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  • Writer's pictureRachel Crane

Julia & RJ ~ Hanalei Bay, Kauai Elopement

Julia & RJ celebrated 8 years of loving each other with an intimate Kauai Elopement in Hanalei Bay. They met in High school, saw each other through college & after four years of living together decided it was the right time to get married. I met up with them at their Princeville vacation rental where they were getting ready for their Kauai elopement ceremony. We took a few getting ready photos & then headed down to the cliffside lawn on the property for a private first look & vow exchange before heading down to Hanalei Bay for their ceremony.

They wanted to do a first look & exchange vows privately before the ceremony. We chose a special spot on the property where they were staying. It was a cliff top lawn overlooking the ocean. RJ head down to the location first. He was waiting for Julia facing the ocean, so he couldn't see her as she arrived. We had her tap him on the shoulder, so he could turn around & experience seeing his beautiful bride in her dress.

After their emotional first look they exchanged their hand written vows for each other. Having little books to write your vows in is such a nice touch.

After their private vows we drove separately down to the ceremony site in Hanalei Bay where the officiant Kelvin Ho was waiting onsite. Molly from North Shore Buds & Blooms had come down earlier in the afternoon & created a stunning tropical floral circle in the sand for their ceremony.

The floral circle was so bright & colorful, with lots of tropical foliage & flowers, it created such a lovely intentional space for them to get married within.

RJ was waiting at the floral circle for Julia as she made an entrance.

As the ceremony began Kelvin Ho invited deep presence with attention to the breath & acknowledging the power of the land & ancestors of these lands through chanting & prayer. He brings so much reverence & heart centered attention to each part of the ceremony. He guided Julia & RJ through a sacred water ceremony involving the washing of their own & each others hands. Signifying the letting go of any old or stagnant energies, purifying & starting your marriage fresh & renewed. They exchanged fresh flower & Ti leaf leis & rings. In Hawaiian culture, the lei is a physical representation & a gesture of Aloha (love).

After a ring blessing & exchange Kelvin Ho placed ti leaves over the couples hands as they are in a position called honi ihu. Belly to belly, nose to nose & forehead to forehead. With deep connected breaths together. Kelvin chanted a blessing & prayer in Hawaiian as he walked around them scattering very special local salt from salt ponds with each step. Blessing & purifying & protecting the marriage.

After that powerful part of the ceremony Kelvin picked up the coconut he had brought off the altar & his stone tool for opening it up. In hawaiian culture the coconut is known as the tree of life. As it gives so much to the people, coconut water, coconut meat, fibers & frond for weaving, shell for making instruments & drinking vessels etc... He cracked it open with his solid tool & offered it to the couple. Acknowledging their ancestors they poured some coconut water out towards the directions of the mountains (mauka) & towards the direction of the ocean (makai).

Before offering some of the water to each other to drink & enjoy.

They wrapped up the ceremony with a big kiss as they celebrate entering this new chapter as husband & wife!!!!!

They exited the circle & did the legal signing right there in the beach, which the officiant then submits to the state to legally register the marriage.

After the ceremony we put on some music so they could have a dance & take a walk on the beach. We took some portraits & documented the evening as they celebrated being newly wed. It rained a little, with is considered a Hawaiian blessing on your wedding day. That didn't stop Julia & RJ from having a super fun & romantic evening in the bay.

After their dance & walk on the beach we took some bride & groom portraits & then we changed locations & drove to the Hanalei Pier.

The evening was pretty moody at the pier with some big storm clouds hanging around the mountains. One thing about a stormy evening at the pier is there was no one else there. Julia & RJ had a walk on the pier & a little dance on the beach before heading out to a nice dinner to celebrate together.

I am so grateful to the incredible team who made this day happen so seamlessly.

Huge congratulations to Julia & RJ on their beautiful union!!!!!!

Elopement planner & coordinator:

Hailey & Jessica at Kauai Elopement



Molly at North Shore Buds & Blooms


Wildflower Bridal

Zane Persaud

Much love & happy planning!!!

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