Now that I am back in Vancouver, happily married to my beautiful wife, I thought I would do a small series of our wonderful and not so wonderful wedding moments! I hope you will enjoy 🙂
Part 1 of ?
It felt like, I was below Hells Gate (which should have been)…Above Heavens Gate – in any case, all things happen for a reason.
After getting engaged in October, 2010. Aya and myself decided to have a destination wedding. We had decided Mexico, however trying to deal with Mexicans was a hard challenge so we decided to do Hawaii! Aloha Hawaii!!!, I googled Hawaii Barefoot Beach Wedding and a company called “Above Heavens Gate” came up (www.HawaiiWeddings.com). I clicked in on the first link and was stunned! The page looked beautiful, I watched all the videos of Captain Howie and could feel his passion and personal characteristics and thought this was definitely the place I wanted to get married!
I called them and dealt with Jodi and Crissy, I was really excited and chose to go with a “package” (note: packages and a la carte price are basically the same) called Pukalani Falls & Angels Bay Combination – Pukalani falls is in Captain Howies backyard which is actually quite beautiful, and the Angels Bay is Waimanalo Beach, which is also quite nice, but not as nice as the pictures on their website – they are all Photoshopped to look incredible! I have put two pictures below that I took for you to see – 1. Pukulani Falls 2. Angels Bay / Waimanalo Bay Beach
So in December I gave a $100 deposit for my wedding which was planed for May 24, 2011. I was very excited and I knew there was going to be a rather good amount of people who would be showing up (approximately 40). Above Heavens Gate said they could accommodate. The wedding time as discussed was to be at 2:00pm. At the end of the January I was rather frustrated in dealing everything over the phone and email, so I planned a last minute trip to Honolulu to go meet with captain Howie and his crew as well as to find a place that would be good for our reception.
While I was in Hawaii, Captain Howie was gracious and was happy to accommodate and meet me. I actually thought he was an extremely nice person and wish I had the chance to know him a little better. He comes across very very kind and is an extremely unique individual…Definitely not for everyone as their website states.
After meeting with him, I also had a chance to speak with Jodi and Crissy and discussed things for the wedding. They mentioned that we would come at 11:30 and then have pictures and that the wedding would not be until 4:00pm which was a huge mis-understanding as we had planned the wedding to be at 2:00 and also had sent our invites for that time. They really wanted us to notify all our guests that the wedding would be later instead..Also further to this it was crucial to them that they had photo’s done first before the wedding, Photo’s with the two of us and also with the guests which is completely backwards to normal style wedding…Apparently it’s Hawaiian style to do all the photos first???
January to April went on and there was not a whole lot of communication until towards the end of April when we wanted to finalise everything and be properly prepared. I had to go away on a business trip so I was trying to get everything done before hand. Finding out if Aya could do a trial make-up session before hand and of course trying to figure out that we could do our wedding at 2:00pm first before photos….it was extremely difficult and hard to deal with the response..well if you dont care about your photo’s, etc. its going to be too bright to have photos and they wont look good because of the time, etc…just a lot of excuses and utter crap. We finally agreed we would do our photo’s first and they would ensure we were alone and that it would be an intimate setting when I would first get to see her with her dress on.
As I thought we were almost done, Crissy asked that I had Aya call her with her questions. So when I was in Turkey on business I talked to Aya and she was very very upset and distraught about the situation and especially her phone call with Crissy. I am not 100% sure of all that was talked about and how exactly the conversation went, however she was very upset about some insensitive comments that were made to Aya. One of them being “Let’s hope there is not a Tsunami on your wedding day”… Aya had also sent an email back to her (pasted below).
12:00pm couple gets dressed and ready
12:30pm couples photos ONLY in garden then beach
1:30/2:00pm guests arrive for group shot and ceremony
2:30pm ceremony begins
3:00pm signing of marriage license
3:10pm time to mingle at beach and for guests to take their own photos
3:40-4:00pm Everyone heads back to Waikiki
5:45pm everyone heads to Tiki’s Grill
6:00pm reception begins
I am terribly sorry I meant no disrespect whatsoever!! I made a note to our office to not mention anything about tsunamis.
In any case, after receiving an email with things such as “I made a note to our office to not mention anything about tsunamis”, “We are not for everybody”, “I would not be offended if the two of you went else where”, and “I would hate to be part of something that ruined your day”….I was extremely furious. I was not sure if they were mocking Aya, or sincerely sorry (I hope they were sincere). But really is it something they have to make a note of? I am sure they must deal with lots of Japanese people in Hawaii?
Other things like telling us they wont be offended if we go elsewhere or that they would not want to be part of something that ruined our day…it almost felt like they did not want to do our wedding nor had a good attitude… In the end, they are the service provider and we are the clients.
last but not least, we did cancel our reservation with them which gave us 25 days to find a new wedding planner/coordinator… – I graciously appreciate also receiving my refund back. – Thank you.
Just a few final notes:
*In all seriousness, I do think that if there is only two of you or say less than 10 people that Above Heavens gate might be a nice choice and could provide something quite intimate for your group in their garden of eden or someting where Captain Howie takes you out on his boat.
*Kind of joking here, but half serious – I felt the whole time when talking about photo’s that they were really pushing for “Digital Botox”, this is where they photoshop your pictures to make you look like a supermodel…Honestly I thought that was kind of silly to the extent that they went to make the beach look absolutely untouched and unspoiled as well as to making the people look almost perfect! So, if you are very superficial and ugly, they can make you look really good (Yes, even if you are ugly like me…they can make you look hot damn like Brad Pitt!).
In all seriousness, I really liked Captain Howies personality and his passion for what he does. He seems rather quite spiritual and connected with his “inner-being”. I do have to admit I was quite upset that the one sour grape spoiled the wine this time.
In any case, spoiled wine and disappointment is one thing but I believe everything happens for a reason….Stay tuned for part 2 to see what happened next!
Ps. These are only my thoughts and opinions on things and should be taken for that. I am sure my experience does not reflect what they stand for and could have been a big mistake… – I think we are very easy going people, however we might be have been more of a challenge logistically since we had a group of almost 40 people.