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Big Island Adventure Elopement

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Laura and Chris had to pivot their plans during the pandemic and ended up having an incredible adventure elopement in Hawaii with a party back in Brooklyn with family and friends! They loved the experience of planning adventure activities rather than having to focus on seating charts or decor. They got some incredible photos and made wonderful memories just the two of them!
Big Island Adventure Elopement

Laura + Chris

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
- 01/04/2021
Total wedding budget $14,875

Budget Breakdown

Below is an estimated wedding budget breakdown provided by the couple.

  • Attire
  • Flowers
  • Photography
  • Catering
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Officiant
  • Miscellaneous
  • Transportation/Travel
  • Total wedding budget
Big Island Adventure Elopement
Big Island Adventure Elopement
Big Island Adventure Elopement

How did you meet?

We met through a mutual friend years before we started dating and lost touch, then reconnected through a dating app right around our 30th birthdays.

What is your proposal story?

Chris is an animation director and one night, in the throes of early 2020 quarantine, he asked me to watch something he had been working on. After watching several minutes of a real project he had in the works, the screen suddenly cut to black, and an animated version of the two of us appeared. In the animation, the two of us are dancing, and our clothes magically transform into wedding attire, ending with a message to walk into the living room.

In just the few minutes I had been watching the videos, Chris had transformed our living room to be completely candlelit and was waiting inside with the rung in his hand on one knee.

Big Island Adventure Elopement
bouquet and rings
Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement

Tell us about your attire choices.

I can’t recommend the brand Reformation for bridal wear enough – the designs are incredibly flattering, modern and well-made while also being priced perfectly for a small wedding or elopement (this is what I wore for the ceremony). I wore Loeffler Randall shoes and headband for the ceremony as well, which both felt elevated and perfect for a casual wedding.

Chris wore a Paul Smith suit for the ceremony, with a tie that had belonged to his Dad.

For the morning, I wore a traditional Hawaiian Haku, which is a bouquet worn on your head, designed by a local florist using only Big Island grown flowers. I wore a different dress in the morning so I’d be able to jump in the water at the end of our shoot.

Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement

What were your favorite parts of the day?

We absolutely loved everything about our wedding day! The locations could not have been more incredible and it truly felt like an adventure. For the first part of the day, we woke up super early to get ready for the sunrise hike – my absolutely amazing hair and makeup artist Kassi came to our hotel around 3:30 am so I was fully photo-ready heading into the day. The look was fairly natural but elevated so it wouldn’t look out of place in nature.

We drove about an hour to get to the sunrise hike location and then met Ryan and Corinne our photographers before hiking down a two-mile cultivated trail into a beachside valley. We packed our outfits into hiking backpacks and changed in a wooded area before coming out for photos. It was totally quiet, there were only one or two other people around. We spent a few hours taking pictures and hiking around the valley and at the very end, both jumped into the water. The waves were pretty rough that day but it was a perfect end to the morning.

We drove back to the Fairmont Orchid around 10:30 am, spent the afternoon relaxing, and had a zoom call with our families, finished writing our vows that we had both been putting off until the last minute, and then got ready for our sunset ceremony. Kassi came back to refresh my hair and makeup from the morning.

Ryan and Corinne met us back on the beach at the resort (so this was right at our hotel, no travel needed) and we had a short ceremony with traditional Hawaiian elements with local officiant Kahu Tom. After exchanging vows, we did a ‘first dance’ to Sam Cooke’s “Nothing Can Change This Love” just by ourselves on a secluded part of the beach and it was perfect!

The hotel events team put together a private dinner for us on the beach at the resort and we had an incredible oceanside dinner just the two of us as the sunset. It was an absolutely perfect day and we loved every minute of it! Though we would have loved for our immediate families to have been there under other circumstances, there were no other comprises we had to make at all and the day truly felt like it represented who we are.

Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement

Do you have any advice for couples planning their wedding now?

If you don’t love planning events, planning an adventure elopement is very different and honestly can be a lot more fun! You have an opportunity to really place the focus on how you spend the day and make everything activity-based – and much less (or not at all) on things like seating charts and decor. There is still a lot of planning involved, but we truly got to plan an adventure which was so much fun.

After the elopement, we ended up hosting a celebration party with our friends and family back in Brooklyn months later, and looking back this was an absolutely perfect way to get married. Our wedding day was truly a celebration of us and we got the chance to spend the whole day together doing things we love but were still able to celebrate with friends and family later. This wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the pandemic initially, but looking back on it I don’t think we would have done it any other way!

Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement
Hawaii elopement

Vendor Credits