Archives for category: wedding

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.


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


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



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.


  • 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
  • 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


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 –
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.

I’ve been neglecting this blog  since I moved it over from Blogger, pua ting.  So here’s a fresh new post.

Neither Mr. HiH (Hitched in Hawaii) or I are religious. It’s pretty funny, because people usually assume we’re Catholic. Well, at least they assume I’m Catholic – I’m Filipino and was born in the Philippines, it’s a logical assumption for them.

While I used to go to church religiously (haha) when I was younger and in high school, my religious views have shifted towards agnosticism. Therefore Mr. HiH and I don’t go to church regularly, and don’t have a pastor or other recognized clergy member who would marry us.

Hmmmm…an officiant is one of the things that you actually need for a wedding. And I don’t really want to go the justice of peace route (though it is an option). Now if you plug in Hawaii wedding officiant in Google, you will find a multitude of people who will be more than happy to marry you and your honey.

I’m sure most are very capable, competent, caring and professional individuals (so please no hate emails from you folks), but I’m a little weirded out by the fact that  a stranger will be front and center next to you and your person-to-be on the big day. I want that person to know who we are and what we’re all about. When that person performs the wedding, I want their emotion to be real.

I loved this picture of Sara and Matt ala 2000 Dollar Weddingwith their officia-friend.

And taking a nod to other couples with the same idea, we had our solution? We’re planning on having a friend officiate our wedding.

Pending approval from the powers that be, LB, or should I say Reverend-to-be LB will be marrying us come next year! Every state has their own requirements regarding officiant licensing and what not, so I had to do a little research into the topic. For you Hawaii brides that are planning to do the same, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do to make your officiant official! Also – for you destination brides, if you plan to bring your own officiant, you’ll need to go through these steps as well (skip #1 of course).

  1. Get your officiant ordained! There are several awesome churches that you can visit online for ordainment – check out Universal Life Church or Spiritual Humanism.  If you know of any others, let me know and I’ll post ’em up here.
  2. Per Hawaii requirements, you need to provide a letter of recommendation from the church – both ULC and Spiritual Humanism can provide what’s called  a letter of good standing. Not sure about Spiritual Humanism, but for ULC, the service is free – however, as the letter needs to be notarized, you do have to pay $10 for that notarization.  Here’s more info. Donations, of course are appreciated.
  3. Bring that letter of recommendation/good standing along with a photo ID (I’d bring 2 just to be safe) down to the Hawaii Department of Health Vital Records Office – 1250 Punchbowl Street, Room 105. If your officiant is coming from a distance, have them contact the office directly at (808) 586-4540 on information regarding registering from afar. Here’s a link to the state website.

Now I have yet to have LB go through the process, but at least you have the basic rundown of how it’ll go down. I’ll be sure to post a follow up (perhaps with photos) once LB becomes Reverend LB.

Alright, so now is the part when I eat my words. Since the engagement, in my mind, I pretty much decided that I wanted an outdoor wedding. More specifically at a beach house, when all my friends can hang for the weekend. In my head, I thought – hooray! I can save lots of money!

However, let us look at the additional costs that would likely be incurred:

  • tenting
  • chairs
  • tables
  • linens
  • tableware
  • generators for outdoor electricity
  • additional lighting

Now let us also take into consideration some of the possible problems that are very realistic to consider:

  • temperature – too hot! too cold! central air makes things happy
  • BUGS – ew
  • bad weather – if it rains, you’re SOL. soggy shoes for all
  • neighbors who complain

Now I’m not just going to be doom and gloom. Believe me, there are just as many good reasons to have an outdoor/beach wedding. Why do you think I wanted one in the first place?

  • more intimate feel
  • nothing beats a beautiful outdoor
  • Beach houses have a smaller guest limit (when your family is as big as mine, this is a plus – believe me)
  • when they’re done right, outdoor weddings blow indoor weddings out of the water

Aiya. Well, I have a little more than a year before the big day….but want to nail down the venue as soon as I can. It’s the number 1 thing that needs to get booked and the rest shall follow.

I figured that it couldn’t hurt to get some tips and pointers so I decided to attend my first Wedding Cafe workshop.

If you weren’t in the know, The Wedding Cafe is an awesome cafe in Ward Warehouse and besides the yummy grubs, it’s has a retail store with cute clothes and accessories and of course, serves as a fabulous resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  Many people choose to meet up with their vendors at the cafe, and why not?  It really does get you in that wedding mood.

One of the most awesome thing that The Wedding Cafe does is put on a series of workshops for bride-to-bes that feature all aspects of wedding planning. You can see a complete list here and RSVP if you’re interested.

This past Wednesday, I attended the “Picture Perfect Photography Showcase” which featured 19, yup, 19 different photographers all in a single room.  Why use a search engine when you can check all of these folks out at one time? The first part of the workshop was a panel format with each photographer giving the attendees a tip to consider for their wedding photography.  Then it was another round robin of commonly asked questions for brides.  I have to say it was quite informative and I was sure to jot down a few of the tips and tricks (some of which were common sense, but I’ll include them anyway):

  • Get to know your photographer.
  • Have a timeline set (with a 10 minute buffer at least).
  • Have a good makeup artist.
  • Practice posing with your SO. Do it in front of a mirror if you can
  • Good photographers books fast – you should book yours after you get your venue nailed down.
  • Don’t be in charge on your wedding day – leave that to someone else you trust.
  • Don’t drink the night before you wed.
  • Have a shot list.
  • Bring eyelash glue if you opt for falsies. Especially if you’re a crier.
  • Have comfy shoes – stilettos are good for pictures, but not for all night.
  • Do engagement portraits. You get practice posing and find out what kinds of shots you like.
  • Bring slippers!
  • Get a big room at the hotel if you’re doing pre-wedding “getting ready” shots.
  • Have a maid clean the room before the photographer gets there.
  • On your first consultation with your photographer, bring a few sample images of what you want your photos to looks like. Look in magazines or on blogs.
  • Personality is probably one of the most important things to look for with photographers – besides your family and wedding planner, this will be the person with you ALLLLLLLLL day.
  • Take your venue into consideration when choosing a hairstyle – having your hair down for an outdoor wedding will not be pretty if the wind kicks up.

Best quotes of the night:

“We make sure to take really awesome pictures, because you’ll never be this skinny again.”

“Having a professional makeup artist is key.  I shot two brides recently, one of which used the makeup artist I recommended and the other found her own makeup artist. The one that used my makeup artist looked absolutely flawless, the other one looked like a drag queen.”