Hawaii Beach Wedding

Wedding Budget (Create a budget AND stick to it)!!!

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Christie Pham Photography | www.christie-photography.com

Christie Pham Photography

Most couples we meet, tell us that one of their biggest concerns or reasons why they are interested in hiring a Wedding Planner is to save money or stay in their budget.  Budgets are ALWAYS important and even more so when starting a life together.  We can’t express how important having a sold grasp on your budget is for your combined happiness and ability to enjoy the planning process is.  For this reason, we are VERY excited to help shed some light on this VERY IMPORTANT topic.

Christie Pham Photography | www.christie-photography.com

Christie Pham Photography

From Venue to Vendors, setting a budget can be daunting and initially overwhelming as many don’t know where to begin and what to consider.  Since it can take months research multiple vendors to determine the “average” cost of something and there is still NO way to determine if your wedding is “average”, we recommend looking at YOUR own finances and determine what both of you (Bride & Groom…or if you are lucky, any parents) are able to CONFIRM spending.  Once you know what your budget is, make sure it is an amount you BOTH are comfortable with and won’t need to eat instant saimin everyday to afford ;-).  This will help you to enjoy being engaged as well!    NOTE:  If parents or Sponsors offer to “help” with the cost of your wedding, ask them to deposit their generosity into a “Wedding Bank Account” for you.  *You can tell them you are requesting this so you can keep track of your expenses.*  This will give you the peace of mind knowing what you actually have in your budget and not plan with what “might” come through.  ***If it isn’t deposited, DON’T count on it.***

Here come the actual steps to work with AND STAY within your budget (***IF you want to***).   NOTE:  For the sake of examples, we will be working with a budget of $50,000.  This is NOT an average, just an example.

  • List all of the various vendors (items/services) you plan to spend money (or include in your budget)

    Hyatt Wedding Cake

    Hyatt Wedding Cake

    • To help you get started, here is a list of common types of vendors (Ceremony/Reception venue, Coordinator/Planner Photographer, Videographer, Ceremony music, Florist, Reception music, Favors, Master of Ceremony/MC, Wedding Cake, Officiant/Clergy, Hair/Makeup, Attire, Invitations, Transportation, Decor, Linen, Lighting, Caterer, Photo Booth)
  • Then list your vendors in order of priority to YOU!   NOTE:  If someone is contributing to the budget of your wedding, they may insist in having a voice in your decision.  Unfortunately, if you don’t want this to happen, you may need to consider gracefully turning down their offer.
    • You should NOT have more than one “#1″
    • #1 Should be YOUR most important priority (just because something is important to many other couples, it may not and doesn’t need to be important to you)
  • Using the budget amount you came up with, divide up that amount and assign a dollar amount to each type of vendor.     NOTE: Regardless of what each type of vendor typically charges, don’t think about it.  Your #1 priority needs to have more than #2, #2 needs to have more than #3, etc.  The example below is not the typical order of priorities OR averages spent, we are using this list (and the amounts) to prove a point and show you an example of what your list should look like (ie: wedding favors are usually a lower priority):



  • Venue: $30,000
  • Favors: $3,500
  • Videographer: $3,250
  • Cake: $2,950
  • Florist: $2,500
  • Photographer: $2,100
  • MC: $1,700
  • DJ: $1,500
  • Hair and Makeup: $1,250
  • Dress: $750
  • Tux: $500
  • Now you are ready to START choosing and securing your vendors!  Start with your #1 priority and work your way down.  It is important to work in order and here is why.  1)  You don’t want to lose valuable time securing something that isn’t important to you (just because it might be more important to the “average” couple) 2)  You don’t want to use up your budget on something that isn’t important to you (for the same reason).

    PC: Kai Photo

    PC: Kai Photo

    • By having more money allocated to your #1 priority, you should be able to spend the appropriate amount based as your unique priorities
    • If you have MORE than enough for the type of vendor you are securing, you can move the remaining amount to your next highest priority
      • (ie: If you only needed $25,000 for the Venue, you now will have $8,500 for your favors)
    • If you DON’T have enough money for the vendor/priority you are currently working on, you (as a couple) can decide how much money you want to lower any of the lower priority category budgets or if you want to just eliminate your lowest priority completely.
  • If you follow this process, you will never be SURPRISED regarding your budget.   TIP:  If possible, try to have your vendors secured 4 months prior to your wedding date so you can begin to work out the finer details of your wedding!

Happy Planning!

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Concepts & Ideas for Jessica :-)

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These are just some pictures we pulled for a Bride we will be meeting tomorrow (for the first time).  Just some ideas we think she might like (from past APD weddings)  based on her Pinterest Board :-).

Christie Pham Photography | www.christie-photography.com

Christie Pham Photography
















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CONGRATULATIONS Sara & Lance! 09.08.14 | Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa

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Lance and Sara were such a loving couple who really “got” each other.  They really only wanted to make each other happy and enjoy their special day with their friends and family!  Thanks to their amazing vendors, Sara & Lance were able to enjoy every minute of their wedding day (even with the remnants of Hurricaine Iselle lingering).  CONGRATULATIONS Mr. & Mrs. Lance & Sara Okuda!!!

CJ with Naturally You, Husband and Wife duo Davis & Janice with Video 21 Productions

Hair & Makeup Styling by CJ Bae-Siepka of Naturally You with Husband & Wife Videographer duo Davis & Janice of Video 21 Productions

SnL-Eugene Kam 05 PRO

Photo by Eugene Kam Photography

SnL-Flower Collage

Floral masterpieces by Todd Oshiro of Always Flowers

SnL-James Chun, Officiant

Reverend James Chun

Photo by Eugene Kam Photography

Photo by Eugene Kam Photography

Manoa Strings

Ceremony Music by the Manoa String Quartet

Naomi Lee and Team of Les Saisons

Naomi Lee and Team of Les Saisons doing what they do best… DECOR!

Photo by Eugene Kam Photography

Photo by Eugene Kam Photography

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Shisa Dog

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Michele Ganiko and Vy of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa

SnL-Wedding Cake_Centerpiece Collage

Photos by Eugene Kam Photography and Wedding Cake by the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa

DJ & Emcee Don Faumuina and team of Spin Dr's M.D.

DJ & Emcee Don Faumuina and team of Spin Dr’s M.D.

The Wedding Party having fun with photo props from Flipbooks Hawaii.

The Wedding Party having fun with photo props from Flipbooks Hawaii (Photo by Eugene Kam Photography)

Erica Martin and Team with Flipbooks Hawaii

Erica Martin and Team with Flipbooks Hawaii & InstaBooth Hawaii

The New Mr. & Mrs. Okuda with Kelly Sugano

The New Mr. & Mrs. Okuda with Kelly Sugano

Please enjoy this “SDE” (Same Day Edit) by Video 21 Productions:

Thanks to all the Vendors who helped make this a great day!

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Congratulations to Lisa and Michael! 08.08.14 | Anela Garden & Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa

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A Perfect Day was happy to spend the day assisting Lisa and Michael on their big day! Their beautiful ceremony was held at the Anela Gardens and their reception was held at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa.  Even with a hurricane scheduled to hit, nothing was going to stop this beautiful couple from having an amazing wedding!

LnM - Ceremony Site Collage 2

Anela Garden


Bridal Bouquets by Spinning Web Florist and Photo by Christie Pham Photography


Photo by Christie Pham Photography

Floral arrangements by Spinning Web Florist and Photo by Christie Pham Photography

Photos by Christie Pham Photography

Photo by Christie Pham Photography

Photos by Christie Pham Photography

Hyatt Regency and Photo by Christie Pham Photography

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Ballroom, Florals by Spinning Web, Wedding Cake by the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Uplighting by DJ Kevo Kevin Okutani and Photos by Christie Pham Photography

Centerpieces by Spinning Web Florist and Photos by Christie Pham Photography

Centerpieces by Spinning Web Florist and Photos by Christie Pham Photography

LnM - Hyatt Banquet Captain

Sammy, Banquet Captain at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach


LnM - DJ

DJ Kevo Kevin Okutani

LnM - Photo Booth

Mr. & Mrs. with Kelly Sugano

Mr. & Mrs. Reyes with Kelly Sugano

This wedding was so amazing that we weren’t able to get all images into this post.  To view additional images, please feel free to click here.
THANK YOU to Lisa for writing such a thoughtful review on YELP about us!!!
Thanks to all the vendors who helped in making it a great day!

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Wedding Lingo 101 (post #1)

Wedding Lingo 101: Venue

You will hear and see many wedding terms appear and reappear in many different places. Let us guide you down the aisle of basic wedding terminology!

 #1. Minimum Requirements and Room Rental Fees:

Most wedding venues will have a “minimum requirement”. Whether it is food, beverages, the amount of guests, there will be a minimum dollar amount you will need to spend in order to host your event at their establishment.  These terms will usually be found in your BEO/catering contract or menu options and may vary depending on each venue.

Remember, no matter how much your plans change over the months of planning your wedding, you are locked into that minimum number so you have to be comfortable with hitting it. If the minimum requirement isn’t met, the venue will offset the cost by applying fees. Sometimes a labor charge or room rental fee will be applied if the minimum requirement is not met.  On the bright side, at some venues, your room rental fees can possibly be waived depending on your minimum expenditure. Some venues may even allow you to exchange the Labor Charge with the Room Rental Fee. Please keep in mind that each of these fees may have additional service fees + state tax.

  • For Example: If your wedding reception is held at a hotel’s ballroom, the BEO/catering contract could say: “Room rental fee waived based on a minimum of $15,000.00 net revenue from food and beverage only. If the minimum net revenue is not met, the difference will be charged as labor charge + tax and service fees.” This means that your room rental will only be waived if you spend $15,000.00 in food and beverages alone (NOTE: beverages are not always included in the “minimum”). If you decide to have your ceremony there as well, the cost of your ceremony will not be applied towards the minimum stated on the contract.

JnW-Finished Ballroom 02

#2. Bar Services and Special Requests:

When deciding the specifics of your bar and beverage service, you will come across many different options and exceptions. But don’t worry, we’ll go over some popular bar service options to give you a better idea on which service will work best for you. (NOTE: not all options are offered at all locations. Country Clubs usually require you to have a completely hosted bar)

  • Hosted Bar: This is when the bride & groom pay for the entire cost and drinks are complimentary to the guests.
  • Partially Hosted: This can either mean the bar is hosted during specific times (ie: 5pm-9pm or during cocktails until open dancing), the bar is only hosting certain beverages (ie: ONLY beer, wine, and soft-drinks), or the bar is only stocked with certain beverages (ie: beer, wine, and soft-drinks).
  • No-Host Bar: This is when the guests will pay for their own beverages. Most of the time, guests are given “Drink Tickets”. The amount of tickets each guests receive, as well as what type of drinks the tickets can apply to (ie: anything at the bar or only specific beverages) will be determined by the Bride & Groom.
  • Bar Cap: Since there are a number of options on how you can serve alcohol (or not) at your wedding, cost is probably one of the biggest concerns. With a “Bar Cap” you can determine a set dollar amount as your limit for a Hosted Bar. Please keep in mind that if you set a limit, you will need to determine if that limit is inclusive with sales tax and service charge, or not. If it’s not, the service charge and tax will be added on top of your limit (after it is reached).
  • Special Requests: After selecting your bar service, should you have any special requests, please be sure to notify your venue through your BEO/Catering Contract.
    • Example #1: Your BEO/Catering Contract may say something along the lines of: “Banquet Captain to notify father of the bride when bar reaches $1000.00, FOB may choose to extend and will make the call at that time, whether the bar will be hosted or to be switched to a no-host bar.”  In this case, the father of the bride will be  making the decision instead of the Bride & Groom.
    • Example #2: If in the event that the bar is NOT fully hosted, often times you can make special  accommodations for specific individuals to be fully hosted throughout the entire event:

A. ONLY the Bride & Groom

B. ONLY the Wedding Party

C. Only the Wedding Party & Immediate Family


Photo by: Dylan Dawson Photography

***NOTE:  If you plan to host the immediate family (but not the guests), they can often only be “hosted” while seated at their “family table”. Otherwise, the banquet staff would not be able to identify the “immediate family”.  It is usually easy to identify the wedding party, so they would not need to be seated, to be hosted.

#3. Vendor Meals:

Although it is not required to feed your vendors (unless it is mentioned in their contract), it is customary to do so. Especially for the vendors that will be at your event for an extended amount of time like your coordinators, photographers, videographers, DJ and MC. These people will be at your event from start to finish and they won’t be able to step out to grab food elsewhere, nor do the venues allow. Each venue offers different “Vendor Meals”. You have the option to provide them with the same meal you and your guests are having, a version of your what your guests will have, or even a “vendor meal” (something completely different) from the venue.

  • NOTE:  If a vendor is not fed, they may leave to go and eat elsewhere and return which potentially means they might miss something important.

    The wedding cake decorated with red, purple and creme flowers

    The wedding cake decorated with red, purple and creme flowers

#4. Final Gte (Final Guarantee):

This is the final count and guaranteed number of guests that will be attending your wedding. If more guests are in attendance than the guaranteed number, the actual number served will be charged. Venues are aware that the counts are constantly changing (even on the wedding day) so it is understood that the “Final Guarantee” might not be final. However, if you have a significant count increase, the venue can’t guarantee that they will be able to accommodate your large increase due to shortage in food or wait staff. Please keep in mind that the food is purchased and prepared based on the final guarantee. In order for your venue to efficiently serve you on your big day, this number needs to be as accurate as possible and in most cases, provided to your venue at least 3 BUSINESS days prior to your event date.

  • NOTE:  If fewer guests than  the Final Guarantee you provided to the venue attends, you will still be      charged for the amount of people you guaranteed.

We hope this information was helpful and will continue to post more information about other “Wedding Lingo” in the future :-).

Happy Planning!

~A Perfect Day~

Who are you? What do you do? Getting to know your Wedding Vendors

There are a lot of people that will be an essential part of your big day to make your dream become a reality. To name a few, there is a Catering Sales Manager, Banquet Captain, Wedding Designer, and Wedding Coordinator. What role does each person play? Here is a brief description of their specialties and how they’re an important contribution to your special day.

sheraton 4

Photo by: La Vie Photography

Catering Sales Manager
The title of Catering Sales Manager may differ for each venue. Most commonly, their primary role is to assist you with securing the venue, along with the floor plan, food, and beverages should you decide to order from the venue. Sometimes the Catering Sales Manager will be confused as a Wedding Coordinator. Please keep in mind that the Catering Sales Manager specializes in the venue, available amenities, and their menu options. Unlike a Wedding Coordinator, they won’t be able to assist you with reminding your bridal party of all pertinent call times and “don’t forgets” on the wedding day.

Banquet Captain
Now let’s introduce the Banquet Captain! Their role is to execute what was agreed upon in your Catering Contract/BEO (Banquet Event Order). They are responsible for overseeing the execution of all details arranged with the Catering Sale Manager/banquet operations. Therefore, if you have any concerns about the venue on your big day, it should be communicated with your Banquet Captain.  After spending the amount of time, whether it’s days, weeks, or months, communicating with your Catering Sales Manager about your selections, pricing, and details, there is a high possibility that your Catering Sales Manager will be present on your wedding day for a limited amount of time (if at all). Rest assured; this is when your Banquet Captain steps in! The Catering Sales Manager and the Banquet Captain work closely together in communicating the specifications for your big day. Your BEO (Banquet Event Order/Private Party Agreement/Wedding Detail Report) is one of their most essential tools of communication, which is why it is so important to make sure it’s accurate and delivered to your Catering Sales Manager by the deadline.  NOTE:  If you hire A Perfect Day, we will work VERY closely with your Banquet Captain on your behalf.

Wedding Designer
Behind door number three, we have your Wedding Designer! Your Wedding Designer specializes in collaborating every element in a way that will bring each couple’s wedding ideas to life; creating the perfect ambiance for your special day. They have skills in décor, lighting, layout, texture, and color design. From table linens, napkins, chair types and shapes, flowers, walls, to spotlights that pulsate to the music, your Wedding Designer will be able to provide insight and design to keep your wedding aesthetically constant with your invitations and thank you notes.

TIP: Some vendors (including A Perfect Day) might even give you their design input for FREE!


Photo by: Bianca Photography

Wedding Coordinator

Finally, we are pleased to present… your Wedding Coordinator! This is the person that gather all your details together, organizes, and manages all aspects of the wedding to ensure that things run smoothly on your big day. Essentially, their role is to alleviate the stress from the Bride & Groom so the couple can enjoy their wedding! From having a copy of your speech handy, making sure you have the lucky envelope (li-cee) ready for the Chinese Lion Dance performers, to locating your photographer, your Wedding Coordinator will know each person’s role and make sure each of them plays their part so you won’t have to run around in your extravagant wedding heels. Above all, their main concern is the happiness of the Bride & Groom!

Your Wedding Coordinator is also a great resource for everything wedding related! Coordinators may offer excellent consulting services to point you in the right direction, such as advice on which photographer fits your budget. However, it is entirely up to the couple to decide how involved or not involved they want the coordinator to be in the planning process. This is how your coordinator determines a price quote for their services. The price may vary, depending on the coordinator and the services they provide.

Happy Planning!

~A Perfect Day~