Courtney and Greg wanted something chill and different, because a big wedding just didn’t feel like their thing. During our call together, they began to describe where their dream elopement would be in Kauai. I asked if they were near a computer, because I had the perfect Kauai elopement spot for them! Once they saw the location, they were immediately blown away.
“As soon as you matched us with that, we felt seen and like you would be the perfect fit to capture our wedding day!” Courtney said. That is a big part of why being an elopement photographer in Hawaii is so rewarding. I love being able to match couples with locations that resonate with them. Whether you are thinking of eloping in Maui, having an elopement in Oahu, eloping on The Big Island, or a Kauai elopement like Courtney and Greg — it’s such an honor to be able to pair you two with your perfect ceremony location!
When I met Courtney and Greg on the morning of their tropical elopement, they were in their robes. They made coffee, because that’s something they love doing together every morning. The two of them also love hiking, and wanted to include that in their elopement. I felt so honored to have been able to capture every aspect of their elopement day.
After their hike, we got lunch in Hanapepe, which served as the town inspiration for Lilo and Stitch. Japanese Grandma’s Cafe served as the lunch spot, with tasty poke bowls and sushi – perfect for post-hike fuel and pre-wedding grub!
It was then time for Greg and Courtney to get ready for their Kauai elopement. They got ready at my favorite getting-ready location, available in my client portal (an exclusive resource for my clients filled with accommodation options, best places to dine, and activities to try when you visit Hawai’i!). Courtney had her hair and makeup done by Bridal Kauai, but she didn’t get changed into her dress until we got to the location. And getting to their Kauai elopement spot required some off-roading!
I got to work with one of my fave officiants in Hawaii, Kahu Ai, who makes it a point to really connect with his couples. He guides couples through their ceremony in a way that is respectful and honors the land, while being personable and genuinely caring about them and their story.
After their ceremony, they watched the sunset together and closed out the day with a bottle of champagne. Having an all day elopement doesn’t mean you have to be in your wedding attire for the entire day! It can be a great way to honor your favorite things to do together, and document memories of your trip to Hawaii.
Beach elopements on The Big Island of Hawaii are classic for a reason, but this doesn’t mean that they are ever ordinary. Each Hawaii beach wedding that I have the privilege of documenting is unique and beautiful, just like Anahi and Seth’s tropical Hawaiian elopement in the sand.
Since Hawaii is a popular wedding destination, it made sense for us to get to Anahi and Seth’s ceremony site early because it can get crowded! Anahi and Seth had two of their close friends join them for their beach wedding. Making your marriage legal in Hawaii requires an officiant, and one of their friends was happy to do the honors!
Mid-ceremony, the sun began to rise: giving Anahi and Seth a moment to gaze over the ocean. Anahi held her bouquet that she made herself, using flowers from the local farmer’s market here in Hawaii. The spot these two picked out for their ceremony was adorned with gorgeous lava rock, trees, and black sand that made this feel so quintessentially Hawaiian. Anahi and Seth knew that they wanted both a Hawaii beach backdrop and jungle vibes for their elopement. After the ceremony, we adventured around the area and I showed them to all of my fave spots (including a really cool road lined with trees!). Our last spot during their Hawaii elopement? The Tin Shack Bakery, located in Pahoa. There, they enjoyed smoothies and breakfast with their two friends and celebrated their Big Island wedding day.
This was a very special intimate wedding of two friends of mine – Nicolle and Paiden. These two are a little more on the introverted side, so making sure that they felt comfortable with their photographer was important to them!
Getting along with the vendors for your wedding matters. This is because weddings are such an intimate and heartfelt event, you want to be 100% certain that you are on the same page as your photographer!
Nicolle and Paiden’s Kona wedding venue was really special to them because they were allowed to have their ceremony on the land that they used to tend to. Paiden had an amazing vision for their day! These two brought in the community they had built through all of their friends to help make their intimate Hawaii wedding vision a reality.
I arrived for getting ready photos at their venue in Kona, and definitely recommend allotting extra time for that. Taking time to have some “getting ready” photos can be an intimate part of the day before the festivities. Paiden and Nicolle got ready together, but were able to surprise each other with the finishing touches as an organic “first look”.
Imparting personal style is so much fun, and these two started by wearing vintage dresses. They both wore Doc Martens to really bring in their own flair! Paiden dabbles in macrame craft that they included during their day, along with a macrame necklace using feathers that Nicolle found. Nicolle and Paiden on the hairpiece and adornments, making these accessories even more special.
After their first look, we roamed around the gardens for fun photos, then I helped them connect for more intimate poses. Then they went to ground themselves for a few before the ceremony.
I am still blown away at the personal touches that all of their friends and loved ones were able to include to really come together for Paiden and Nicolle’s Kona elopement. From farm to table catering thanks to the land of the venue, one of their friends did a live painting of them, another friend did florals, and another friend played flute during the ceremony. So many of their friends stepped up to support them, because they are such lovely people. Even their moms did the charcuterie!
Once their romantic ceremony was finished, it was time for dinner and speeches. The speeches giving at their Hawaii wedding were some of the most incredible speeches I have ever heard, and builds on the theme that their whole community showed up for them on their wedding day!
Outfit changes came next, for fun photos in their new outfits! After Nicolle and Paiden cut their cake, they had a sound bath that included a fire lighting ceremony with sound healing – representative of their relationship because they have done a lot of growth and healing together. This was the perfect way to wind down after such a fun-filled day.
M and J hail from Canada, where they were in a long distance relationship prior to getting married. I always have such a soft spot in my heart for couples who are able to do long distance. That can take a good deal of patience and is not for everyone! Fortunately, M and J conquered long distance, getting engaged and planning their adventure elopement in Hawaii.
A few days before M and J were scheduled to land in Hawaii, I received a frantic text from them. Their flight to Vancouver got cancelled, which meant they couldn’t make their connecting flight to Kona. There were no more flights to Vancouver for 2 days! Luckily, friendship prevailed: their friends said they could use their car and just GO. They drove through the Rockies, over 700 miles, in the hopes of making an alternate flight they had booked!
M and J didn’t just conquer a long distance relationship but also a sketchy drive with lots of snow, because they were determined. Amazingly, they made it to their gate in Vancouver with 5 minutes to spare! They were soon on their way to Hawaii for their elopement.
On their elopement day, we started in Kona. They wanted greenery as a backdrop for their Hawaii elopement, and weren’t picky for other specific locations. I volunteered my backyard as their ceremony location!
We met up at my house and went straight into the ceremony. Just because we aren’t at a wedding venue doesn’t mean you can’t have a song: M and J brought a speaker to play their favorite music. The ceremony was officiated by Liz, AKA the Big Island Elopement Officiant.
After their ceremony, we took some photos there in my backyard. At first, I was nervous because we normally get overcast skies and afternoon showers, but that day it was super bright and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! Even though I prefer overcast skies, I really like how the light turned out for these images. We took to the beach after: scouting elopement locations in Hawaii is my favorite, and I know this secret and secluded cove.
Don’t forget to eat during the busyness of your elopement day! M and J had an adorable picnic thanks to 808 Picnics. The food was provided by Community Eats: she does it out of her home, and you can really feel the love put into each of her dishes with amazing presentation. On your elopement day, you can have everything from salads, to tacos, to charcuterie boards for afternoon munching. Check out my article where I cover all of the tastiest places to eat in Hawaii!
One of M and J’s friends who couldn’t attend asked me to get them a bottle of champagne, which I surprised them with. After their picnic, they called family and friends via Facetime with exciting news: “Guess what, we got married!”
During that time, I wanted to give them a lot of space to have those moments with their loved ones. My goals is to be able to give you that intimacy by working in the periphery.
Their Hawaii elopement had no shortage of dramatic shots, because at the end of their day it started pouring! At first it was sprinkling so we kept shooting, but as soon as we got back to the car it started pouring.
Wai means water in Hawaii. Good omen. “Waiwai” means wealth. When it rains at the end of your wedding day, it feels like the best sign!
I have many resources for my couples who are thinking about eloping in Hawaii, eloping in Oahu, eloping in Maui, or eloping in Kauai! Anywhere from where to eat, what to pack for your Hawaii elopement, and more.
This Hawaiian elopement had it all: tropical vibes, the beach, an adorable picnic, and rain for good luck! Let’s chat and make your Hawaii elopement dreams come true.
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?
Hawaii is such a tropical paradise. Because of this, Hawaii has no shortage of stunning waterfalls that make the perfect backdrop for an elopement! A Hawaii waterfall elopement is hard to beat. Sarah and Josh agreed! They wanted to have a black sand beach elopement near Hilo, complete with rappelling down a waterfall.
It’s so rewarding when a couple chooses to have a day that really speaks to who they are! Sarah and Josh were drawn to Hilo because of its jungles and beauty. It also helped that Sarah performed in the Merrie Monarch Festival near Hilo as a hula dancer!
Josh and Sarah had been together for 11 years, but inquired for their elopement only about a month out. They were a little nervous about putting together an incredible elopement day with such short notice, but this is where I am here to help! I want to assist in getting all of the planning portions of your day taken care of, so that you can have a totally epic elopement experience here in Hawaii.
Sarah and Josh were to have a bigger wedding in Mexico, but the paperwork was a little complicated. Because they wanted their family to be a part of their wedding day, they decided to take a “best of both worlds” approach. They eloped in Hawaii at a black sand beach, rappelling off a cliffside – something adventurous and fun! A few months later, they will have their Mexico wedding with friends and family by their side.
After their sunrise ceremony at one of Hawaii’s stunning black sand beaches, we explored and then took a breakfast break. (But not before we were starstruck by seeing legendary Hawaiian surfer Cliff Kapono out on the waves!) Then we headed to the waterfall! We hired Eric from Island Mountain Guides as the rappelling guide for this unforgettable adventure. If booking vendors seems stressful, I’ve got you covered. I can take care of those parts of your elopement day for you, no worries!
After tons of fun capturing their waterfall rappelling adventure with my videographer pal Sea The Light, Josh and Sarah had an outfit change for a Trash the Dress session. The end of your elopement day is yours to just be playful and have a good time!
Officiant: Kahu Tom
Hair/Makeup: Beauty by Charisse Grace
Florals: Wildblooms Hawaii
Rappelling Guide: Island Mountain Guides
Waterfall Location: The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls
Trash the Dress Outfit: Lulus
This intimate Kauai wedding was originally planned and organized by the incredible photography team at Eternal Tides Photography.
When things don’t go according to plan for my couples, my job is to always make sure that I go above and beyond. Planning a wedding is stressful! If I can help relieve some stress, that is everything to me.
Jessica and Brendan had booked Eternal Tides Photography for their wedding in Kauai. Unfortunately, the team at Eternal Ties got COVID! As a last minute pivot, I was able to cover for them. Jessica, Brendan, and I ended up having a lot in common!
Jessica and Brendan are from Canada where most of my extended family lives. Their family friends own a beachfront house in Anahola, Kauai, which Jessica and Brendan were able to visit right before the pandemic. They were engaged during the pandemic, and had their hearts set on getting married in this gorgeous place once it was safe enough. With their immediate family and closest friends in attendance, this beachfront Kauai wedding was wonderfully intimate.
The team at Eternal Tides planned an incredible day for Jessica and Brendan starting with a heartfelt first look with Jessica and her dad prior to the ceremony, which was such a special moment! When their ceremony took place, Jessica’s dad was able to officiate, too. After vows were exchanged, it was time for champagne and mingling!
Jessica and Brendan then wanted to head to another spot for photos, just the two of them. It’s about a 45 minute drive to the North Shore! We set off to Hanalei Bay, and the Hāʻena area.
Jessica and Brendan wanted to do something fun on the way to our photo location. Having a fun Hawaii snack was on their minds! At first, Hawaii had other plans.
The first fruit stand we made it to was closed, as well as the second. It started to rain in Hanalei Bay, making the shaved ice stand closed, too! We decided to head to the next town, searching for their Hawaiian snack. The general store in this location had closed early, to enjoy the sunset. This is part of the beauty and wonderful culture of Hawaii! Sometimes, you have to be prepared for “island time”. “Island time” means that people are more laidback, go with the flow, in no rush, and stay in the present. We all need a dose of that from time to time!
When we pulled up to the beach parking lot, our jaws dropped when we saw a red truck filled with coconuts! We couldn’t believe it! Fresh coconuts were waiting for Jessica and Brendan! The two of them had coconuts cut fresh for them, complete with straws. I firmly believe that the Hawaiian Islands look out for you on special days. And this is an example!
Makua/Tunnels Beach was our last stop for photos. Locals ask that you not have wedding ceremonies at this location, due to its sacred nature. But this is a great location to enjoy and take a few photos while also being respectful. We were blessed with an awesome sunset at Makua/Tunnels, too!
We headed back to the Kauai beach house for their reception. This is where going above and beyond really plays a role with what I’m about. Jessica and Brendan’s wedding coverage was originally going to end sooner, but when they asked if I could capture their first dance, both myself and the Eternal Tides team agreed! We wanted to make sure that they had all of the events of their wedding day captured and thought this would be a great way to thank them for being so flexible! I was honored to be able to let them know I’d document their first dance.
There were torches set up around the dancing area, giving a dim atmosphere. Earlier that day, Jessica and Brendan had asked me if the torches were enough for lighting. I mentioned that it would probably be better for them if we brought in a few additional light sources, just in case.
Remember when we were exploring around the North Shore, looking for fruit stands and taking photos in the beautiful Kauai scenery? During that time, their loved ones hit up a Costco and set up more lighting for them to dance under. Isn’t that sweet?
Jessica and Brendan enjoyed a first dance together, along with parent dances. They would then spend the next few days honeymooning in Maui, and doing a catamaran tour on the Nā-Pali coast. I recommend everyone do that at least once! Such a fun Hawaii honeymoon experience. I’m also so excited to start offering honeymoon photos, since a lot of couples choose to honeymoon in Hawaii! Your Hawaii elopement or wedding coverage doesn’t have to end on your wedding day! You can have your honeymoon adventure documented too. Each moment you spend together is worth it!
Thank you Jessica and Brendan for being so go with the flow, for trusting me to capture your day, and for the amazing lasagne! & a special shoutout to Eternal Tides Photography for planning such a wonderful itinerary for this incredible couple!
Hair and Makeup: The Artists Co.
Dress: David’s Bridal
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!
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
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
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
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!
Amber and Ronnie came all the way from California to get married in Hawaii! This Big Island wedding was such a special event.
Both Amber and Ronnie stayed at the Wyndham in Kona, where they got ready on the morning of their big day. Their first look was so cool! They didn’t want to see each other before their wedding ceremony, so they stood back to back to share a moment together. Holding hands, the two of them read letters to each other. After this emotional first look, it was time for their wedding ceremony!
Amber and Ronnie got married at an oceanside church called Living Stones Church in Kona, HI. With their dog Blue acting as the ring bearer, their ceremony began.
Pastor Andrew was awesome. You could really tell he cared about the two of them, and kept them calm with a good sense of humor. Their wedding ceremony was lighthearted yet still intentional and emotional!
After their wedding ceremony, everyone headed to Papa Kona for the reception!
Papa Kona has amazing food, and views of Kailua Bay in Kona because it’s located upstairs.
I love this venue – you can get married at Papa Kona, or just have your reception there like Amber and Ronnie did! Papa Kona’s team makes wedding planning a breeze with their on-site event coordinator and custom packages to fit your vision of your Hawaii wedding.
Amber and Ronnie had so many heartfelt touches within their Kona wedding day. Amber’s bouquet was decorated with a keychain to honor her father, and they had a lei throwing ceremony to commemorate loved ones who passed.
For their guest book, they had resin ocean art with beach sand and waves! What a neat way to commemorate a wedding that took place in Hawaii.
Officiant: Andrew West (Living Stones Church, Associate Pastor)
Cake: Papa Kona
Hair and Makeup: Indigo Grace
Catering: Papa Kona
Florals: Grace’s Flowers
Wedding Dress: Calla Blance
Justine has had a huge impact on my life! Justine used to be my life coach, and helped me realize that my passion is in photography. Justine gave me the mindset shift to focus on how much I love being a photographer! I look up to her so much, so it was extremely special to me to be able to shoot her Oregon wedding!
Justine and Kyle’s wedding took place in a quaint farm in Sisters, Oregon. Justine’s family is from France, while Kyle’s family came all the way from New Zealand! It was awesome seeing a gathering of people from all over the world in one place, to celebrate Justine and Kyle.
Kyle’s vows to Justine were beautiful, you could see that their friendship was the foundation of their relationship. With Mount Jefferson in the background, their reception took place at the farm’s gardens with bountiful flowers and veggies. All of their food was local and prepared onsite, which is an amazing way to strive for sustainability! After Justine and Kyle’s gorgeous wedding ceremony in Sisters, we did a mini branding session as a “thank you”: things really felt like they came full circle. I feel so honored to have been able to document Justine’s wedding, when she gave me a helping hand in realizing my dreams!
Exploring around Central Oregon would then find me at Sisters Coffee Company, editing. Chai tea latte in hand, there is something so nostalgic about the space. I really fell in love with the whole town, and there are so many things to do in the area.
THINGS TO DO NEAR SISTERS, OR:
-Explore Smith Rock State Park
-Foodie adventures in Bend, Oregon. Places like Jacksons Corner for a yummy breakfast!
–Bend Whitewater Park. This spot reminds me of Hawaii! There is a section of river that creates surfing waves, so fun!
-Hike around Deschutes National Forest
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Justine’s Branding Session:
Officiant/Planner: Weddings with Heart
Venue: Rainshadow Organics
Coffee Shop: Sisters Coffee Company