Something that I think is really special about getting married in Hawaii is the ability to experience so much beauty and wonder during your wedding day. Having the adventure of starting off the day at sea level amongst the Pacific Ocean: swirling turquoise waters, the smell of salt in the air…and then venturing out to the tallest mountain on earth from base to peak: the sacred mountain of Mauna Kea. The definition of symbolism is abundant with Joey and Raegan’s Ocean to Mountain elopement on the island of Hawaii!
While I am always an advocate for exploring all of the stunning landscapes and habitats that the Hawaiian Islands have to offer, my priority will always lie with ensuring that our islands are taken care of. Mauna Kea is a sacred and magical location for Hawaii residents, and it is up to all of us who visit this enchanted place to treat it with respect.
Mauna Kea may not be able to serve as a backdrop for your elopement ceremony, but is the absolute perfect place to adventure to either before or after for more photos and to soak up the beauty of the volcano! Due to Mauna Kea’s significance to the people of Hawaii, we will leave the elopement ceremony for another area. Even having a part of Joey and Raegan’s Hawaii elopement day taking place at the top of the world on Mauna Kea adds magic.
Joey and Raegan met at a music festival through mutual friends, and have been together ever since! These two Floridians began their Hawaiian elopement day at the sea cliffs bright and early in the morning, in matching Vans shoes, with their moms in tow. People really appreciate how high the sea cliffs are, making a wedding ceremony there dramatic and beautiful.
Joey and Raegan’s mothers helped button Raegan’s dress, while Joey waited at the sea cliffs with videographer John and officiant, Tom. Having family help during an elopement is a great way to include them! Joey and Raegan decided that they wanted their ceremony to be just the two of them, bidding farewell to their moms to then meet back up with their families later that evening to continue the celebration.
Something really cute about eloping is that the officiants I often like to work with can be almost like family! Family in the sense that they bring comfort. Couples can often feel nervous, so I like recommending officiants that I feel like have a maternal or paternal comforting energy. And Tom fits the bill!
Tom helped Raegan walk down the “aisle”, while Joey gazed into the ocean. During their ceremony, Tom included traditional Hawaiian elements, different languages, and sacred meanings. There are also plenty of ways to make your ceremony “yours”. Joey and Raegan had a little moment together, and did a secret handshake. As the ceremony was ending, Tom noted that the sun began peeking over the trees. So special!
Before we took a break for the day, we were treated by a goat sighting! Raegan loves goats, and it was so adorable to see how excited she was.
Later on, we met back up to make our way to Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is about 1 ½ hours from Kona, so it is not too far!
Mauna Kea Tips:
Something to keep in mind is that Mauna Kea has been the center of indigenous activism because it is the proposed site of a telescope. This is controversial due to Mauna Kea being a sacred burial site! Many indigenous elders were buried near the top to be closer to the gods.
Catching the sunset at Mauna Kea is simply magical. You are above the clouds, and it is something that I can’t put into words unless you experience it. It is also such a crazy experience that you can drive all the way up to a mountain that is almost a 14er! Depending on the time of year, there may also be ice or snow on the mountain. The fact that Joey and Raegan could include such a significant place during their Hawaii elopement is amazing!
Joey and Raegan mentioned that they had been taking sunset walks around their hotel during their stay in Hawaii. It had become a source of closeness for them, so naturally we had to document those special moments! Polaroids were scattered around their hotel counters, which helped inspire the film aesthetic for this day-after session. There was an air of playfulness and mischievousness as they lit a cigar and hopped fences. I gave them a little bit of direction when it fit their personality, instead of direction that may seem like it wasn’t their vibe. It really seemed like it was all about them, and as the sun set: we all celebrated with champagne together near the waves.
Videographer: Bodhi Wedding Films
Shoes: Custom Vans
Dress: Bridal Gown Studio Orlando
Officiant: Kahu Tom
Hotel: Kona Coast Resort