Wedding planner vies for a slice of isles’ pie
An island-based online wedding planning service has put Hawaii on its map.
Bainbridge Island, Wash., that is.
Mywedding.com, founded in 2001, has added Hawaii to its site for the first time.
"We try to add a new guide every month," said Nicole Kraft, editorial and media director.
"It takes a lot of work to launch, as we do a lot of research."
There are 47 wedding destination guides listed on the home page and a Hawaii-click leads nearing nuptialists to choose Kauai, Oahu, Maui or the Big Island, each of which has its own pages vaunting various vendors for vow-envisioners to view.
"They're not all paid listings, but the pretty brochures are all paid and we do a lot of research to find the best vendors," Kraft said.
Googling online Hawaii wedding planners nets 200,000 results.
Some are Hawaii-based, many are not. Many look very low-rent with atrocious misspellings and some take forever to load because of all the pictures.
How does one set oneself apart from 199,999 others?
Mywedding.com says unlike its largest competitor, The Knot, it targets "real people" and "real weddings."
"We're definitely appealing to the local people of Hawaii and also many people from the mainland," Kraft said.
Could be that local folks go to the site and click on Las Vegas instead.
"That was one that we launched this year," Kraft said.
It has been quite popular despite the stereotypical drunken, rushed and cheesy Vegas wedding scenario. "It doesn't have to be a drive-through Elvis wedding, or anything," Kraft chuckled.
The site's most popular guides are those that have been up the longest, she said. They are Seattle, San Francisco, New York, San Diego, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Phoenix, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles and Denver.
The rankings may shift once Hawaii's guide gains longevity.
Of last year's wedding and honeymoon visitors, 92 percent went online for planning, versus 89 percent of visitors overall, said Chris Kam, director of market trends for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
If you can imagine all of Hawaii's 2006 visitors squeezing into a pie chart, the total wedding/honeymoon slice would be 5.6 percent; 4.4 percent of the U.S. West market and 7.6 percent of the U.S. East market, Kam said.
From the U.S. West, honeymooners spent an average of $225 per person per day, 44 percent more than the market's leisure travelers. U.S. East honeymooners spent $253 -- 36 percent higher than leisure travelers from their neck of the woods.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org