Navigating the Wedding World

31429615_10216670143173928_7583722362701348864_nA few short months ago, the love of my life got down on one knee. It was better than I could have dreamed; we went on a hike through the Hawaiian jungle, into a valley underneath weeping Koolau Mountains and surrounded by butterflies, silence, and greenery. Everything he said was beautiful and perfect, and I fell even deeper in love with this man that I would soon get to marry.

Our engagement was idyllic, but being engaged – not so much. Immediately, excited friends and family honed in. When is the wedding? Where will it be? What are your colors? Your theme? At my wedding, we….

I know they didn’t intend to swarm, but that’s what it felt like. I felt like I was already behind a mere day after we got engaged, since I had no clue how to plan a wedding. I’m a pretty simple, outdoorsy gal – I didn’t even have a pinterest board remotely close to weddings until the proposal. I felt like everyone was watching, and waiting, and wondering why it was taking us so long to figure it out.

Thankfully, my fiancée (I get to use that word now!) stepped in and saved the day. He set a date that we would begin planning, and kindly informed everyone in our lives that we wouldn’t be making any decisions until then. We had some time to think, and breathe, and discuss our future marriage and plans and kids. We had time to actually enjoy being engaged to one another.

I loved this magical time where I knew the wedding was coming, but there was no planning to do. No tasks, no checklists, no due dates. Just love, and joy, and incredible happiness.

Like most magical moments, though, our unhindered bliss couldn’t last forever. Our planning day came, and we bravely stepped into the wedding world. We researched venues, defined our style, made a budget. Since we own a business together, planning was no big deal for us. We knew we could do it.

Now that we’re ankles-deep in the planning process, we’re encountering a lot of the ‘swarm’. Friends and family we love and look up to want us to invite so-and-so, and include this and that, and we have to do this, and it’s not really a wedding if…

Not to mention all of the TERRIFYING articles online on what really ‘makes’ a wedding.

Honestly, though, we’re both taking a stand against it all.  We’re both outdoorsy, adventurous, simple people. We’re not into expensive wines, luxury fabrics, lush flowers, sparkles or events. We want to create a ceremony and reception that represents and compliments who we are, and that our closest friends and family can enjoy.

I’ve been to a lot of weddings, and I pretty much never recall what kind of flowers or centerpieces were there, or even the entrée selection or premium wine list. I remember the people that married, and the love they shared, and the fun I had.

That’s what I want my guests (and us) to remember.


Wedding Ring Shopping!


I found the perfect ring.
I don’t even know anything about rings.
All this wedding stuff is overwhelming. Probably because a lot of the time I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
I’m a simple girl. I especially don’t know anything about rings.
My fiancé got me a cool, funky engagement ring from a silversmith shop in Indonesia. And I absolutely love it.


However, there are a few downfalls to donning some non traditional bling. For one people don’t even notice I’m engaged, since the tell-tale diamond adorning my ring finger is incognito. Second, a few people – please, never do this to anyone – have asked, “when are you going to get a real diamond?”
Anyways, my mother- and grandmother-in-law came out to visit us for about a week. I absolutely love them, and they spoiled both of us rotten. My fridge and cabinets are exploding with food & we finally have a real couch.
They also surprised me by offering to buy our wedding rings. Since I’m totally naive, having them with me was beyond helpful. I was in there for 15 minutes and completely fell in love!


I knew it was the one the second I saw it. I love that it has the wave-type design, since the ocean is such a central part of our lives. And the diamonds in the center form an adorable Hawaiian flower.
It’s unique, yet traditional. It reflects me and us so perfectly; the first thing rocky said when he saw it was that it looks like me. And it does. It found me as much as I found it.
It doesn’t hurt that it was 40% off and fit – I didn’t even need to get it sized!


The past few days I’ve been so overwhelmed by Rockys family’s’ generosity and how beautiful the rig is and the exciting, terrifying fact that I’m getting married. I’ve been bouncing off the walls, crying happy tears and generally been in a glass case of emotion.
I feel so blessed in this life – with rocky, the island, my family, his family & the love they share. And now, I get to spend it with my perfect ring sparkling on my finger.

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We Found a Wedding Venue!


We traveled all the way down to Mission Bay, Oceanside, San Diego. We drove up to the hills of San Pedro and strolled on the Redondo Beach boardwalk. My last trip home to California was more filled with duty than with fun, all on a single mission: find a damn wedding venue.

I’m slowly discovering the pro’s and con’s of planning a wedding from an ocean away. On the positive side, there’s enough geographical distance for me to not be able to really freak out. Secondly, I have a troop of loyal loved ones willing to help – a.k.a. my mom, sister, aunts, cousins, & friends – doing a lot of the dirty work. I would never ask or expect them to be as ridiculously helpful as they’ve been, but I definitely feel the love!

We’re also the first planned wedding in our close family & friends (for both me and rocky!) so we’re already being spoiled rotten. I’m figuring out that this is a pretty massive perk.

The pro/con of it, though, is that we have to plan everything way in advance. Which is how we found ourselves scrambling to look at wedding venues on a whim within a strict four-day window. Thankfully, though, it worked out.

We (or to be fair, my wonderful mom) found a place that both me and Rocky adore, is totally in our price range, and includes a two-hour open bar. Which, as a young couple, is crucial to supply for our fellow broke post-college friends.

The venue is a beautiful redwood boardwalk dotted with gazebos looking out over the ocean with the waves gently lapping underneath. It’s at the end of the San Diego peninsula in Point Loma, CA., with a generous view of the bay and not even another building in sight. The pillars just beg to be adorned with strings of white lights and paper lanterns. swoon.

Of course, I loved the place immediately – but what made me fall in love with it was Rocky. After the first picture (he hasn’t seen it in person) he said, “It looks just like Indonesia. It’s so us.”  

Rocky & I on our Bali Trip :)

Rocky & I on our Bali Trip 🙂

Our romantic rendevouzs/surf trip to Bali last year changed the course of our relationship. We were living in a house with 10 other people at the time (crazy, right?) and finally had some alone time. After a stressful year of school and graduation and work and jobs we finally came up for air and realized that everything was more right that we could have ever imagined. We decided then that we wanted to move out of the bro house, get our own place, and get married.

When we got back, we did move out. We got our own place. And right before we left, we traveled to a family-run silversmith shop in central Bali and bought a one-of-a-kind ring.

Now, we’re planning our wedding – and since our families made us swear we wouldn’t run off to Bali and elope, we’re getting the next best thing. Even better, our friends and family will all be there to see it 🙂


IMG_3943What do you think about outdoor weddings?


Wedding Venue Hunting (eek!)

Happy Sunday! I apologize for my absence this past week – I flew back to California for a family emergency and stayed for about five days! Thankfully, my kickass grandpa was doing sooo much better than we all imagined J It felt like such a blessing to just be able to go home at all, especially for Easter! It was my first Easter Sunday at home in four years.

I had a few days to spare, so my mom and I decided to go venue hunting. My fiancé and I are getting married in just over a year, and since I live an ocean away, I really wanted to snag a venue and a date as soon as possible.

Rocky and I spend our lives in the water; it’s a huge, central part of our relationship and why we’re so perfect for each other. Naturally, the water has to somehow be involved in our ceremony and reception. A lot of great places got ruled out because Rocky wanted to be outside, I wanted to be inside, and we both wanted to have a view regardless of where we went. We’re too wild and rambunctious to be cooped up in your typical ballroom.

We’ve narrowed it down to three lovely choices, one on Coronado Island near San Diego, CA, one in Redondo Beach, and one in San Pedro (eek!).

Option 1 is at the Navy Lodge on Coranado Island. If you haven’t been to or heard of Coronado Island, you’re missing out. It’s an adorable little beach town that’s equally affluent and understated, with gorgeous boutiques and the always amazing Coronado Brewery. It’s a little slice of beach town heaven, tucked away a short drive over a bridge from the bustling city.



I like this venue because the boardwalk is outside, and would look amazing with flowers and lights wrapped around the rails and awnings. It’s also a lot bigger than it looks (I think it accommodates up to 200 guests) and has a glass-front cocktail lounge/mini kitchen nestled in the back. It could work for our ceremony and dancing. My one major stipulation is that I refuse to get married on the actual beach, because the last thing I want is to deal with sand. There’s sand in my car, my floor, my bed, my laundry. And I want to get fancy and wear heels, dammit.


The faults are that the venue is about a two hour drive from my area, so our guests will have to shack up at the lodge. Thankfully, the lodge is ridiculously affordable and gorgeous, but I’m not sure if I want to wake up the morning after my wedding with my entire family and friends right there for breakfast. Not sure how I feel about that one.

Option 2 is in Redondo Beach, which is close to my house and overlooks the harbor. One of Rocky and I’s favorite dates – and days ever, really – was at the Redondo Beach pier. We scarfed down fresh caught lobster there, fished there, and just have so many cute memories from it.



The pro’s of this venue, obviously, is that the place is top notch, first class, beautiful. The outdoor ceremony area comes with a flower-adorned arch, and is quaint yet breathtaking with the ocean and hills as a backdrop.

The inside is so elegant we would barely even need decorations; shiny cutlery, luxe linens, and giant windows open to the sounds of the water and the ocean breeze. I also dig the uplighting and that it’s so nice yet still small and intimate. There’s also a gorgeous hotel across the way, where Rocky and I could stay and enjoy our complimentary farewell brunch.



The only downside to this place is the price. As you can guess, it’s really, really expensive. However, we are planning to have a small wedding, so we’re going to see what we’re working with. Also, the price includes a six course meal (including pumpkin-basil tortellini as a veg option! swoon) , a one hour open bar, linens, rehearsal dinner, farewell brunch, and an unofficial wedding planner to coordinate with our cake and florist and take care of our every need. Which would be a lifesaver for me, since I won’t physically be there to take care of a lot of these things myself.

Lastly, our top choice – a beautiful venue on the San Pedro sea cliffs, overlooking a picturesque fishing dock. First, I absolutely adore San Pedro – it’s one of my favorite places I’ve come to since I could drive to relax, catch up with friends, write, and just think. It’s such a peaceful place.

This venue is by far our number one choice because it has a lot of the niceness and classiness of the Portofino, but is technically on a military base. Basically, it would cost less than half of Redondo Beach but doesn’t include the rehearsal dinner or brunch. However, they did promise that they coordinate with our florist and cake and be of as much help as possible.



I’m in love with the ceremony area clad with gazebo, which overlooks the glittering ocean and horizon. I also love that the cocktail area is an outdoor patio with a full bar, so that our guests can enjoy being outdoors both before and after the reception.




Lastly, the ballroom is gorgeous. It has the plantation windows I loved from Redondo Beach, and I also dig the vintage-y feel and the chandeliers and ceiling. It’s also very close to our house, so our friends can get home easily and safely. I also want to stay at the zillion bed and breakfasts in the area, so me and Rocky can relax and wind down the next day.

We already put a hold on our date for next-next July, and our praying to put down a deposit soon! The place fits our budget perfectly (as in maxes it out, but doesn’t go over) and includes a five course meal, a few rounds of champagne and I and my guests can request their meat to be replaced with a vegetarian or even vegan meal. Um, is this real life??

Weddings: What Really Matters

So far, the extent of my wedding planning has been watching every Bridezillas & Say Yes to the Dress episode in existence. And, of course, countless hours scouring Pinterest for my kick-ass vintage/beachy wedding theme. (Cute, right?)

While my wedding is over a year & a half away, a tough decision has come up over the past few days. Will we be having our wedding here in Hawaii, or back home in California?

I shouldn’t have to be making any crazy decisions (or any decisions, really) for a while. But we have to let our friends & family know pretty far ahead of time if they need to plan on shelling out $800 a person to watch us tie the knot.

The whole conundrum brings up a deeper, more involved question: for our wedding, what’s more important? Getting married in paradise or having our loved ones there?

I’d like to point out that while Hawaii is destination wedding central, ours doesn’t fall in that category. Hawaii is where we live, where we met, and where our love has truly grown. It’s our place and where it all began.

Getting married in Hawaii would be awesome, but both of us believe that family comes first. I’ve always been super close with all of my extended kin. It’s a big part of how I think and who I am.

Plus, I have a pretty huge family. Each of my aunts & uncles have at least three kids, and asking them to shell out a few g’s just to come to my wedding feels kind of unrealistic and unfair. And that’s before rental cars, hotels, and food – all of which are way more expensive on the island.

What makes the choice so tough is that me and Rocky are the oldest among the grandkids and will be the first big wedding in the family. And trust me, neither of our grandmas are women you wanna mess with.

So, we’re getting married on the mainland. As much as I adore Hawaii, having family there is what will make or break our wedding. They play such a significant role in our lives that it would be just plain weird not to have them all there. And I’d love to have my best friends, who I’m lucky enough to still be tight with, there for love and support.

Here’s to planning a big, beautiful beach wedding. California is far from ugly, and unlike the island, we have a zillion venues to choose from. We can still get married on the beach and party like rock stars after – with all the people we love.

Cheers to friends & family,