Hawaiian Hyatt Honeymoon of my Hdreams.
There is one singular mantra getting me through the dredges of stress at this, the 2 month out point of wedding planning. It goes like this:
SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR
I don’t want to emotionally “miss” the wedding by focusing completely on the honeymoon, but I find myself fantasizing about the sweet, sweet feeling of relief that will accompany the completion of something that has taken a good year to plan. And I’m just saying, it’s a particularly sweet to picture that relief from within the safe & loving confines of a swim up bar.
Richie & I were torn about where to honeymoon. And I should clarify- I LOVE to travel. My favorite place on the planet is Queenstown, New Zealand. Followed by Prague I think. And then Costa Rica maybe. So when I thought honeymoon, places like Bali & The Maldives came to mind. Richie, on the other hand, considers an unpleasant drive to New Jersey “traveling”.
So I got thinking. Hawaii is pretty much the perfect compromise. It warms him up to a zillion hour flight but he can still speak English & get ahold of a cheeseburger. Baby steps. And ultimately, all I care about is RELAXING. I don’t care if I ever leave the pool (which is why the swim up bar is a necessity).
Once we’d decided on the islands (Kauai & Maui!), it was time to research the resort of our dreams. On my global travels, I’ve become a hardcore Trip Advisor advocate, so I started my digging there. But I’m a big ‘ol cross-reference with The Knot type of chick who then Yelp’s the heck out of something. What I’m saying is, I do my research. Before long, I found one name that popped up over & over again. Being the altruistic woman I am, I’m going to save you a million hours of research & just tell you exactly where to stay on your future Hawaiian vacation.
Our first stop will be Kauai. And I pretty much died when I found the Grand Hyatt Kauai ( http://www.grandhyattkauai.com/). When I read they made the Conde Nast Gold List for 2012 & were ranked as the #1 hotel on Kauai, I was done. Please look at this ridiculousness:
Yeah, I know. I’m not promising to ever come home.
After Kauai, we’re popping over to Maui. And lo & behold, Hyatt won me over again. The Hyatt Regency Maui (http://www.hyattregencymaui.com/) is equally ridiculous. Because when Travel + Leisure Magazine gives you the World’s Best Award (August 2012), that’s pretty much enough for me. And if that’s not enough for you (you are being TERRIBLY difficult right now!), then I’m happy to bring up the Grotto bar, aka the bar…inside a cave…that you swim into.
You had me at hello, Hyatt.
Statistically, if you haven’t already been to Hawaii, you’ll be going there soon. Ok, I made that math up, but here’s the point- it took me some digging to find the dream spots for our honeymoon & hopefully my expert blogging skills will make your future trip to Hawaii that much easier to plan. I’ll let you know what I think of these resorts post-vacay but I can assure you of one thing: with all of my world travels, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to stay at any resort.
Side note, because I’m planning to make sure Richie is REALLLLLY glad we’re getting hitched (& also because I love a good shopportunity), I’ve gone on a quest to find a brand new super hot bikini for every day of the honeymoon. You’re welcome, Mr. Wilson.
Some cliché with the word “Lei’d” in it,
AND THEN THERE WAS A DRESS.
Oh dear lord. The relief. The sweet, sweet relief. The precious exhale of relief. GIGANTIC HAPPY SIGH OF RELIEF.
I HAVE A DRESS.
And I need to stop and give thanks to my new favorite people on the planet, the bridal dress wizards at Demetrios.
Let me back up so we can play a little game called “horrendous dresses”. Or as I call it, pretty much everything I’ve tried on before now. And I should clarify- they were not at all horrendous, they were beautiful, stunning gowns. But with every dress I tried on that was not “MY” dress, I felt a smidge more hopeless and despondent. I was always told one great truth about love that I assumed would be transferable to the wedding dress hunt: when you know, you know. And when it came to wedding dresses, I JUST. DIDN’T. KNOW.
Until I walked into Demetrios (http://demetriosbride.com ).
The genius who made me not want to have a complete panic attack (even sans alcohol! Oh the horror!) was an unbelievably fun guy named Paul. Paul made me laugh, Paul made me try on everything I even showed a slight hesitation of interest in, Paul made compelling but unobtrusive pro/con points for me. Paul was a godsend.
And while Paul rocked my world, he couldn’t have done squat with horrendous dresses.
The story of Demetrios goes like this:
Greek-born Demetrios is a leading, world-renowned designer and a fashion icon in the bridal industry with over thirty years’ experience. In 1980, Demetrios’ dream of owning his own company became a reality. He purchased Ilissa Bridals of New York. Virtually overnight, he turned this small unknown business into a thriving international company. Bridal boutiques throughout the world , including his own Brides by Demetrios salons and the Macy’s Bridal Salons By Demetrios proudly sell Demetrios gowns. He is one of the most versatile designers in the bridal market, covering the entire range of styles from traditional and romantic to sleek and sensuous and is on the cutting edge of the fashion world. They have been showcased in all leading bridal magazines.
And they’ve won a bajillion awards. I like thinking about these awards because it’s highly likely the statuette is wearing a big ‘ol wedding gown.
Dallas Fashion Rose Award – Best Designer
Southwest Bridal Association Award – Manufacturer of the Year
Atlanta Fashion Award – Designer of the Year
Chicago DEBI Award – Outstanding Designer
Chicago DEBI Achievement Award – Distinctive Excellence in the Bridal Industry
Las Vegas Katelyn Jo Humanitarian Award – In recognition of Special Achievements in the Bridal Industry
Now, obviously I can’t show you the dress. But I will tell you a couple of fun facts about it.
1) It’s not white, it’s a darker champagne, which is AWESOME with the vintage feel of the space (and my white-hating skin color. Which accidentally sounds racist.)
2) It has volume without being an obnoxious plastic cake-topper/Disney princess spectacle. Somehow Demetrios has managed to marry something romantic & even simplistic but give it a show-stopping element, all while avoiding the cheese factor.
3) It gives me one hell of a J Lo booty.
That’s all you’re getting.
Everything about the experience, the staff, the quality & selection of dresses was just ridiculously awesome. I actually had fun (imagine!), instead of breaking into my typical cold sweat of panic in which dresses starts to melt together and become as indistinguishable as every scent at an over-enthusiastic perfume girl’s counter.
If you’re in NYC, here’s where you’re going to go for your wedding dress. Save yourself a meltdown &/or the subsequent hangover from dealing with the new term I’d like to coin: “dresstress”. Start on fcebook, since you’re probably sitting at your computer & procrastinating finding a dress at this exact moment. http://www.facebook.com/demetriosbride
So I should probably have a dress by now.
In fact, it’s almost more important than writing this blog. But this blog is so easy. I get to sit in a comfortable chair and pour my heart out to thousands of strangers. I get to sip coffee in my pajamas & think about the horrendous dresses I’ve tried on to date, rather than stand naked in front of a woman tugging crinoline over my head.
So I’ll just write a blog about it.
I don’t have a dress. And it’s now 3 months until the wedding. And while I knew this was a pressing priority, crisis mode didn’t smack me in the face until I saw an article in The Knot recommending you order your dress at the 9 month out mark.
I have run the gamut in my dress explorations. I’ve met with private designers. I’ve been to bridal salons. I’ve 90% committed…only to second guess myself within minutes & walk out of the store flustered.
Here’s the conundrum in which I live: I want a big dress. But I don’t want a big dress. Let me clarify- I don’t want to look like a Disney princess slash cake topper:
But I have the opportunity to wear beautiful dresses quite often & I want my wedding dress to be special- something I couldn’t get away with wearing on a red carpet. I want some volume, but I want a little less traditional. A little edgy, but appropriate to the venue. A needle in a haystack.
And time is so not on my side. At this point, I’m going to be expediting the order or sneaking out with a floor sample under my sweater.
I’ve got an appointment at Demetrios (http://www.demetriosbride.com/) this week. I need you to send me “FIND THE DRESS” vibes. I have a good gut feeling- they came highly recommended & from the little poking around I’ve done on the website, I actually have hope.
To be continued…hopefully in a celebratory “I FOUND A DRESS” blog.
Promise me: No. Chicken. Dance.
We need a DJ for the wedding. Which inexplicably is now less than 7 months away. I just noticed that on the nagging countdown timer on the upper right corner of this page & now I’m completely distracted & panicked.
What was I talking about?
Oh, DJ. So, I’ve realized throughout this wedding planning process that I’m a smidge of a control freak. Maybe not control freak so much, it’s just this: when I do things, I know they’re done. And most likely perfect. When anyone else does things, I have a sneaking suspicion that they are completely opposite of what I would ever want.
Having learned this about myself, and having come to terms with the fact that I do not have the 47 hours in a day required to do all this stuff myself, I made a list of things I could live without controlling. Things that, should I put them in the (legitimately) capable hands of my fiance & should they (inexplicably) go horribly awry, I could live with the aftermath.
So he got the DJ pick. We have utterly opposite taste in music so finding someone who could make us both happy was going to be a job within itself.
I had one rule. And I wanted it in writing. If the DJ plays “The Chicken Dance”, he is not getting paid. Period. We are not traditional people, we are not having a traditional wedding & I do not want any hint of traditional cheeseball DJ antics. Despite our painfully opposite music taste, this we completely agreed on.
After hours of research & reviews, Richie found a clear front runner & we set up a meeting with Scratch Weddings (http://scratchweddings.com). Here’s what I dug about them:
1) Scratch has over 700 skilled, trained, marquee-level DJs nationwide who have done over 15,000 events for over six million guests.
2) They’ve collaborated with Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg & Michael Jackson. (Seriously- good enough for Snoop, good enough for me.)
3) Scratch Weddings offers the option to select from a number of DJs paired to each couple based on their personal style, taste and musical interests with online access to DJ bios, photos, videos and music mixes.
4) Couples are assigned a professional wedding music manager to work with them, their wedding planner, venue and their DJ to handle all musical details of their wedding. There’s guaranteed DJ replacement in the event of an emergency and liability insurance.
5) Scratch Weddings earned the 2011 “Bride’s Choice Award” on WeddingWire, the 2011 “Best of Weddings” award on The Knot and consistently receives five out of five stars on sites like Yelp.
Personally, I like that there are hundreds of DJs. So god forbid a freak chainsaw accident happened and our DJ was unable to spin a record, they’ve got backups on deck. And Richie is geeking out over the fact that they have a DJ school founded by Jam Master Jay of Run DMC. In fact, he kind of wants to enroll.
So we’re going with Scratch!
Here’s what’s cool- based on their first impressions of our (impossible) musical tastes, they emailed us links with bios & pics* for their top 6 recommended DJs:
DJ Trife: http://bit.ly/kE9S6U
DJ Vida Ventura: http://bit.ly/zB5EZb
DJ Dan Chaves: http://bit.ly/ks5wTA
DJ Stef Nava: http://bit.ly/zy36zG
DJ Jon Blak: http://bit.ly/ApHuJA
DJ Alias: http://bit.ly/mcoSjA
*Um, I’m sorry but pics are IMPORTANT! Call me some hybrid of insecure &/or shallow, but I am SO not having the stereotypical NYC supermodel DJ spinning our wedding. Because I’m a chick. And I’m allowed to be occasionally irrational about these things.
The next step is to narrow down those DJs based on their mixing styles (check it out- they really do have different vibes!). Then we’ll go in and meet with our fave who will spin live for us. How cool is that?! I’ll take some video of it & share with you guys on here.
Best of all, they’re completely on board with our “no chicken dance” policy.