Moving from Hawai'i to Utah in the last year has been a really difficult transition so when this awesome couple contacted me about flying back to the island to capture their wedding, I was ecstatic! It felt like a perfect match because they were also throwing a bigger reception in Utah a week after their ceremony and I got to be there to capture that as well. Woo!
You can never really know what Hawai'i is going to give you weather-wise so it was really fun to work with a couple that was ready to roll with whatever came along. We started off shooting their formals the day before their ceremony at Kahana Bay on the East Side of the island and finished up at Laniloa Beach in Laie (aka one of my favorite places in the whole world). The evening started off pretty sunny - which was great for lighting, but not so great when you're in wedding clothes - and stormy grey clouds rolled in right as we finished. Typical Hawai'i and perfect in every way!
The day of the wedding was gorgeous and HOT! Josh and Kelsey exited the temple greeted by both of their families and one of Kelsey's best friends that flew out for the event. It was an intimate moment that I'm so honored I got to be a part of. We took tons of family pictures on the temple grounds before just the three of us drove off to another bay to take some more formals by the banyan trees. If I had gotten married on island, this is for sure where we would have gone to take pictures. The air is still, which makes it muggy and a mosquito haven, but it feels a lot like Fern Gully and has such a magical feel to it. (Fun fact: it's also the first place where my husband told me he loved me. The story isn't as romantic as it sounds, but that is for a different time ;))
A week later, we all met up in the frozen tundra of Utah for the big reception!
Some of my favorite parts included a spontaneous hula from one of Josh's cousins (all the kids watched in awe, she was so graceful), a 90-something year old uncle who decided he wanted to sing a solo with the band (also spontaneous), and watching how carefree little kids are when they dance. They don't even care if there's music, they go hard!
While Kelsey and Josh were enjoying their first dance to the Hawaiian Wedding Song, Kelsey's niece ran onto the floor, asking to be picked up. The couple didn't even miss a beat; Josh picked her up and the three of them danced together!
Josh's side of the family is Maori from Aotearoa (better known as New Zealand), so when I heard that they were going to perform a haka for the new couple, I was ecstatic. Hakas have been commercialized in a lot of ways, but when performed properly, it's a deep profession of love and respect from one person to another. So of course, I got super emotional and had to take a moment to pull it together after watching Josh's father, brother, and extended family perform for them.