A Hawaiian Destination Wedding So Pretty You’ll Want to Book Your Own Flight to Kona

 Hawaii, Kona, Real Wedding Videos, Real Weddings  Comments Off on A Hawaiian Destination Wedding So Pretty You’ll Want to Book Your Own Flight to Kona
Oct 152016
 

Looking for some major inspiration for your wedding ceremony and reception? Then be sure to check out our real weddings video channel, packed with tons beautiful celebrations and countless ideas to steal for your own big day. Each week we take a deeper look at one of our favorite new love stories, and today we're taking you straight to Hawaii for Melissa and Rich's beachfront wedding.

If this fun-filled day, captured by D.P. Weddings, doesn't make you want to jump on the first flight to Kona, Hawaii, then we don't know what will. In fact, this pretty celebration, held at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, is giving us serious location envy. After all, who wouldn't want to tie the knot at a luxury resort overlooking white sand beaches and the clear blue Pacific?

See More: 25 Ways to Decorate Your Wedding with Pumpkins

While the location itself is obviously incredible, it's not all we love about Melissa and Rich's wedding. This pair did far more than just tie the knot in paradise — they made sure their day was infused with pieces of Hawaii, too. Some other details that totally won us over were airy fabric ceremony structure, locally inspired ceremony, and the bride's beautiful tropical bouquet.

But when it came to the reception, this pair went totally classic (Read: seriously fun). From the second Melissa and Rich were pronounced husband and wife the night became all about celebrating. From their choreographed first dance to the never-empty dance floor, this couple and their guests made sure the night was a blast.

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The Perfect Itinerary for Your Oahu, Hawaii Honeymoon

 Hawaii, Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on The Perfect Itinerary for Your Oahu, Hawaii Honeymoon
Mar 092016
 
honeymoon in oahu

Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons

There's reason a Hawaii honeymoon is a classic! And, Oahu affords honeymooners the greatest variety of experiences, including the cultural and cosmopolitan appeal of Honolulu, the Hawaiian capital; the white glove service and stunning grounds of Ko Olina, a resort community on the island's western shore; and the beautiful, remote North Shore, legendary for its big wave surfing. We're narrowing it down and laying out the perfect romantic itinerary for your Oahu honeymoon, between Honolulu, Ko Olina, and the North Shore. At a minimum, split seven days between Honolulu and either Ko Olina or the North Shore; if time allows, plan 10 or more days to see all three.

Honolulu
A crossroads of cultures, a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, high-rises and attractions aplenty, Honolulu is a big city with a distinctly laid-back island vibe. The greatest concentration of hotels and resorts are located in the Waikiki neighborhood, home of world-famous Waikiki Beach. With so many options to choose from, focus on hotels that have tried and true reputations, such as the Moana Surfrider or the Royal Hawaiian Resort, two historic Waikiki properties that have earned their iconic status, or the five-star, five-diamond Halekulani — a honeymoon-worthy splurge.

See More: The Hottest Honeymoon Destinations of 2016

Ko Olina
A true slice of Hawaiian paradise, the sheer size of this master-planned resort community is impressive: Ko Olina is located on 642 acres and features four oceanfront lagoons with wide sandy beaches, 1.5 miles of shoreline pathways, a Ted Robinson-designed golf course and a private marina that hosts every kind of ocean activity imaginable — from snorkeling and dolphin tours to sunset cruises and sport fishing day trips. This spring, the Four Seasons joins the resort lineup at Ko Olina with the debut of the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. In true Four Seasons style, the resort will have some incredible amenities, including a dedicated luxury fleet that includes a 75-foot private yacht, a helicopter and numerous vehicles.

Oahu's North Shore
Only a 90-minute drive from Honolulu (or an hour from Ko Olina), the North Shore feels much more remote. You'll know you've officially arrived when you reach the town of Haleiwa, where a stop at Matsumoto Shave Ice is mandatory: This North Shore institution has been serving the classic Hawaiian treat for more than 50 years.

Small beach communities dot the drive towards Turtle Bay Resort, located at the North Shore's farthest point. One of the only properties on the North Shore, Turtle Bay Resort makes the journey well worth it. Every guest room and suite has an ocean view and the beach cottages and ocean villas are practically on the sand. Activities are plentiful and include horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking and surfing school, in addition to some of the more usual suspects. Note that the resort offers a honeymoon package, for that extra special touch.

WATCH: Go Behind the Scenes of Eat.Sleep.Wear Founder Kim Pesch’s Gorgeous Hawaiian Wedding

 Hawaii, Real Wedding Videos, Real Weddings  Comments Off on WATCH: Go Behind the Scenes of Eat.Sleep.Wear Founder Kim Pesch’s Gorgeous Hawaiian Wedding
Feb 272016
 

With wedding season fast approaching, it's no surprise that engaged ladies are on the hunt for gorgeous wedding inspiration. And, if you're anything like Kimberly Pesch, founder of Eat.Sleep.Wear, you want to plan a celebration that is classic and romantic but still unique to you as a couple. Last week we shared all of the incredible details of her Hawaiian wedding to Blake Lapides, but today we're bringing you inside the gorgeous proceedings at Maui's Olowalu Plantation House, captured by Cinemaui Studio.

When Kim and Blake first started looking for their wedding venue, the bride immediately fell in love with this private, seaside estate. "It was like our own oasis," Kim says. Although the photos from their day showcase just how stunning the property is, there's something so spectacular about seeing the waves crash behind the couple and palm trees swaying in the breeze during their ceremony.

See More: 25 Organic Wedding Bouquets

The couple chose Hawaiian royalty to lead their ceremony — the very same man who officiated Claire and Phil's vow renewal on Modern Family — since they knew they could trust the local to deliver a meaningful and engaging ceremony. And they were right! The bride dished that he made her and Blake laugh and kiss throughout the proceedings, all of which is captured throughout their video.

Their reception was nothing short of a tropical dream. The party was set up on the property's lawn overlooking the ocean, where guests were treated to a full Hawaiian luau that was complete with a traditional buffet dinner. But that's not all: the décor spoke to the couple's locale without being cheesy. They decorated tables with local greens studded with gorgeous white flowers and arranged fresh pineapples for fun and festive accents.

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Go Inside Eat.Sleep.Wear Founder Kim Pesch’s Destination Wedding in Hawaii

 Hawaii, Real Weddings  Comments Off on Go Inside Eat.Sleep.Wear Founder Kim Pesch’s Destination Wedding in Hawaii
Feb 242016
 

Kimberly Pesch, the creative behind the popular fashion blog Eat.Sleep.Wear, first met Blake Lapides through work, but the pair didn't really start talking until they bumped into each other at the wedding of mutual friends in Philadelphia in 2012. A few months later, Kim invited Blake, who was living in San Diego, to join her in New York City for New Years Eve. "I didn't expect him to say yes at all," she says. But he did, and the pair spent the next months happily flying back and forth across the country to be together until Kim decided to make the move from the Big Apple out to the Golden state to be with her guy.

Nine months later, after a long day of traveling, Kim crashed on the couple's couch ready for a relaxing evening in when Blake asked if she wanted to share a cupcake for dessert. "I nearly turned him down since I was so exhausted," she says. Thankfully, she didn't! Inside the box she found two incredibly sweet treats: a salted caramel cupcake and a ring box with a diamond sparkler. "Of course, I said yes!"

Kim and Blake knew they wanted to have a beach wedding, but weren't set on a specific destination. They narrowed the search down to Southern California and Hawaii and hunted down the perfect private venue with a stunning view of the sea. The winner: Olowalu Plantation House in Maui, Hawaii. With visions of a modern seaside bash with a polished Hawaiian island twist, the couple worked with Kara of Your Aloha Wedding Company to plan their May 28, 2015, celebration. Read on to see all of the gorgeous details, as captured by Alison Conklin Photography.

The couple searched high and low for the perfect venue for their intimate wedding. "The more I looked at some other venues, the less private they felt to me," Kim says of other site visits. "If I was going to go all this way to get married, I wanted it to be really secluded. Olowalu Plantation House looked like a tropical paradise and felt like a really iconic Hawaiian backdrop." The views alone could have sold Kim and Blake on the property, but knowing they and their guests would be the only people on the property made it all the more appealing.

The bride and groom worked with LoveLeigh to create their custom island-inspired invitation suite. The cheery yellow color palette felt reminiscent of the Hawaiian landscape while elegant calligraphy and sleek gold foil details gave off the elevated vibe the couple was going for.

As a fashion blogger, Kim knew just how to find the right dress for her walk down the aisle. But that didn't make the process any easier. Like most brides, the Eat.Sleep.Wear founder tried on tons of silhouettes and initially struggled to connect with a gown. "I was doing a lot of bridal editorial for work, so I tried on so many dresses," she says. "I got a great range of what looked good on me and what I liked." Despite that, she found the process of shopping for "the one" awkward. "Everyone talks about it so romantically and you expect to cry," the bride says. "You're trying on dresses that are clamped to you and I just never felt that spark like it was a dress special enough to get married in." Until she visited the Vera Wang boutique, that is. There, she connected with a stylist that totally understood her style and aesthetic, and finally slipped into the strapless stretch Mikado gown with a bias-cut organza skirt that she wore on the big day. "I didn't cry, but I will say I just knew."

The modern silhouette featured a dramatic asymmetrical neckline that felt edgy and chic. She paired the stunning dress with a birdcage veil, classic updo, bold red lip, Valentino pumps, and a neutral bouquet with peonies, ranunculus, and greens.

Kim's bridesmaids wore mismatched blush gowns from Rory Beca. "I didn't want the girls to buy typical bridesmaids' dresses that were stiff," the bride says. "I wanted something flowing, comfortable, and very simple and classic that they could wear again." Blake and his groomsmen all wore classic tuxedos.

Guests were treated to cool refreshments, including lemonade and flavored water, as they arrived at the seaside ceremony. Chairs were arranged on the ocean-facing lawn for the afternoon celebration. Blake's two nieces, Shaylee and Samantha, and Kim's nephew, Jacob, severed as flower girls and ring bearer. The three looked super sweet in dresses and a linen suit from J.Crew. In honor of their island wedding destination, the couple's rings were tied to a pineapple.

Reverend Laki Pomaikai Kaahumanu, the same Hawaiian royal that performed Claire and Phil's vow renewal on Modern Family, led Kim and Blake's ceremony. "It was non-religious and infused with Hawaiian traditions," the bride says. "It was so special to have someone so connected to the island be part of our wedding. He has such a personality and made us laugh and kiss throughout the whole ceremony."

They kept the ceremony décor simple so that the bride's favorite part about the property — the palm trees — could shine. There, the couple recited vows they had written themselves, but it wasn't the first time they had shared them. Prior to the ceremony, the groom and his bride-to-be met to privately say their vows. "It helped to practice without balling my eyes out," Kim says.

The reception was held on the property's lawn, just slightly closer to the house but with the same exceptional views of the coast. "I wanted everything to be open, warm, and perfect for mingling," Kim says of the evening. In that spirit, the bride and groom chose not to assign seating and allowed their guests to sit anywhere they wanted. Raw pineapples popped up throughout the reception, including as decoration on the couple's card table.

Guests sat at wooden farm tables that were loaded with white and green centerpieces, including garlands of fresh greenery. For dinner, everyone enjoyed a Luau-style buffet (Kim hates sit down dinners!) and guests helped themselves to their fill of marinated chicken, Kalua pork, Mahi Mahi, and stir-fried veggies. "We also made sure to have a whole roasted pig," the bride says. "It felt so tied to Hawaiian tradition."

Dessert came in the form of a three-tiered strawberries and cream wedding cake.

The newlyweds snuck away from the reception for a private view of the sunset. "We didn't say much, we just took in the moment together," says Kim. "I was so happy that we took that little bit of time to be alone."

Back at the reception, Kim and Blake shared their first dance to Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long." The dance was especially meaningful for the pair as Blake had undergone back surgery just 30 days before the big day and both were thrilled he was able to dance at the reception.

The couple didn't cap the entertainment at dancing; they also hired a local fire dancer to perform, which proved to be a treat for guests young and old. Everyone from the bride's nephew to their grandparents loved watching the traditional performance.

Due to noise ordinances at the property, the party had to shut down at 10 p.m., but that didn't mean the reveling was over. After their sparkler exit, Kim, Blake, and their guests packed up the remaining fireworks and drinks and headed back to their hotel for an impromptu beach party. "I sat in the sand in my big white dress and we lit all the remaining sparklers and stuck them in the sand," Kim remembers. "It lit the beach up! It was a beautiful way to end our night with some of our closest friends."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Olowalu Plantation House || Officiant: Laki Kaahumanu || Wedding Planner: Your Aloha Wedding Company, Inc. || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Veil: Gladys Tamez || Shoes: Valentino || Hair & Makeup: Maui Makeup Artist || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Rory Beca || Groom's & Groomsmens' Attire: Friar Tux Shop || Flower Girls' & Ring Bearer Attire: J.Crew || Invitations & Stationery: LoveLeigh Invitations || Flowers: Bella Bloom Floral Boutique || Rentals: Island Rents || Catering: Café O'Lei Catering || Cake: Maui Sweet Cakes || Entertainment: Manutea Nui E; Barefoot Minded || Videographer: Cinemaui Studio || Photographer: Alison Conklin Photography

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Can't get enough of this incredible Hawaiian celebration? Then take a deeper look at Kim and Blake's big day in their wedding video below.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Getaways in the U.S.

 California, Events, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Planning Tips, Utah, Valentine's Day  Comments Off on Last Minute Valentine’s Day Getaways in the U.S.
Feb 092016
 
Valentine's Day Getaways

Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Lanai

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, there's no better time to book a last-minute getaway at one of America's most romantic hotels and resorts. To help you get there, we've rounded up some of the chicest places for two. Even better: all of the properties below are offering exclusive V-day deals, which are sure to make your stay that much sweeter.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai (Above)
If you really want to get away with your beau, book in ASAP at the newly revamped Four Seasons, on Hawaii's ultra-private, 90,000-acre island of Lanai. (Just a short flight from Maui.) Book the Stay Longer — Fourth Night Free experience, which includes a complimentary fourth night at the resort, plus romantic add-ons, like a five-course, blind tasting menu of such aphrodisiacs as lobster, oyster, and caviar— a surefire way to ignite the senses; or opt for the mixology class and tasting in one of the new poolside "sanctuaries," a private bungalow with couches and lounge chairs (also perfect for a couples' massage). (From $1,075/night.)

Royalton New York
Design-savvy travelers love this stylish hotel in midtown Manhattan, which opened in 1988 under the direction of legendary French architect Philippe Starck (also behind Miami's Delano Hotel and Paris's Le Royal Monceau— Raffles, among others). The greatest appeal for romance-seeking travelers, however, are the wood-burning fireplaces found in 55 of the 168 guestrooms (the most of any NYC property). Throughout February, couples can book the Royalton Fireplace package, which includes: accommodations and breakfast; cocktails and small plates at the lobby lounge, Bar Forty Four; and a "fireplace concierge service." Yes, the hotel has a "Wood Sommelier," who will come to your room and customize the fire— allowing you to choose from five different types of kindling, each of which pairs with a craft cocktail from Forty Four. (We recommend lighting up the limited edition cherry wood on the 14th.) (From $299/night.)

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
There are few more romantic spots in the U.S. than the coast of Southern California, so whether you're in from out of town or looking for a fun staycation, we recommend this historic Santa Monica property. There's plenty to do on-site, from Exhale mind-body fitness classes to close-knit shaves at Lloyd's Barbershop. But with the Sky High Romance package, you and your Valentine get even more amazing experiences— namely, a private helicopter ride over Los Angeles. In addition to overnight accommodations in an Ocean Tower Suite (with champagne and caviar upon arrival), couples are treated to a 45-minute airborne city tour, followed by a private rooftop dinner catered by FIG, the hotel's seasonal-inspired bistro, with equally breathtaking Pacific views. (From $6,500.)

Whiteface Lodge
Lake Placid, New York, has remained a year-round favorite among Northeast travelers since it played host to the Winter Olympics in 1980. And this all-suite Adirondack resort is the perfect winter escape for both couples and families, owing to the diverse activities it offers— from cross-country skiing to rock climbing and dog sledding. With the Lodge's Ultimate Luxury Package For Two, guests receive two-night accommodations, inclusive of breakfast, plus 50-minute massages in the award-winning spa and a three-course dinner at the rustic-chic restaurant, KANU. Couples can also catch a flick at the Lodge's 56-seat movie theater, take a turn on the private ice-skating rink, or kick back in front of the fire pit, cocktails in hand. (From $546/night.)

See More: Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Him

Fontainebleau Miami Beach
If you've ever been to Miami for a bachelorette, chances are you spent a night at the Fontainebleau's nightclub, LIV. This Collins Avenue mainstay can be either party haven or luxury refuge, depending on your travel needs, and we think they've hit the perfect medium for Valentine's Day. What you get: a prix-fixe dinner for two at one of the resort's top-notch restaurants (Michael Mina 74, StripSteak, or Scarpetta), plus tickets to a performance by Grammy award-winning duo Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at BleauLive (the resort's entertainment venue). If rocking out to classics like "We Belong" and "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" doesn't get you going, we don't know what will! (Package from $350.)

Sea Island, Georgia
With all this physical romance, let's not forget about a little intellectual stimulation. If you and your S.O. are really looking to connect this V-day, consider booking in at one of Sea Island's storied accommodations (we like the chic Inn at Sea Island or the ultra-private Ocean Villas at the Cloister). Not only will you get R&R— by way of the 60,000 square-foot spa and three world-class golf courses— but you'll also get to join the resort's third-annual Creativity Conference. During the two-day retreat, participants can interact with and learn from such speakers as: Italian model-actress-filmmaker Isabella Rossellini; New York Times bestselling author Gary Shteyngart; and Colorado State University professor of animal science, Dr. Temple Grandin (also the subject of a namesake HBO biopic, starring Claire Danes). Hope you're taking notes! (From $225/night at the Inn; $500/night at the Cloister.)

Red Mountain Resort
If your idea of connecting is more along the lines of mind-body-sprit, look no further than this wellness resort in Southwestern Utah. Activities that fall within the Red Mountain Essential Package: yoga classes overlooking red rock canyons, digital photography classes, hikes through Zion National Park, cooking demonstrations, plus daily meals crafted by the resort's nutritionists to specifically suit your health goals. (From $265/night, per person.)

An Easy-Going Wedding in Maui with a Modern Twist

 Hawaii, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Real Weddings  Comments Off on An Easy-Going Wedding in Maui with a Modern Twist
Feb 022016
 

Some of the best New York love stories begin the same way: At a bar. Jennifer and James were both NYC transplants (she's from Canada, he hails from New Zealand) who had all but given up on finding love in a place where no one wants to grow up. But on September 14, 2013, after a boozy brunch with girlfriends, Jennifer begged her pals to go get one more drink at a nearby sports bar. Once settled, she set off to find a friend who'd wandered off to talk with a group of guys, and that's where she met James. "We talked and flirted through the afternoon and well into the night. James will tell you he fell in love with me in the first 20 minutes," says Jennifer.

They were quickly inseparable, traveling around the world to meet one another's families and falling more and more in love. A year (to the day!) after they met, James brought Jennifer back to the site of their first date and proposed in the heart of Central Park. "It was so sweet, but also so funny because the only person around was an inebriated man who cheered when I said yes," Jennifer remembers. They kept that simple, laid-back vibe in mind when choosing to wed at the Andaz Hotel in Maui, halfway between her family in Canada and his in New Zealand. On August 15, 2015, 55 guests joined the couple in Hawaii for an easy-going celebration that highlighted Maui's beauty, photographed by Natalie Brown Photography.

Hawaiian-inspired invitations in punchy hot pink and orange gave guests a peek into the celebration to come.

Jennifer knew that the Nicole Miller "Morgan" gown was the one for her the first time she saw a picture. "I called the Nicole Miller store to make sure it was in stock, then headed over on a lunch break with two friends. It was the first one I tried on, and I knew it was the one immediately — and we had so much time left in the appointment that my recently engaged friend was able to try on a few dresses, herself!" says the bride. She fell for the stretch silk fabric, high neck, and beaded straps.

The bride's legs were a mile long in blush patent Yves Saint Laurent Tribute sandals — and she's thrilled she'll be able to wear them again and again. Their soft hue was the perfect match for the touches of blush pink in her rose and hydrangea bouquet.

Jennifer's bridesmaids wore champagne-colored convertible dresses, which they accented with bouquets of orange and pink roses.

"Our first look was so emotional. I had serious butterflies but didn't want to cry and ruin my makeup, so I kept reciting scenes from the movie 'Bridesmaids' to keep the tears at bay!" says Jennifer. Now that's advice we can get behind!

James wore a sandy gray linen suite from John Varvatos. His groomsmen donned navy blue suits to complement the bridesmaids' champagne dresses. "And they already owned them, so that was easy!" says Jennifer.

Guests were greeted with champagne and berry-infused water as they arrived ahead of the oceanfront ceremony. A wooden arch was decorated with ivory fabric and clusters of hydrangeas and pink and coral roses and stock flowers.

"Because our moms live far away, they weren't able to be as involved in the wedding planning as they would have liked, so we had them serve as our flower girls!" says Jennifer. Guests had no idea, and were surprised to see the women making their way down the aisle, tossing petals.

For a special twist on her walk down the aisle, Jennifer's brother walked her to the end of the aisle, where her father took over and walked her to the altar. The vows caused a few laughs, but not because of the words the couple chose. "James was wearing a mic, but it was so windy that no one could hear when I started to say my vows," says Jennifer. "I leaned in to the mic on his lapel and started again, and said all my vows that way. It was the perfect comic relief to help get me through the ceremony without crying."

Dinner took place on the lawn, at round tables topped with vases full of roses, hydrangea, and peach stock flowers.

With such a small guest list, the couple got creative by putting everyone's nickname on their seating chart. For dinner, three stations served made-to-order ceviche, Kiawe wood-grilled meats and fish, and modern tacos.

Instead of a cake, a dessert table featured trifle, cream pies, cupcakes, truffles and brownies.

For their first dance, guests were given sparklers to light a path for the bride and groom to the dance floor. At one point, a group of James's New Zealand guests removed their shirts and performed a Haka in honor of the bride and groom. "After the wedding was over, everyone who was still standing met us at the hotel's 24-hour pool. It was a great way to wind-down the night," Jennifer says. "We made sure to enjoy every moment, because once your wedding day has arrived, there's nothing left to worry about!"

Venue, Wedding Planning & Catering: Andaz Maui || Bride's Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller || Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent || Hair & Makeup: Maui Mira || Groom's Attire: John Varvatos || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Roman Malakov || Florist: Bella Bloom || Invitations & Paper Goods: Wedding Paper Divas; Miss B Calligraphy || Music: Liam Grist || Photography: Natalie Brown Photography

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Can't get enough of this Maui bash? Then check out another couple's Hawaiian wedding in the video below.

Oct 172015
 
Reasons to Honeymoon in Lana'i Hawaii

Photo: Getty Images

It's no secret that Hawaii is one of the absolute best places to honeymoon. The shimmering water, pristine beaches and interesting volcanic landscape coupled with luxe resorts and pampering spas make it a no brainer for couples looking for a beachy newlywed escape. But take note, brides- and grooms-to-be, some of the most jaw-dropping locales won't show up in every single tour book or traveler review.

In the Aloha State, iconic beaches abound, and while white and golden stretches like Waikiki on Oahu, Kapalua on Maui, and Hapuna on Hawaii Island get most of the press, there's a kaleidoscope of other options to recline on as well.

See More: 10 Bucket List-Worthy Beach Honeymoon Locations

Thanks to the isles' many volcanoes, black sand can be found all over; two of the prettiest examples are Honokalani on Maui and Kauai's Waimea Beach, a sweet spot to watch the sunset. Olivine, a crystal formed by volcanic eruptions, lends Papakolea Beach on Hawaii Island its green hue, while iron from an eroding volcanic slope gives Maui's Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, in Hana, its amber color. (Experienced hikers only: The trail to this remote area is tough for amateurs to handle.)

For a rainbow of shades, check out Kauai's Glass Beach, which gets its name from the smooth, wave-sculpted sea glass that carpets the coastline. (The blue, green, and brown pebbles were once soda bottles and car windshields dumped upshore decades ago.) Many of the larger pieces have been scooped up by beachcombers, but the glittering sand is still worth a photo.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES October/November 2015 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Exclusive: Go Inside the Hawaiian Wedding Featured on TLC’s Extreme I Do’s

 Hawaii, Real Weddings  Comments Off on Exclusive: Go Inside the Hawaiian Wedding Featured on TLC’s Extreme I Do’s
Jul 302015
 

Nicole Redding and Michael Wilheim, whose wedding will be featured tonight on the TLC special Extreme I Do's, knew they wanted to do something big for their wedding, but only had a short time to plan it. "After we found out we were selected for the show, we only had 54 days to plan," Nicole says. "But when you have the right team and a clear vision, it can be seamless."

The Bay Area-based couple chose to wed in Hawaii, where they first met, but wanted to exchange I do's in an extreme location. Once they found a volcano overlooking the water, Nicole and Michael knew they found their venue. The pair worked with AaB Creates to plan an over-the-top ceremony followed by a reception at the Haiku Mill. Keep reading to see all of photos of the day, captured by Chris J. Evans Photography, and tune in to TLC tonight at 10pm to see the entire process unfold!

Nicole chose a strapless trumpet wedding dress from Alfred Angelo for her walk down the aisle. "I knew it was the one when I tried it on for the first time," she says. She completed her look with a bouquet of speckled mokara orchids, astilbe, roses, and native ferns.

Although Nicole told her bridesmaids they could chose any style Alfred Angelo gown they wanted in coral, each attendant loved the same knee-length number.

Michael and his groomsmen wore matching heather grey suits. While the groom chose a white tie, his attendants all wore coral bowties to match the bridesmaids.

Tying the knot on top of a volcano didn't come without its challenges. Namely, the venue didn't have a physical address, so guests gathered at a local vineyard and drove together to the ceremony site. But for Nicole, an extreme entrance was a must. She surprised her guests (and her parents!) by making her grand entrance in a helicopter. "I told my parents that the three of us were taking a helicopter right before the ceremony," Rachel remembers. "Their faces were priceless!"

But getting to the volcano wasn't the only aspect of the day that proved difficult. For AaB Creates, working against the rough terrain was certainly a challenge, but one that their team was up for. "Decorating for the ceremony was tough because the grounds were extremely rocky and there was no clearly delineated aisle," the planners say. "Luckily, nature gave us the best backdrop and so to work in the color scheme a bit more, we staked tiki rods into the ground and tied long ribbons in various shades of peach and gold onto them so they would blow in the wind."

Guests looked on as the couple exchanged personalized vows and, after Nicole and Michael were pronounced husband and wife, a traditional Hawaiian ukulele player performed.

After the ceremony, the party moved to Maui's beloved Haiku Mill for the reception. "We picked Haiku Mill because we love the Hawaiian Islands and the Haiku Sugar Mill was the first sugarcane mill in Hawaii," Nicole says. "Plus, we liked the idea that it was like Sleeping Beauty's castle since the mill was abandoned and gently decaying over the past 100 years." There, Nicole changed into a second wedding dress — this one, a beaded lace number with an open back, ruffled skirt, and illusion neckline.

Guests found their seating on an antique mirror that was transformed into a seating chart. Once inside, place cards made from calligraphed banana leafs were left on each place setting along the elegant, flower-topped tables.

AaB Creates brought in wooden tables and chairs that were decorated with taupe sequin runners, oversized French candlesticks, and mixed floral arrangements in shades of pink, white, and peach.

For dinner, the party dined on traditional Hawaiian breads, a farm salad, and short ribs. To compliment their tropical locale, Nicole and Michael created two signature cocktails. His, an Old Hawaiian, featured grilled pineapple and peaches, fresh pressed lemon, and bourbon while hers, the Perfect Pair, contained pear juice, fresh pressed lemon, pear liqueur, and vodka.

After Nicole and Michael shared their first dance to "At Last" by Etta James, the couple cut into their two-tiered ombré wedding cake. Beneath scalloped decorations, guests found red velvet and chocolate salted caramel layers.

The surprises weren't over yet, though, and Nicole snuck away from the party to slip into a knee-length dress (her third change of the evening!) for dancing. The dance floor was packed as the couple, their friends, and family all celebrated while their DJ played.

Ceremony Site: Volcano in Maui || Reception Venue: Haiku Mill || Wedding Planner: AaB Creates || Bride's Wedding Dresses: Alfred Angelo || Veil: Alfred Angelo || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Angelo || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Selix Formalwear || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Shane Co. || Florist: Teresa Sena || Seating Chart & Place Cards: Miss B Calligraphy || Ceremony Music: Ben DeLeon || Reception Music: Clarity Entertainment || Catering: Maui Executive Catering || Cake: Maui Sweet Cakes || Rentals: Signature Rentals; Set Maui; BBJ Linen || Photographer: Chris J. Evans Photography

The Honeymooner’s Guide to Lana’i: 6 Reasons to Explore Hawaii’s Under-the-Radar Island

 Hawaii, Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings  Comments Off on The Honeymooner’s Guide to Lana’i: 6 Reasons to Explore Hawaii’s Under-the-Radar Island
Jul 142015
 
Reasons to Honeymoon in Lana'i Hawaii

Photo: Getty Images

Hawaii is one of the top honeymoon destinations, but most lovebirds head to Maui, Oahu, or Kauai. Lana'i, a tiny island of just 140 square miles, feels like a private island but at just eight miles off Maui is surprisingly accessible, either by ferry or inter-island flight.

The island was once home to a Hawaiian king, then used as a Dole pineapple plantation until the 1990s, when it opened for tourism. Recently, Oracle tech billionaire Larry Ellison purchased 98 percent of the entire island (fellow techie Bill Gates was married here) and is pumping millions of dollars into renovations and upgrades to the island, while still keeping its traditional charm. The best part of Lana'i is that it feels very removed and secluded there's not a single traffic light on the island — making it the perfect place to decompress and focus on each other after a hectic wedding.

Live like a king and queen
You'll never want to leave the newly-renovated Ohana Oceanfront Suites at the Four Seasons Lana'i at Manele Bay, where you can have breakfast on the balcony (order room service through the iPad that comes with the room), take a bath together without kicking each other in the deep wooden Japanese soaking tub, and customize your bed down to the types of pillows you prefer before you even arrive through the resort's app. For dinner, eat some of the country's best sushi and locally-grown vegetables at Nobu while you sit under the stars, overlooking the Pacific. The landscaping that separates the rooms from the restaurants and lobby features lush greens, exotic flowers, koi ponds, and waterfalls making you feel like you're the only people on earth in this jungle paradise, made extra romantic by the flaming tiki torches that light the paths at night.

Snorkel in Hulopo'e Bay
The bay is a protected marine preserve, so you'll be able to spot tons of colorful fish swimming in the coral reef and a pod of wild spinner dolphins even play in the bay some mornings. After snorkeling in the perfectly clear turquoise water, hold hands and walk along the beach's tide pools that are carved out of volcanic rocks, showing each other the small fish and scurrying black crabs.

See More: 5 Questions to Ask Your Honeymoon Resort Before Booking

Take a romantic sunset sail
Trilogy Excursions, one of the longest-running family-owned sailing companies in Hawaii, offers private charter sunset sails from Lana'i for a cocktail hour with Hawaiian-brewed beer, snacks, and the best views of your life. Their super-friendly, knowledgeable guides live by ho'okipah (Hawaiian hospitality) and help you spot humpback whales that breach in the area all winter, yet give you space to feel like you're the only two people on earth. Kiss your sweetheart as you cruise in front of Sweetheart Rock, named after a Romeo-and-Juliet type of tragic love story about a heartbroken Hawaiian warrior who threw himself off the top of the cliff after his beloved drowned there.

Hop on horseback
The landscape of Lana'i is bright greenery and dramatic red earth, and with Lanai Grand Adventures you can ride horses together along wooded trails and valleys, spotting lots of wild turkeys, pheasant, deer, and sheep. If you'd rather be Cinderella than John Wayne, they also offer a horse-drawn carriage ride through the scenic Koele highlands.

See More: The Top 10 Honeymoon Resorts in Hawaii

Go off the beaten path in a Jeep
Navigating dirt roads is the only way to explore hidden gems like Garden of the Gods, an expanse of red rock towers that were formed by centuries of erosion. While most of Lanai is lush and green, lined with Cook pine trees that seem more at home in Oregon than Hawaii, the Garden of the Gods' red desert make it look like Mars. Next drive to Shipwreck beach, named for the haunting 1940s tanker that's still beached offshore. You'll likely be the only ones exploring the area, and on a clear day, you can see the islands of Maui and Molokai.

Have a picnic in the park
The quaint town of Lanai' City is home to most of the island's 3,100 residents, and lined with colorful cottages built in the 1920s and '30s. There are only a few restaurants in town, so your best bet is to grab organic fruit, cheese, and crackers — or the catch of the day in a poke platter at Richard's Market and a fresh juice from Anuenue Juice Bar (both new this year) and throw down a towel in Dole Park, the heart of the town square.

A Destination Wedding at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

 Beach, Destination Wedding, Hawaii, Monique Lhuillier, Real Weddings, Romantic  Comments Off on A Destination Wedding at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Aug 022013
 
jessica-matt-intro

Photo: Ashley Camper

Matthew caught Jessica's eye as he zoomed past her at break-neck speed on a Las Vegas race track. The love between the professional race car driver and public relations maven took off just as fast—Matthew proposed two year's later on the couple's couch, presenting Jessica with a bouquet of flowers and a diamond ring "right before he had to leave the next day for a race across the sea," the bride now recalls.

With 70 guests coming from across the world for the couple's March wedding, Hawaii's Maui island "seemed like the perfect place for everyone to meet," Jessica says. "We wanted our guests to feel as though they were on vacation and enjoy themselves—to remember the weekend as fondly as we will."

The couple selected Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea as the venue to host both ceremony and reception. As guests arrived at the waterfront resort, they were greeted with welcome bags filled with pineapple candy, candles, snacks, coconut water, baseball hats, flips flops and more.

Silver Jimmy Choo Bridal Heels

Photo: Ashley Camper

The bride chose silver peep-toe Jimmy Choo pumps for the big day.

Sweetheart Lace Wedding Dress

Photo: Ashley Camper

Jessica's lace Monique Lhuillier gown had a delicate, scalloped halter top and ever-so-slight train.

Crystal Belt Lace Wedding Dress

Photo: Ashley Camper

The bride bedazzled the dress' otherwise understated bodice with a crystal embellished belt. Her aunt gifted her blue earrings, while the bride's "something borrowed" was a diamond cuff bracelet.

Short Orange Bridesmaids Dresses

Photo: Ashley Camper

Bridesmaids donned three styles of coral knee-length dresses. The dresses' soft silk "blew perfectly in the Hawaiian breeze," the bride recalls. Single stems of protea—a tropical flower native to Hawaii—made up the girls' bouquets.

White Rose and Stock Bouquet

Photo: Ashley Camper

Jessica carried a round, white bouquet of lilies and orchids.

Mismatched Groomsmen Ties

Photo: Ashley Camper

While the groom donned a deep gray Dolce & Gabbana suit, groomsmen took their look a few shades lighter in complementing J. Crew attire. To their lapels, the men pinned New Zealand-grown silver ferns.

Fans For Ceremony

Photo: Ashley Camper

Fans in hues of lime, fuchsia and tangerine awaited guests on bamboo Chiavari chairs set up for the the couple's outdoor ceremony in the resort's fragrant plumeria garden.

Mother And Father Walk The Bride Down Aisle

Photo: Ashley Camper

Escorted by both her parents, the bride descended the aisle on a bed of white lilies and orchids—the same blooms found in her bouquet—as a violinist played the classic Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Flower Girl Pink Hair Bow

Photo: Ashley Camper

Moments before, Jessica's three-year-old goddaughter and flower girl wore a soft pink bow and big smile as she dropped the flowers onto the grass aisle. "She melted everyone's heart with her sassy personality and adorable smile," the bride says.

Special Dance Bride and Groom

Photo: Ashley Camper

The couple exchanged their vows beneath a bamboo huppah draped in sheer fabric that swayed with the ocean's gentle breeze.

Blanket Guest Favors

Photo: Ashley Camper

Pink and blue paisley-patterned pashminas awaited guests on their Chiavari chairs at the couple's reception. While the wedding's color palette was soft—white, cream and coral were the couple's main colors—the pashminas and even the bridesmaids' bouquets brought in pops of color throughout the day.

Sand Dollar Escort Cards

Photo: Ashley Camper

Guests found their seat assignments on sand dollars stuck into sandboxes. Their names and table numbers were scrolled across the shells in coral-colored calligraphy.

Blanket Wedding Guest Favors

Photo: Ashley Camper

Florist Bella Bloom Floral Boutique decorated long wooden tabletops with glass vases that held white hydrangea and giant elephant ear leaves. "Common themes and symbols our wedding were the beach, candlelight, stars, energy, love, and friends and family," the bride says. "Our wedding combined the island flare of New Zealand with the chic Upper East Side of New York, creating a romantic, intimate soiree."

Monogrammed Table Runner

Photo: Ashley Camper

Cream-colored, monogrammed table runners topped the tables. Modern white dishware was placed at each setting.

Leaves Centerpieces

Photo: Ashley Camper

Though the couple's reception was set up on the resort's ocean-front lawn, when rain threatened the outdoor event, "we had to make a last minute call," Jessica says. "The Four Seasons team had to bring everything inside and re-set up the entire reception." The indoor site provided a more intimate, candlelit setting for the couple's event.

White Orchid Wedding Cake

Photo: Ashley Camper

The couple's decadent, three-tier cake contained layers of hazelnut filling and was adorned with fresh flowers.

Floral Chair Decor

Photo: Ashley Camper

The bride and groom marked their chairs with traditional Hawaiian leis, For dinner, guests enjoyed a fresh sushi bar, salads made from locally-grown greens and fruits, and short rib and sea bass entrees.

Unique Candy Buffet

Photo: Ashley Camper

Guests could also indulge in a candy buffet that offered up pink and red sweets in glass apothecary jars and open dishes.

Father and Daughter Dance At Wedding

Photo: Ashley Camper

When Jessica took to the dance floor with her father, it "was a very special moment in my life," she says. "We're very close, and being able to share that time with him in front of our family and friends meant a lot to me."

Bride and Groom Cut Wedding Cake

Photo: Ashley Camper

As guests danced to popular hits played by world-renowned DJ Lora, the couple sliced into their white wedding cake. "Play a huge part in planning your own wedding," Jessica advises brides-to-be. "It makes it so much more personal and special to see everything that you imagined come together in the end."

Last Dance

Photo: Ashley Camper

The weeks after Jessica and Matt's wedding "have been a bit of a blur," the bride says, " as it's the most exciting time in our lives. Having friends and family from across the globe all seeing you come down from the excitement is a tremendous feeling of happiness and exhaustion all at the same time. We feel so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives."

—Jillian Kramer

Wedding Planner: Ophihi Love || Ceremony Venue: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea || Reception Venue: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Bride's Veil: Panache Bridal || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bride's Accessories: XIV Karats Ltd. || Bride's Wedding Ring: XIV Karats Ltd. || Groom's Tux: Dolce & Gabbana || Groom's Wedding Ring: XIV Karats Ltd. || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alvin Valley || Groomsmen Attire: J. Crew || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Donald Deal || Flower Girl Dress: Fleurisse & Leon || Florist: Bella Bloom Floral Boutique || Caterer: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea || Stationery: Janice's Invites || Cake Baker: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea || Favors: Zico coconut water, Popchips, Ecoya candles, Bovary & Butterfly baseball hats, Knock Knock sticky notes, Joico shampoo and conditioner, and Laura Mercier lotion || Rentals: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea || Entertainment: DJ Lora || Photography: Ashley Camper

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