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Did planning a Hawaii elopement land you on the gorgeous island of Kauai? I don’t blame you! With it’s incredible mountains and stunning beaches, Kauai is home to some of the most picturesque backdrops for your elopement or wedding day. Now let’s help you find the perfect place to stay while you are there!

Once you have your flights all set, your Hawaii elopement photographer is booked, and your hair/makeup artist is booked…you’ll want to find the perfect place to stay on the island of Kauai before you pack your bags! Here’s how to determine the best hotels and airbnbs for you and your partner to enjoy on your visit to Kauai!

Where Should I Stay in Kauai?

It’s important to keep in mind the goal of your elopement trip and honeymoon on the island of Kauai. Staying at a luxury hotel will be more amenity-focused, and may have more activities that are organized for couples, like a couples massage or dinner for two!

If you want to immerse yourself in Hawaii life, you may want to consider staying at an Airbnb or VRBO property on the island of Kauai. You can also get the best of both worlds by staying at a luxury hotel the night after your wedding for a honeymoon vibe, and then setting off to explore Kauai at an Airbnb or two during the rest of your trip!

Luxury Accommodations in Kauai

Hotel 1 – Amazing of views of Hanalei Bay in Princeville on Kauai’s North Shore.

This luxury hotel in Kauai was recently renovated, rendering it basically brand new! Hotel 1 embodies a luxury hotel experience that focuses on sustainability, which I find really neat.

There are a ton of amazing food options and bars, as well as super fun, relaxing activities. Hotel 1 also provides childcare so you can do activities and know your kids are still having fun. You won’t want to miss the wellness spa either before or after your wedding!

As THE ultimate luxury hotel in Kauai, it’s definitely nice to splurge for a honeymoon night. Take advantage of the Ku’uipo Sweetheart Getaway Package that includes a couple’s massage and private dinner with oceanfront views!

The best part of Hotel 1 is that boasts some of the best views in Kauai! Enjoy the fresh ocean breeze as you look over Hanalei Bay from your balcony, the beautiful mountains of Kauai’s north shore surrounding you.

Eco Luxe VillaKalaheo (South shore), 15 mins from the beach and Poipu.

This spot is located in a secluded, mountainous region of Kalaheo! You’ll get to enjoy the peace and serenity of this Balinesian inspired cottage, that is just a short drive to the ocean and fun tourist activities of Poipu, giving you the best of both worlds. Enjoy cooler temps, gorgeous Polynesian-style sliding doors, and an insane infinity pool that looks like it’s going into the mountains and reflects the clouds. The outdoor lanai opens up into the lush, green rolling hills. This luxury place is quiet, peaceful, feels like an escape.

Waimea Plantation CottagesWaimea, southern part of Kauai.

These cottages feel like a nostalgic summer camp, but elevated. Even though Waimea Plantation Cottages is a hotel, every room is its own private cottage. The cottages are sprawled out on gorgeous green lawn and steps away from the ocean, with a restaurant on sight as well. This is the perfect place to escape if you get married on the North Shore and want to spend the second half of your trip honeymooning on the south-western part of the island.

Waimea Plantation Cottages is peaceful, homey, and secluded, really honing in on the older style of Hawaii country living with an upgrade. This location could be a good middle ground between luxury hotel and Airbnb, integrated into the outdoors. From here, you can splurge on a sunset cruise along the Nā  Pali coast!

It’s also an incredible option if you have guests and want to have a ceremony on site at the Waimea Plantation Cottages. You can exchange your vows under a beautiful banyan tree just steps away from the sea.

Airbnbs in Kauai

Staying at an Airbnb or VRBO in Kauai means living a little more like a local. Each area of Kauai is unique, and I recommend exploring the island at your own pace, no matter where your home base is. Kauai is worth diving into and experiencing!

NORTH SHORE KAUAI AIRBNBs

This home with panoramic ocean views in Kilauea provides a secret hideaway from the more crowded area of Princeville. You will be 5 minutes away from the quaint town of Kilauea filled with restaurants and cute boutiques. Want to know a tip? Luxury properties often get access to unique coastal views!

This entire home on North Shore called Nico Hale is a personal favorite of mine! It was recently voted one of the best Airbnbs in Hawaii by Conde Nast Traveler and is definitely worth checking out for your stay in Kauai. Just 15 minutes from the town of Hanalei, you’ll wake up each morning surrounded by beautiful mountain views.

Another oceanfront option on the North Shore of Kauai is this cute cottage! Here, you’ll find yourself close to Tunnels Beach. Tunnels Beach has an iconic backdrop and is great for snorkeling, too! You’ll have great access to Hāʻena State Park. Small, one-lane bridges lead your way to this part of the island: be prepared to relax! This area is residential with families, so drive slow and respectfully to embrace the slower pace of life.

Other amazing accommodation options near Tunnels Beach include this modern beachfront home, and this beautiful house just steps from the sand.

NORTH SHORE: KAUAI HOT TUB AIRBNB

Having an Airbnb with a hot tub can definitely bridge the gap between staying at a luxury resort or an Airbnb. When searching for an Airbnb, you can select the exact amenities you prefer: so if a hot tub is on your must-have list, it’ll be easy to find instead of having to sift through hundreds of listings! And with this relaxing cottage on the oceanfront in Kilauea, a hot tub has never looked so inviting.

NORTH SHORE: KAUAI AIRBNB FOR THE ADVENTURE LOVERS

Maybe you’ve found yourself eloping in Kauai because you and your partner have adventurous spirits. Yes, there are Airbnbs that fit the bill! This beautiful paradise is an awesome home base for watersports. You can SUP up the river and hang out at a beautiful private beach and cove! There are quite a few places to stay near Kalihiwai Bay and river that are perfect for swimming, kayaking and SUPing.

My Favorite Hotels and Airbnbs on Kauai’s East Side

The East Side of Kauai is home to groves of coconut palms, beautiful resorts, and sightseeing such as Wailua River State Park, ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls, and Nounou Mountain. If boutiques are your jam, you’ll want to explore the cute town of Kapa’a, too!

As far as hotels and resorts go, you have some wonderful options to choose from. Opt for a more luxurious stay at Waipouli Beach Resort, or enjoy your time at Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay for a resort-like feel at a cheaper price point. Many couples like going the route of a hotel to have an inclusive vibe.

If you’re feeling more adventurous or want to immerse yourself a bit more into Kauai life, there are also plenty of Airbnbs to stay at in Kauai’s East Side. Feel like you’re surrounded by jungle yet only be five minutes from Kapa’a Town and its amazing food trucks at this Private Tropical Garden Suite.

A lot of Airbnbs in Kauai and Hawaii in general are condos, which can give the best of both worlds when it comes to experiencing the island, yet having a pseudo-resort feel! As an example, this Studio with Pool and Hot Tub Access also give you access to the community beachside pool, hot tub, tiki bar, and grilling area!

Best Places to Stay on the South Shore and West Side of Kauai

You’ll find yourself on the South Shore and West Side of Kauai to explore Waimea Canyon State Park and the Na Pali coast. You’ll also find Spouting Horn on the South Shore, which is one of the most photographed places on the island, and Kōkeʻe State Park for dozens of miles of trails on the West Side.

Just as with other areas in Kauai, the South Shore and West Side have both hotels and Airbnbs to stay. You could always split your trip up and spend a few days soaking up the local vibes at an Airbnb (such as this Home in Koloa) and then transfer to a hotel like the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa to experience some time being pampered!

In Review: The Best Places to Stay in Kauai

North Shore (Kilauea, Princeville, Hanalei Bay, and Haena):

East Side (Kapa’a and Wailua):

South Shore + West Side (Poipu, Kalaheo, and Waimea):

Visiting Kauai

If this is your first time visiting the Hawaiian Islands, I’m here to help! There is so much to know when it comes to what to pack and how to plan your elopement. But then, it’s time for the fun part. Exploring all of the beauty that Kauai has to offer! Kauai is split up into a few different sections: the South Side of Kauai, East/Central Kauai, and the North Shore of Kauai. To learn more about this gorgeous island, check out my guide to Kauai.

Your Elopement Photographer in Kauai

My job doesn’t just start and stop at photos! I am here for you through every step of your elopement process: whether that’s helping you pick your makeup artist, decide what Hawaiian island is right for you, and helping you discover where the perfect place to stay in Kauai is. Fill out my contact form to get started on your Kauai elopement. Let’s do this!

January 31, 2024
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If you are planning an intimate wedding in Hawaii, a Kauai elopement, eloping in Maui, or anything in between — chances are, the beach will be involved. The gorgeous beaches on the Hawaiian Islands are one of the biggest draws for couples who choose to elope in Hawaii.

Having some wedding dress inspiration can really help you narrow down your choices when you begin the dress buying process so I thought I’d share some of my favorite and most unique wedding dresses throughout my time of being a Hawaii elopement photographer 🙂 Here are my top 11 best wedding dresses for a Hawaii beach elopement!

1. Capes

Sure, veils are fun (although they may not play nice with the weather in Hawaii: more on that later), but capes are the new thing. Wearing a cape during your wedding day can allow for playful movement in your elopement photos: especially if you are eloping in Maui and want to take advantage of the winds on the North Shore!

Wearing a cape during your wedding in Hawaii can also give some variety in shots. Your cape can give an ethereal vibe and let you feel whimsical: and then removing your cape can allow for more flexibility with your partner. Peep the next section for another beach wedding dress idea that can add diversity!

2. Detachable Sleeves

We love a wedding outfit that can be changed up! Detachable sleeves on your elopement dress just might be it. My bride Jaimee had a wedding gown that boasted detachable sleeves. She had a few factors weighing in on her choice of wedding attire.

“I wanted a gown that was not only beautiful but also comfortable, a dress that would make me feel sexy and at ease throughout the entire day. With a summer wedding planned in Hawaii, breathability was a must.” says Jaimee.

Jaimee says she stumbled upon renowned bridal boutique Grace Loves Lace, and loved their unique appeal. “as soon as I slipped into the Poppy gown, I knew it was “the one.” I instantly got that feeling that there was no other dress for me.”

Dresses with detachable sleeves allow for breathability, a different look for photos, and just offer something special!

3. Corsets

Corsets can be a super flattering look for your beach wedding. Contrary to popular belief, there are many corset style dresses that don’t leave you feeling constricted. These days, so many different designs and styles that incorporate a corset look are easy to move around in and breathable: perfect for a wedding on the beach!

Many corset wedding dresses will support your spine as well, ensuring you are standing up straight. And having a corset look for your beach wedding means that you can also take advantage of other styles! Your corset wedding dress can also feature a cape, fairy tale skirt, detachable sleeves, or other romantic features.

4. Bridal Separates

Bridal separates give both a traditional yet bold look. There are many kinds of bridal separates that look more like a one-piece dress, and others that show just a little bit of skin. My bride Karen originally wanted a short dress, but after speaking with her, she decided that long was the way to go! She also didn’t expect to fall in love with a two-piece set either, but says “as soon as I tried it on, I knew it was the one for me!”.

Karen had ordered about ten dresses from Lulus, plus her two-piece set that she ended up wearing for her Hawaii elopement. My advice? Don’t put yourself in a box just yet when it comes to choosing your wedding attire. You may have a few dresses in your shopping cart, but try on some bridal separates: they just might be THE outfit you wear when you elope in Hawaii!

Jenna also rocked a crop top and flowy skirt for her Hawaii engagement session and I just love the simplicity that a two piece set can offer. It allows the dynamic mountains of Oahu and Hawaii landscapes to integrate seamlessly into your photos!

5. Vintage Dresses

Vintage dresses can be a perfect choice for a beach wedding in Hawaii. You can even find many of these styles mentioned in this post: but vintage! Check out your favorite vintage or thrift shops, browse eBay or Craigslist, or check in with local bridal shops on if they carry vintage bridal wear.

Going the route of a vintage wedding dress allows for sustainability, something unique, and also can be easy on your wallet. Vintage wedding dresses can span decades: think art-deco or flapper-inspired from the 1920s, or a full skirt dress akin to the 1950s! The 1960s brought us shift dresses and mini dresses, and there are some stunning boho gems straight from the 1970s.

6. Jumpsuits

Wearing a jumpsuit on your wedding day can be a fun alternative to a wedding dress! You can wear a jumpsuit during your whole elopement day, or change from your wedding dress to have more options for photos with a laidback feel. And as a BONUS, you have way more mobility with pants! As an example, bride Elly wore a stunning silk jumpsuit during her beach elopement. Bride Allison wore a different dress for her elopement ceremony, and changed into a gorgeous jumpsuit for their helicopter tour.

Bridal jumpsuits can have full sleeves, corset tops, or be combined with a cape to complete your wedding day look. If you prefer a laidback approach to your beach wedding, a jumpsuit could be something to consider! Once you step away from a world of only dresses, you’ll be surprised at how many gorgeous and flattering pieces you can wear for your elopement or wedding.

7. Repurposing

Repurposing a look for your wedding day can be similar to going the route of a vintage dress. For many brides, repurposing a dress means taking an outfit with special meaning (such as a family heirloom) and tailoring it to suit their wedding day vibe.

Repurposing a dress for your Hawaii elopement can bring a special element to your day. Adrienne wore a traditional Chinese dress for part of her elopement day, which she hopes to pass down to her daughter, as it was passed down from her mother!

Of her repurposed dress, Adrienne says: “It was custom made to my mother when she got married in Hong Kong, and she wore it as an evening dress. She had a large collection of traditional Chinese dresses she had brought over when she immigrated to Canada. It was not meant to be a traditional wedding dress, which is typically red or gold with long sleeves and an ornate crown and jewelry. I wanted something lighter for my wedding, because I’m not so into formalities.” I love how Adrienne was able to take something traditional and make it fit in perfectly for her wedding day.

8. Fairy Tale Dresses

Princess vibes are always a good choice for a potential elopement dress. These types of dresses look beautiful if your Hawaii beach wedding includes a forest, which can really invoke a storybook feel. Fairy tale dresses usually have whimsical and flowy characteristics, such as sheer and lightweight materials and layers.

Many fairy tale dresses can be fun to play around with, because the materials allow for movement in your wedding photos. They can also look effortless dressed both up and down, pairing gorgeously with flower crowns and natural flowers from your florist.

Brands like Anthropologie and Free People have the fairy tale wedding dress vibe down seamlessly. Later on in this blog post, I touch upon some of my fave elopement and wedding dress designers to get you started on your search for the perfect beach wedding dress!

9. Long Trains

Who says you can’t have a dress with a long train for your adventure elopement in Hawaii?! Long trains add so much drama and movement in photos, and play particularly well with the wind that the islands have. Lindsey was one of my brides who opted for a long train for her Hawaii elopement.

“I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, mother in law, and two of my sisters. I didn’t think I would get my dress that day, since I’m usually an online-type girl. This dress was everyone’s favorite, and since I was stuck between two, I chose this one.” she says. Lindsey didn’t like the original neckline the dress came with, so she hired a seamstress that vowed to do whatever she could to get Lindsey the elopement dress of her dreams! Lindsey then got her own personalized dream gown, complete with a long train.

10. Silk Dresses

Silk dresses offer a classic look that still remains timeless. Silk dresses can be tricky because some may not be as lightweight as you’d want for the humidity in Hawaii, but when done right, are absolutely stunning. The simplicity of silk dresses allows your florals and the Hawaiian scenery to really shine. & honestly, their timeless look and stunning fit, make them an absolute FAVORITE of mine to photograph!

Bride Adrienne selected her silk wedding dress from a local-to-her store in Toronto, Canada. She wanted a sleek, simple dress that would be easy for her to dance in! This was especially important because Adrienne and her husband Mike danced to their own choreography — which made their reception even more special. “I think I felt the most at home and myself in this simpler dress, and I felt like it worked better with the atmosphere of the reception and sunset photos. With it being so simple, it didn’t feel as formal nor contrived as a wedding shoot as it may with a bigger, stiffer gown. I was able to maneuver and move more freely”, Adrienne says about her silk dress.

11. Something Unique! Patterns, Florals, Different Colors, Etc.

Not all beach wedding dresses have to be white! In fact, not all wedding dresses have to be wedding dresses…or even have to be dresses, period! The amazing thing about eloping in Hawaii is that you get to do things YOUR way. If that means a whimsical fairytale dress, go for it! Alternatively, that could mean going in a totally different direction with something unique.

Bride Miran chose a floral, Polynesian style dress on her wedding day on the beach. She saw an image of the dress online at Eimeo and instantly fell in love! “I guess I’m the type who never really liked the “norm”: the white dress, the “what you’re suppose to do in a wedding”…I just wanted to be all about us and nothing else to distract us or stress us about the wedding day from us,” she says. Eimeo is a South Pacific lifestyle brand that seamlessly weaves the nostalgia of Tahiti into modern designs that flow with tropical living!

Think about what you gravitate towards in terms of dresses or outfits in your everyday life. Would wearing a white dress feel too out of your comfort zone, if your closet tends to have darker clothes? Are you a sucker for floral patterns, or different designs? How can you incorporate that into your beach wedding day dress or outfit! Think of what can give you the perfect balance of being true to you, and feeling like royalty on your elopement day!

Bride Jessica wore a green velvet dress for her beach wedding. She says, “I wanted something other that white, that went well with the landscape and colors of Hawaii without being traditionally tropical. The dress was a dream when I put it on; comfortable, light, and held up in a surprise rain shower! My advice to brides would be not to have the tropical landscape limit you to think you have to wear something beachy!”

Tips on Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Dress

The perfect wedding dress for your Hawaiian elopement is out there, I promise! Here are my tips on how to find THE ONE that matches your elopement day vibe.

  • It can be helpful to think about if you want sleeves for your elopement dress. Some brides feel more comfortable with sleeves, and there are so many flattering dresses with sleeves out there! Make sure the sleeves are lightweight for Hawaii – you don’t want to feel weighed down. Some of us can be self-conscious about arms, so having sleeves on an elopement dress can help ensure that stress isn’t on your mind for photos.
  • Lace, or no lace? This is a detail that can be important! Some lace dresses can be more lightweight, which is what you want for an elopement in Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or Hawaii!
  • Veils are fun, but can be kind of difficult in Hawaii if it’s windy. Near the ocean in the evening or afternoon, it may be challenging to wear a veil. When in doubt, bring it along, and we can play around to see if it works! If it is too windy and the veil is hard to wrangle, we will skip it. I’d rather you not feel super distracted by your attire, so that you can focus on your elopement with your partner.
  • It’s important to consider your wedding attire when packing for your trip to Hawaii. If you’re traveling to Hawaii, you will want a dress that is easy to pack away and won’t get snagged or wrinkled in your suitcase.
  • Your dress can help you decide how you want your hair and makeup done for your elopement. Your hair and makeup artist in Hawaii should be able to give suggestions of hairstyles and flattering makeup choices based on your dress!

My Favorite Wedding Dress Designers

Here are some of my favorite designers for beach wedding dresses to help get you started on your dress shopping journey:

No matter where you’re thinking of eloping in Hawaii, there are also many boutiques on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai to select a gorgeous beach wedding dress!

Let’s Chat About Your Beach Elopement!

If you’re wondering what to wear for your engagement session in Hawaii or Hawaii adventure session, check out this helpful blog post as well! Remember that these guides are here to provide some structure and advice, but I am happy to help you select your wedding attire that makes you feel gorgeous and fits your Hawaii elopement backdrop. Let’s chat and get started!

December 20, 2023
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New Zealand may not be on a lot of people’s radars, but it should be. If you love the outdoors, New Zealand is a paradise for adventure lovers! From the gorgeous snow capped mountains and beautiful fjords of the South Island to the endless empty beaches of the North Island, New Zealand’s diverse landscapes provide for stunning elopement backdrops! 

Let’s dive into:

  • Travel Tips for New Zealand
  • How to Elope in New Zealand
  • The Best Places to Elope in New Zealand
  • The Best Time of Year to Plan your New Zealand Elopement
  • Things to Do and See in New Zealand

New Zealand Overview

  • New Zealand is also known as Aotearoa, the Māori name for the land meaning – Land of the Long White Cloud.
  • New Zealand is actually two separate islands– the North Island and the South Island. 
  • The main airport on the north island is Auckland (AKL), with the main airport on the south island belonging to Queenstown (ZQN).

  • The south island is very majestic in terms of scenery, with snowy mountains you won’t find on the north island. For slightly warmer temps and tropical vibes, the north island is your best bet.
  • New Zealand has a rich indigenous presence with the Māori people. It is important to be aware that this isn’t just a history of indigenous culture but rather, a present, living, breathing culture in New Zealand today! There are many opportunities to learn more about Maori culture and language (​​Te Reo Maori) while in New Zealand. 
  • New Zealand is below the equator, meaning their seasons are opposite from the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also closer to Antarctica than you might think which means the south island can get pretty cold.

New Zealand Travel Tips

  • WHICH AIRPORT SHOULD I FLY INTO? It’s usually cheaper to fly into Auckland, where you can catch regional flights through Air New Zealand to the south island. However, if you are flying in from the East Coast of the United States, it might be worth the extra penny to reduce your flight time and fly directly to the south island!
  • WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE? Be prepared and flexible for weather changes: anything from rain, to windy conditions, to it being colder than you might expect. Pack for all weather!
  • CAN I SEE THE NORTH AND SOUTH ISLAND? If you are wanting to visit both islands, many people like to do road trips. You can rent a car and take a ferry between the North and South Islands.  One of my favorite budget-friendly ways to travel in New Zealand is by relocating car or vans for rental companies! Use TransferCar or imoova to find a car or van that aligns with your trip dates!
  • You can also rent a camper van (which is very popular to do in New Zealand!)
  • HOW LONG SHOULD I VISIT NEW ZEALAND? I’d recommend 2-3 weeks if possible, to really soak in the culture and incredible landscapes. Try to do both islands if you can!
  • IS THERE A GOOD LAYOVER LOCATION WHEN TRAVELING TO NEW ZEALAND? If you want to break up your trip, Hawaii can be the perfect location to layover for a week or two! There is only a 1 hour time difference between New Zealand and Hawaii so it makes the perfect location to adjust to the time difference. When you are ready to head to New Zealand, it is an easy 8 hour direct flight to Auckland from Honolulu with Hawaiian Airlines.

 

How to Elope in New Zealand

Making your marriage legal in New Zealand is a big part of planning your NZ elopement! Luckily, you don’t have to be a New Zealand citizen to get married here, and same-sex marriages are legal! First, you’ll want to apply for a marriage license online for $150. You can apply for your marriage license up to three months before your elopement in New Zealand. When you fill out the form, only one of you needs to apply, but you will need information about both of you!

After you have signed your form, you can pay the fee, and next, you will need to find a celebrant (officiant) to perform your ceremony. To legalize your New Zealand elopement, you’ll also need two witnesses in addition to your marriage license. 

If you don’t want to deal with paperwork during your trip to New Zealand, you can always make your New Zealand elopement a symbolic one! Simply take care of your paperwork in your home state, and use your NZ vacation to have a symbolic elopement ceremony! But where should you elope in New Zealand?

When Should I Elope in New Zealand

New Zealand shines at any time of year, so deciding when you’d like to have your New Zealand elopement will depend on a few things! You’ll want to take these deets into consideration when planning your adventurous NZ elopement.

New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, so their seasons are opposite of the United States and Canada.

WINTER // Dreaming of a winter wonderland wedding in New Zealand? Eloping in the winter in New Zealand means June, July, and August. New Zealand winter temperatures average from 50 – 61 degrees. During this time of year, the south island experiences more snow than the north, which gets a lot of rain.

If you love snow activities or are an avid skier, Queenstown could be the perfect place for your winter elopement! BONUS….Winter in New Zealand also means the fewest tourists, so if you want to avoid the crowds, eloping during the wintertime in New Zealand may be for you. Just remember that some popular trails may not be accessible during this time of year.

SPRING // Spring in New Zealand is a wonderful time for eloping, and for good reason! You can expect temperatures ranging from 55 – 70 degrees during the springtime months of September, October, and November. This is when you can expect stunning colors and flower blooms as the backdrop for your elopement in New Zealand. It can be windy during the spring, but I love a good dress shot with some epic movement! Outdoor activities also begin to become plentiful again after the winter. Experience the best of both winter vibes and summer energy during the spring in New Zealand.

SUMMER // What about summer in New Zealand? Summer in New Zealand is the northern hemisphere’s winter, which can mean a welcome break from cold temps if that’s what you’re used to. In fact, think temperatures ranging from 68 – 80 degrees in the summertime. Summer in New Zealand is a popular time to visit, so keep in mind that some areas may be more crowded with tourists. Pretty much everything on the New Zealand islands is accessible during the summer months of December, January, and February. By February most locals will have concluded their holiday and be back to work so you may find it easier to book accommodations. 

AUTUMN // Last but definitely not least, we arrive at fall/autumn in New Zealand. Much like springtime, fall in New Zealand brings about mild temperatures and a good mix of weather. In March, April, and May, temperatures are around 62 to 70 degrees. The leaves here change into gorgeous colors, and hiking in New Zealand during early fall is something that can’t be missed. The summer crowds also begin to thin out, making an autumn elopement in New Zealand more intimate.

Where to Elope in New Zealand

Both the north and south islands of New Zealand are home to many gorgeous places that are worth visiting, and places that could be the perfect backdrop for your NZ elopement!

Do you gravitate more towards epic mountain landscapes, and rugged geography? If so, you may want to consider eloping on the south island of New Zealand. If you are looking for coastline’s with rolling hills or empty beaches reminiscent of the United States Pacific Northwest, New Zealand’s north island may be the perfect place to elope.

Starting with the North Island, if you want to stay close to Auckland, Piha Beach is an incredible location! With its towering cliffs, darker black sand, and surfers in the distance, it offers incredible beauty not too far away from the city. If you head north of the city, another stunning location is Tawharanui Regional Park with it’s pristine blue water, and lush rolling hills on either side of this white sand beach. 

As we continue north, you’ll enter a region of New Zealand called Northland. One of the most unique coastal locations here is Cape Reinga. This Cape is where the Tasman sea and Pacific Ocean meet at the Northernmost point in New Zealand. Here you can take a hike on the Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway and escape to one of the most remote beaches in New Zealand, 90 Mile Beach. Lastly, in the Northland of New Zealand you’ll also find Whangarei heads**. Here you’ll find beautiful coastal and harbor beaches, and you can explore volcanic peaks and lush forests with many hiking trails. 

**FUN FACT: “Wh” in te reo Māori (Māori Language) is pronounced “f” so as you are driving around New Zealand practice pronouncing towns like the locals do!

Heading south of Auckland, you’ll find The Coromandel which has some incredible beaches and landscape features including Cathedral Cove and Stingray Bay. Even further south, you’ll find Bay of Islands which has incredible coastline locations such as Waihi Beach and Papamoa Beach

Heading to the South Island, Abel Tasman National Park is one of my favorite places in New Zealand, especially for elopements. There are a ton of gorgeous elopement spots in this national park – located on the south island. And the best part you can choose to kayak, or hike or both to enjoy all this park has to offer. 

Helicopters are popular for elopements in New Zealand, and heading to Fox Glacier is an elopement dream! This incredible glacier is over 13km long and can be an otherworldly backdrop for your elopement.

Milford Sound is iconic, with it’s incredible fjords! The rainy weather here provides a setting for the perfect, moody elopement, photos. To take advantage of the incredible views, a boat elopement in Milford Sound is a good choice, or even eloping on one of the many trails in the area!

Eloping on Hooker Valley Track at Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park means enjoying some of the snow capped peaks you can see, even in the middle of summer! 

Hokitika Gorge Scenic Reserve offers breathtaking blue water and forested rocks. The Hokitika Gorge Walk is only about a half hour – the perfect hike to do in your wedding dress!

If you want privacy, there are a lot of ways to find it in NZ, especially if you want something simple! I would love to be able to help you find the perfect elopement place in New Zealand.

Things to Do and See in New Zealand

While you are visiting New Zealand for your elopement, there are definitely some things that should be on your to-do and to-see list!

NORTH ISLAND

  • Visit Hobbiton, made famous by Lord of the Rings.
  • Check out Hot Water Beach! This beach lies above a hot spring which results in heated sand and water. Bring a shovel or rent one and dig through the sand to create your own personal hot spring on the beach!
  • Think redwoods are only in California? Think again! Check out the redwoods at Whakarewarewa Forest. My favorite way to see this forest is literally by walking up and throughout the trees on a self-guided suspension bridge tour.
  • Waitomo Caves on the north island are definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area. These glow worm caves are extensive and can be explored by guided tour!
  • The Coromandel and Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve contain a ton of gorgeous photo ops, which you can even include during your adventure elopement! One of my favorite hikes here is called the Pinnacles! Incredible views and there is even a hut when you reach the summit where you can camp overnight!
  • Explore the amazing coastlines surrounding Gisborne and glamp at the oceanfront tiny homes at Tatapouri Bay!
  • Observe and honor traditional Maori culture by visiting the Tamaki Family Marae. For more ideas on how to gain knowledge of Maori culture and heritage, check out these activities.

SOUTH ISLAND

  • See the lovely lupins near Lake Tekapo. The lupins bloom from mid-November through January.
  • Fiordland National Park boasts the world-famous Routeburn Track, which is a point-to-point hiking and backpacking trail that is about 20 miles long.
  • Enjoy one of the many treks in Mt. Aspiring National Park
  • Explore Lake Wanaka on the south island for kayaking and other water sport activities. Wanka is a little more quaint than Queenstown if you want somewhere to stay with a slower pace but still be close enough to all Queenstown has to offer. 
  • Explore Queenstown and take a Jet Boat ride or push your limits with Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump
  • Take the Queenstown Gondola up 450 meters up to Bob’s Peak!
  • Relax at Onsen Hot Pools where you can take in views of the Shotover River while enjoying one 14 cedar-lined hot pools the spa has to offer!
  • Hike the popular, Roy’s Peak Track, and get some incredible views from the summit! 
  • See the fascinating glowworms of the ​​Te Anau Caves! 
  • Take advantage of kayaking tours and hiking near Nelson, especially if you are eloping in Abel Tasman National Park!

NEW ZEALAND MUST DO’S

  • A total must to do? Snag a meat pie from a local gas station or convenience shop. This traditional New Zealand snack comes in a variety of flavors, perfect to pair with French fries (AKA “chips” in New Zealand).
  • Another traditional NZ activity is attending a rugby game! Rugby games are exciting to watch and get in the spirit of. If you can, try to see an All Blacks game!
  • Camper vans are a great way to see the sights of New Zealand. Many people like to practice responsible freedom camping at over 500 locations scattered around the islands of New Zealand.

Summary

New Zealand has so much to offer for being a country of 103,483 mi². This beautiful place can be your one-stop-shop when it comes to planning your elopement. Elope amongst the snowy peaks during New Zealand’s winter, or have a tropical elopement on the beach during the summer. Take advantage of fun watersports on the lakes, and go backpacking, hiking, and camping in New Zealand’s stunning national parks. Don’t forget to have some uniquely New Zealand experiences when you’re here for your elopement: meat pies and a rugby game, anyone? New Zealand has some adventures that you won’t find anywhere on earth: glowworm tours and bungy jumps that set the stage for a perfect honeymoon after your elopement.

Chat with Your New Zealand Elopement Photographer

Dreaming about eloping on New Zealand’s north or south island? Let’s chat! I am here to help you determine the best time of year to elope in New Zealand, things to do on the islands, where to elope in New Zealand, and your biggest cheerleader when it comes to having the best day ever!

October 24, 2023
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Eloping in the Hawaiian Islands is such a magical experience! Whether you are thinking of having an intimate wedding in Kauai or eloping just the two of you in Oahu, you really can’t go wrong. But if you are thinking of where to elope in Hawaii and the island of Maui has caught your eye, you’re not alone. A Maui elopement can be an incredible adventure. If you find yourself wondering how to elope in Maui, or wanting some tips on planning your elopement in Maui, I’ve got you.

Tips on Eloping in Maui

  • When planning your Maui elopement, you should opt for a sunrise ceremony if privacy is your thing. Maui is the second most populated island in Hawaii. Everyone loves to come out for Maui sunsets, so scenic areas of the island can become more crowded during that time of day. It’s always helpful to book a Maui elopement photographer who knows the island well – I can direct you to my favorite secret spots for your Maui wedding if you want a more secluded location. Having a morning elopement in the islands can offer such magical lighting – check out this Mauna Kea elopement for inspo!

  • Maui is the windiest of all the Hawaiian Islands. That being said, I recommend asking your hairstylist to style your hair in an updo for your Maui elopement! Your hairstylist can also help with other tips for eloping in Hawaii. If you’d rather wear your hair down on your wedding day, I’ll place you facing into the wind. The winds of Maui can soon become your best friend when it comes to incorporating movement into your elopement photos. The windiest part of the island? The North Shore of Maui.

  • It makes sense to know a bit about each region of the island in order to determine what spot is the best fit for your elopement ceremony! South Maui and the towns of Kihei and Wailea are known for being dry and sunny, with lots of beaches. West Maui and the towns of Lahaina, Kapalua, and Kāʻanapali are a bit of a drive from the airport, but worth it for the charming beachfront towns and gorgeous views of Lāna’i and Molokaʻi. North Shore of Maui has rugged, epic geography and incredible surf and one of my favorite towns, Pāʻia. Upcountry Maui and the towns of Makawao and Kula have a different energy from Maui’s coastal regions. This area is lush and filled with beautiful rolling hills and farms. At a higher elevation, you will get an unbeatable sunset with panoramic island views. Upcountry Maui is the perfect base for exploring Haleakala National Park. East Maui boasts the Road to Hana – a scenic drive with dozens of waterfalls and greenery. The Big Island isn’t the only place to have a black sand beach elopement – in Maui, you can take advantage of a beautiful black sand beach nestled in Wai’ānapanapa State Park.

The Best Time of Year to Elope in Maui

Visiting Maui for your elopement can happen during any time of the year. However, the most popular time to visit Maui is September to October. During certain parts of the summer, the island will be busy and bustling with tourists. And as a top tip, if you’re wanting to go whale watching while you’re in Maui for your elopement, you’ll want to visit the island from November to March. Maui is one of the best places to see whales during this time. This is because it has the warmest and safest waters for these sea animals!

Maui is a popular destination for weddings and vacations. There will be people year-round, so visit Maui when it feels best for you!

How to Plan a Maui Elopement

When you’re eloping in Maui, you’ll want to know how to make your marriage legal in Hawaii. After you’ve determined that your paperwork is in order, chat with me, your Maui elopement photographer! We will explore ideas and concepts on how to make your elopement Maui truly special to the two of you. This includes locations for the perfect backdrop to your elopement ceremony, dining experiences to take advantage of the delicious food that Maui has to offer, and I’ll offer my custom tips on how to incorporate things you love doing together (as well as fun adventures and activities that you can only find in the Hawaiian Islands!).

Fun Activities for Your Maui Vacation

Whale watching, exploring waterfalls, surf lessons, and hiking are just some of the adventures that you can include while you’re eloping in Maui. 

Consider visiting other small islands while you’re here! Maui is a uniquely oriented island. This tropical paradise is surrounded by other islands, and has a ferry to Lanai. During your Maui elopement or wedding, you can do day trips out to Lanai, or consider honeymooning there! There are two Four Seasons Resorts, cool off-roading beaches, and a cat sanctuary (talk about a unique experience!) on the small island of Lanai.

Dreaming of other places to have some fun during your Maui elopement? Consider hanging out on Molokaʻi to see absolutely epic views. An amazing elopement activity can be to take a helicopter tour on Molokaʻi, because this island is home to the world’s highest sea cliffs. If you want to do a day trip, there is a ferry you can take from Maui to Molokaʻi

Boat tours and snorkeling tours abound on the island of Molokini, but that’s not all! For your elopement, you can also kayak here, and take in the views on a catamaran or sailboat.

Where to Stay in Maui

When you elope in Maui, staying at an Airbnb can be a cozy option that will really transport you to island life. Here are a few of my fave places to stay in Maui, just to get you started!

Where to Stay in South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)

Where to Stay in West Maui (Lahaina, Kapalua, Napili)

Where to Stay on Maui’s North Shore (Paia, Makawao, Haiku)

Where to Stay in Upcountry Maui (Kula)

Where to Stay in East Maui (Hana and Hamoa)

If this will be your first time visiting Maui or Hawaii, check out my tips for what to bring during your trip to the Hawaiian Islands.

Enjoy The Best Maui Elopement!

Now that you’ve gotten a little peek into planning an elopement in Maui, it’s time to get excited! Learning how to elope in Maui can feel a little daunting at first, but I am here to help you plan an effortless day for you two to enjoy.

Contact me and I can assist you in planning your ultimate elopement in Maui.

June 21, 2023
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When you are planning an elopement, there are a few things you may not have considered! 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 Hawaii wedding or Hawaii elopement ceremony are:

  • Help save on potential costs.
  • Hybrid venues or an Airbnb route means that you will be staying on private property. The Big Island is so amazing because it is one of the only islands that still has miles of open space and hasn’t fully been developed! When staying on private property, you know that you are abiding by island rules. This keeps local public spaces for the community, and you can still enjoy the island by being in places that are designed for events and hosting guests.
  • Many of these venues typically partner with planning companies to give you a customized experience!

Here are some of my favorite spots in Hawaii to stay and host your wedding!

KONA BEACH HOUSES:

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!

HOLUALOA INN:

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.

STARSEED RANCH:

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:

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!

THE FALLS AT REEDS ISLAND:

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:

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 AT KEALAKEKUA BAY:

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!

HALE WAILELE:

Located at an elevation of 1,100 feet in Kona, Hale Wailele is an incredible choice for both a wedding venue and a place to stay while in Hawaii. There is often a nice breeze here due to the elevation, and the pool is absolutely iconic! The vintage beach architecture of the Hawaiian Islands truly shines at Hale Wailele.

Hawaii Wedding Planning

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:

SLH Weddings

Bliss in Bloom

Sunshower Weddings

Book Your Hawaii Wedding Venue and Lodging

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!

February 6, 2023
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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!

BEST PLACES TO EAT ON THE BIG ISLAND/HAWAI’I

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!

January 20, 2023
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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.

  • When your makeup artist arrives, how should you get ready? What do you recommend for brides to do with their hair and skin to best prepare for getting their hair and makeup done on their wedding day?

“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.”

  • Are there any hairstyles that you recommend or avoid due to the weather in Hawaii?

“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.

  • What part of the room should brides use for makeup in terms of lighting – whether that’s in an Airbnb, hotel, or at home?

“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.

  • What happens if a bride gets sunburned, and are dealing with redness or peeling skin?

“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.” 

  • Do you offer trials for elopement hair and makeup? How necessary are they?

“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.”

  • What about touch-up kits: is that something you provide your Hawaii elopement clients?

“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.”

  • Do you have any tips if a couple wants to get in the water? Will makeup last; will mascara run?

“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.”

  • What if the area I will be getting ready is on a more remote part of the island? Or if I am getting married at sunrise?

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!

  • Are you able to work on a variety of skin tones? How do you keep a “natural look”?

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.

  • Do you have any other tips for brides eloping in Hawaii?

“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!

September 22, 2022
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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

  • For many elopement locations in Utah, finding easily accessible airports can be tough. To get to Moab, the airport in Flagstaff may be closer! You can also fly into Salt Lake City, Phoenix, or destinations in Colorado to access adventurous elopement spots in Utah. Be prepared to fly into a major airport and then budget for flying into a smaller airport, OR put driving into your itinerary depending on what works best for you!

  • The national parks in Utah are stunning places to host your Utah elopement. Imagine a magical elopement in Zion or Arches National Parks! National parks can be crowded depending on the time of day or year. You can easily avoid lines by starting your elopement early (plus, you’ll get to take advantage of the gorgeous morning desert light!), and stay cool by having a morning elopement, too. If you elope during the “off season” you will still get beautiful colors. Spring is one of the best times to have a Utah elopement!

  • Utah has its share of weather you need to prepare for! Temperatures can get hot in the summer, so bring plenty of water. Coming from Hawaii, I was surprised to see how much drier the air was in Utah: but makes sense! Lotion and chapstick were my friends, so I definitely recommend stocking up! Layers are great for cooler months – and even work well during warmer times of the year, since temperatures can dip down to freezing as the sun sets. During winter, many places in Utah can be inaccessible. It’s always a good idea to consult your elopement photographer on what time of year will work best for where you’d like to elope in Utah.

  • Another important tip for eloping in Utah? Being aware of the various rules, regulations, and permitting processes. Even liquor laws are different in Utah – so if you’re wanting to celebrate your Utah elopement with champagne, you’ll have to pick that up at a state liquor store. Eloping in a national park, like Zion, or Bryce Canyon? A special use permit will be required for your special day. Your photographer (hi!) should be able to walk you through this process, so that you can focus on the more fun parts of planning your elopement in Utah.

  • Everyone wants to go to Utah for its awesome ski season, or for desert elopement vibes. But don’t sleep on Utah’s wildflower season! Areas near Park City like Cottonwood Canyon are awesome because of the greenery and flowers blooming in the mountains. As a bonus, one of my favorite elopement locations: Bonneville Salt Flats, are located just two hours from Park City.

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?

August 3, 2022
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Kauai is one of my favorite places to shoot elopements and weddings – eloping in Kauai is a whole other experience! For Jennifer and Steven’s elopement in Kauai, they opted for dramatic cliffsides near Poipu.

Poipu is on the south side of Kauai, with a resort-like feel. Because it is the southern part of the island, it is usually drier here. But that was not the case for their elopement! It happened to be pouring the entire week leading up to Jennifer and Steven’s wedding, but that’s okay because everything worked out and rain is known as a “good luck” omen for weddings.

I picked Jennifer up after she had gotten ready, and we headed to the beach to meet Steven for their first look. With my eye on the Doppler radar, we were waiting for the perfect time! While the rain didn’t completely clear, it let up just enough for the two of them to have their first look together. After they had that special moment just the two of them, we wandered along the cliffs and forests for photos.

Family members soon joined us on the beach for their Kauai elopement ceremony, with Jennifer’s sister officiating. Once the ceremony finished, we snapped some family shots! And of course, right after the last few group photos of the day, it started pouring again.

I love the Poipu area of Kauai for elopements because you are never more than five minutes away from someplace epic! Read on for more of my Kauai elopement tips and info – and get in touch to chat more about your Kauai elopement!

VENDORS:

Hair/Makeup Company: Artists Co.

Hair/Makeup Artist: Mia Moriguchu

Florals: Blue Orchid Kauai 

YOUR GUIDE TO ELOPING IN KAUAI

South Side of Kauai

In general, the south side of the island can be more resort-like and attracts the most tourists! Towns like Poipu, where you’ll find cute spots such as Living Foods– where you can grab some light bites & drinks. It’s super cute and has some unique grocery items inside along with an incredible brunch on the weekends! Want to grab dinner somewhere upscale? Try Beachhouse, which is great for a celebratory meal!

If you’re a Lilo and Stitch fan, this one is for you. The town of Hanapepe was the inspiration for the town in the movie! It can be a cute stop while you’re in the area. And before checking out some of south Kauai’s natural wonders, head to Warehouse 3540 in Lawai. It’s a fun little marketplace with shops and food trucks!

Things to Do on the South and West Side of Kauai

Kōkeʻe State Park/Waimea Canyon are amazing places to see. It’s like a smaller Grand Canyon in the middle of an island! You can drive through the whole thing, and stop to soak up the sights and various lookouts. Keep in mind that if it’s too cloudy, you won’t be able to see too far so keep an eye on the weather! Camping is a blast here, so don’t forget layers because it can get chilly at night! Usually it is drier and warmer and the beginning of the canyon, and wetter near the end (remember to bring your rain jacket!).

If you want to see the incredible mountains that make up this canyon from the shoreline, I highly recommend doing a boat tour. This is probably the most unique and incredible activity you can do while you are in Kauai and you won’t regret the breathtaking views. They are many different tours…from sunset catamaran tours that include a meal, snorkeling tours, or smaller boats that go into some of the caves. Regardless of the craft to get you there, it’s worth the trip! These tours depart year round from Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor on the west side of Kauai or from Hanalei only in the summer months on the north shore.

Places to Stay on the South Side of Kauai

  • This villa is perfect if you are visiting Kauai with lots of friends and family for your intimate wedding!
  • For a more intimate experience, this condo is right on the water. Really a romantic stay!

East/Central Kauai

You aren’t too far from the airport if you choose to stay near the east side of Kauai, which can be a plus. There are also a lot of cool hotels which can be more budget friendly. The most populated town in Kauai, Kapa’a, has a bunch of shops and places to stay. You might want to check out Fish Bar Deli, a cute restaurant in old town Kapa’a with incredible cocktails and food with local ingredients. If you’re looking for a hotel to stay at, the newly renovated Kauai Shores Hotel has a nice pool, lawn games, and is right next door to the Lava Lava Beach Club – where you can enjoy live music.

Things to Do on the East Side of Kauai

You will definitely want to stay near east/central Kauai if you are wanting to hike during your trip! This area is accessible to a lot of hikes, including Sleeping Giant. This area of the island is your go-to for so many outdoor activities! And soaking in the beauty of Kauai is never a bad idea.

Places to Stay on the East Side of Kauai

  • I love this treehouse bungalow, located in Wailua. This would be a great place to stay during your Kauai elopement trip!
  • This vacation home in Lihue has beautiful windows to take in the ocean views.

North Shore of Kauai
The North Shore is the go-to area for those seeking a natural Kauai experience. With more rain on this part of the island than others, that leads to lush jungles and beautiful greenery. You’ll find staggering cliffs and mountains near towns such as Princeville. You can even see waterfalls from mountaintops where it’ll be raining at the summit, but sunny near the base. So cool! The area of Hanalei Bay is another place that is really neat to explore. Find cute coffee shops nearby such as Trilogy Coffee in Kilauea or Hanalei Bread Co. You’ll find my favorite hidden gem, Palate Wine Bar, up in the North Shore, too! The have yummy flatbread pizzas, an amazing assortment of wines and beer, pasta, salads, and cheese boards. Delicious!

Things to Do on the North Shore of Kauai

The North Shore is a great place to learn how to surf, so why not take a surfing lesson? This is a really popular activity for visitors. Keep in mind that you want to be as respectful of the locals as possible: obey parking signs near the beach, drive slowly and safely. The North Shore draws a lot of visitors, so we need to make sure we treat the area with respect.

Another fun thing to do on the North Shore is visit the gorgeous Hāʻena State Park. You’ll totally want to hike Kalalau trail, but remember that reservations are required and I strongly recommend taking the Go Hāʻena shuttle to get to the park.

Places to Stay on the North Shore of Kauai

  • I just want to move into the Hanalei Bay Hideaway. Imagine coming back here after your elopement – so cozy and quaint!
  • Princeville is the town you will want to search for places to stay! There are many condos, airbnbs, and hotels in this area and you are only about a five minute drive to Hanalei Bay.
  • If you want something a little less touristy, I’d recommend looking up Airbnbs near Anini Beach.

Your Kauai Elopement Photographer

There you have it – your ultimate guide to the gorgeous island of Kauai! Whether you are eloping in Kauai or having an intimate wedding in Kauai, I can’t wait to help you plan your Hawaiian elopement in this slice of paradise. Let’s get started!

June 24, 2022
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First looks are an amazing way of being able to share a moment with your partner before your wedding or elopement day. Maybe you’re torn on whether or not you want to include a first look during your elopement! There is no wrong answer: first looks never make your ceremony less “special”, and serve as a wonderful grounding point before such a significant event.

There are so many ways you can make a “first look” your own – something that really speaks to the two of you. Here are some fun, emotional, intimate, and alternative ideas to having a first look during your elopement in Hawaii!

What Is a First Look?

A “first look” is when you and your partner see each other for the very first time during your wedding or elopement day. When you have a first look before your ceremony, this can help ease your nerves and make your wedding day even more exciting!

If you are choosing to have guests attend your Hawaii wedding, having a first look can be an amazing moment that you and your partner can share – just the two of you.

Where Do Couples Have Their First Look?

Where you have your first look is entirely up to you! If you both are getting ready in the same area, we can find somewhere beautiful to set up your first look. If you have your heart set on having a first look amongst the gorgeous Hawaii scenery, we can head to a specific spot just for your first look! You two can arrive separately, or even get ready away from each other in the car or in the trees.

Types of First Looks for Your Hawaii Elopement

  • Classic First Look. During this type of first look, one partner will stand turned away. The other person will approach them, and tap them on the shoulder. They will then turn around, and see each other’s faces light up as they witness each other for the first time on their wedding day!
  • Reading Vows or Letters to Each Other. This is a really romantic version of the first look. You and your partner can write special vows or letters to exchange with one another. Then, I can set you two up so that you are standing back to back. The emotions are so powerful as you read words that your partner wrote for you, specifically for your elopement day! After your vows or letters have been read, turn around and show your partner how that made you feel.
  • Blindfold One Partner and Share a Prayer or Quiet Moment. Even when you have done away with tradition and chosen to elope, wedding days can sometimes still feel a bit stressful! With this type of first look, the two of you are able to forget all outside influence and really have some seconds to just exist together. Say a prayer or set an intention for your day, and then go forth – rejuvenated and excited for what is to come!
  • Prank First Look. Okay, this one is a really fun idea! Bonus points if you and your partner love to laugh and joke around together. Let’s get the two of you set up in a scenic area, just as we would for a traditional first look. If you have friends joining you, let’s switch things up! Have your bride’s maid of honor sneak up on the groom. Or maybe your best man holds a bouquet and pretends to be the bride. There are a ton of silly ways to get everyone laughing and ease some tension with a first look: prank style.
  • First Look with Parents. First looks aren’t just for the couple! If you are including loved ones in your Hawaii wedding or elopement, you can also include them in a first look. This is a very special moment to share, and always has me tearing up. Having the support of your parents on such an incredible day can mean the world. And being able to have a first look with your mom or dad really reflects that.
  • First Look with Bridesmaids/Groomsmen. Just like a first look with parents, surrounding yourself with those who love and care about you is so special. Your bridesmaids or groomsmen are usually just as excited as your partner is: seeing you ready for such a magical day.

There is no “one size fits all” approach to having a first look for your Hawaii wedding! Whether you write letters to one another, going the silly route of a prank, a romantic grounding moment with a prayer, or maybe you’re feelin’ classic, the right answer is what first look really speaks to what your relationship is all about.

June 14, 2022
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