Wedding Alerts & Other Ramblings
01/2016 - City Council Bill #5 to ban all beach weddings at Waimanalo : Due to illegal wedding set-ups on the beach at City parks as well as other commercial activities which are overwhelming beaches and City parks, the City Council has proposed an ordinance which would prohibit among other things, all weddings along the Windward Oahu coastline from Makapuu Pt. to Waimanalo Beach and including Lanikai and Kailua Beaches. Part of the problem has been that wedding websites billing themselves as "the best wedding in Hawaii" have done their illegal beach set-ups at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, leaving one and sometimes two to three set-ups of chairs and arch on the beach all day on the beach where it is illegal and having "assembly-line" weddings. We and other affected parties, submitted testimony to the effect that while we agreed that these websites illegal activities should be stopped and enforcement increased, stopping all weddings was a mistake. Fortunately, the Council agreed and dropped that specific provision, weddings will be allowed. FYI: These websites have since said, that they would stop offering these illegal set-ups on the beach but, given the amount they make on these set-ups and the ease of selling it to unsuspecting tourists unaware of the law, the temptation might just be too great not to continue.
02/2014 - No permits: We frequently get calls from worried people asking about whether or not we get the DNLR permit for their wedding. Yes, we do and we include the basic 20 person permit as part of our wedding packages for free. Yes, we spend anywhere from $200 to $400 a month on our "free" permits for our client's events. We just think it's important. After all, why not get the permit versus having problems with the authorities on wedding day by not having a permit? Seems like many websites don't think the same way as we do and it's becoming epidemic. Many of them the websites you see at the top of your Google search! When we arrive on-site, we always check (by going on-line) to see who has a permit and who doesn't and nowadays, most don't bother. Maybe they think that they just won't get caught or maybe they just rather save on the cost. We just don't think it's worth it given even the remote chance of screwing up someone's dreams!
8/2013 - No permits: More than a few companies have been neglecting getting the proper DNLR permits to perform weddings on the beach. Especially companies using Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Makapuu, and Waialae/Kahala. Some companies are even telling their clients that no permit is required.
6/2013 - "Loss leader" cheap prices: The trend among a few top position Google ranked websites is to have packages with the cheapest prices which act as "loss leaders", which simply means that they are barely covering expenses. Sounds great if you're the client, but is it really? Maybe, like a Ponzi scheme, if you get in at the start, but what we've seen when companies have done this in the past is that, these businesses end up in serious trouble. They either, disappear or change their name with a new website, vendors get overworked and performance suffers, or they just start using the cheapest vendors. We'd rather charge a fair price for a well performed service by true industry professionals. With that said, we're in business and we have to compete until they're gone, so we've made our packages and prices to do just that! We may not be able to offer everything they offer only because we'll never compromise on our high quality and the service we provide!
2/2013 - State allows marriage license certification at Sheraton Waikiki: You can now pick up your license at an agency office at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, lobby level, Monday Friday, except State holidays, 9:00 5:00. It is recommended that you make an appointment by calling (808) 931-8349. If you need to go on a holiday or on the weekend, you can make special arrangements by calling ahead of time. For the Sheraton Waikiki office, you must have first applied and paid for your license onlinethey do not accept paper applications.
01/2013 - Beach wedding permits: The State of Hawaii DNLR will step-up enforcement of beach wedding permit rules and citing companies and couples who have their weddings on the beach without a permit or in disregard of permit rules by using illegal set-ups and decoration, which can carry a fine up to $5000. According to the DNLR, certain companies have been disregarding the permit rules and locations like Waialae/Kahala, Makapuu Beach and Waimanalo are frequently being used for banned chair, arch, and other decorative set-ups. According to a local destination wedding company spokesperson from A Hawaii Wedding .Com, "Some of the first page Google ranked companies do illegal chair and arch set-ups on the beach and they even show photos on their website. Many others don't even get permits for beaches, we've checked". When questioned, couples stated that they were assured by the wedding company that it was "OK", other couples are told that a permit was not required, and still others were told that a permit was secured for their event.
01/2013 - Honolulu 4th most congested roads: Navigation device "TomTom" ranks Honolulu as the 4th most congested traffic in all of North America. #1 Los Angeles, #2 Vancouver, Canada, #3 San Francisco, #4 Honolulu, #5 Seattle.
01/2013 - Civil Unions legal: Licenses for civil unions between gay and lesbian couples are now being processed by the State of Hawaii Health Dept. The law to legalize civil unions between same-sex partners was passed in early 2012, but was unable to be fully implemented until the start of 2013.
05/2012 - National study puts Honolulu as worst traffic in nation: That's right, we have the worst traffic among ALL cities in the U.S. followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York! Front page story from Star-Advertiser (our daily newspaper) on 5/23/12.
12/2010 - Judge slaps $800 ruling on Kahala Hotel: A jury determined that the resort improperly charged customers $269,114 in services fees for the past 5 years because it did not disclose to them that the money is used to pay costs and expenses rather than tips and wages for employees as required by law. This is one of the reasons we stay away from hotels and resorts. You'll see that Kahala is not the only hotel which has perpetrated this deception on it's clients. It's interesting to note that one of the top food & beverage managers for the new management previously worked at a Disney hotel. Read more here: http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/20101218_judge_slaps_800000_ruling_on_kahala_hotel.html
08/2010 - Don't plan your wedding in Hawaii for Nov 12-20-2011 at least for Oahu: One of our event planners is involved with the pre-planning for the APEC conference which will be held from November 12-20 in 2011. It's a conference which President Obama and will include 19-21 Heads of State of the Pacific region. Imagine that? Those of us who can, will be leaving the island for that week. Seriously, our island is not that big, when a President comes to stay, they close down the highway and streets he travels on, imagine having 21 of these guys going here and there. It's going to be a nightmare. Google APEC, you can read all about it.
04/2010 - Maui'd Forever: We suppose it's a compliment, but we don't really appreciate it. Another website "Maui'd Forever" has been using our photos on their website to promote their services. Many of their descriptions also sound familiar. We anticipate that there are probably other websites doing the same. In fact, it wouldn't surprise us that other material have been appropriated from our website. Everything on our website was created by us, words, thoughts, descriptions, photos. If you happen to see anything on another website that looks familiar, please let us know. Mahalo.
10/2008 - State Does It Again: In it's effort to support our wedding industry even more, the State Health Dept. has decided that they will only be open from 7 am to 5 pm, Monday to Thursday. They will be closed on Friday.
7/2008 - Permits Required For All Beach Weddings: The State of Hawaii will begin enforcement of a law requiring a State issued use permit for free beach locations used for wedding ceremonies starting 8/1/08. Proof of liability insurance listing the State of Hawaii as additionally insured will be required to apply for a permit. The cost of the permit will be based upon the size of the wedding and the actual space required. Couples may apply for the permit directly (with proof of liability insurance) or the wedding company providing service may do so.
8/2007 - Hotels Trying to Cash-In: Some hotels have already been raising their ceremony site fees and rates to ridiculous levels (including room rates). So much so that we can no longer recommend some of them. Now, they don't just want some of your money, they want ALL your money! The latest is that, couples can no longer use the hotels ceremony site without first booking one of their packages using hotel "approved" vendors. Basically, the have set prices for services and everything is paid to the hotel directly (truthfully, kind of what we do) and the hotel marks up the price (to hotel rates). Effectively, the hotel will be asking their vendors to accept a lesser payment so the hotel can make as much as they can for their cut OR they'll charge a ridiculous price and everyone makes out... except YOU! We think they'll ask the vendors to take less, hotels always want to pay their "workers" as little as possible! Consequently, what the vendor will have to do to make up this "loss", will be to raise their prices significantly for anything more than what the package provides. Bottom line, you'll end up paying far more for less services and product, than had you not used the hotel. It's a sad day for couples wishing or needing the services of a hotel.
7/2007 - Everybody And Anybody Doing Weddings: We received a call from a woman who recently got a license to marry people and started a Hawaii wedding website. Her website is actually quite nice. She's booked a wedding or two already, the problem is, she doesn't have any vendors for some of her key services... and she's looking for help and really doesn't know what she is doing. Unfortunately, everyone wants to do Hawaii weddings and many are! To give anyone advice about their Hawaii wedding, you need a lot of experience with weddings, locations and venues, appropriate times, travel times, and knowledge of each individual vendors services you offer, expertise that even the most seasoned vendors and professionals do not have, and even those who say they are "certified" as wedding planners don't have! What'cha going to do and how can you tell who really knows what they are talking about? Don't ask us, we can't tell you... there's no website that's going to tell you that they really don't know what they are doing, they all make themselves sound good!
5/2007 - Premium Hotels Charging Premium Rates: According to one of our friends who works at a top premium hotel, they had a meeting recently and decided that because, weddings and catering are such a small percentage of their gross revenues (their room rates are ridiculously high) and because they contract out all the best weekday times to Japanese wedding companies anyway, that they no longer desired to offer weddings at their two sites. Of course, they can't just say "no" so, instead they raised their rates to effectively price themselves out of the market. We suspect that one or two other hotels are deciding to follow the same strategy. You'll know who they are because, you'll have to jump through some hoops just to use them and they'll charge you for every little thing they possibly can! FYI: This doesn't make them any less desirable, just far more costly.
5/2007 - Watch Out For This Website: We've heard from a bunch of people calling us, about a website which is in the top positions of just about every search engine. While we don't like to mention the practices of other websites, we heard so many negative experiences that, we would be remiss if we did not alert people to this. Apparently, besides a "we don't care, we get a lot of inquiries" attitude, this particular person/website has cancelled weddings last minute after months of contact, pressured people to reserve with continual phone calls, has posted client's full names and personal information on the Internet, and has gone so far as to make unauthorized non-wedding related charges on clients's credit cards! One of our clients, after having a bad "gut feeling" did some research and found other posts regarding this company on "The Knot", a popular website, and on other resources. Sorry, that's about as far as we can go in exposing this website without actually naming it.
10/2006 - El Nino: It's back! The last time it was here was in 2004 (see alert below). What this means is that we will experience "perfect tourist weather" i.e. mostly sunny except for a few afternoon rain showers. Characteristically, it causes a very dry winter with drought-like conditions and possibly a wetter than normal summer (which are usually very dry so this is not necessarily bad). This is good news if you are planning your wedding in the winter months and you shouldn't worry about the summer.
1/2006 - El Nena: The Pacific Ocean is starting to cool down again and is creating the El Nena weather pattern which will last at least until July. Climatologists cannot agree on wether this will lead to more wet weather than normal (what's normal nowadays?) or not because some areas are receiving less rain than normal but what they can agree upon is that, it's harder to predict how the weather is affected versus the effects caused by El Nino (see below).
6/2005 - Hotel On Strike: The union for the hotel workers for the North Shore hotel, Turtle Bay Hilton and Resort have been waging a bitter strike for the last 2 years. The hotel has been struggling to maintain adequate staff levels in recent months when walk-outs occur. More importantly, frequent strike initiated picket lines at the entrance to the hotel have been disrupting the ingress and egress of couples, guests, and vendors (some of whom refuse to cross).
4/2005 - Certified Professional Photographers: A Certified Professional Photographer or CPP is a trademark designation awarded by the Professional Photographers of America. There are more than a few websites which say they use CPP photographers and it's just no so. There are only a handful of photographers in Hawaii who have earned this designation from the PPA and none of them work for these websites (except ours).
3/2005 - Bed & Breakfast and Vacation Rentals: It has been recently reported in the news about the Governor's desire through the State Tax Director going to start going after taxes owed by illegal Bed & Breakfast and vacation home rentals. They have initiated their investigations by using the Internet to find all the rentals that are being advertised and probably the same sites you may have visited. The great majority of these operations have been operating for many years even though it is technically illegal. Most of these "businesses" exist, the North Shore, Windward Coast, Kailua, Lanikai, and Kahala. If you are thinking of or have rented one of these homes, it would be best for you to ask about their status and how it will affect you and your agreed upon rate should they be hit with years of back taxes and fines.
3/2005 - Permits Required: All beaches, parks, and free sites require a special use permit for weddings from the State of Hawaii or City and County of Honolulu, whether it's just two people on the beach or a whole group. Enforcement of this requirement has been non-existent in the last couple of years and consequently, many new wedding companies are unaware of this requirement. Recently, in anticipation of new rules and regulations, enforcement has picked up significantly. We've heard that recently, couples and/or their wedding planners have been asked for their permits and not having any, have had their events cut short.
2/2005 - Diamond Head Beach Park: There is a small group of homeless people who live there and while the worst thing they do is bum for cigarettes, this is something people should be aware of if considering this site. FYI: Homeless people do move around and they may not be there in the future.
10/2004 - El Nino: According to the National Weather Service, the Pacific Ocean is starting to warm up again and is changing from the El Nena to the El Nino weather pattern (it changes every few years). What this means is that we will experience "perfect tourist weather" i.e. no clouds, no rain, always sunny except for a few afternoon thunderstorms. Characteristically, a very dry winter with drought-like conditions and possibly a wetter than normal summer (which are usually very dry). This is good news if you are planning your wedding in the winter months though it doesn't necessarily mean summer will be rainy in the summer (it's always nice in Hawaii, even with a little rain).
9/2004 - You're not married: According to the State marriage licensing division, there has been a rash of marriages being performed by unlicensed individuals and ministers with expired licenses causing couples to have their licenses rejected and consequently being not legally married. Licensing personnel request that you be aware of who you are using.
8/2004 - More permits may soon be required to get married in a public location: The State of Hawaii is in the process of instituting restrictions which will make it harder for couples to get married on the beach in Hawaii. On places like Maui where beaches are so small and even Kauai, this has been a problem with wedding couples literally side by side exchanging vows at their "private" beach location. This will not affect private paid locations. Check here for updates.
8/2001 - Created this new page for our website.