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She's friendly, professional, and has an ability to really "see" her clients & bring to life their visions. She captured the exact essence I was envisioning & more.”
"I loved working with Aly! From beginning to end she created a magical experience.
She goes above and beyond and is such a bright light in the world! The photos were unbelievably beautiful and she captured the day and our relationship perfectly.I could not recommend Aly enough!"
"Aly is outstanding in every sense of the word! She is the number one reason why we followed through on our wedding in Hawaii.
She didn’t just take photos, she managed family members, anticipated our needs before we did, and just kept rolling with the day seamlessly. Aly, you allowed us to be fully present on one of the most important days of our lives with the certainty of knowing you’d allow us to remember it forever."
"Aly did such an insane job of capturing the essence of our wedding day that I just had to gush about the STUNNING work she did for us.
We appreciated how at ease, comfortable, and confident she made us feel when taking portraits. Not to mention the amazing and great quality photos that you get back! Aly truly takes the time to listen and hear what you want from the shoot and is really a pleasant person to work with."
"Aly is an amazing photographer who really captures the locations' & people's essence. She also brought out the key pieces of our branding which we truly appreciated.
Aly sat down with us and created the perfect timeline to make sure that we got amazing shots, she’s also amazing at location hunting if you are not from the island. She is so friendly and made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera! Everyone I have shown is amazed at the photographs because they are so beautiful. I can’t recommend her enough."
"Aly is beyond talented. Her style, work ethic and overall professionalism is outstanding. She goes the extra mile to make sure the day is perfect.
Have you thought about booking your stay in Hawaii at a spot that could also be your elopement or wedding venue? I am here to advocate for that!
Some of the benefits of booking a venue or Airbnb to stay in and host your wedding or elopement ceremony are:
Here are some of my favorite spots in Hawaii to stay and host your wedding!
Say hello to oceanfront homes near Kona with a secret beach. This property boasts an incredible lawn where you can host an intimate wedding, with the added bonus of being able to see the ocean. There is a cute room for getting ready with your bridal party, and a patio for cocktail hour. You can rent one of the houses, or, if you have a larger group, also rent the house next door!
This cute spot is located 15 minutes at most from Kona, Hawaii. Since you will be driving up in elevation, the landscape changes beautifully. Go from hot, beachy, dry Kona and start to enter the cool, lush jungle and farms of Holualoa! Holualoa Inn is surrounded by coffee farms, and has gorgeous landscaping. The sunsets are incredible here because you get a perspective looking down on the island! This elopement/wedding venue is usually cooler because you’re higher in elevation. It is also often overcast, which makes for great light for your wedding photos. And just in case it rains, say hello to their huge covered pavilion. As a bonus, their wedding and elopement packages include day-of coordination – perfect for putting your mind at ease as much as possible.
Take advantage of the prime location of Starseed Ranch in the North Kohala region of Hawaii. You can visit Hawaii’s pristine valleys without overwhelming the surrounding communities. Weddings and elopements at Starseed Ranch are hosted by SLH Weddings – an all-inclusive wedding planning partner.
Hale Kukui has incredible view of the temporarily closed Waipio valley. Waipio valley is probably going to be closed on and off for 2-3 years due to road maintenance and construction, so this is an amazing opportunity to still see the sights! There are a couple of different places to stay on the property, and it is well maintained. So much lush landscaping here that makes for good photos. If you want to elope at Hale Kukui in Hawaii, you are able to do that on your own. If you are looking to host a bigger wedding affair, hiring a planner is wise. Bliss in Bloom can help with that!
This elopement venue totally rocks if you are wanting to get married at a Hawaiian waterfall! This venue is super pretty, being nestled along a river with multiple waterfalls and really nice rooms. The Falls at Reeds Island is a popular space, so you should book in advance. There is typically a minimum nightly stay here, as well.
The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls just started offering intimate wedding packages. And if you have other lodging arrangements on the Big Island, you can still book property for your intimate wedding or elopement even if you don’t want to stay. It’s also a real fun location to trash the dress! This gorgeous waterfall rappelling elopement took place at The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls! And if you love adventures, the inn hosts no shortage of activities including farm to table dinners and cooking classes, stand up paddle boarding, and more!
Hale Naia is the last house on a secluded bay in South Kona, and right next to an area popular for kayaking tours. At this wedding/elopement venue, you are steps away from snorkeling with dolphins every morning! Valley views are popular in Hawaii, and while this isn’t necessarily a valley, it is almost the closest you can get because of the dramatically beautiful mountain that drops into ocean. If you are hosting a wedding with 10 or more guests, you will want to hire someone to help with transforming the ceremony space into a reception area. Sunshower Weddings is a wonderful option for this!
Weddings of 10 or more people usually need a coordinator or planner because of their skillset when it comes to different kinds of venues. In order for you to get the best from your venue, wedding planner, and photographer, I strongly recommend hiring a wedding planner to help with these venues that double as lodging!
Some wedding planners and coordinators that specialize in many of the above venues are:
For more ideas on where to stay when you elope in Hawaii, check out The Best Places to Stay in Hawaii. And if you’re ready to make the plunge into wedding photography for your small Hawaii wedding, fill out my contact form and lets get started!
The Hawaiian Islands are home to world-class dining – perfect for after your elopement, during your honeymoon, or any time in between as you visit Hawaii for your elopement or wedding!
I’ve broken down some of my favorite spots I love to recommend to couples. You will find something for everyone here: from restaurants where you can hold a reception for your intimate Hawaii wedding, to little hole-in-the-wall breakfast joints.
Let’s dive in to the best places to grab a bite in Hawaii – island by island!
If you’re hosting a larger group, perhaps after your intimate wedding in Hawaii, Papa Kona in Kona is a great choice. Fun fact: this spot also doubles as a wedding venue!
A smaller wedding group can be accommodated at Brown’s Beach House in Waimea for farm to table food in a beautiful place.
Also in Waimea is Forc, which stands for Farmer, Ocean, Rancher, Cook. Elope in Hawaii and then have a yummy meal at Forc, because this restaurant can also be used as a reception venue.
Merriman’s is the go-to place for sustainability and yummy island flavors. You’ll want to make a reservation in advance, and soak up the beauty of Waimea from this picturesque restaurant.
If you’re eloping near Hilo, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of classic Hawaiian poke from Bite The Eye food truck. Fresh catch Hawaiian style food…what could be better to snack on after your Hawaiian elopement?!
Staying in Kona or Waikoloa? Ulu Ocean Grill is located about halfway between these two towns, inside the Four Seasons Resort. This is a great choice for an intimate dinner for you and your partner after your elopement or wedding.
Waikoloa is also home to Canoe House, another restaurant within a resort. Resort restaurants make planning your Hawaii trip so much easier – have a delicious meal right where you’ll be staying!
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN MAUI
There are so many choices when it comes to amazing food on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Nuka is an elegant izakaya style sushi restaurant in the quaint town of Haiku. Insider tip: you’ll want to head to this Japanese restaurant early on the weekends.
If you’re craving Italian food in Maui, Sale Pepe in Lahaina has you covered. Pastas and pizza…after-elopement pizza party?! Yes please!
Nutcharee’s Thai Food has some of the most authentic Thai food on the south shore of Maui: in Kihei, to be exact.
Maybe you’re thinking: “we are eloping in Hawaii to experience all of what Hawaii has to offer!”, and to that, my friends, I would recommend Paia Fish Market in Paia (and other locations!) for some of the freshest fish in the Hawaiian Islands.
Still seeking seafood? Mama’s Fish House is also in Paia. It’s right by the water and has great ambience – this is a really popular place in Maui!
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN OAHU
Oahu has the biggest food truck culture out of all the Hawaiian Islands. The north shore of Oahu has a ton of food trucks, a lot of which are really good!
Panda’s Thai Food Truck is one of my favorite food trucks on the north shore in Haleiwa. You can order ahead and have your food ready to go once you’re finished exchanging your vows.
Seven Brothers is a laidback burger joint that you can head to after your Hawaiian wedding. This classic American restaurant is located in Kahuku.
Honolulu is Oahu’s biggest city, and boasts the best Asian fusion restaurant in the form of Lucky Belly.
The Pig and The Lady delivers in terms of delectable Vietnamese flavors in Honolulu! You can dine-in, or do takeout or delivery.
Yummy poke can be found on every Hawaiian Island, and Oahu is no exception – thanks to The Hibachi in the town of Kailua. Elope near Kualoa Ranch and then have a poke lunch!
For more formal dining, and a beautiful dinner after your sunset ceremony, I would recommend Merriman’s Honolulu or The Original Roys – Hawaii Kai, a high-end chain serving chef Roy Yamaguchi’s Hawaiian fusion fare in a contemporary setting. Michel’s is also a wonderful option, providing elegant, classic French cuisine with beach or city views.
For dessert, grabbing some malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery is a MUST while you are in Oahu. A malasada is a Portuguese doughnut without a hole and they are to die for! My favorite is the haupia (Hawaiian coconut pudding) filled malasada, but they are all delicious, and my favorite malasadas across all of the islands. They have two locations, their flagship store in town, and a food truck near Hawaii Kai.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN KAUAI
Kauai is such a charming place, but it will require more planning ahead because it’s the sleepiest of the islands – definitely on “island time”!
Bar Acuda has such a cute name, and amazing food to match. Located in Hanalei, they serve tapas and cocktails. Be aware that this spot is closed on both Sundays and Mondays.
Another place in Hanalei is the charming Postcards restaurant. They have a lot of vegan and vegetarian options as well!
For wine connoisseurs, let me introduce you to Palate Wine Bar in Kilauea. Happy hour, flatbread pizza, and charcuterie boards are on the menu for your post-elopement meal!
In Kapa’a, I recommend Fish Bar Deli for delectable sea food, and Lava Lava Beach Club if you want oceanside vibes with live music and lawn games.
For something more upscale, Beach House Restaurant in Koloa takes the cake in the best way. Reservations are strongly recommended here!
Plant based food and drink in Koloa can be yours with a stop at Leahi Health.
What about breakfast choices; either pre-elopement or the day after your Hawaii elopement? Kauai has its fair share of delicious restaurants that are some of the best places to eat in the Hawaiian Islands.
Kauai Juice Co. has multiple locations scattered about the island. Be sure to check out Java Kai in Kapa’a and Trilogy Coffee in Kilauea!
There is no shortage of incredible restaurants, bars, and food trucks on the Hawaiian Islands to satisfy your foodie hearts during your Hawaiian elopement, wedding, or honeymoon! Bon Appetit!
Shooting an adventure session, elopement, or engagement session in Hawaii is always epic. Being a photographer in Hawaii allows for so many fun experiences for both myself and my couples!
Have you heard about “land to sea” sessions? These photo shoots are an adventurous way of incorporating the ocean into your photo shoot! I shoot with special underwater housing for my camera that allows me to capture those Pacific Ocean scenes in a unique way. Having a part of your photo shoot in Hawaii take place in the ocean is exhilarating and totally different! If you’ve ever wondered what its like to have an underwater land to sea adventure session, stick around for some of my tips.
Underwater Photo Shoot in Hawaii
Jenna and Peter live in Truckee, California, which is close to Lake Tahoe. Because this adventurous couple lives so close to a place with so many outdoor recreation activities, it only makes sense that they love to partake in skiing, wakeboarding, and surfing.
Jenna and Peter got engaged after a lovely afternoon of surfing. They explored a ridge that looked over where they had just surfed, when Peter popped the question! These two lovebirds are getting married at a family friend’s home in Hawaii, where Jenna learned to surf. Jenna grew up on Oahu, so having their adventure session and intimate wedding in Hawaii is important to the two of them.
Both Peter and Jenna wanted to incorporate the outdoors in their Hawaiian boho photo shoot. They requested wanting to end their session in the water – hence, “land to sea”!
6 Tips For Your Underwater Photo Shoot in Hawaii
There you have it! My top tips for having an adventurous underwater photo shoot in Hawaii, as well as some inspiration photos. Now let’s get to planning your “land to sea” session!
If you’re wanting to include a hair and makeup artist in your Hawaii elopement, there are a few things to keep in mind!
Hawaii elopements have their own set of considerations, such as humidity, time of day of your elopement, and the activities you’ll be doing.
I sat down to chat with Tia from Indigo Grace Artistry to learn more about her tips for getting your hair and makeup done in Hawaii.
“If you have a specific skincare routine, do that! We prefer a clean, washed face, and clean dry hair. If you have dirty hair, even if its one day old, and your hair isn’t used to the Hawaii humidity or is oily, it can effect the outcome of your style. We would have to use additional products to combat the oiliness. Clean dry hair will still get texture and grit because of the products we will use! As far as what to wear, a robe or button down shirt is great. I recently had a bride and her bridal party wearing menswear button up shirts, which was very cute for photos and practical for getting makeup and hair done! We want brides to be comfortable but able to take clothing items off easily to avoid messing up hair and makeup.”
“This will really depend on your hair itself. Some hair is easier to manipulate and make it do what we want it to. Blonde color treated hair is easy. The Hollywood waves look is very popular right now and is a top requested hairstyle, but doesn’t do well here. This hairstyle often falls into beachy waves which is still beautiful, but while these structured Hollywood glam waves will look beautiful in hotel room, outside in the humidity it tends to fall flat. Low textured updos can be very beachy, and also do well in windier environments. This hairstyle won’t get stuck in lipgloss! Updos also are not as hot, because your hair isn’t on your neck.
With hair extensions, you have more flexibility within your style because there is extra hair, which is more voluminous. We can keep your elopement hair style longer by putting in hair extensions. If you’re wondering, ‘do I need extensions? ‘, the answer is always yes. For volume, texture, and longevity of your bridal hairstyle, extensions are always helpful.“
“100% natural light is where we want to be, when it’s available. We often bring a makeup light as well, because I can choose warm or cool light depending on what the situation calls for. I will rearrange a room just to get natural lighting! Another tip is to have a table available for your hair and makeup artist to utilize. Side tables can only hold so much! If at all possible, being able to be given a space to work is 100% the most helpful accommodation brides can make for hair and makeup artists.”
Other suggestions would be to keep the doors/windows closed when possible if your room has A/C to keep the room as cool as possible.
“For peeling skin, I recommend drinking as much water as possible and moisturizing. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to do for skin when it is already peeling. When skin is sunburned, you will have more texture on skin. While it’s something you will notice up close, no one else will! We can color correct and ensure skin tone looks as even as possible. Brewing black tea and using tea bags on skin can help soothe and pull redness out of your skin. Don’t forget to hydrate so that your skin received moisture! You can always ask your photographer to do retouching if you are badly peeling. As makeup artists, we will use less powder and more creams and liquids for your Hawaii elopement look so that there isn’t anything sitting on the skin and making the difference in texture look too obvious.”
“A trial eliminates a bride wanting something different on their wedding day. But we don’t always have opportunity to do trials for destination weddings. As long as our elopement bride has an open mind as to their stylists making professional opinions and decisions based on hair texture, skin tone, face shape…we are good! As long as they trust us in a situation where you can’t have a trial, it will be okay! Most of the time, brides have looked at an artist’s work and chosen them for a reason.”
“I absolutely want to give brides something for the rest of their day! Each artist is different though, so you should check if they offer that if that is something that is important to you. Some artists have touch-up kits available for purchase separately, or they may be included in tiers of pricing.”
“If we know a bride will be getting in the water, we will use some sort of waterproof makeup. Foundation, mascara, eyeliner…most of the time for weddings and elopements we do that because we anticipate tears. But if they plan on jumping in the ocean, we recommend dabbing and patting their face with a towel once they get out to avoid smearing. 9 times out of 10, nothing will move, and your makeup will stay looking flawless.”
I am always willing to accommodate early mornings, and I absolutely love doing makeup for sunrise weddings! That also goes for traveling to other parts of the island. Travel fees vary, as well as the early morning fee, but that’s the greatest part of being an onsite artist – I will come to you!
Yes, I’ve worked with many skin tones, ethnicities, and nationalities. To achieve a natural look, it really depends on what the client considers natural. Many times what we think is natural may not be the case for someone else! If lightweight makeup is what you are looking for, I go with a “less is more”, buildable attitude of layering products. Using products that are more glowy can also give the skin a more natural appearance instead of using a lot of matte powders or foundations.
“When it comes to your wedding day, remember that it will all be okay and not to stress the little things! When we stress, we panic – and then, we sweat. With added stress and sweat, it’ll be hard for your hairstyle to set and makeup to settle in.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you need to do any steaming to your dress, do this the night before! If you do that during hair and makeup, it makes the room hot and can make your hairstyle drop, or you can sweat your makeup off.
Photos are really helpful as far as inspiration goes. If you have a hair/makeup style you like, the best thing you can do is look at your hair/MUA’s website for reference. Pinterest is great, but if you haven’t seen it on your stylist’s page, they may not feel comfortable doing that style. Try to look for inspiration by looking for photos of people with the same hair and skintone as you!”
I am so thankful for Tia taking the time to provide us with some wisdom on getting your hair and makeup done for your Hawaii elopement. With these tips in mind, your elopement look will really shine!
When I first moved to Hawaii, before my elopement and branding photographer days, I was helping plan and coordinate weddings. Sometimes, when going through photo databases of the weddings we coordinated, I would come across Aislinn with Wilde Sparrow Photography. Aislinn is a full-time family photographer whom I eventually got to assist on a few of her shoots!
Over time, I got to know Aislinn as not just a colleague, but also as someone I look up to. She played a big role in the beginning of my photography career in Hawaii.
When I saw Aislinn’s inquiry for a branding photo shoot come through my website, I was so excited! Getting the honor of having your mentor ask you to take their photos is everything. Aislinn offers incredible education resources for photographers, so I felt privileged to be able to work with her on her branding photo shoot here in Hawaii.
Wondering what a branding or lifestyle session entails? You may be on the hunt for headshots, too! First, we begin with a pre-shoot prep call as a part of your branding photo shoot package. This is kind of like an onboarding process!
What sets myself apart from other headshot photographers in Hawaii and beyond is that I love to ask a LOT of questions. The questions that I ask aren’t solely about what kind of photos you want, but also about the story of your business! One of the key parts of marketing and branding is figuring out your “why” and what sets you apart from others. If we get that point across in photos, and communicate your “why” visually, that can help people choose YOU.
Your onboarding phone call will last about 45 minutes, but don’t worry! You don’t need to bring anything or specifically prepare for our call. I want to make it as easy for you as possible – let me interview you and really get your story.
This call was really helpful in regards to Aislinn’s shoot, because I learned how much of a role her own family plays on her shoot days, so we decided to incorporate her daughter and husband into the shoot after her initial headshots.
For the start of Aislinn’s headshot photo shoot, we took to our good friend Whitney’s house for some crisp, clean content. Her recently remodeled house, with a Scandinavian feel, served as the perfect backdrop for headshots.
When we completed headshot photos, we shifted into what I consider the process portion or “behind-the-scenes” portion of the branding shoot. This is where we get to show you in your element and highlight the unique parts of how you create an incredible experience or product for your clients!
To truly capture Aislinn’s full-process, we decided it would be best for me to join her as soon as she pulled up to the parking lot with her daughter, Josie, and husband, Matt, who come to most of her family sessions to play at the beach. I wanted to tell the whole story of the entire shoot so that families who work with her can relate to her as both their photographer, but also a fellow parent!
Aislinn is SO good with kids, and loves what she does because she is passionate about family in her own life, too! Now that she has a daughter, Josie, it’s fun that she can be involved! I think my favorite part of this shoot was when Josie wandered over and sat on Aislinn’s lap at the very end of the shoot! Josie loves to make friends with Aislinn’s clients, while Matt looks on.
Armed with a fannypack of lollipops (but not before getting permission from parents!), Aislinn makes herself approachable and goes above and beyond for her clients. She even has bandaids for accidental scrapes. Aislinn truly is a master of her craft, and I feel honored to have been able to capture that and get her “why” across.
Branding headshot sessions and lifestyle photo shoots can be an amazing addition to marketing your business. You can use lifestyle session photos and branding shoot photos for your website or social media – and if you have a certain aesthetic or editing style you prefer, I take great care to make sure your content is cohesive. You want your branding session to work for YOU, after all!
For more information on what a branding or lifestyle session can do for your business, check out What Is a Branding Session?
Utah is one of the most picturesque states in the USA for an adventure elopement! From Moab to Arches, Bonneville Salt Flats to Park City…there are so many gorgeous places to consider when eloping in Utah.
This Utah elopement shows off the beauty of the Utah outdoors – and serves as perfect inspiration for planning an elopement in Utah. Scroll down for my five tips for eloping in Utah, including things I didn’t realize until I traveled to the “Beehive State”.
FIVE TIPS FOR ELOPING IN UTAH: PLANNING A UTAH ELOPEMENT
There you have it, friends! Some of my best tips for planning your elopement in Utah. Whether you are wanting to elope at Arches National Park, amongst the wildflowers near Park City, or on the vast desert playa of Bonneville Salt Flats – I am here to help. Let’s get to planning, shall we?
Head over to the blog to see helpful tips about planning your elopement along with my latest brand shoots, couple adventure sessions, and elopement galleries!