Wednesday Night Workshops 2015: Locations & Venues

Monday October 05, 2015

Our Wednesday Night Workshop series is in full effect and we were so excited for one of our most popular nights, the Locations and Venues Workshop! Catering Managers from twelve of the most popular venues on O'ahu shared location details, tips for our lovely couples, and sampled unique bites and refreshing mock-tails. Our packed house of brides, grooms, some extra helpful bridesmaids, and young professionals were present and ready for our night of fun, food, and of course, our not to be missed prizes. An invaluable night of talking directly to the professionals, giveaways, and a little dancing made for a successful workshop, but don’t worry, we have all the details in case you missed out.

Picking the right venue really sets the tone for your special day. The most important things to consider are: budget, aesthetic, capacity, location, and if you’re a foodie, the meal! Come prepared with a date, and even a backup date in mind, in order to secure your dream location. It’s best to have a rough head count before venue visits so you can be sure all guests can be accommodated comfortably. Travel to and from the venue, hotels for out of town guests, and parking are all great things to consider when choosing a space. So without further ado, our wonderful island venues…


GET IN THE KNOW :: The Halekulani Hotel offers one of the most inclusive packages in town. Depending on your guest count, amenities can include a waived ceremony site fee, a suite on property, complimentary wedding cake, a welcome sparkling wine for guests, gift cards to onsite restaurants, extra guest rooms, and always, complimentary parking for all wedding guests. This is a big win, especially in Waikiki!

JOEL’S TIP :: Director of Catering, Joel Nishimoto, suggests that couples talk directly to the source: the wedding professionals. Instead of relying on a friend of a friend for advice, talk to professionals in the industry, vendors, venues, and of course, us at The Wedding Café. People in the business are closest to the action, and can give the best information.

THE DEETS :: For a smaller wedding reception of 75 to 100 guests, check out the Hau Terrace which can seat up to 120 guests. For larger wedding receptions, the Halekulani Ballroom serves as the perfect celebrating space for anywhere between 100 to 300 happy guests.

SAMPLE THIS :: Brides and grooms got a taste of their wedding day, enjoying traditional wedding cake served at the Halekulani. Not only beautiful, but also delicious.

SCORE :: TWO lucky winners were gifted two gift certificates to Sunday brunch at Orchids. That view, that food, we are definitely drooling just thinking of it…

LOVE HALEKULANI? Contact Joel Nishimoto, Director of Catering or click HERE for more information.


With a lush garden gazebo, outdoor cocktail areas, or indoor spaces with views of the water, you’re bound to find the perfect location for your ceremony and reception at the Hilton Waikiki Beach.

GET IN THE KNOW :: A great location for out of town guests, with 600 hotel rooms on property, as well as a full Catering and Events team that can handle all details little or big. With venue space to accommodate over 300 guests, you’ll be sure to have a great party with all your family and friends.

REGAN’S TIP :: Couples should have a second wedding date in mind as a back up in case their primary date is already booked at their preferred venue. Look at a calendar early and be ready with options.

SAMPLE THIS :: The chef recently won the Mangoes at the Moana People’s Choice Award, and we were lucky enough to have him at the workshop preparing some mouth-watering White Chocolate Coconut Pineapple Local Honey Flan with Salted Caramel Honey Drizzle and Kona Coffee Salt.

SCORE :: By now you’ve probably heard of the famous Mac 24/7 pancake challenge, 4 lbs of fluffy pancakes, 1 lb of gooey, yummy toppings, well our hopefully hungry winner was gifted a $25 gift certificate as well as a one night stay at the hotel! You might need that room to crawl to, post-pancake challenge, amiright?


A spacious lawn for up to 500 guests is the perfect beach front setting to watch the sun set, feel the wind blowing through the palm trees, and gain private access to The Waikiki Aquarium exhibits. What more could you or your guests want? With open air, or a clear tent, brides and grooms have a gorgeous setting for an outdoor ballroom.

THE DEETS :: Newly renovated, the Aquarium offers a brand new stage structure, upgraded for better lighting, acoustics and sound during your special day. New touchless restroom renovations, offer a green feature for the eco-conscious. Couples also have access to the lawn and of course, private access to exhibits in the Aquarium.

RAINA’S TIP :: Raina Fujitani, Events & Membership Matchmaker, believes your wedding day should be as unique as your and your significant other are. It’s the one day about you guys, so make it a reflection of yourself. And speaking of that…

DREAM ON :: Whether you want to ride in on a mermaid throne, a surfboard, or have an even bigger dream, the aquarium is known to see a theme party or two and they are ready to help you make your dream come true.

SWEET SIPS :: For those couples who want to choose their own caterer, the Aquarium has no preferred or onsite caterer, a bonus to those foodies who want to create their own menu. We sipped a signature sparkling plantation ice tea to cool off from all the dancing between the presentations.

SCORE :: We were pretty jealous of this winner, who will be enjoying the sweet sounds of Jake Shimabukuro in his sold out concert, the last of the Summer Concert Series- Ke Kani O Ke Kai- at the Aquarium. Not only that, but they’ll be sleeping sound at the Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head Hotel for two nights, a partner hotel of the Aquarium. We call that a WIN!

LOVE THE WAIKIKI AQUARIUM? Contact Raina Fujitani, Events & Membership Manager or click HERE for more information.


GET IN THE KNOW :: There will never be a double booking onsite. Events are limited to one in the morning and one in the afternoon to create a special experience for you and your guests. Amenities, such as an eight-man golf cart is offered to pick up and take you to the Ko’olau Vista, bridge and pond, a perfect photo opportunity. Pending availability, there are smaller rooms for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready in. These rooms are released a week or two out, so check back!

THE DEETS :: With three ceremony sites, there’s something for everyone at Ko’olau Ballrooms & Conference Center. The 18th tee and Ko’olau Vista are pristine outdoor ceremony locations nestled below the majestic Koolau mountains, situated atop their championship golf course. For indoor ceremonies, couples can choose to walk down the aisle to a breathtaking indoor waterfall. Big or small, Ko’olau Ballrooms is also able to accommodate intimate receptions in their smaller rooms or large receptions (up to 500 guests) in their Glass and Grand Ballrooms.

MERRI’S TIP :: Enjoy the process, all of your hard work will pay off, so have faith. It’s a celebration of your love and those who have come to share your joy.

SAMPLE THIS :: Onsite chefs can create and customize a special menu for your wedding day. We got a taste of the action with a dill-cured salmon slider with picked red onion. Mmm…

WHAT A SCORE :: Hope you were taking good notes because a FREE ceremony in either the outdoor garden, or indoor waterfall was offered! WHAT? That is a value of $2500! See why it’s awesome to attend our workshops LIVE?

LOVE KO’OLAU BALLROOMS & CONFERENCE CENTER? Contact Merri Ford HERE for more information.


GET IN THE KNOW :: With the help of a sponsor, any couple can host their special day on property. Sponsors include active duty or retired military, active duty or retired national guard or reserve or Department of Defense civilians. If you’re interested, book soon, they are currently booking through December 2016 and starting next month, in September they are opening 2017 reservations!

THE DEETS :: The Maile Garden is a prime spot for both intimate or larger wedding ceremonies. With a gazebo centering the lawn, up to 100 guests can be seated {with lots of room for standing guests} to join in on your “I Do”s. For intimate wedding receptions up to 75 guests, the Laulima Rooms offer a great reception space for couples. Located on the second floor of the Ilima Tower these four banquet rooms can be reserved separately or together depending on the size of your event. For larger weddings (200+) the DeRussy Hall is the premier indoor venue that can accommodate up to 400 guests. We love that the hotel’s subtle decor allows couples to dress up the venue to match their wedding theme!

ALL IN ONE SPOT :: For weddings up to 400 guests, the Luau Garden is a choice spot to tie the knot and host an outdoor, covered reception. This venue space has a gazebo and ceremony area in its own garden with a built in pavilion. The minimum guest count for the Luau Garden is 200.

DORA’S TIP :: Don’t procrastinate, or wait until the last minute to plan. Be sure to read your contract, and all information that your venue gives you so you won’t be surprised, or stressed.

SAMPLE THIS :: We snacked on asian-spiced shrimp cocktail with tobiko, just a little taste of their grand buffet. Starting October 1st a new menu will be released, featuring brand new entrée options, but of course, keeping the classic favorites.

SCORE :: One person gets to share their luck with 9 of their closest family and friends, all enjoying a meal at the Koko at Kalia restaurant, a perfect rehearsal dinner location. Recently renamed, renovated, and serving a wonderful buffet for breakfast and dinner.

BTW :: The best part? There’s NO tax at Hale Koa because they sit on Federal property… that’s a 4.712% savings!

LOVE HALE KOA HOTEL? Contact Dora Young, Catering Manager or click HERE for more information.


GET IN THE KNOW :: This venue is operated by The Salvation Army, a Christian-based organization, and in turn is a “dry” facility. This means alcohol is not allowed on property. This can be a big bonus, as guests cannot leave the venue and drive after drinking, but also couples can save a lot of money by serving mock-tails instead of cocktails!

GOOD EATS :: Onsite staff will work with your budget to create an affordable menu. They’re flexible to working with you and your needs.

DESIREE’S TIP(S) :: Establish a budget early on. The budget will help determine what venues you can even consider. Find out rates for venues and vendors and know that KROC Center will work hard to work with your budget. And also, when you’re planning your big day, put as much energy and dedication into your marriage as you are into your wedding day. Put time into each other even past the actual wedding day.

SAMPLE THIS :: Guests were treated to two classic mock-tails: the minus-the-alcohol, Moscow mule and a Lychee Strawberry Mock-tail.

SCORE :: This big prize included a Bridal Day for up to 10 people, using the whole center to swim, tan, and have fun, A Groom’s Day for up to 10 people, with access to the gaming center with arcade games, ping pong, as well as the fitness center. Plus the lucky couple received three partner sessions with a personal trainer in the fitness center, and post-workout massages. W-O-W! Sun and fun, for real.

LOVE THE SALVATION ARMY KROC CENTER HAWAII? Contact Desiree Faumui, Events Manager or click HERE for more information.


GET IN THE KNOW :: The Pacific Beach Hotel hosts 23000 square feet of banquet space. Which is good to know, because…

TERI’S TIP :: Consider your guest. It’s good to have an idea of a head count. As a rule of thumb you need 20-25 sq ft per person, when you include the other items in the room, it adds up quickly. Before you choose a venue, decide a general guest count.

WOAH :: The Pacific Beach Hotel houses a three-story 280,000 gallon tank that shelters a large variety of fish and two mermaids who can help celebrate a special event.

SAMPLE THIS :: Forget the cronut, we have the CROISSADA. A crazy cool mash-up of the croissant and malasada with yummy cream filling. But before the sweets, we dined on some mushroom risotto, and if you were in the room, you know, we were drooling from all the delicious scents filling the air.

LOVE PACIFIC BEACH HOTEL? Contact Teri, and click HERE for more information.


A new venue in an already popular Chinatown restaurant the Pig & the Lady, provides a hip backdrop to your intimate ceremony and day. With exposed beams, brick walls, you’ll feel transported to a gorgeous urban atmosphere that hosts your loved ones with a little bit of extra style.

GET IN THE KNOW :: Run by an amazing team, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge and love provided from a close-knit family that will welcome you and your guests on your big day. Lawrence Ho, shared a family photo and assured attendees the love they have for family and food will be expressed at your event.

THE DEETS :: You may have already eaten at their delicious restaurant, but did you know there’s another space upstairs? This venue can host an intimate gathering of up to 50 people for your ceremony, or even rehearsal dinner too. Then eat and celebrate until your heart is content downstairs in their historical Chinatown space, previously serving as a spice shop.

LAWRENCE’S TIP :: We think that it’s important for us to know and understand your love story, so we can help share that message with your family and friends through our food and our venue.

SAMPLE THIS :: A savory bruschetta with strawberry sofrito, family tomato, espelette, buratta, and cilantro flowers. #umyesplease

FOODIE’S REJOICE :: Iron chef fans, prepare to swoon, one couple will receive a tasting menu with a “secret ingredient” of their choice, prepared by the chef and owner of Pig and the Lady… Can we have a bite?!


Located at the gateway of Waikiki, the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club is marked by a towering outdoor waterfall. It’s easy and convenient for guests, and will offer a spectacular view with floor to ceiling windows. If you’re looking for a bit more green, their 27-hole golf club in Ewa beach can accommodate your ceremony as well.

GET IN THE KNOW :: Have any specific dietary needs? They offer vegetarian options, and even gluten free cake!

CARA’S TIP :: Trust your gut, your instinct, and your vendors. Your vendors are there to help work for you, and it will make things easier to plan.

SAMPLE THIS :: With two award-winning restaurants, Hakone and Prince Court, your menu can be custom created by the same chefs, LU-CKY. We sipped on yuzu sprite mixers with basil and mint and noshed on taro cheesecake and chocolate cake, two favorites from their buffet.

SCORE :: This flexible prize let the winner decide on how to use an eight person complimentary meal onsite, from a bachelorette or bachelor party, to your rehearsal dinner, or even a Sunday brunch post-wedding.

LOVE HAWAII PRINCE HOTEL WAIKIKI AND GOLF CLUB? Contact Cara Sawai, or click HERE for more information.


For a whimsical, magical day, look no further than the Aulani, Disney Resort and Spa on the West side of Oahu. Tucked away from town, and right on the water, you and your guests can experience a beautiful, remote view, and a front row seat to jaw-dropping sunsets. For those couples who want a little Disney magic, characters are available to pop by your party.

GET IN THE KNOW :: There are many venue spots at the Resort depending on your guest count. From intimate, 18 person gatherings to up to 300, the resort can accommodate your closest family and friends to share in your special moment. There are twelve, yes, TWELVE, spaces on property to fit your every wish.

THE DEETS :: With over 200 weddings on site a year, they are pros at creating and customizing your needs. From Cinderella blue ballrooms, to beachy oceanside cocktail grounds, you can go as Disney (or not!) as you’d like.

CANDICE’S TIP :: Candice, the Catering Sales manager, shared that couples should trust their vendors and their venue. No one expects you and your significant other to be an expert. They do this every day for a living and are there to help make your dreams and plans come true. They learn from other couples and share and pass on tips to create the best experience. Their goal is to let you feel like a guest at your own wedding.

MICKEY MAGIC :: We almost felt a little guilty snacking on the adorable pink and chocolate Mickey shaped French macarons, and poke parfait with Mickey wonton chips. They were too tasty to feel guilty for long though…

SPA SCORE :: We know weddings can be stressful, so one couple will now be blissed out with an Aulani Spa bag filled with his and her robes, and spa products to de-stress in the comfort of your own home. Let’s all let out a big, whoosa….

WANT YOUR OWN FAIRY-TALE? Contact Candice, the Catering Sales manager, or find more information on the Aulani Disney Resort and Spa here.


From meadows, to waterfalls, Waimea Valley will transport you and your guests to one of the most serene, tropical settings Oahu has to offer. Lush greenery, open air pavilions set the backdrop for your big day, and provide beautiful photo opportunities.

GET IN THE KNOW :: If you want to tour Waimea Valley, you can also have a tasting menu with popular items to get an idea of what the team does culinary-wise. They do have exclusive catering onsite at Waimea Valley, and they try to compliment the setting and greenery with fresh, local ingredients and food.

CHEF THOMAS’ TIP :: Trust your vendors and keep it simple.

SAMPLE A WHOLE LOTTA THIS :: A trio of tasting spoons had us wanting more of Chef Thomas Naylor’s cuisine: a succotash of sweet potato and edamame with furikake, quinoa risotto with kimchee brussels sprouts and bacon, and a macadamia nut pie with bourbon caramel whipped cream. Oh my yum!

SMILE, YOU SCORED :: Just got engaged? Well, you just checked another box off your to-do list with this prize. One couple won a picnic for two - a great setup for your engagement shoot! #SayCheese

WANT TO SEE THE WATERFALL FOR YOURSELF? Check out Waimea Valley for more information here.

Aside from hearing from these wonderful venues and vendors, we were treated to the sounds of Ben and Malia, some exclusive Wedding Café giveaways, raffle prizes, hashtag prizes, and some invaluable tips straight from the source! Check out the workshop tab to see when the next series is starting up again. Trust us, with these prizes, you’ll want to join us in person. Happy Planning!

Day-Dreamers Welcome...

Saturday July 04, 2015

When we first put out the call to our Vendors for Window Displays we weren't exactly sure what to expect. Would they be excited by the extra opportunity for exposure? Would they groan at the thought of yet another project to add their list? Would they even answer our email? Luckily, our fears and worries were quickly met with a whole slew of vendors writing back to request their slot on the calendar. The first to respond was, not surprisingly, the effortlessly-chic Mademoiselle Naomi Lee of Les Saisons. While Naomi is no stranger to visual merchandising, this was a first for us but if we may say so ourselves, she NAILED IT!

When asked about the story behind her window, Naomi writes, "My inspiration is about a "day dreamer". As you gaze into the "magical" window I hope it takes the viewer to a far-away place, away from the stress of the day or the hustle and bustle of the streets and allows the viewer to steal away a moment of time to "day dream".

It is summer and the sun is shining and the birds are singing. It is about a person who is able to steal away a moment to find a quiet and secluded little shady area to a garden. There is whisper of a breeze blowing that quietly sways the linens slightly to the right.

Torn pages of a book rustle in the wind. The blue sky up above stains the vintage glasses on the table. Hand-picked berries gathered in the vase tumble over as a gust of wind says "hello". The key symbolizes the key to the portal of dreams..dreaming of running through the sunflower fields in Tuscany.

I urge everyone to take the time to stop by the window periodically to enjoy the transition of the window display as the berries fall from the branches as the days of the month fly by in July. Just a little reminder to take the time and a moment to day dream! Day dream about the future and it's endless possibilities..."

Merci beaucoup to Naomi and her fabulous team of assistants and fellow TWC Vendors and Friends who made this "Day-Dream" a jaw-dropping reality! Stay tuned for next month's window by Creations By You.

Photography: Eric Wehner Photography

Tableware: Maison de Ware

Volcano Candle & Laser-Cut Feather: Eden in Love Boutique

Brue Bar Sets Up Shop at Ward Village

Tuesday June 23, 2015

Ward Village Blog
June 2015

Courtney Heim knows a thing or two about coffee. At 26 years old, she’s the owner of three (soon to be four) acclaimed Brue Bar cafés in Honolulu. With the espresso bar’s distinction of serving up some of the finest gourmet coffee in the city, it would be easy to expect Courtney to come across as some sort of coffee elitist. And while it’s clear she’s developed an appreciation and understanding of roasts, grinds, and pours, Courtney’s relationship with coffee goes beyond the complexities of taste and digs deeper into the social aspect of the beverage.

“The thing I really love about coffee,” she tells me, “is that it brings people together. It binds us through the highs and the lows of life. It’s what we gather over to tell stories. To talk about the good things and the bad. To me, that’s what makes it so special. It’s more than just the taste.”

Courtney’s appreciation for both the technical and social side of coffee is reflected in Brue Bar’s latest location in Ward Village. In a shared space with the Wedding Café in Ward Warehouse, Brue Bar has built out an aesthetic dripping an urban, San Francisco-style cool. The walls are sleek, yet warm and the aroma of espresso floats through the Kakaako air. Around us, patrons chitchat over fluffy cappuccino’s and doppio shots as dark as the night. “This is what it’s all about,” she says with a slight smile, her head taking in her bustling surroundings. “I love to watch people gathering over good coffee. While we only recently opened up this location in Ward in April in partnership with the Wedding Café, people have already been really receptive to what we’ve done here.”

Over the past 15 years, America’s thirst for gourmet coffee has expanded beyond just Starbucks, Courtney explains. There’s a demand like never before for small-batch artisanal roasts and progressive cafes and coffee enthusiasts like her are taking their coffee game to new heights. Each Brue Bar location features a hand-built Slayer espresso machine, largely considered to be among the finest machines available. “I first developed my taste for coffee while living in Seattle for college,” Courtney says. “I immersed myself and learned everything I could, working as a barista and studied the business side of owning a café as well. You can’t skimp on quality. We take a lot of pride in providing our customers with the best.”

In 2011, Courtney moved home to Honolulu and opened her first Brue Bar location Downtown. The success of the first cafe—which shares a space with her family’s business, HonBlue printing—sparked a desire to expand. In the past few years, she’s grown her line of Brue Bar cafes throughout the city. “I think there’s a lot of demand for what we’re doing. People appreciate that we take the extra steps and all of our baristas are very knowledgeable about the coffee we pour. We try and share our passion with our customers as well. Customer service and communication are paramount in what we do. There’s so much more to coffee than most of us realize. People really want to learn more coffee and we love educating them. That’s just one thing you’ll find at Brue Bar that you might not find at other cafes. So please stop by, try something new, and ask questions. We love it.

BrueBar is located within the Wedding Café at Ward Warehouse and is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

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