I had an incredible opportunity present itself this past year. A bride inquired with me about me photographing her wedding in Hawaii! How could I say 'no'?! I couldn't! Particularly since it had been several years since we've taken a trip that far from home. I was a bit nervous as I am not the best traveler (thankfully Andy, my husband, is), but my excitement far outweighed my nerves. So we booked our flights, packed our bags and headed to the islands! A quick selfie at the airport in between flights and we were well on our way!
We started our trip in Honolulu, O'hau on Waikiki Beach. I wanted to experience the tourist lifestyle there, and I wasn't disappointed! It was full of hustle and bustle with unique shopping malls at every turn complete with restaurants galore (with Tiki's being our favorite). I was immediately in awe of the views, every direction I turned there was a sight to appreciate. Below is the view from our hotel room.
Our first morning in paradise started with a lovely walk along the beach to get a better grasp of our surroundings, we found the perfect spot for our first Hawaii selfie.
We spent our share of time on the beach soaking up the sun knowing that back home they were experiencing sub-zero temperatures (at one point I heard Antarctica was warmer). I'd say we picked the perfect time to leave Minnesota!
After resting up we rented a scooter and took off for the day to see the sights outside of Waikiki Beach. (The scooter rental places guys were awesome - hence the epic photo bomb in the photo below)
Our first stop was Hanauma Bay to snorkel. Andy was a natural and loved this part of our journey. I, on the other hand, took a while to get the hang of it. Once I did though, I was able to enjoy the sights of all the bright and colorful (and some very large) fish.
After snorkeling we hopped back on our scooter and cruised along the shoreline. This was my favorite part! It was like being in a post card! The views were ah-mazing and colors to die for! Photos truly don't do these photos justice.
We pulled over at a one of the overlooks to absorb the beauty and ask a complete stranger to take our photo.
Next stop was a wicked hiking trail that was less traveled (one of the locals told us about it). It was a little more of a challenge with steep hills, mud, rocks, fallen trees and streams to cross. This kind of hike I knew would appeal to Andy's adventurous side and I must say I was pretty proud of myself for completing such a long hike without twisting an ankle or breaking my camera.
We stopped for a jumping picture for one of our friends who is notorious for such photos.
The reward at the end of the hike was the Maunawili Waterfall.
Day Three consisted of a trip to the Pearl Harbor Memorial to pay our respects. Andy is a history fan, so this was a 'must see' on his list.
To finish our Pearl Harbor tour we jumped over to the USS Missouri to tour as well. Andy thoroughly enjoyed going below and looking in each room on the ship. I thoroughly enjoyed my dip and dots ice cream.
At the end of our tour we knew we had to get on 'Dis Bus' which our driver, Cousin John, had cleverly labeled.
For lunch the next day we dined at Lu Lu's, we found this exceptionally entertaining as my mom's name is Lu Anne (Lu for short). So of course we had to take a photo for my mama.
Attending a Luau was another item on our bucket list. And Chief's Luau was the best! Chief Sielu Avea is indeed a real Chief with a real sense of humor.
Here I had my first Mai Tai, but the Lava Flows were my personal favorite. They are like a Pina Colada with a strawberry twist. Yum!
The party concluded with Polynesian dancers and a fire show.
After another day of rest on the beach, the sun had set (quite literally) on our time in O'ahu.
We jumped on another plane to Kuai where we photographed the most beautiful wedding.
We started the day in a beautiful and historic house where the bride got ready.
As usual Andy was super excited to be my test shot subject.
And how incredible is this location?! The bride and groom had their first dance in the garden that was complete with a pond full of lilies, a waterfall and flowers hanging from the trees. How can I not love this wedding?!
After nearly two weeks away from home, we missed our little guy like crazy (we left our 2 year old, Will, behind in the very capable hands of my sister and niece)! So we were ready to head home in time to enjoy the holidays with him.
Hawaii was everything I had dreamed it could be and more! I saw so many beautiful sights and had an abundance of new & fun experiences that I will never forget. I can only hope that there will be more wonderful trips such as this one in our future.
Until we meet again my friends. Aloha!