Many friends & family have asked why I didn’t blog during the wedding planning process and to be honest, I had the intention of blogging my experience. And hey! I did two posts here and here. Once I was deeper into all the details- I realized something very important. I wanted to be present. I went through events, engagement parties, showers, and everything leading up to the big day- I put my camera down and celebrated in the moment. 

This idea led me to think a wedding planner might be a great idea. First of all, having a wedding planner to help with all the details sounded amazing. Another huge reason was the destination- Kauai HI. I’d been to Kauai once before, but I wouldn’t be able to visit prior to the wedding day. I needed an advocate for me who was on the island. After interviewing several planners- we chose to hire Marie, owner of Legacy Events Kauai. She listened to my vision and made it a reality.  In hindsight, hiring a planner was truly one of my best wedding choices. The week leading up to the wedding day had its own challenges, but I knew everything was going to be perfect in Marie’s hands. Given all we had going against us- our wedding day was a dream.

There won’t be very many times in life when you are surrounded by all of your closest family and friends. Those who support you and love you unconditionally- it shouldn’t be taken for granted. In working with Marie, she graciously agreed to collaborate by answering some questions for the blog. She has great insight into being a wedding planner, business owner, and successful career women. You don’t want to miss this!


Q&A with Marie, Owner & Wedding Planner of Legacy Events Kauai


How did you become a wedding planner & start Legacy Events?

I use to work in the banquets department for 8 years at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Knowing my experience there in events and my personality to organize and get things done, I had a friend approach me (Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton’s older brother, Noah) to coordinate their wedding. So my first wedding was 300 people and the rest was history from there!


Convenience aside, what is the most important reason a bride needs a planner?

You have one chance, just ONE, to get everything right and make this the best day of your life. There are no do-overs for a wedding day (well, technically there are, but let’s not get into that). Having an experienced, professional planner is the difference between stressing out or enjoying your wedding day.


What are the biggest mistakes you see brides make?

We learn as we go and with many years of planning comes insight as to what really works and what does not work. One of the biggest mistakes a bride can make (besides not hiring a good planner) is to think she can take on too many wedding-related tasks such as doing all her own centerpieces, being her own day-of planner which involves answering vendor phone calls, trouble shooting problems that arise, directing catering staff, etc. I constantly remind brides that their role on the wedding day is to simply be the bride and enjoy the day. Now we have strict rules on what we allow our clients to provide and take on for the wedding day. We have found that our clients really appreciate the guidance after the event is done.


What is your greatest accomplishment either professionally or personally?

My greatest accomplishment professionally is creating and growing this business from the ground up. It has always been my dream to own a business and through years of hard work, trial and error and countless hours I have created this beautiful service that helps people from around the world create some of the most treasured memories they will ever have in their life. Personally, my greatest accomplishment is loving others and investing in their lives; my family, friends, and community.


In your opinion, what are the top 3 planning elements to a “perfect” wedding day?

Location, food, and entertainment. You can’t go wrong with a beautiful venue on this island- there is so much “wow” factor in that itself. Everyone loves the outstanding food at a wedding and talks about that the next day. We love to think outside the box when it comes to food. Some examples of this might be a Flambe Station instead of wedding cake for dessert or a late night build your own ramen (saimin) station for guests to enjoy before they go. Regarding entertainment, everyone loves to dance. Nothing beats an amazing live band or DJ. For one of our June 2017 weddings, we flew in DJ Chris Clouse from San Fransisco. He had just opened for Snoop Dog a couple months before our event. He was a game-changer for music and the clients and guests could not stop talking about how amazing he was.

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You’ve done plenty of weddings, do you have a favorite? If not, a favorite element?

I have quite a few weddings that are my favorite memories and keep me focused on why I do what I do. Some of the most amazing weddings are when you can feel the love so strong between the couple and their families and guests are truly joyous and free in their celebrating- dancing the night away without a care.


If you could plan any celebrities wedding- who would it be?

Good question! I’m going to go with Jermaine from Flight of the Conchords. THAT would be a fun group to plan a celebration for! Kia Ora Jermaine- hit me up!


What is your idea of my perfect wedding?

100 of my closest friends and family at Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens or Waimea Plantation Cottages, Food casually served at stations that would include a temaki sushi station, seared ahi station, Kalua pork slider station, flambe station for dessert. Live musicians would serenade the guests through dinner then a live band (with horn section) would play until the end. The visual elements can be Hawaii- inspired; lots of greenery and perhaps some playful elements- things you don’t normally see used often for wedding decor. I would have to put a different spin on things because I do weddings all the time so it would be important for me to think outside the box in terms of creativity.

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What is your favorite part of being a wedding planner & running your own business?

I love being able to help people realize their dream wedding. It all starts with listening to their vision and understanding what is important to them and taking action from there to guide them through the planning process. The best feeling in the world is the words of gratitude from the clients, friends, and family at the end of the night. The best part of running my own business is making my own schedule, hands down awesome.


When you aren’t wedding planning, what do you do in your free time?

I grew up on Kauai so I love being outdoors. My perfect day would be waking up at the crack of dawn to surf out west followed by coffee and breakfast at Little Fish in Hanapepe and then heading to work.  I love hiking and running on a consistent weekly basis.  Camping in Koke’e is my happy place. Traveling the world is my passion. But what truly holds my heart are my two sweet kids that keep me busy and motivated.

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What is one piece of advice or quote you live by (or favorite quote)

“You have come too far not to go further, you have done too much not to do more”

-Ta Himi Henare


Wedding: Why You Need a Wedding Planner


  1. Being wedding planner takes a special kind of soul. It looks like you have that gift!

  2. Brittany says:

    This is a great read! I did my entire wedding by myself and now I always tell my friends to get a wedding planner. It would have taken a lot of the worry and stress out of the process for me, I totally think it’s worth it!

  3. Maxene says:

    What a great post! I planned my own wedding, but it was easy, we had but one guest -our photographer- ,and took pictures and said our vows in the narrow streets of Gibraltar. We basically eloped while abroad. Had we planned a traditional wedding I would have hired a planner for sure, nothing beats having someone else execute all of those last minute decisions, constant phone calls and keeping with the bride’s wishes than a wedding planner.

  4. Denay says:

    What a beautiful destination wedding! My daughter Brooke is recently engaged and we’re just beginning the wedding planning process. I really appreciate all the great Q&A with your Hawaiian wedding planner Marie. It gives Brooke and I a better idea of the questions to ask when interviewing wedding planners to find the perfect fit.

  5. Pech says:

    It’s true that a wedding planner is a life saver: he or she has all the experience you (probably) don’t have with thinking about all the details that have to be put together and seen and can offer so many ideas and most importantly help be that second and third pair of hands to get things done so as a bride you can enjoy instead of worry – pass the worry to the wedding planner to magically take care of! Spend your time with people not tasks the week of the big day!

  6. Wonderful post and interview! I used to design wedding invitations and always thought wedding planners had the most patience of anyone in the industry. They are amazing, and a must for destination weddings especially!

  7. Sharon says:

    I had a lot of help and I’m pretty organized so I was able to tackle a wedding by myself but if I had done a destination wedding, there’s no way I could have handled it! I definitely would have needed one then!

  8. Meg says:

    Lots of good guidelines here – love the Q&A format. When I got married, I did a lot on my own – it sure is a lot of work! No doubt a wedding planner is a big help, especially for a destination wedding. Having someone local on the ground is essential. I’m glad it all worked out for you!

  9. Carrie Hurst says:

    This is a great post! I think that using a wedding planner makes things less stressful. Plus, you are supporting a small business!

  10. Yes, to have people helping you with the wedding plans are so helpful! And not have to think and deal with everything by yourself. Interesting to read the intervjues.

  11. kat says:

    wow love this post. I hope I can have a planner for my big day, seems way easier this way!! thanks for sharing xoxo

  12. Jennifer L says:

    Wow it was great reading on Marie and her wedding planner agency. A friend of mine attempted to do her wedding alone and she opted to forgo when it was obvious she’d had more than she could handle.

  13. I am definitely getting a wedding planner, I feel they are totally worth it!

  14. Suzanne says:

    Yes! I had a wedding planner and don’t regret it one bit. Such great advice!

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