Wow! Wendy and Eric’s Kaua’i destination wedding is like a photo adventure with the best of Hawaii as the backdrop. Kudos to Southern California wedding photographer Brett Butterstein for his gorgeous and inventive work, and thank you to the happy couple for sharing their big day with us!
The Couple: Wendy and Eric
The Wedding: 5.4.13 – Westin Princeville, Kaua’i, Hawai’i
Junebug: What three adjectives best describe your wedding?
Wendy and Eric: Intimate, fun, romantic.
Junebug: What inspired your personal wedding style, and how did you incorporate your style and personalities into your big day?
Wendy: We were very fortunate to have a close knit group of wedding guests that have known us for a very long time so we knew we could have some fun with our wedding style. I’ve always been a big fan of orchids and botanical gardens and my now husband has been obsessed with superheroes since he was very young. So for our wedding, we tried to mesh the two. For our ceremony, we booked out the Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens and hired a group of docents to take the guests on an hour long tour of the garden. The tour ended at the ceremony site which we decorated with additional flowers and a lot of orchids. All the groomsmen had superhero socks and matching cufflinks for each superhero character the groomsmen chose as a representation of themselves while my husband wore a Superman cape for a large part of the traditional Chinese wedding games.
Separately, as self-proclaimed adventurers, we hung poster-size photos of our travel adventures on the walls of the happy hour site while we played a slideshow of the adventures we had with our friends and families in the background. Ultimately, our hope was that our guests would fall in love with Kauai like we did. (My husband had proposed to me at the Hanakapiai Falls.) In order to show our guests how great the island was in the short time we were all there, we organized a welcome luau with a traditional fire performer, hula dancers, games, and prizes a day before the ceremony and then incorporated a choreographed first dance, same day edit video (of the pre-wedding preparations and the traditional Chinese wedding games), and a fire performance troupe into the reception.
Junebug: Looking back, what are the moments, decisions or memories that you love the most about your wedding?
Wendy and Eric: One of our favorite memories is arriving two weeks before the wedding and meeting with each of the vendors individually and getting to know the wonderful people of Kauai. In terms of one of the most memorable decisions we made (other than saying “I do”, of course!) in connection with our wedding was that on the day of the wedding, a sudden tropical storm hit the North Shore of Kauai (a somewhat common occurrence despite the all-clear from weather forecasters) and the coordinator suggested that we use the alternative indoor site (a beautiful beach house) for the ceremony instead of the outdoor garden site that we had all planned and hoped for. The coordinator, hoping to get ahead of the unexpected bad weather, had already begun working with the DJ, the florist and other vendors to set up at the indoor ceremony site given that she, as a Kauai native, truly did not believe there was another alternative. When our coordinator called with the news during our drive from the hotel to the botanical garden to inform of us of her suggestion, our hearts sank even though we obviously already knew that an outdoor wedding was close to impossible in the torrential downpour. She apologized profusely even though the weather was most definitely not her fault.
Likely sensing my sadness, my husband proposed that if we really wanted to have the wedding outdoors, we’d ask the vendors to stop setting up indoors and wait to see if the rain would let up in the 10 minutes prior to our arrival at the botanical gardens. The coordinator agreed that, if the vendors were willing, she could likely work with the vendors to set up the ceremony site during the hour-long guided tours of the garden if we made the decision within the next 5 minutes. However, she warned that the vendors would most likely be unwilling to risk their sound equipment and expensive string instruments and that if it rained after the flower decorations were set up, the flowers may get ruined. It was at this moment my husband and I had a serious heart to heart and we decided that if the rain showed any signs of stopping in the next five minutes, we’d take the risk of possibly having our wedding rained out and the indoor venue unprepared. Based on our decision, and because we sincerely felt that in light of all of the effort that everyone had invested in planning the outdoor wedding (in an area of the botanical garden that hadn’t been used for a wedding before), we would be willing to risk it if the vendors would be willing to accommodate us. My husband and I then proceeded to call each of our vendors to plead our case and, to our delight and surprise, the vendors agreed and right at that 5 minute mark prior to our arrival, the sun peaked out from behind the thick clouds and the rain stopped.
We are very grateful for their graciousness and for the weather to have cleared up by the time we arrived at the ceremony site. Although the rain started again just as we ended our ceremony, the rain stopped again right before the reception so that we could have our first dance outdoors on an elevated grass patch and allow our fire dancers to perform as well.
Junebug: What specifically drew you to Brett Butterstein Photography and his imagery?
Wendy and Eric: We spent months reviewing portfolios from photographers from all around the world. Brett’s imagery was our favorite due to the composition of his pictures and his ability to capture special moments from some of the most unexpected angles. To put the icing on the cake, through our emails, Skyping between Shanghai and San Diego, meeting up in Kauai a day before the welcome luau and grabbing multiple drinks during our four day event, we felt that he was a kindred spirit – we can’t thank Brett enough for accommodating our crazy requests and for spending 4 days with us taking pictures in all sorts of unplanned, dangerous and exciting places.
Wendy and Eric, your wedding was a dream! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Visit Brett Butterstein’s blog to see more!
The Wedding Team:
Photographer: Brett Butterstein Photography with second shooter, Mallory Olenius
Day of Coordinator: Weddings Hawaii – Iben Dwight
Ceremony Venue: Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens
Reception Venue: Westin Princeville
Videographer/Film Maker: Zest Videography Kauai
Officiant: Nancy Sen
Catering: Welcome Luau and Ceremony Hor D’oeuvres – Common Ground, Reception – Nanea Restaurant at Westin
Florist: Martin Roberts
Cake: Kauai Cakes by Harmonie Hawthorne
Bridal accessories: De Beers, Harry Winston, Neiman Marcus
Hair and make-up: Ashley at Boston Hair Salon
DJ: Kustom Sounds Kauai
Live music: Soul Fire Productions
Transportation: Roberts Hawaii
Dance instruction: Mrs Che-Che at Ole Dance Studio
Rentals: Martin Roberts