Planning a wedding has made me something of a flower fiend. I just can’t get enough. There is one flower that has tickled my fancy – a few of them even look “feathery” so the description fits even more.

Just look!

Gorgeous, no? I love that they’re dramatic and tropical, but unexpected. As much as I love orchids and plumeria, I want something with a little more umph for the big day. LURVE!

Our venue chairs will be a pretty standard white folding chair. Not the ubiquitous chiviari chair, but I’d say much nicer than a standard plastic chair.

While I love my ceremony site, it definitely needs a little extra decor to pump it up a bit. So I’ve decided on doing a good ‘ol wedding blog staple, the ubiquitous Martha Stewart flower poof. I actually a picture of what I was thinking of on The Knot:

I love that they used different colors, but I was thinking of keeping it a little more streamlined and sticking with green poofs. Here comes a DIY!

Much hub-bub on the wedding front has happened in the past month. We’ve booked our photographers, DJ and a vendor for lounge furniture (all of which I’ll talk about in a future post). However one of the things I’m most excited about is that I bought my wedding dress. As much as I’d love to reveal it to you, I know that the boy checks out my posts and therefore, I can’t risk him seeing it.

What I will do is talk about what the heck is going on my head for the ceremony. In the spirit of tradition, it will be a veil. But you know, it won’t be your normal fingertip lace frou-frou kind of veil.

To put it simply, I want something ridiculous. Now I’m not talking about crazy Celine Dion blingy headpiece crown ridiculous.

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Nor am I talking about Lady Gaga crazy albino lion mane ridiculous.

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Whilst I love both of those lovely ladies, I was thinking something a little more refined. I stumbled upon Sara Gabriel Veiling & Headpieces after seeing this piece over and over.

I was smitten with it and once I visited Sara Gabriel’s site – my eyes popped out of my head. This was what I was talking about.

I’m talking about vintage with a twist ridiculous.

I’m talking about beautiful ridiculous.

I’m talking about perfect ridiculous.

After seeing the last veil I was floored. I NEED THAT VEIL.

But true to form – there are no retailers in Hawaii. Ah yes, the price of paradise. Perhaps I can DIY it? Maria vs. tulle – think I can have my dream veil?

Ah yes, our amazingly fanstastical venue – The Waterfront at Aloha Tower. Believe me, I never get tired looking at pictures of it (or thinking about the big day that will take place there next summer).

Aloha Tower is probably one of the most recognizable Hawaii landmarks after Diamond Head. Located in Honolulu Harbor, Aloha Tower is to Hawaii what the Statue of Liberty is to New York. It’s a place of welcome and one of those places that just has “good vibes.”

When it was built, it was the tallest building in Hawaii and sea vessels knew that once the tower was in sight, paradise was near. During the boom of cruise ship travel, it was home to “Boat Days” – a place where visitors and locals alike would party like rockstars. Dancers, musicians and other entertainers would greet cruise ships as they arrived in the harbor.

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It was a place where people said goodbye to their loved ones before a journey, but more importantly, a place where people were able to say hello – aloha – upon their return. The romantic in me can’t help but to daydream about how perfect it is to have our wedding in a place that has such history behind it.

Aloha has many meanings, remember – and more than just a greeting, one of those meanings is love. I leave you now with a few images from other weddings that have been held at our venue. I get chicken skin (Hawaii-speak for goosebumps) just seeing them.


Photos by Images by Joser

Photos by L’amour Photography

Can you feel the aloha?

On Saturday, Mr. HiH and I did our last and final site visit. Which originally was supposed to be vists. But more on that later. We woke up (relatively) early, 7 a.m., so we could get to our 9 a.m. appointment. What the heck was I thinking! Note to other brides – no matter how “go get em’ you are, try not to schedule a site visit any earlier than 10 a.m. on the weekends. After pau hana Fridays, you need that extra couple hours of sleep.

However, when your site visit includes this:

Kualoa Ranch

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I guess it’s not *that* bad. Look familiar? It should if you watch Lost.

Lost

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Yep, all those sexy mountain shots? Kualoa Ranch.

Tthe sky was blue and clear and the tradewinds were blowing. Whomever was having a wedding that day at Kualoa was blessed by the Hawaiian gods with literally, the perfect day. There was only one other venue we visited that made me this excited (Aloha Tower).

We checked out two of the sites that Kualoa rented out, Paliku Gardens and Molii Gardens. Our first stop was Paliku Gardens. If you are looking for the most scenic Hawaiian wedding you can get, forget about a beach wedding. Yes, you heard me right.

Forget. About. The. Beach.

You want Paliku Gardens at Kualoa Ranch. It’s a huge space and we were told they’ve had weddings of up to 500 in that space. It’s a lush field and pavilion surrounded by tropical plants and trees. If you look one way,  you see the breathtaking, green Koolau Mountains. If you look in the other directions you see sand and surf of East Oahu, with Chinaman’s hat in the distance. I completely forgot my camera that morning, so I have no photos. However, you can see a slideshow of the site here.

Here’s my personal breakdown of the site:

Cost: $1200 (Molii) or $1500 (Paliku) site rental (includes restroom facilities and electricity), parking

Location: More in a rural, country setting, about 30-45 minutes outside of Honolulu

My Vision: Think a beachy keen, mixed with the romance of the country. A vintage inspired weddings with tones of coral, brown, green and pops of blue to mirror the sky and ocean. Warm uplighting and candlelight in tall glass votives filled with sand and shells set the mood. Milk glass and antique silver pieces filled with blush-colored blossoms on crisp white tablecloths. While we’re on a working ranch, we”ll stray a bit away from the typical rustic theme.

Pros

  • Gorgeous scenery – ocean view on one side and nestled against the Koolau Mountain range (if you watched “Lost” think of those green lush scenes, those were filmed here)
  • You can bring in own vendors, Very flexible, no corkage fee
  • A completely blank slate
  • Have the space from 10 am – 10 pm + another hour and a half for cleanup
  • Lots of beach houses nearby to rent for our guests and for our wedding night
  • Away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu
  • Did I mention the scenery was RIDICULOUSLY beautiful
Cons
  • Onsite person until 4:40 p.m., but afterwards, they will just be on call; however, there are managers that live down the road for any problems
  • Will have to do our own setup and breakdown
  • Pretty much have to rent EVERYTHING on your own
  • Outside of Honolulu, so not as convenient for most of the guests

Wedding porn here, here and here.

After visiting Kualoa, Mr. HiH and I knew, we had our top two contenders. We actually had another site visit set up at Mid-Pacific Country Club, but called to cancel it because we just knew were done searching.

What a pickle(d mango) to be in. We both saw ourselves getting married at Aloha Tower. And now, we both also saw ourselves getting married at Kualoa Ranch.

So the showdown begins. Will it be a quirky chic affair at Aloha Tower? Or surf-and-turf romance at Kualoa Ranch? Decisions, decisions.

I am speechless after seeing the following e-session. This takes the cake as my favorite engagement set of all time (for now) done by Wildflowers Photography. I just watched Disney’s “Up” last night with Mr. HiH, so it couldn’t have been more perfect timing.

A teaser and linkage below.

Up Engagement Shoot

Adorable!!

Check it out on Wildflowers Photography’s blog here and here.

My fiance and I have 2 requirements for a venue that we wouldn’t budge on for our 2011 nupitals:

1. Outside of Waikiki.
2. Ceremony+reception at the same venue.

A little background on us -we’re both raised on Oahu and most of our guests are living on Oahu as well.

We’ve narrowed down our choices for our site visits to the following:

  • Aloha Tower
  • Bishop Museum
  • Koolau Ballrooms
  • Mid Pacific Country Club
  • Kualoa Ranch
We’ve visited 3 of the 5 and for all you planning an Oahu Wedding, here’s my take on them:
This is probably the front runner right now. As far as Hawaii weddings go, it’s one of the more offbeat locations. They are super flexible re: vendors and you can bring in your own caterers. The great thing is that they have some great restaurants on property (Chais – Pacific Fusion, Mexican, Gordon Bierch, Chinese, among others) that could do the catering for you as well. The location is HUGE and how cool is it to have your ceremony at the base of Aloha Tower – wikipedia the history. The price is right – it’s pretty affordable and they can take care of booking all the rentals for you. The events person there, Crystal, is very helpful. It’s a historic site and something totally different. If you want a beach site for your wedding, Kakaako Park or Magic Island are about a mile away. Did I mention that they have a liquor license until 2 am? So you really can party all night.
The gardens are beautiful here and one of the sites has enclosed structures. There are many different sites to choose from – with every budget in mind. And you can take your portraits in the museum – SOOOO cool. There’s a huge whale hanging in the middle of one of the buildings, so having that in the background would be a fun quirky picture to take. Some of the sites have rentals that come with it (tents/tables/chairs) but it depends on the site. The bad thing is that some of the rentals are a little worn looking and dirty – not sure if I just saw them before they cleaned them up? That worried me a little. I’d suggest renting your own tents/chairs/etc. Since it’s located in the middle of a residential area, music needs to be done around 9 and you have to be out by 10.
Koolau Ballrooms – http://koolauballrooms.com/
GORGEOUS. Seriously. The ballrooms, the view from the ballrooms, the ceremony locations – all beautiful. The green Koolau Mountains in the background are BREATHTAKING. This is actual a very very close second to Aloha Tower. For an evening wedding, you can get into the ballrooms to set up at 12 noon. They have package that’s something like $65/head that pretty much includes EVERYTHING – your ceremony fee is waived, hand service for head table, a big buffet, ice carvng, wedding cake, bartender fee waived, etc. A bit more pricey, however.
This weekend we’re checking out Mid Pacific Country Club and Kualoa Ranch, so I’ll definitely update you then.