We are back from a long weekend in Maui, Hawaii! This trip was centered around the wedding of our friends, Matt & Matilda. I met Matilda (aka Princess from past posts) 5 years ago through Anna shortly after moving to San Francisco, and since then we’ve grown to be good friends. It’s been so sweet seeing her entire love story over several years: from our single days, to meeting Matt, to their engagement, and finally the wedding.
This trip also served as a group vacation with our closest friends in SF as well as a reunion for friends who have moved away over the years, so it was a highly anticipated trip among our crew. Matilda & Matt planned several events over 4 days, so it was non-stop activities & parties. I have a lot to cover and possibly the biggest photo dump ever on the blog, so let’s get started.
Thursday: settling into Maui + Filipino dinner party
On Thursday, Joe and I flew to Maui from San Francisco. We first got settled at Nona Lani Cottages, where we had a room block with all our friends. The cottages were on a peaceful property right next to the beach; it felt like a botanical garden, and Joe and I nerded out on the plants. 🙂
We had some time before our first event, so Joe and I took a stroll along the beach close to our hotel as we familiarized ourselves with the surrounding area.
Then we grabbed acai bowls – it wouldn’t be a Hawaii trip without one. 😉
Then, it was time for our first event: a rehearsal dinner party. The party was thrown by Matilda’s mom, so it had a clear Filipino / island vibe – think extended relatives, delicious Filipino food (including lechon), raffles, performances, and more. Definitely more upbeat than your typical rehearsal dinner. 😉
It was the first time seeing our friends on this trip, and it was such a sweet reunion! After 4 months of traveling, I was so happy to catch up with everyone, and I was touched they were eager to hear about my travels too. Rene and I took extra time to catch up; she also did an Asia gap year a few years ago, so we were eager to compare experiences.
There were dance performances by a local community dance troupe. According to Rene (who is from Guam), this was a very “island” thing. 🙂
The guys got a hula lesson on stage which was my favorite to watch. 😉
The night ended with some dancing, including the traditional Filipino money dance, where guests line up in front of the bride and groom and pin money to their clothing and then dance with them.
A fabulous, memorable first night…and we were just getting started. 🙂
Friday: goat yoga + vodka distillery tour + food trucks dinner
The next day we broke up into his and her’s events – I was excited to spend dedicated time with the girls. First up, we headed into the mountains for goat yoga! It was exactly as it sounds: yoga while playing with goats.
The farm had SO many goats – they all seemed to crowd around our area of the session. Everyone quickly forgot about yoga and focused on the goats.
My favorite was this white goat that plopped himself on Rene’s mat – he did not move the entire session, which meant no yoga for Rene. We laughed when Rene said, “the laziest goat for the laziest girl.”
After the yoga class was playtime with the goats. Everyone’s favorites were the baby goats. So cute!
After yoga, we headed to our second girl’s event – a vodka distillery tour. We went to Ocean Vodka, which had a beautiful open space for guests, with picnic tables and views of the ocean. We started off with lunch and relaxed in the open space.
Girl’s group shot!
Then, it was time for the distillery tour. The farm grew various types of sugarcane, and we learned about the production process from growing sugarcane to making the vodka.
After the tour was the vodka tasting. The group sampled the different specialty rums and vodkas by the company.
After a full day out, we were pooped! Our group rested up at the cottages, and in the evening, we went out for dinner at a food truck park close to Azeka Shopping Center. The entire space was so charming, with several food truck options, picnic tables, and Christmas lights. It was a warm Maui night and the perfect relaxed setting for our group. I got a tuna poke bowl and it hit the spot.
Group shot! Love our SF friends and the good vibes everyone brings. We’ve all known each other for a few years now, and it’s been a blessing celebrating everyone’s milestones that have come with our 20s and 30s. ❤
Saturday: morning surf + nature walk + the wedding!
Saturday was the wedding day!!! But first, we wanted to squeeze in as much activity as possible. 😉 We started off with an early wake-up call for surfing. I wanted to surf while in Maui, and I’m glad others in the group organized this outing. We were out on the waves by 7am to avoid the surf lesson crowd.
SO MUCH FUN!!! We were out on the water for 2.5 hours, and it was one of my best surf days in a long time. The waves were gentle and the break was long, which provided relaxing conditions to catch waves. Usually, I’m surfing on my own or with Joe, so it was extra fun to be with this group.
We had some downtime on the beach as well.
Anna was in Maui!!! The group was so excited to see her for the first time since she moved to NYC in 2019. I’m grateful for all these weddings where I’ve been getting the chance to see Anna, first in India and now in Maui. ❤
After the morning surf, we bought breakfast at Foodland grocery store (their prepared food is bomb), and then we were right back out for another adventure. Joe, Rene, Chrit, Anna, and I headed to ʻĪao Valley State Park for a chill hike. It was nice to see another side of Maui that was more lush and green, versus where we stayed which was very dry.
The “hike” was more like a nature walk on a paved path. It took us 5 minutes to reach the top. 😛
There was also a nice river where we relaxed for a bit.
Love this trio! Flashback to the days when Anna lived in SF and the three of us were always up to shenanigans. It felt good to be together again.
It started raining on our hike which was our cue to leave. We grabbed a quick bento box lunch in the town nearby, and then we headed back to the cottages. Just when I wanted to lay down for a nap, it was time to get ready for the wedding. It was a very go-go-go type of day. 😛 We had fun as Anna helped me with my hair, I helped Rene with hers, and we transformed to wedding-ready.
Then we rode to the wedding with the bride, as her wedding party was already at the venue. It was nice to have some quiet, dedicated time with Matilda on her big day. ❤
The wedding took place at Maui Tropical Plantation, a beautiful working farm open to tourists for dining, ziplining, and more. The lush farm with the mountain backdrop was one of the most beautiful wedding settings I’d ever seen!
When your friends sneak drinks in their purses before the wedding…some things never change. 😉
Some photos with our group before the wedding – it was nice to see everyone dolled up in their Hawaiian luau outfits. 🙂
Best wedding date. ❤
Finally, it was time for the ceremony. The ceremony took place outdoors on wooden benches underneath the shady trees and with a live ukulele singer. It was just beautiful.
Just married!! ❤
Cocktail hour was in the same area as the ceremony. Happy vibes all around as everyone started with drinks and appetizers.
When you accidentally match the flowers. 🙂
The reception was in a gorgeous indoor setting with farmhouse vibes. Everything was impeccably planned, from the decor, food, dancing, and even games – I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Matilda party! Our group had a blast watching the program and tearing up the dance floor.
The night ended with an after-party at a bar close to the venue. We stayed out a bit longer but didn’t last the whole time as we were pooped from the long day. Such a beautiful wedding and definitely the most fun day of the entire trip!!
Sunday: chill beach day + last evening together
Our hungover crew emerged the next day for a chill beach day planned by the newlyweds. It was the perfect, relaxed activity after all the partying the days before. We set our towels on the beach and relaxed on the sand while enjoying Filipino food.
I was happy to get quality time with Whitney in Maui, even after we hung out in SF a few days prior. She was another friend everyone was excited to see after moving away from SF.
Give Joe a boogie board, and he can go for hours. He was riding some waves and the rest of the guys took notice. Pretty soon, all the guys had boogies boards and were having a blast together. It was sweet to see all of them playing around like kids.
After beach time, Joe and I headed back for some rest. In the evening, we had one last group time as we all ate dinner and drank outside the cottages. It was nice to get some final quality time as a group, although most of us will see each other in SF soon. 🙂
What a fabulous, memorable trip! It was the perfect occasion to connect with this group in the middle of my gap year. It’s also exciting to officially have one more married couple in our group. Congrats Matt & Matilda!!! 🙂