Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

We have been to Maui three times now, with a lot of great experiences, memories, and photographs. So I was looking back and thinking about all of my favorite activities we have done.  So of course it made perfect sense to add a blog post with our favorite Maui Activities. Although it was a pretty tough list to narrow down, as there are so many amazing things you can do there. Since we mostly travel the island on our own, there are not many paid tours on the list (although we would like to take a helicopter tour some day). Anyhow, here is the list, hope you enjoy it, and as always you can click on the color links to see the full post for each:

#1 – Of course our wedding is first on the list. Such a perfect day at Secret Cove Beach, and our favorite memory of all. Getting married on the beach in Hawaii is the best thing we could have done:

Secret Cove (Pa'ako Beach), Maui

Sunset at Secret Cove Beach

#2 – Whale Watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation. It is definitely worth going out just to see and hear the humpbacks, no matter what the distance. We were lucky enough to have them swim right up to the boat. It was an unforgettable experience.

Pacific Whale Foundation - Maui Whale Watching


#3 – The amazing Haleakala Sunrise. We have been up to view the sunrise twice now, and will certainly go back up again on our next trip. I also enjoyed taking photos of the night sky. But watching the sun slowly rise above the clouds was a sight to behold. But be sure to dress warm for this one, as that wind is something else.

Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

Lookout Tower- Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

#4 – The Old Lahaina Luau. Another amazing memory from our wedding trip of 2008. It was recommended online as one of the best Maui Luau’s. Whether you choose this one or another, a luau is definitely something to experience on any trip to Hawaii.

Old Lahaina Luau

#5 – Snorkeling at turtle town. I love to swim, love to snorkel, and love taking photos. So I spent a lot of time in the water with my new underwater camera on our latest trip. Turtle town near Wailea is one of my favorite spots. If you arent comfortable swimming from shore there are a lot of tour boat options that will get you here as well, to swim with the fish and the turtles.

Snorkeling with Turtles

#6 – Driving the Hana Highway. An all day adventure with as many side trips and stops as you can manage. So many sights and stops and adventures to be had.

South Maui Coastline

#7 – Honolua Bay – One of our favorite places on the island of Maui. On our first trip he heard it was a great snorkeling location. We didnt know about the rainforest out there however – what an amazing place. And the snorkeling was awesome (when the surf isn’t up).

Honolua Bay

Tropical Forest at Honolua Bay, Maui

#8 – Hiking the Pipiwai trail. An adventure that might be best done while staying in Hana. But we made an early morning drive from Kihei and hiked this amazing trail. From the Infinity Pool, to the banyan tree, to the Bamboo Forest, to the 400 foot waterfall at the end, this was such an awesome hike.

Maui Bamboo Forest

Makahiku Falls Infinity Pool - Maui

#9 – Watching the sunsets on the beach is one of our favorite (and free) activities on the island. We especially loved the views from Secret Cove and Big Beach. The perfect way to end yet another day in paradise:

Beautiful Maui Sunset

Kamaole Beach Sunset

#10 – Kula Botanical Garden. We spent a great morning walking through the gardens here. Its a self guided trail where you can wander the trails at your own pace, and view the great variety of tropical plants and flowers. Definitely great for photos:

Crazy Flower at Kula Tropical Flower Gardens, Maui

at Kula Tropical Gardens, Maui

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the list. It was hard to narrow down as there is so much to do. We definitely look forward to our next visit, as there are many more activities we would like to try.


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The Seawatch Restaurant has been sold and renamed ‘Gannon’s – A Pacific View Restaurant’. As I haven’t been there since it was re-opened I am not sure whether things have changed or not. But Susan Jencks is still listed as the wedding co-ordinator, so it should still be a good place for wedding receptions.

Original Post:

After a lot of research on the internet, especially theknot.com, we decided on the Seawatch Restaurant in Wailea as the location for our wedding reception. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were married on the beach during April 2008 at Secret Cove south of Wailea.

We had a morning wedding to increase our chances of having the beach to ourselves – a plan that worked very nicely. After the wedding we went to the beach for the day, and then on to the Seawatch for dinner.

We had booked the Seawatch well in advance for our reception dinner. They were very good to deal with, which I suppose can be expected since they do so many weddings. We talked with a few other restaurants during our planning in order to find the best place for our reception. But Susan at the Seawatch was far and away the best to deal with so we decided to book there.

As impressed as we were with their booking service, we were even more impressed once we arrived on our wedding day. The Seawatch is located on the Wailea Gold Golf Course, which is very well kept. It is uphill from the ocean, which leads to some amazing views – with the green of the golf course and palm trees leading to the blue of the ocean and sky. You can also see Molokini and Kaho’olawe in the distance.

20090412_987These photos show the great view, in addition to the Lower Lawn area.

20090412_969Our reception was held at the Lower Pond. We were happy to find it was the wedding area with the best roof coverage. Although if it was blowing in during a storm you might still get wet.

In the end it didn’t matter, since there was no rain on our wedding day. But it might be something to keep in mind just in case. The Upper Pond is partially covered, but the Lower Lawn area is not covered at all. However both of these areas – especially the Lower Lawn – are better suited to bigger parties. We had a party of thirteen, and there was plenty of room for us at the Lower Pond. They had the table setup with a round table at one end, with a long table at the other end.

They will decorate for you, but my wife chose to do it since she enjoys decorating, and wanted to save a bit of money. So when we got there, it was an empty table with only a white table cloth, plates, glasses, and silverware.

Shauna had ordered some orchids and monstera leaves from Paradise Flower Farms up in Kula. She also ordered some woven lahula boxes from Alaina Kai and had them sent ahead of time to our wedding planner. She used some of the flowers and some ribbon to decorate the boxes:

Brown Ribbon Lauhala Box Wedding Favor
We used chocolate covered macadamia nuts from Costco as the candy for the favor boxes. We also bought a number of pineapples from Costco for the centerpieces. She brought some floral wire from home to make a ring of flowers to place at the base of the pineapples. It ended up looking quite impressive.

Apr 16 2008 0339Since the Seawatch requires that you choose a menu when you book with them, she was also able to make custom menus and found napkins to suit the color scheme at home prior to our trip. We chose the Plumeria Wedding Menu.

The food was very good. The drinks were very good as well. We had the Kula Greens for a starter. And most of our group tried either the Filet Mignon of Beef Tenderloin, or the Macadamia Crusted Island Fish for dinner. I managed to try a bit of both, and had a hard time choosing which was better. Hard to go wrong with either of those choices.

Anyhow, here is a view of the lower pond area, with the Wailea Gold golf course in the background. I also enjoyed checking out the pro shop there. It was a very fancy course.

Apr 16 2008 0343We ordered our wedding cake through Maui Wedding Cakes. I believe they have some sort of deal with the Seawatch, where you have to order through them and the Seawatch picks up the cake and takes care of that end of things.

We ordered a square, two tiered chocolate macadamia nut ganache, with chocolate covered strawberries. It was the best wedding cake we have ever eaten. (The fresh macadamia nuts and strawberries had a lot to do with that.)
Wedding Cake by Maui Wedding Cakes
The cake was amazing, and the fresh strawberries were unlike any strawberry we had ever tasted. (all the fruit we had in Hawaii tasted so much better)
Wedding Cake by Maui Wedding Cakes On our return trip of 2009 we looked into getting another one of these cakes. But they did not come small enough for just the two of us, so we decided against it. But if we ever go in a group again we will be getting another one of these for sure. Again, other than the tiki torches, my wife did the decorating, so I am not sure how the Seawatch itself decorates.

Apr 16 2008 0506

Below is a view of the Upper Pond area. You can also see the Lower Pond area in the upper right of the photo. On our wedding night, the wedding group at the Upper Pond had a musician playing. However, with the Lower Pond being so close, we were able to enjoy the music as well. It worked out perfectly for us – we had plenty of room, a roof over our heads, and still got to enjoy some live music.

20090412_981All in all we could not have been more happy with our wedding reception at the Seawatch Restaurant. We would recommend it to any couple looking for an amazing reception dinner location to celebrate your wedding. Just be sure to book early.




Non-wedding related review of the Seawatch:

During our 2009 trip we decided to go back to the Seawatch for breakfast. Once again we were impressed with the atmosphere and the incredible views. As a regular restaurant we found the food to be a bit overpriced though, as is the case with most of the restaurants in Wailea. We both ordered the crab benedict. It was good, but for almost $20 a plate we had hoped it would taste quite a bit better than $8 per plate smoked salmon benedict we had tried for breakfast at Maui Coffee Roasters in Kahului a few days earlier.

We will likely go back to the Seawatch again on our next trip, mainly to revisit the site of our wedding reception. But it seemed that weddings are definitely their specialty, and as I already mentioned, we would recommend the Seawatch to anyone for an amazing place to have a wedding reception.

Shauna has many more photos from our wedding reception at the Seawatch on her Flickr account here.

She also has more photos of the wedding favors and decorations here.

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My wife chose Secret Cove as the location for our wedding based upon the photos and information she found while doing some initial research on the internet, especially on theknot.com. This beach is also known as Makena Cove and Paako Beach. It was appealing since it is small, scenic, out of the way, and generally not as busy as other Maui Beaches can be.

Once we got to Maui, we could hardly wait to check it out for ourselves. So of course it was the first place we visited on our first day. We were very excited to finally be able to see it in person.

Secret Cove Beach Maui Destination Wedding Northern Pixel Photography

Access to the beach is through a stone wall just south of Big Beach. You come over a bit of a hill, and into a small dip. There is parking along the right side of the road up against the stone wall. You walk through the wall in a bit of a tunnel, and then come out under a tree to a spectacular view.
Entrance to Secret Cove (Pa'ako Beach), Maui

It was more perfect than we could have ever imagined. Even the photos do not do it justice. Here is a panoramic shot taken from the rocks along the left side of the beach looking back towards the road and Big Beach:

Hawaii Secret Cove

It was an ideal wedding location for our small ceremony. We decided on a morning wedding, to increase the chances of getting the beach to ourselves – which turned out to be a very good idea – we were the only ones there during our entire ceremony. Although with the morning sun behind the trees there were more shadows in the morning. At sunset the sun faces the beach, although the blueness of the water might not show up as much then. Just something to keep in mind for your wedding photos, whether you want a background of amazing blue ocean  or one of Maui’s sunsets. Either way you can’t go wrong though.

The waves were crashing pretty hard on our wedding day, which only added to the atmosphere of it all. It is hard to describe the feeling of being married on a beach, barefoot, while listening to the waves crashing on the rocks. We had a perfect Maui day, with only a slight breeze and hardly a cloud in the sky. I had to stop a few times just to look around and take it all in.

Here is a photo showing the harpist who played during our ceremony, with a view towards Molokini in the distance…

Secret Cove Beach, Maui Of all the photos we took at this beach, this one below is one of my favorites. It was taken during our return trip in 2009. This was the only day we visited when it was calm here. The waves were impressive every other time, except on this day…

20090411_808 It was so calm I had just started heading to the car to get my snorkeling gear. But then the large waves returned, and convinced me to just enjoy the view from shore like usual. The photo also shows one of the few sandy entrance areas into the water, although I do not recommend swimming here. The waves come crashing through it pretty good, so it did not seem like a good idea to fight through them for a swim. (But I really wanted to, and still do… perhaps next time.) But there are plenty of good swimming beaches on Maui, so no need to push my luck trying to get out at this one. Perhaps this is why this beach is often much less crowded than most of the other Maui Beaches – it is much more suited to weddings than swimming.

The photo below was taken in 2008 a few days after our wedding day. It was raining pretty good, and the waves were crashing even harder than before, and coming up the beach quite a bit further than usual…

Secret Cove Beach, Maui

During our last night in Maui of 2009 we decided to head back to Secret Cove to view the sunset. It turned out to be one of the better sunsets we had seen, with some of the most colorful sunset photos we took during our time in Hawaii.

20090413_0370There was one lucky couple getting married during this sunset. Hopefully their photos turned out as good as ours did.

Secret Cove SunsetI would recommend this beach to anyone looking for a great place to be married. It is an amazing location, and an experience that will never be forgotten. As I mentioned before you will have a much greater chance of having it to yourself if you have a morning wedding. One evening we stopped there to check things out, and there were three weddings going at the same time. Which of course makes it much harder to take good photos without getting other wedding parties in the background.

Kimberly from Aihara Visuals was our wonderful photographer. We couldn’t have been happier with the photos and the service we received from her and would recommend her to anyone. Her and her husband took over 500 photos during the few hours we booked them for. And all of her photo packages come with a DVD containing all of the photos. She took the wedding photo on my About page.

Her website is: http://www.aiharavisuals.com/

For our wedding ceremony we used Makena Weddings. They are also a husband and wife team, and they did a great job. Reverend Al does the ceremony, and Laurie does the planning end of things. She helped us with the flowers, hair/makeup, marriage licensing, and the harpist who played at our ceremony. They have many packages and options to choose from.

Their website is: http://www.4mauiweddings.com/index.htm

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and feel free to check out my other posts from our time on Maui.

For wedding couples, if you haven’t already checked it out, another post you may be interested in reading is for the Seawatch Restaurant where we had our wedding reception.

Also, Shauna and I do Wedding Photography as well now, and would be happy to have an opportunity to photograph a destination wedding at this amazing beach. Our website is http://northernpixel.zenfolio.com/ 

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