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
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.