Last Thursday I left for Hawaii for a long weekend with my friend Steph’s family and her boyfriend, Erik, to scout wedding locations for next Summer. I guess there are huge hidden benefits to helping a friend plan a wedding after all.

It was my first time in Hawaii, and we stayed at a timeshare Steph’s parent’s have in Kona. I got a very comprehensive tour of what Hawaii has to offer, because we toured a myriad of possible locations for the wedding, including coffee farms, a “gentleman’s ranch”, and a bunch of resorts- from the really nice to the ridiculously nice.

The first place we toured was referred to as a “gentleman’s ranch”, and it was too hysterical for words how truly “rustic” it was. It was kind of up in the foothills above Kona, so it was very peaceful and tropical.

Then we went to our first resort. We were all pretty convinced that this was going to be the one after seeing the garden and adorable little chapel on the property. Plus, it was extremely affordable.

The we went to lunch, and had delicious fish sandwiches, seafood salad, mai tai’s and a lava flow.

After lunch we went to a palace that was incredible, but wouldn’t allow guests inside (deal breaker in the Hawaiian rainy climate),

met with a possible caterer,

and then ended up 1000 feet above sea level at a coffee farm.

Since it was so far above sea level, it was a drastic difference from the beach and lava rock landscape we were used to for most of the day. At this level, it looked kinda like Ireland.

The coffee farm wasn’t really equipped for a wedding, so we went to another resort to go on yet another tour. This one was way too expensive and definitely only set up to have a “beach” wedding, which wasn’t what Steph was looking for. I know, who gets married in Hawaii and doesn’t want it to look like Hawaii? We don’t. (disclaimer: I do realize it’s not me getting married, but I’m the artistic director of this wedding and we’ve decided that a beach wedding isn’t happening.)

But this particular resort had really adorable furniture and ponds with koi and hammerhead sharks and giant turtles, so we roamed around for a bit.

We ended our busy day with mojitos in the pool, a smorgasbord of fish and salad dinner, and a much needed early bed time.