The start of our Hawaiian wedding extravaganza
After planning, stressing, and obsessing for over a year, we finally made it to the eve of our BIG DAY. We flew out to Honolulu on Wednesday, December 5th, ahead of our ceremony on Saturday the 8th. Just enough time to settle in and enjoy some beach time, aloha vibes, Goofy in board shorts, and Mickey shaped spam musubi at our Happiest Place on Earth: AULANI.
This was our 5th visit to the Disney Aulani Resort on Oahu, but obviously the first time as a groom and bride. And, boy-oh-boy, the Disney Weddings folks really spoiled us with their welcome.
First off — they had us in the most spectacular room with a huuuge balcony and amazing ocean & resort pool views. Second — our room was outfitted with a ton of welcome treats, a framed photo of us, AAAAAND A FULL SIZE CHRISTMAS TREE. Insert all the happy tears.
This was our first trip to Hawaii in December, and it was such a treat getting to see Aulani all dressed up for Christmas. The garlands hanging in the lobby were just as magical as the ones strung along Main Street (if not more so, since we were in freaking HAWAII after all).
When we were escorted to our 2-bedroom villa, we were greeted by this gorgeous red, gold, ‘n green Christmas tree in the living room. To top things off, the set-up came complete with a wrapped and bow-tied present. The wrapping paper alone (with Santa Hat Duffy and board-shorts wearin’ Mickey) was the stuff of my dreams. I may or may not have come home with a whole box of the wrapping from the Aulani gift shop. #qualitypurchase
The gift box under the tree had this adorable Mickey-shaped Aulani ornament inside — which I’m glad to report has survived the plane ride back to the mainland. Happy to have another souvenir ornament for our Christmas tree at home!
In addition to the Christmas tree, we also had all these sweet goodies waiting for us on our dining table: a couple welcome cards from the Aulani and Disney Weddings team, chocolates and truffles, a framed picture of us from the day we got engaged, and a MASSIVE plate of Christmas cookies, marshmallow Mickeys, and chocolate-covered strawberries. It was an absolute stimuli overload, and Mark and I were overwhelmed in the best way.
One of the first things we did after dropping our luggage and spazzing out about our room goodies was raid the gift shop for ridiculous merchandise we didn’t need. Aulani gets a lot of Japanese visitors, so their gift shop is chock full of Tokyo Disney’s favorite character — Duffy. As well as Duffy’s “friends,” Shellie Mae and Olu.
They’re pretty obscure characters in the States, but they practically have a cult following at Tokyo Disney, and we were completely won over on our last trip to Japan. So, naturally, Duffy hats from Aulani had to happen! Can you tell Mark picked up this one from the kids’ section?
Pretty sure these Duffy ears are also made for kids. Maybe that’s why they’re actually COMFY??
We were in Hawaii for a grand total of 8 days and 7 nights, and our wedding was smack dab in the middle. Even though we were in paradise, I knew the first few days would be heavy on the wedding-related stress and light on the salt water activities. There was just so much to do…meet our photographer & officiant, get through the rehearsal with our families, plus all the last minute details (like practicing our first dance, ha).
I’m pretty terrible at dealing with stress (Mark will tell you that’s the understatement of the year), so I was fully expecting to be a total basket case in Hawaii leading up to our big day. But honestly, the cast members at Aulani really put us at ease. I could rave about them for daaaays — especially our Disney Weddings coordinator, Nicole Tam, who was literally the very best wedding planner we could’ve asked for.
I can’t wait to share what they helped us to create: a wedding day that was truly a dream come to life.