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Featuring Stylish Bridal
Weddings in Paradise
"Always the bridesmaid, never the bride." Why do people think they are so witty when they utter those words to a twirty girl? It's not original, it isn't clever; in fact, it's downright rude. You don't hear me replying, "once a tramp, always a tramp" to Cousin Eddie's wife in her fishnet tights, leopard-print mini and polyester tube top. Or "a moment on the lips, forever on the hips" to the gaggle of pudgy teenagers exposing several inches of jiggly belly above their low-slung jeans while stuffing their faces with nachos and creme soda. Yet nearly every fossilized relative at my brother's wedding felt the need to point this out to me as I dutifully fulfilled my role as maid-of-honor. Luckily, my brother has had the wisdom and extreme good sense to marry a marvelously chic, charming and clever little minx (with a fabulous sense of style) whom we have all come to know and love as "Girly". After overhearing the infamous bridesmaid quip one too many times, Girly simply said, "Darling She She is merely narrowing the field. Why, with so many eligible suitors pounding at her door she needs a social secretary just to keep track of her dates!" She then linked her arm through mine and guided me away while asking (in a well modulated voice so those around us could clearly hear), "Now tell me again about your beau with the yacht..."
I first met Girly when I went back home for the engagement party. At the beginning, I was a bit daunted by such a high energy dynamo, but was soon put at ease by her warmth, humor and fabulous fashion sense. And as promised, my bridesmaid dress is to die for. What really earned my everlasting respect was that she convinced my somewhat staid and adventureless brother that their wedding should be on a beach in Hawaii, and the next thing we knew he thought it was all his idea to begin with. That, and the fact that she was sporting an engagement ring of serious carat-age (my dear brother also being somewhat of a tightwad) - it must be true love. Anyhoo, when the blessed day arrives that I pledge my troth to my own true love (wherever he may be) it will definitely be on a tropical beach in an exotic location -- a destination wedding is the most glamorous, fabulous, romantic way to wed!
Girly's Guide to a Wonderful Wedding in Paradise
- Save-The-Date: Send out a card letting your guests know your wedding date and location well in advance - preferably six months before the wedding, since travel arrangements will need to be made. It's also customary to include in this mailing separate information about hotels, airfare, transportation, and any planned events, especially if it's to be a weekend-long (or week long!) wedding.
- Wedding Planner: Great wedding planning sources are available in bridal magazines such as Brides, Modern Bride, and Bridal Guide, and through the First Hawaiian Wedding and Bridal Directory, or by doing an online search under "Hawaiian Weddings". Always ask for and check references.
- Who To Invite: Destination weddings are usually substantially smaller than weddings close to home. Usually just family and very close friends will attend. You may want to consider having an open house or larger reception for everyone else when you return.
- Expenses: Most couples who decide on a destination wedding do not have the means to pay all of their guest's expenses - the hotel and airfare are usually taken care of by the guests themselves. However, it is a wonderful gesture to leave a gift basket in each guest's room before they arrive - something to get them into the spirit of the event. A bright beach tote filled with flip-flops, sunscreen, and a fun novel; or perhaps a fresh orchid lei or tropical gourmet fruit basket. Any group activities or dinners (a beach luau is a must!) would most likely be at the expense of the bridal couple.
- Honeymoon: Most guests will view a destination wedding as a great excuse for a vacation for themselves; they are, after all, financially invested in this event. Hawaii is a great place for a wedding, because it is so easy (and relatively inexpensive) to nip on over to another of the islands after the wedding ceremony for a more private honeymoon.
- Ceremony site: Hawaii has many beautiful little chapels on or near the beach, as well as palm groves, tropical gardens and miles and miles of beautiful beaches. There are also many fabulous hotels and resorts, as well as charter services for a romantic sunset wedding at sea.
- Attire: "When in Rome..." The same applies to the islands. Resort casual is the rule for most weddings. Floaty dresses and sexy sandals (you can go barefoot if you end up at the beach) for the women, nice slacks and dressy Hawaiian shirts for the men. For traditional Hawaiian wedding attire, the bride wears a holoku (today this is any formal wedding gown) and the groom, a white Hawaiian wedding shirt and white pants with a colorful sash. You may choose (as our wedding party did) a more classic wedding gown for the bride and tuxedo for the groom. The bridal bouquet of tropical flowers and a grooms' lei of maile leaves brings a tropical flavor to the more conventional attire. As for the rest of the trip, sundresses and casual attire are acceptable nearly everywhere. Invest in a great swimsuit (or several) with matching coverup. Don't forget to pack your flirtiest cocktail dress and strappy sandals for dinner out at a hotel or nice restaurant.
Needless to say, we had a fabulous time. The wedding was absolutely beautiful. We had the beach all to ourselves, the women were all sun kissed in sundresses and the men were handsome in Hawaiian shirts. The bride was breathtaking in her lovely gown and custom made bridal jewelry. And the groom was, well...my baby brother. And best of all, Shop Girl was there! (looked quite fetching in her bridesmaid gown). However, as I now recall, not once did I hear anyone say to her, "Always the bridesmaid..." What's with that?
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