination wedding can’t have been easy, but Kristina pulled it off without a hitch! I thought that I would ask Kristina to share a few pieces of wisdom around destination wedding planning.
1. What was the hardest thing about planning a destination wedding?
I think every mom dreams of helping their daughter plan their wedding, and a lot of moms get to do this because their daughter lives close to the family home, so mom is close and able to support when needed. My mom lives in Florida and because I was planning the wedding from across the world, and having the wedding in Hawaii, a place my mom or I had never been, it was very hard for her to feel involved in all the wedding planning. I know she wishes she could have done more, and having a destination wedding made this very hard for her, I was very lucky because on the day she did such an amazing job helping me and I was the luckiest bride to have her walk me down the aisle.
Functionally, I found it hard to find affordable vendors. Once I picked the venue, the hotel gave me a list of vendors, but they were all the most expensive in the area. My first quote, from one of the florist on the list, told me they only do a minimum of $8,000 for flowers, which was not in my budget. I had to rely on third party websites with testimonials to find all of my vendors.
2. What is one tip you’d offer brides planning a destination wedding?
When planning a destination wedding, you don’t have to make decisions on the quality based on price. I went with the vendors that had the best testimonials from customers on their website and also third party websites such as theknot.com. I did not choose any vendor that was not listed with testimonials. I feel that a company that strives to receive good testimonials will do a great job for you on the day, because they want you to write a glowing testimonial for them afterwards.
3. What was your favourite part of the wedding day?
Marrying Josh of course! I also loved the opportunity to have all of my Australian friends and family meet my American friends and family, and everyone got to make a holiday of it and really get to know each other. My wedding was spread out over a week, and I really felt that I got time to talk to everyone. So on the actual wedding night, I felt comfortable just staying on the dance floor all night! The week went by so quickly, I can’t imagine how quickly it would have gone if it was only one night. The destination wedding made everyone feel like they were on a holiday and everyone seemed to really relax. The best was when I would walk down to the hotel bar or pool and I would see my American friends having a beer with my Australian friends. It made me so happy to know that everyone was making new friends at our wedding!
The best part about a destination wedding is getting to spend so much time with your group of friends. There were a few days before and after the wedding that we could spend time with the bride and groom, as well as our friends. We would get up in the morning and go down the beach, and already a number of people we knew were down there with cocktails. Having it at Turtle Bay really made the whole experience so special.
Kristina was so conscious of everyone coming to Hawaii for their wedding, and endeavoured to really plan activities surrounding the days of the wedding, and involving their guests as much as possible, with dinners and lunches and a post-wedding brunch. Being on a resort, we pretty much got to try all the bars and restaurants over the course of the 5 days.
Too hard to pick my favourite moments, but here are a few highlights
- Kristina’s dress! Her Collette Dinnigan dress was so flattering, and so perfect for her beachside wedding. Absolutely stunning bride!
- The bride and her girlfriends getting up and doing a choreographed dance to Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”
- Dean’s speech – the bride’s brother in law whom has been like a father to Kristina. Such a moving speech and really spoke volumes to his love for Kristina
- Mismatched bridesmaid dresses! Allowing the girls to choose their own styles, but in the same colour, loved it.
- The party music – We did not get off that dancefloor for the entire evening!
- The bridal party’s flowers – organised by the resort, the orange flowers complemented the dresses so beautifully.
Our amazing Villa
For Les and myself, staying at one of the villas with our friends Mark and Vanessa, and their gorgeous little girl, as well as one of the groomsmen, James, it made it all the more fun. Staying with friends and always having people over for drinks, dinner and laughs, was one of things that I enjoyed the most about the trip.
Josh & Kristina’s story:
Josh and I met on March 17th 2007, on St. Patricks Day.
I was traveling around Mexico and South America when my friend’s grandmother become sick. I had given up my job and put everything in storage in order to travel so I was not going to go back home, and I continued on traveling but decided that Mexico was not the place to travel alone. So I decided to fly to Australia.
I arrived in Australia at 9:00am on the 16th March and after several hours of searching for a hostel on St. Patricks Day weekend in Sydney I finally found one right in the middle of the city. I was so excited to be there I put my bags down and went straight to see the Sydney Harbor bridge and the Opera house then I came back to the hostel to rest. When I was told by my flatmates that everyone was going out for a bar crawl. I decided to push through even though I was extremely tired, and go out for the night. My life would be completely different if I would have decided to stay back and rest. It was one of those sliding doors moments.- The group I was with went to a couple different bars, but the last bar was where I met Josh.
He came up to me a couple times in the night asking me to dance and I kept turning him down, but finally on the third offer I decided he was actually pretty cute and I went and danced with him.
The funny part is I arrived at 9:00am in Sydney and met Josh just after midnight. It was a very lucky St. Patricks day for both of us.
There is a lot of stuff in the middle, but the short part is I continued traveling around Australia and south East Asia, and Josh and I kept in touch throughout the travels, I got really sick in Southeast Asia and could not get a hold of my mom back in the States, and the only other person I really wanted talk to was Josh. So I called him!!! He was so sweet and caring, and that is when I started to fall in love with him.
I went back to the states and decided I was going to do my MBA in Australia and Josh and I were going to try the living with each other thing and see if this holiday fling was real!
Location – Turtle Bay Resort // Bride’s dress – Collette Dinnigan // Grooms suit – Joe Black the Tailor // Bridesmaid dresses – David’s Bridal // Groomsmen suits – Joe Black the Tailor // Flowers – Flower Farm // Celebrant – Alice Inoue // Turtle Bay Resort Catering Coordinator – Tiare Boon