why wow?

Because we are here for you to make this day your very best.

A White Orchid Wedding is an award-winning event coordination firm based in the Hawaiian Islands servicing clients worldwide. We are recognized for our innovative designs, expertise and unparalleled attention to detail. 

Our brilliant team combines decades of experience and embraces the opportunity to take your vision and dazzle you with a celebration beyond your expectations.  Every occasion designed and coordinated by our talented artists is unique and inspired by your personal taste and style.

Your WOW event specialist, coupled with our outstanding in-house design team, will create a one-of-a-kind celebration for you and your guests.  Leave the details to us; the White Orchid Wedding team partners with an amazing group of industry professionals to ensure that every event flows beautifully.

Mahalo Nui Loa from the Staff of White Orchid!  We look forward to working with you!

carolee higashino white orchid wedding

Carolee Higashino

President and Founder of White Orchid Wedding

As the owner of A White Orchid Wedding, Carolee has a passion for wedding and event design. Rated #1 in the industry, she has been recognized for initiating the growth and formulation of the “Destination Wedding Industry” in the state of Hawai’i. Launching her business in 1990, she was one of the first women to establish the craft of wedding planning on the islands and built her business from the ground up. She was inspired and motivated by the vision that romance was not yet an established market and that this would be her niche.

Carolee helped to create a uniformed state-wide effort to encourage visitors to enjoy the romance of the Aloha State, and has since expanded her business to serve all of the Hawaiian Islands. As one of the founding members of the Maui Wedding Association, she served as the first President for two terms (1996, 1997) and was later appointed by the State of Hawai’i to represent Weddings and Honeymoons for the Hawaii 2000 Millennium Campaign. In the years to follow and many weddings later, WOW became notorious for it magnificent events.

Carolee’s rapid growth not only brought success winning her numerous national and international awards it also earned local Hawai’i notoriety from the prestigious Pacific Business News in Honolulu beginning with her nomination for the “Businesswoman of the Year” for the State of Hawaii in 2003. This was then followed by her selection as one of the “Fastest 50″ growing companies in the state every year from 2002-2015. Carolee was also awarded the “Women Who Mean Business” award for being one of the 25 women-owned business in the State of Hawai’i for thirteen consecutive years. Many awards followed in the name of WOW and can be viewed in our accolades.

Carolee believes in ‘giving back’. She served on the Board of Directors for the Maui Visitors Bureau representng the Hawai’i Romance Division, A Keiki’s Dream Foundation and the Neighborhood Place of Wailuku. Her fundraising efforts include several charities including; The Maui Aid’s Foundation, Raja’s Light of Youth Foundation, A Keiki’s Dream Foundation, Maui Athletic Leagues, The American Cancer Institute and The Neighborhood Place Wailuku. Her present affiliations include being a present boardmember for the Wedding Industry Professional Association (WIPA), where she presently serves as their nationwide director of programs and education.

  • Kids
  • Wine
  • Run Stairs
  • Travel Anywhere
  • Dance To My Own Beat
  • “The Rock”
  • Repeat

    • Eat Lamb
    • Follow Agendas
    • Camp
    • Costco
    • Elevators
    • Mean People
    • Dirty Home
    • Politics



Event Coordinator

WOW is thrilled to formally introduce you to the incredible Steven Cook!  A premiere wedding and event planner for WOW for more than ten years, Steven is seasoned and ready to assist you. As an island resident for over twenty-five years, Steven is well-versed in island customs, traditions and culture which will compliment your authentic Hawaii wedding experience.  Although he is now considered a ‘local boy’, Steven is a native Zumi Indian who was raised on the Hopi Reservation in Northern Arizona. Steven is a graduate of the Brigham Young University where he majored in Film and minored in Interior Design. After landing on the island of Maui, Steven’s journey came to a halt; dazzled by the sparkling blue Pacific in 1990, Hawaii is now home.

When working with Steven you will appreciate his positive attitude and the excitement he exudes as he works with each and every couple to create their unique and special event.  You will enjoy his humor and prompt attention to detail.  Steven will make your wedding not only fabulous, but you will enjoy the process as he shares his keen sense of style and vision of current trends with you along the way.

  • Nobu
  • Make Soap
  • Jewelry Design
  • Anything in the Kitchen
  • Make Kamboocha
  • Rhinestone Belt Buckles
  • Electronica Music
  • Smelly Cheese

  • Neon Crocs
  • Red Meat & Pork
  • Cheap Sheets
  • Karaoke With Bernie
  • Tube Tops



Event Coordinator

From a tropical island in the middle of the sea, to the sparkling city of lights, this island girl has experienced everything from tiki torches to sophisticated big city glitz and glamor. A native Hawaiian, Kendall blends her warm aloha spirit and infectious smile with a professional background in the hospitality industry. Her creativity, attention to detail, and stylish design work have helped Kendall blossom into one of WOW’s most sought after event coordinators. You will know when you are in her hands that you will be treated with golden glove service and a genuine touch.

  • Sushi
  • Caviar
  • Crossfit
  • Lululemon
  • Caramel Apples
  • Mob Wives

  • Cars Filled with Balloons
  • Milk
  • Reptiles
  • Hold Grudges
  • Skydive
  • Haunted Anything



Event Coordinator

Please meet another member of our White Orchid ‘ohana, Jacqueline Ui’lani Ishikawa.  Jackie is our office “ray of sunshine,” never without a smile and filled with the true essence of aloha. A native of the islands and inspired by a love for travel, Jackie graduated from the International Air Academy then happily returned to the Valley Isle to pursue a career in the travel industry. As a passenger service agent she became well-versed in the travel, air and accommodations industry. She has since gone on to become one of the leading wedding planners in the state of Hawaii. Now celebrating more than ten years as a WOW premiere event planner she was recently promoted to the position of WOW’s Sales Manager. You can count on Jackie to go the extra mile to ensure that each and every one of her events is flawless. A consummate professional, she makes planning a fun experience and strives to make her client’s feel ‘in the moment’ on this most remarkable day.

  • Play the Pakini
  • Seafood
  • Banana Republic
  • Family Time
  • Mac Products
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Polish Nails

  • Drama!
  • Spiders
  • Headaches
  • Movies Without a Plot
  • Cold Places
  • Alarm Clocks



Event Coordinator

White Orchid is now located in the “City by the Bay!” Meet Patricia Flax, our magnificent mainland coordinator who brings the islands to you. Located just minutes over the Golden Gate, Patty is now assisting island-bound clients on the west coast and from all over the world. This premiere event planner has become one of WOW’s most sought after coordinators. “Patty” is recognized for her exquisite sense of style and attention to detail. Her vision and intuitive sense of new trends and fashion are extraordinary.  Patty’s delightful professional manner, personal assistance and self-described ‘perfectionist’ spirit enable her to take a simple vision and produce a masterpiece.

Born and raised in Britain, Patty has traveled the globe and her extensive travel has fostered an adventurous spirit and a playful eye. Inspired by the variety of cultures and arts absorbed along the way, she continued to expand her horizons studying philosophy at University in San Diego and the University of California at Berkeley.

Patty began her professional career in the retail world as a representative for more than thirty manufacturers from the United States and Europe. Fortunately for WOW, Patty is now available full time to assist clients with our larger and premier events to create special occasions that are nothing short of spectacular.

  • Martinis
  • British TV
  • Sushi
  • Shoes & Sunglasses
  • Travel Without an Agenda
  • Hoard Books
  • Big Dogs
  • Anything in the Kitchen With Steven

  • Run Marathons
  • Fret
  • Snakes


St Germain

Event Coordinator

Allow us to introduce the brilliant Nani St. Germain.  This premiere event planner joins the WOW world from the sunny shores of the island of O’ahu.  Although Nani was born and raised in Southern California, she has always had one foot in the sand in Waikiki.  Spending summers with her family on the ‘rock’ she learned local customs and traditions, such as learning the art of competitive Hula which she continues to practice.

Nani prides herself as having a meticulous nature and love for weddings and is a self-professed ‘perfectionist’.  Her background includes a degree with honors in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from California State University, Long Beach.  Nani understands the immediate nature of the business and excels in multi-tasking.  Her knowledge of current trends and ideas are evident in all of her events which we are confident will exceed your expectations.  She is prompt and professional, allowing you to enjoy your planning process and relax knowing you are in good hands.

  • Solo Movie Night
  • Black Coffee
  • Bathing Suit Shopping
  • Vodka Shots
  • Nordstroms
  • Living in Workout Clothes
  • Chocolate
  • Long Drives

  • Traffic
  • Cats
  • Doctor Shots
  • Cilantro
  • Dark Sodas



Event Coordinator

Filled with the Spirit of Aloha is our fabulous Bernie Freitas. Straight from Upcountry, Bernie was raised on the island on Maui, and is a graduate of the prestigious Kamehameha Schools on O’ahu. It was here that Bernie acquired a variety of interests including Hawaiian studies, music, song, travel and dance. As a performer herself, she is our entertainment specialist.

Bernie brings years of hospitality experience from the hotel industry to WOW. This experience coupled with nine years in the financial services industry give Bernie the extra knowledge that is helpful when creating your wedding design in a fun, efficient and organized manner.

As a premier event coordinator for WOW for more than a decade, Bernie’s experience will put you at ease as she helps meticulously design your special day with both inspiration and precision.

  • Rum & Coke
  • YMCA
  • Beach Sunsets
  • Karaoke
  • Family
  • Chocolate

  • Car Trouble
  • Tangled Christmas Lights
  • Golf
  • Raw Fish
  • Scary Movies
  • Sharks



Event Designer

U’ilani, or “Ui” as we know her, began her life right here on the island of Maui, born and raised in Wailuku Towne. Island life instilled in U’ilani that celebration is a part of each and every day. Her upbringing was filled with joyous occasions including song and dance; in fact, a typical evening at her hale would kick off with her father busting out the ukulele and breaking into song. Her hula background came in handy at such celebrations and the spirit of aloha permeates her being.

U’ilani headed to the ‘mainland’ where she earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego. Longing for her island roots, she returned home to build a successful career back in Hawaii. U’ilani is now a member of the WOW design team, and offers a unique and fresh approach in keeping with current trends while blending in authentic Hawaiian culture.

  • Crab Legs & Prime Rib
  • Vegas
  • Run Fast
  • Kids
  • Swiffer
  • Rodeo

  • Mornings
  • Yoga
  • Heights
  • Twitter
  • Eggplant
  • Dogs in Purses



Office Manager

Our “local girl” was born and raised on the island of Maui. You will often hear her voice during the course of your wedding planning as she is the White Orchid Office Manager and Accountant. With a degree in Hotel Operations and Accounting, she is the business side of White Orchid. Her extensive background in the food and beverage industry enable her to provide invaluable expertise in the area of event management, finance, and the orchestration of weddings. Ethel is literally the ‘backbone’ of WOW, efficiently managing accounts for more 17 years to keep business running smoothly and assure our clientele that their every need has been handled.

      • Grandbabies
      • Acupuncture
      • Post Its
      • Shop Till I Flop
      • Alan Wongs
      • Cell Phones
      • Late Nights
      • Flying
      • Messy Desk
      • New Technology
      • Stilettos



Event Coordinator

Another one of our lovely “local girls” is our fabulous on-site coordinator, Linda Santos. Born and raised on the island of Maui, Linda is an expert on island culture. She spent years living on the island of O’ahu and on the tiny island of Moloka’i and today lives with her ‘ohana in Maui where she calls home. An ambassador for the islands, Linda has literally “hula’d” her way through life; her passion for dance and singing led to her appointment as the representative for the island of Moloka’i in the prestigious Merrie Monarch Festival.

As a representative in the tourist industry for most of her life, Linda’s focus was primarily in the entertainment and airline industry. She then moved into the food and beverage business where she remained in management for many years. Her excellent communication skills and expertise in catering and customer service are superior. Linda works from the heart, taking the time it requires to make sure your special day in the islands is unforgettable.

      • Raise Chickens
      • Goats and Farm Critters
      • Dance Hula
      • Sing Like Patsy Cline
      • Vegas
      • Laugh Out Loud

      • Shellfish
      • Harry Potter
      • Sloppiness
      • Hoard or Store…Anything

naya rice



Web and Graphic Developer

This little lady is extraordinary. Please allow us to introduce you to the artist and mastermind behind our graphic design and website: Maui girl, Naya Rice. Naya is truly the jack of all trades – a mother, a wife, an artist, a traveler, an acupuncturist, a fire spinner, and to our delight, a gifted graphic and website designer who manages the graphic division for A White Orchid Wedding. Inspired by a love for technology and the arts, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the prestigious Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Canada. Here she studied a wide range of art media including painting, sculpture, drawing, computer arts, programming, and communication design.  After specializing in mixed media sculpture and sustainable design, Naya enjoyed a successful career as an in-house graphic and website designer including her current position with WOW.  Her outstanding artistic abilities and incomparable work ethic have made Naya the perfect addition to our WOW family.

      • Hikes
      • Waterfalls
      • Kids
      • Travel
      • Acupuncture
      • Firespin
      • Thai Ice Tea Shaved Ice
      • Noodles & Hot Pot
      • Surf
      • High Heels
      • Numbers
      • Spelling
      • Horror Movies
      • Dust
      • Run
      • Cold