Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Hawaii Weddings and Events Blog

Aloha and Happy New Year!

As they say, out with the old and in with the new!

As 2009 draws to a close, we're phasing out this blog and as we launch our new blog which has a great photo gallery of different venues, is linked in with our Twitter (Hawaii Wedding) and Facebook Fan Page (Hawaii Weddings and Events).

Please visit our photo gallery on our new blog at

Monday, November 9, 2009

Continued education is the key to success

I've spent the past few days working on my CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) recertification application which by default has made me reflect on the past five years as I have to document continuing experience, continuing education, memberships and professional contributions in order maintain the CMP designation.

Going through the process, I realize how much I have enjoyed and learned from attending National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) leadership and educational conferences and how instrumental it has been in my career.

In the past five years, I've been to conferences in Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando (where I received Best Themed Food and Beverage Award), Houston, Orlando and Philadelphia, and look forward to Austin this coming July.

The mission of NACE is “To provide catering and event professionals superior education, networking and resources to enhance career success and deliver excellence to clients.”

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What is CPCE and CMP?

“Start with a company that you can trust......….Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited and NACE national award winning full service event planning firm with Hawaii’s ONLY Certified Professional Catering Executive (CPCE) and Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) dedicated to service excellence”

The above paragraph is listed on our Hawaii Weddings and Events website and I’m often asked what the CPCE and CMP designations represent and how does it help you.

The CPCE is all aspects of catering (see core competencies listed below) which is both on-premise (ie: hotel, facility) as well as off-premise which is for such locations as Lanikuhonua, Kualoa Ranch or Loulu Palms.

The CMP exam is geared more towards the convention, festival and corporate side of my secondary business (President of Hawaii Event Group) which includes a corporate event at the Honolulu Zoo for 2800 guests, assisting with logistics for the Pan Pacific Festival (Waikiki Block Party), the first ever Personal Finance Expo and the very successful fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Honolulu.

Below are excerpts from the respective website that give you a better understanding of the experience and education level you have to have just to have the opportunity to take the exams.

CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL CATERING EXECUTIVE (CPCE). The National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) encourages the professional development of caterers and event specialists through voluntary participation in its certification program. Achievement of the Certified Professional Catering Executive (CPCE) designation demonstrates expertise in catering earned by taking a comprehensive examination that covers the seven core competencies of the catering and event management industry.

The goals of the CPCE program are to:
• Establish a nationally recognized standard of competence in catering.
• Promote professional commitment to excellence in catering.
• Endorse active participation in educational offerings that support the continued competency of Certified Professional Catering Executives.
• Aid employers in identifying qualified catering personnel.
• Enhance the professional image of the catering executive.
• Provide a sense of personal achievement for the advancement of one’s career.

In order to sit for the CPCE certification exam, a minimum of 30 points which is comprised of the following components
• Experience in Catering or Event Management
• Education and Continuing Education
• Industry membership and leadership positions
• Professional achievements (seminar presenter, author of published article, teacher, other certifications and awards)

Seven core competencies are on the CPCE exam:
1) Accounting
2) Beverage Management
3) Catering Services
4) Contracts and Agreements
5) Event Management
6) Food Production
7) Sales and Marketing


The foremost certification of the meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry, the CMP program recognizes individuals who have achieved the industry's highest standard of professionalism. Established in 1985, the CMP credential increases the proficiency of meeting professionals by:

• Identifying a body of knowledge;
• Establishing a level of knowledge and performance necessary for certification;
• Stimulating the advancement of the art and science of meeting management;
• Increasing the value of practitioners to their employers;
• Recognizing and raising industry standards, practices and ethics;
• Maximizing the value received from the products and services provided by Certified Meeting Professionals.

Through the CMP program, individuals who are employed in meeting management pursue continuing education, increase their industry involvement, and gain industry-wide recognition. The requirements for certification are based on professional experience and a written examination. Currently, over 13,000 individuals in 35 countries and territories have earned the CMP designation.

The CMP Board of Directors includes one representative from each planner organization of CIC and four representatives from the supplier category. The CMP Board represents the profession's diversity and serve as a voice for stakeholders who have an interest in maintaining a high industry standards.

• Minimum 3 years experience in meeting management to apply
• Application must be approved with a minimum of 90 points
• Pass the CMP Exam

We worked hard to achieve the CPCE and CMP designations and truly believe continued education is the key to our success.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Celebrating another anniversary and baby's first birthday

Its' been almost two years since I did Joanne and Collin's wedding of 400 guests at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel's Coconut Grove and Monarch Room ballroom.

The brides' aunties are in the Garden Club and created beautiful florals using the brides' favorite color red.

One of my business partners created their bamboo arch and the bamboo aisle markers which started out high at the beginning of the aisle and then gradually went to the lowest point which was at the front row so that the flowers would not obstruct anyone's view.

The bride is a talented chef and has her own line of gourmet sauces and also does specialty cakes for friends and family. For their wedding, their favors were her own special garlic teriyaki sauce that was awesome and the personal label listed the "ingredients" of a good marriage with a cute caricature of the two of them.

During the course of many other random conversations through the planning process, I found Joanne liked to do new things, so a few months after her wedding I asked her if she would make a cake for my son's baseball theme graduation party.

Joanne found out that my son was a pitcher and created a baseball cake out of rice krispies and other ingredients that was totally edible. It was a big baseball that was on top of pitching mound and had a baseball field with his name and number, and upon it's delivery he got to sign his ball with an "edible" pen like how a professional player would sign a game ball.

As they are nearing their second wedding anniversary, we are also getting ready to celebrate their son's first birthday which is two days later.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Remembering a Royal Hawaiian Hotel Wedding

One of the greatest joys of being a wedding and special event planner is not only helping a client with their most special day, but creating friendships along the way.

Today's featured couple were married at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in September of 2007 (photo courtesy of Love Story Weddings). It's hard to imagine that they were married almost two years ago! It seems like yesterday that we are planning their pink and brown wedding while the bride was finishing her last year of college at the University of San Diego.

As we were planning their wedding, my daughter was getting ready to head to San Diego State University which became a common bond of tears of joy between her mother and I as we watched our little girls grow up.

They are both back in Honolulu now and have since had a baby girl that ironically was born on my son's birthday. I love keeping in touch with my past clients and look forward to the opportunity of helping them with their baby's 1st birthday luau.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Advertising and Marketing Goals

Each year I take a few days out to re-evaluate all of my advertising and marketing goals for the upcoming year. It is through this process that we determine what has provided the best return on our investment.

One of Hawaii Wedding's and Events main goals is to provide fair and reasonable prices to our clients for the level of our experience, value of the time invested in their event and the quality service they will receive.

As a small business owner, we work from a home based business which saves the high overhead cost of renting office space, has been more convenient for our clients as we meet them where they are, and the added bonus of allowing more time to spend with our family.

By carefully managing our paid marketing dollars and "word of mouth" advertising, we have successfully been able to achieve this goal which in turn benefits our future clients. It is through the support of my past brides who have graciously taken the time to write a review of our services on such wedding websites as or continue to refer our name through wedding forums such as The

Our greatest marketing success of the year was when we were awarded the 2009 Bride's Choice Award winner which is based on the number of positive reviews received.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Personal Event Shopper Service

Are you wondering just how you are going to manage to get all of your errands done the week of your wedding day without going crazy?

Let Hawaii Weddings and Events take some of the pressure off of you with our new personal event shopping service. Your time is precious and the days leading up to your wedding should focused on spending time with your family and friends being relaxed and stress-free versus wandering the streets of Honolulu.

Give us your list and let us take care of your errands (including, but not limited to the following):

· Purchasing items and preparing your out-of-town gift bags so that they are ready upon arrival

· Picking up your special linens and delivering to your venue

· Purchasing your beverages for your off-premise events and delivering them to your caterer

· Buying items and stuffing your favor boxes

· Picking up your wedding gown and getting it pressed for you

· Purchasing bridal party gifts and delivering to your rehearsal dinner

· Preparing children activity bags to keep them busy during the wedding reception

· Having your favors, guest book, parasols, etc. shipped to Hawaii in advance and delivered to your hotel upon arrival.

Our Personal Event Shopping Service fee is $45 per hour plus tax (Please keep in mind that this hourly fee not only covers paying for our staff’s time, but it also covers the wear and tear on our vehicles as well as the cost of gas). Rate is reduced to $35 an hour for those that have booked one of our planning and coordination packages.

The hourly fee is charged based upon amount of time it takes to travel to each destination (copies of MapQuest calculations will be used to figure mileage and time) as well as the amount of time it takes to do your shopping and prepare items.

Our Personal Shopping Service is subject to availability of and requires prepayment for our projected time (based on your needs) and for the products that we are purchasing on your behalf. Receipts for all purchases and your change will be provided upon completion of your shopping trip.

Personal shopping service is subject to availability with priority given to Hawaii Weddings and Events couples that have secured one of our coordination packages.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Are you going or participating in the Hawaii Bridal Expo?

The big questions of the week has been.......are you going to (or participating in) the Hawaii Bridal Expo at the Neil Blaisdell Center?

We do plan to attend the Hawaii Bridal Expo at some point of time this weekend (in between our other events) as we are always educating ourselves on what is available for our valued clients, it is always fun to see our old friends (and vendors) and also meet new vendors.

Although we don't have a physical booth at the Hawaii Bridal Expo this weekend, Hawaii Weddings and Events will have a presence at the Pacific Edge Magazine booth #411 where they will be distributing complimentary copies of their latest weddings and events guide.

The Go-To Gal: Dianna Shitanishi of Hawaii Weddings and Events is featured in the 3rd Annual Weddings & Events Guide: Pacific Edge's Guide to Weddings and Events in Hawaii (Leadership Edge-page 18) and as our business continues to grow also has invested in its first half page advertisement (see page 72).

In addition, we are a regular advertiser for BridesClub we also have the following specials featured on

To highlight:

1) First three brides that book our "For My Peace of Mind Package" save $100 (offer expires once first three brides confirm their date).

2) Free 3-tiered wedding cake with "We're Tying the Knot" Full Service Package (offer expires August 31, 2009)

Now my question to you, is are YOU going? If you can, I do encourage you to go, there are so many great ideas and vendors to meet first hand to get a sense of their style. Be sure to sign up with and print your $1.00 coupon at

For your convenience, I've put the dates and hours of the Expo below:

Hawaii Bridal Expo - July
July 24-26, 2009

Neal Blaisdell Center
Phone: 808-527-5400

Friday 5:30 pm to 10 pm
Saturday 10:30 am to 5 pm
Sunday 10:30 am to 4 pm

Fashion Show Times
All day

Friday, July 17, 2009

Be Thankful

An Inspirational Poem
Be Thankful

By Author Unknown

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Those Darn Song Selections

Those Darn Song Selections

For those of you that follow me on Twitter (Hawaii Wedding) you know that waiting for those “darn song selections” is an ongoing process.

In our bridal questionnaire, we not only ask for your wedding ceremony songs but for all of your special moments such as bride and groom entrance, cake cutting ceremony, first dance, father/daughter dance, etc. In addition, we also ask for the demographics of your guests, type of music that you want played , favorite artists and your “do not play” list.

Why do we ask for all of these songs when your wedding may still be months or even a year away?

Actually, the reason is that selecting song selections tends to be the number one procrastinated item in wedding planning , and in many cases, a lot more difficult than couples think. We ask these questions from the very beginning so that during the course of your planning when you listen to music you are more aware of songs and their lyrics and can start deciding the “feel” you want for your wedding.

Our goal is to send out your preliminary timeline with your song selections at least two weeks prior to your wedding day and a final timeline the week of the wedding. This process allows vendors an opportunity to see the entire day at the two week marker and confirm their timing and clarify any discrepancies and they can finish preparations for your wedding day.

What are the potential problems with the delay of providing song selections?

1) Your musician may not know the song, or your DJ may not have the song in their music library. By identifying this early, we can make the appropriate adjustments on the song selection, or the DJ has time to research and add the requested piece to their library for you.

2) Your musician or DJ often has several events in a week’s time with back-to-back gigs, or in some cases other job, so sending your final song selections the night before the wedding may seem like you “made it” but they may not even have time to access their computer before loading up for the next event. Fortunately with internet access, I’ve literally had some DJs that had to download music on-site, but it can potentially (and sometimes has) caused delays.

3) Special performances (i.e.: hula, etc.) can also be a challenge when the performer’s CD does not work, so we always suggest sending a copy to the DJ in advance to allow them time to check the CD before the event day. This avoids potential problems and unnecessary stress later.

4) Disappointment that your special song request is not played.

Why do you ask for our guest demographics and favorite artists?

The more we know about you, the better we are able to serve you. By knowing the demographics of your guests (ages, where they are from, etc.) we have a better understanding of what types of music may be most suitable. Having your list of favorite artists gives the DJ a better understanding of the type of music that you like to hear as well.

Why do you ask for our do not play list?

The typical do not play songs are YMCA, Chicken Dance and the Electric Slide. Ironically, these same songs have also been on the “must play” list for clients that liked the group participation or because it held another significance to them (i.e. bridal party met at Oktoberfest).

The other do not play songs you want to consider are songs that may remind you of a situation or perhaps even a past relationship that you may not necessarily want to be reminded of on your special day. An example of this is when my father-in-law passed away a couple of years ago a DVD slide show was made with a beautiful song on it, but every time I hear that song it makes think of him which brings emotions of happiness and sorrow.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dianna Shitanishi featured as The "Go-to-Gal" in Pacific Edge Magazine

It was an honor to be interviewed for the "Leadership Edge" as The "Go-To-Gal" in the Summer Weddings and Events Issue of Pacific Edge Magazine (page 20).

The 3rd Annual Weddings and Events guide also features fellow Oahu Wedding Association (OWA) members Naomi Lee from Les Saisons who is the cover feature and OWA President Dave Miyamoto for "The Business of Weddings" about what it takes to succeed in the industry of love.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Many of the vendors I work with say "you're always working on timelines" and that is so very true!

Whether I am hired as a "day-of" coordinator, a full service planner or somewhere in between, I am always going to make sure that I review the client's first draft of their timeline (if they have made one) and ensure that everything works!

Timing is one of the most critical elements to a successful and stress-free wedding day. If the schedule that is created is realistic and works for the vendors, everyone works like a very well oiled machine and there is no "drama." Problems arise when a timeline either doesn't allow enough time for what you are trying to accomplish or for those "quick ballroom turns" there isn't enough staff to get the job done within the time frame allotted, or set-up is not prioritized by the order of which your vendors are arriving.

An arriving DJ should never have to wait for his table, as that will impact his set-up time. A hair and make-up stylist should not have to wait around for hair flowers because the florist was scheduled to arrive an hour later. The chef should not be worried about the meal service starting late because the receiving line took 40 minutes instead of 20 minutes.

Timing is one thing that you definitely don't learn from a book. Timing can only be learned from many years of hands-on experience with a wide variety of events.

By the time I have completed your timeline I have literally done a virtual tour in my head of your event knowing exactly what needs to be where and when, how much space is required and who is going to be doing what and when.

It is through this process that I (and the vendors) have a very clear understanding of what the bride and groom envisions for their wedding day, and by asking all the right questions in advance and making the appropriate adjustments my couples may relax and enjoy their wedding.

So the next time you're wondering if I'm working on a timeline......of course I am!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Imagine life without a computer

Sometimes I try to imagine life without a computer......

For those that don't already know, my first job was actually a clerk typist/stenographer in Civil Service at Edwards AFB, California. I hardly remember any stenography strokes but taking the time to learn the skill in high school is what gave me the advantage over 100 other applicants.

Typing was a tedious and boring class in school, but to this day, it was the best class that I could have ever taken and I use the skill daily. Back then, typing class was basically just for women interested in being a secretary, but look at the world now, even CEOs of major companies are pecking away on their computer keyboard or Blackberry.

When I think of how fast technology has advanced, I remember learning on a manual typewriter, the incredible memory typewriter, the first DOS computer which was a bit intimidating and then just when you got it figured out, frantically paging the IT manager when my documents Icon disappeared from my Windows screen.

Now I am so grateful for technology for it allows me the opportunity to have my own home based business via a laptop computer, a wireless card and a cell phone. It's hard to imagine how destination weddings were planned prior to computers (e-mail, Google and Facebook), but I love being able to keep in contact with my past brides as well as future with ease.

Just in case you're wondering, I purposely haven't invested in a Blackberry as the vast majority of the e-mails that I receive as an event planner contain alot of important information that I need to extract for timelines, vendor follow-ups and set-up details. I also had a very dear friend of mine break her ankle because she was answering her Blackberry while walking down stairs.

My only wish is that everyone remembers to take a break away from technology to enjoy simple things in life such as watching a sunset.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Orange & Turquoise Lanikuhonua Wedding

This past Friday I had the pleasure of being of service Jamie & Tony who are originally from Nebraska and Canada at Lanikuhonua.

Jamie's favorite color was orange and her bridesmaids dresses were turquoise. As they would be in Europe most of their engagement, I was given some inspiration pictures and then given creative freedom to make it happen.

As with most of my destination weddings, planning was done via e-mail and contact via Facebook.

It was a picture perfect day and they loved everything about the wedding. The orange and turquoise colors blended beautifully throughout the decor and she absolutely loved her hibiscus wedding cake which was made by Abi Langlas at Cake Works which was inspired by the border on her wedding invitation.

When we finally had a chance to meet in person it was like meeting a long lost friend. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times she hugged me and said thank you on her wedding day. That is why I truly love what I do!
Additional pictures from the wedding are on my Facebook page, Dianna K. Shitanishi

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lanikuhonua Wedding - Tracey & Michael

One of my favorite parts of being an event planner is keeping in touch with many of my brides. I just got this e-mail from one of my couples from England & Scotland, their wedding was held at Lanikuhonua.
E-MAIL: Hey Dianna,

Hope you're doing well. I just thought I'd send you a feature of our wedding that appeared here in the UK's Wedding Flowers magazine. Thanks again for doing such a great job with our wedding and please do pass the article onto the florist and anyone else you think might be interested that was involved in our wedding (I've already sent to Frank of course :)

Thanks again. Aloha from Scotland!

Tracey & Michael xx


Check out the latest edition of Hawai'i Bride and Groom magazine which can be viewed on-line at
The latest edition features the 2008 Wedding of a Lifetime which was coordinated by Hawaii Weddings and Events (starting on page 87) and also features "Meet the Stress Relievers" (yours truly is featured on page 100).
We were also honored to have our picture used for the Oahu Wedding Association advertisement (page 29)
Special thanks to Julie and Gavin for all of their hard work, dedication and continued support of our special industry.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Memory of Larry Fair - Live Internet Weddings

Tomorrow will make two weeks since a dear friend of mine, Larry Fair, from Live Internet Weddings was tragically killed in a house fire in Makiki on April 23, 2009 and it still doesn’t seem real.

Larry was ahead of his time in terms of the internet and its capabilities and was extremely knowledgeable about the computer. He fulfilled his dream of streaming weddings live so that everyone would be able to take part in a couple’s special day no matter where they were.

One of my favorite weddings was a couple from Dallas that came to Hawaii to get married and we were working together on their event. The bride was from Poland and the groom was originally from Louisiana. They had a 9am wedding at the Turtle Bay Resort’s pavilion so that both of their families would be able to watch them as they exchanged vows.

Larry was especially proud of being able to share and build his business with his son Joshua and formed a great team of videographers to service their clients both on Oahu and the neighbor islands.

When I first started Hawaii Weddings and Events, we literally sat at Starbucks for almost three weeks building my website page-by-page as I continued to make finger marks on his computer screen pointing where I wanted things to go.

During these three weeks we had an opportunity to talk about many things, and being the very giving person he was, he would not accept payment for the time he spent working on my website so we agreed that we would always share ideas and inspirations to help each other grow our respective businesses, and we did.

Throughout the years, we continued to talk 3-4 times a week on the phone usually before or after our appointments, just to see what the other person was doing and to share new ideas, new locations or people that we had met. I couldn’t begin tell you how many of those talks would be about someone that he was helping with something.

I still find myself picking up my phone to call him and then realizing that I can’t, but I know that he is watching down upon all of us and I’m sure still wiping my fingerprints off his virtual screen.

Please give Joshua Fair and his family your love, prayers and continued support

Love Birds Bridal Expo - Kahala Mall - Saturday, May 9, 2009 10am-2pm

Last week Hawaii Bride & Groom Magazine asked if I could do a couple of tablescapes for this Saturday's upcoming Lovebirds Wedding Expo which will be held at the Kahala Mall from 10am-2pm. In addition to the expo, they are featuring last year's Wedding of a Lifetime Winners "Jayne & Kahele" and will also sharing the finalists for this year's contest.

It's been a whirlwind of a week preparing for the event as I not only have been designing tablescapes to incorporate some of the merchant items, but have also been assisting the mall with rentals and communicating all details to the participating vendors in regards to load-in time, loading zone, parking, booth assignments, power requirements and linen.

For more information on the special promotions and activities, please visit

The latest edition of Hawaii Bride & Groom magazine which features last year's Wedding of a Lifetime and the "Stress-Relievers" (coordinators) section including yours truly.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Does your vendor have a Certificate of Liability of Insurance?

Does your vendor have liability insurance?

As a wedding coordinator, I get copies of all of my clients vendor contracts to ensure that critical information is extracted (set-up needs, payment schedule, number of hours reserved, a confirmation of what the vendor is providing as well as if a meal is required).

In addition to the vendor contracts, I also receive a copy of the venue contract, which until recently, the only hotel that required a copy of a vendors liability insurance on file was the Turtle Bay Resort. This requirement is now noted on the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort's contract as well as the Sheraton Waikiki, so it will not be long before all hotels will also add this to their contracts.

When interviewing and hiring your vendors, please be sure that they have the a Certificate of Liability Insurance and verify if they have one on file with the venue(s) you are considering.

To date, Hawaii Weddings and Events has a Certificate of Liability of Insurance on file on an annual basis with the Turtle Bay Resort, Moana Surfrider, Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Sheraton Waikiki, State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (required for beach permit) as well as the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation.

As a professional planning firm, we will continue to add to this list as needed and will always ensure we are always in compliance with the rules.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day-Of Coordinator Experience

Now, more than ever, brides are realizing that having a professional “Day-Of” Coordinator really helps them to enjoy their wedding day with their friends and family without worrying about vendors arriving on time and knowing where to go, having everything being set-up correctly and how the guests will know where to be, and when as well as keeping the bridal party on time throughout the day.

It is ironic that is called “Day Of” Coordinator because the work actually starts a month before the wedding day. As a professional planner, Hawaii Weddings and Events knows from many years of experience that you just can’t show up on the wedding day and follow a to-do list or a timeline that hasn’t been meticulously reviewed in advance.

So why do we start a month before? Today’s very busy brides are not only planning their wedding, but the majority are going to school, working, relocating or some are mothers. Time goes by VERY quickly especially during the last month so we like get our clients’ finalized contracts, preliminary timeline as well as answers to our own bridal questionnaire form at the one month marker so within a few days we can get back to them with questions, concerns and recommendations and wrap up all details with the exception of final counts by 2 weeks before the wedding day.

Having done over 950 weddings throughout my career, as of today’s date, there has never been a timeline that didn’t need to have some “tweaking” done to it or some “logistic” that wasn’t considered (ie: a charger reduces the number of seats that can fit on your guest table) so you may need to change your seating assignment, go with larger table (if possible) or sometimes eliminate the charger.
How long it takes to do things and how to handle “different” situations is what can only come with hands-on experience and is what I teach to everyone that I’ve trained throughout the years.

Knowing that the hair and make-up stylist is going to want to have your hair flowers there at 1pm when you have your florist scheduled at 2pm is another very common occurrence. It sounds like a quick fix, just have the florist come at 1pm, but it doesn’t always work out that way, either the florist isn’t available earlier, or would charge an additional fee, so hair flowers may need to be picked up in advance which takes advance planning.

Knowing how long it takes to serve a 4 course plated menu and merging your program into the timeline so that your food is at the best quality and you also accomplish your goals only comes with experience.

Another great example of what comes with experience and education is that I once had a client that at the last minute decided to make favors for their guests. They gave me their favors (which were macadamia nuts in organza bags) on their wedding day and said two of their guests were highly allergic to macadamia nuts so they should get the two different ones. With that being said, and the fact they had open seating, I communicated that in this particular case the favors would be distributed once guests were seated as I didn’t want to risk the macadamia nut oil seeping through the organza bag which was fine with the couple.

Knowing to set the favors later was the easy part, knowing from experience and continued education in food handling, I know how critical it is to deal with any allergies and the potential for cross contamination, so I immediately contacted the banquet captain as they had forgotten that the first course of their menu was a tossed green salad that was sprinkled with macadamia nuts.

We had a different salad prepared (it’s not just a matter of taking the nuts off) for their guests and I mentioned it to the couple later in the evening and they said “thank you so much, we completely forgot about that, we could have killed them!”

I told this story to a groom’s mother who was inquiring about my experience she said “oh my God, did anyone ever tell you the groom is highly allergic to shellfish and peanuts?” I told her no, but I will note it in my file and make sure it is communicated to the caterer and again to the banquet staff on the wedding day and it was.

So, the moral of the story is that when you are considering hiring a “Day Of” coordinator look at the value, experience level and caliber of service you are going to receive, aren’t you worth it?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Celebrates 3rd Anniversary with new "Trinity" Full Service Coordination Package

On this 3rd month and 23rd day of March, Hawaii Weddings and Events is celebrating its 3rd Anniversary!

As a special treat, the first three (3) brides that reserve our new "Trinity" package for their 2010 wedding will receive a complimentary 3-tiered wedding cake from Cake Works (6/10/14" tiers with butter cream frosting, your choice of flavors and decorated with flowers provided by your florist)

3rd Anniversary Special - “Trinity” Full Service Coordination Package
In celebration of Hawaii Weddings and Events 3rd anniversary we’re pleased to launch our new full service package. The number three (3) is an auspicious number with many significant meanings. Three is the first of four perfect numbers, it denotes divine perfection (what else would you expect on your wedding day?).

Three, also stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire. The Trinity package is based on a solid reputation for service excellence, real experience and honest feedback, substantial time savings, thorough and complete monthly checklists and assistance during the entire planning process.

The symbol of triad or trinity is a symbol of unity of body, mind and spirit and is found throughout history and all over the world. With the assistance of a professional planner, you’ll still have the time to exercise your body, focus your mind and also keep your spirit happy and at peace by knowing that you are on track with your wedding planning, have the right vendors in place and someone on your wedding day to ensure a seamless day.

The Trinity Package is perfect for the busy couple that knows they need a lot of help and guidance throughout the wedding planning process.

· Our bridal checklist is sent to client to ensure that all of the “little” details have been covered (including names of your entire bridal party and contact information) and is returned to Hawaii Weddings and Events three (3) months prior to the wedding day.
· A minimum of three (3) hours is spent at the beginning of the planning process to finalize the client’s wedding budget (venue, food, vendors, décor, etc.) as spending the time now may save you from costly mistakes later.
· Three (3) virtual consulting hours are provided every 30 days to help answer questions and to start securing your professional vendors based on the couple’s preferences, style and realistic budget.
· Three (3) hours is devoted monthly for the “design and theme” of your wedding which may include reviewing pictures, researching linens, props, décor, furniture, etc.
· Three (3) hours of telephone conference time (or in person meeting) is provided every 30 days to go over each month’s “to do list” to ensure the couple is kept on track throughout the planning process with a written follow-up sent to client by coordinator.
· For off-premise venues (such as Lanikuhonua), Hawaii Weddings and Events will take care of ordering your rental equipment (tent, tables, chairs, linen, china, glassware, etc.) based on your specific needs to ensure nothing is overlooked or duplicated by the caterer and that set-up and breakdown is achievable within the given time frame.
· Three (3) months out, meetings (or teleconference calls) are held every 3 weeks until the wedding week to finalize your menu, beverage selections and assist with preparing a custom floor plan based on your requirements (floor plan, head table, number of guests, dance floor, type of menu, etc.)
· Client provides copies of all contracts that have been secured on their own to Hawaii Weddings and Events not later than three (3) months prior to the wedding day
· In depth review of all vendor contracts and reconfirmation of all vendor services
· Preparation of detailed timeline that not only includes the day of the wedding, but includes your deadlines leading up to your wedding day (when vendor payments are due, pick up tuxedos, dress alternations, finalizing flower order, final counts, table assignments, etc.) is provided to client prior to 30 day marker.
· Assisting in final program for the wedding day that will include specific details on those involved, song selections, timing that is also appropriate to your entertainment, menu, etc.
· Set-up of reception table (guest book, name list, gift card basket, etc)
· Ensures ceremony and reception venue are set-up appropriately.
· On-site wedding coordinator is on-site for up to twelve hours on the wedding day (additional hours available at $75/per hour) to effectively manage the days production.
· Rehearsal (one hour) may be reserved 30 days prior to your wedding date at most venues · Due to the amount of time devoted to your wedding planning, the Trinity package is limited to three bookings per quarter and may reserved up to fifteen months in advance of your wedding day.

Contact us today at (808) 782-4514 or e-mail to check availability of your special day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Evolution of Event Design

Designing events and tablescapes is absolutely one of my favorite parts of event planning!

Sometimes I am given total creative latitude to just take care of everything based on the wedding colors, favorite flowers and other ideas of what they would like to have, but most often, it is a combination of efforts by partnering with my brides who want to be actively involved.

1) The first thing I like to do is to see pictures of things that my client has collected along the way so that I can get a feel for what is "catching" their eye in terms of style, color, decor and the feel of the wedding. It's also good to know the things they don't like (ie: certain flowers, etc.).

2) A site inspection fo the venue (if I haven't already been there) so that I know the space we are working with and how the design may fit (or sometimes not fit) so appropriate adjustments may be made.

3) A critical factor, which is often not considered, is the amount of time available for set-up as well as when breakdown occurs as that in itself may cut out some ideas. The wedding shows are great in showing what the possibilities are, but they don't share details such as it took two days to drape the ceiling with fabric, or you need to reserve the morning time slot to be able to pipe and drape a ballroom for an evening event.

4) Lastly, defining the budget, which after the amount of time and the location features is the biggest deciding factor on what can be done. I ask my clients to put together their "wish list" and we do our best to get everything, but in some cases they may need to prioritize what is most important to them.

This starts the evolution of design which does not come overnight. As ideas continue to fill our heads, we start defining the color(s) we want to work with, the type of flowers that are available, the type of printed materials that the client may have and other decor (ie: lounge areas, special bar facade, candy buffet, favors, etc.) and start creating an overall look for the event that has continuity rather than a hodge podge mix which is what it can be if everything is not carefully thought out.

As we go through the process, I continue to give ideas to my bride on things that we can do based on their budget, the timeframe we're working with and of course available resources.

Once you get into event planning, you never look at things the same way. I can spend countless hours at places like Crate and Barrel (which we don't have in Hawaii yet) and Pier 1 just getting ideas on what I want to do for the events I haven't done yet. When I went to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC I probably spent the most time looking at all the gala dinner pictures. I also enjoy going to the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) educational as it exposes you to another world of creative ideas from the nations' top planners such as Colin Cowie, Scott Corridan, David Tutera and Preston Bailey just to name a few.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

OC-16 Wedding of a Lifetime is on-line now

Hawaii Weddings and Events was one of the honored vendors for Jayne and Kahele's "Wedding of a Lifetime."
Their TV show now is now on-line see

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Winner of 2009 Bride’s Choice Awards

WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced that Hawaii Weddings and Events has won the 2009 Bride’s Choice Awards™!

In its inaugural year, the Bride’s Choice Awards recognizes and honors vendors from the WeddingWire Network that demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. This year’s recipients represent the top three percent of WeddingWire’s vendor community, which includes over 100,000 wedding vendors from across the US. That means Hawaii Weddings and Events is one of the very best wedding planners.

Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the company, the Bride’s Choice Awards are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds through surveys and reviews.

“We are excited to launch this annual award program to honor high-performing vendors based solely on the experiences of our WeddingWire community,” according to Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “This year’s recipients have set the bar high, exhibiting excellent service and expertise in the wedding industry.”

Hawaii Weddings and Events would like to thank our past clients for speaking on our behalf and helping us win the 2009 Bride’s Choice Award!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wedding of a Lifetime Airs on OC-16 - Monday, January 26, 2009

On Monday, January 26, 2009 at 7:30pm, OC-16 will feature a one-hour "Wedding of a Lifetime" special.

Couples had to write stories to Hawaii Bride and Groom to describe why they were deserving for the free wedding which was valued at over $81,000. On September 8, 2008, the three finalists were featured on TV and the winners, Jayne and Kahele were announced.

With less than two months to plan everything, it was a whirlwind of fun and excitement for everyone involved, and I'm very happy that I had the privilege and honor of being their wedding coordinator helping them make their dreams come true.