Destination I Do
Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Breathtaking Maui Elopement

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Karma Hill Photography Team

Alex and Carlos couldn’t have had a more pleasant wedding experience – because they knew what they wanted and went after it. Knowing what will make you and your soon-to-be spouse happy and executing it, despite potential external factors, isn’t as easy as it sounds. However, Alex and Carlos made it work and had a gorgeous Maui, Hawaii elopement as a result. 

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“Our families are spread throughout the United States, Canada and Spain, so any locale would require travel from our loved ones,” says the bride. “We went through multiple wedding ideas – Michigan, Mississippi, our current city in Texas and so many more – but none of them felt right. We kept coming back to our original idea of eloping in Hawaii. We both loved the idea of an intimate wedding in an exotic locale. After contacting Simple Maui Wedding and realizing how stress-free the process would be, we locked-in the venue.”

Thankfully, the couple was communicative with their family and friends from the moment they got engaged. Because of this, no one was surprised to learn of the couple’s plan to elope. “Our families had heard of our potential elopements plans throughout our entire four-year engagement,” explains Alex. “When it came time to finalize wedding plans, no one was surprised that we chose to go through with it. I was most nervous to tell my maternal grandparents that we were eloping. They responded beautifully and told me that I have to do what makes me happy. Telling everyone else after that was smooth sailing.”

Not only was it important for the couple to communicate with their loved ones, but also with each other. Alex and Carlos focused on making sure both their wants/needs were met throughout the planning process. “Carlos and I have both wanted to visit Hawaii for a long time,” explains the bride. “When we got engaged, we made a list of the most important aspects of the wedding for each of us. Topping both our lists were photography, exotic locale and a low-stress ceremony. I was most worried about finding a good photographer, since you can only rely on their online profiles for their quality of work. Another concern was having a Hawaiian wedding without the kitsch – no engraved Champagne glasses or cookie-cutter cake packages for us.” 

Thankfully, the couple’s top priority of a stress-free experience came to fruition – largely thanks to their wedding planner. “[Planning a destination wedding was] so much simpler than planning a traditional wedding,” says Alex. “Everyone told me that they would do an elopement if they had to get married again, simply because of the time, money and stress. When we started planning our wedding, we understood why!

“There are so many decisions to make that it was vital for my sanity to have a middle-man to handle it all. I basically told our planner what we wanted, sent some photo ideas for inspiration and she took care of the rest of it. The only thing I had to worry about was making an appointment for my hair and makeup, but the planner provided a list of great stylists, so half the work was already done. I truly can’t emphasize enough how stress-free my wedding planning was.”

After all was said and done, the couple estimates they spent about that same amount of money on their elopement as they might have on a hometown wedding. “We calculated how much it would be to host a wedding for our families,” explains the bride. “Once you include airfare and hotels for out-of-town guests, catering, venue charges, etc., the price was the same as our entire trip to Maui (flights, accommodations, activities) plus our wedding. It’s expensive to entertain 200 people from around the globe!”

Not only was the process of planning an elopement more streamlined, but it better suited the bride’s personality. “I wouldn’t have enjoyed [planning a traditional wedding]. I’m extremely type-A, so I know I would have stressed out about everything. We wouldn’t have had enough money to hire a planner if it was a local wedding because of all the extra costs, so the entire coordination would have been on me. I would have been a bridezilla and no one wants to see a Southern bridezilla come out in full force.”

It’s clear through the couple’s wedding photos that they achieved the unique, beautiful and stress-free elopement they had envisioned from the start. Alex has some words of advice for other brides planning a destination wedding or elopement. “Make a list of your top priorities and have your fiancé do so as well. Compare your answers to see what’s most important. I had no idea that an exotic locale was so important to my now-husband – he’s so easy going that I thought he had just agreed to my wants for the wedding. If we hadn’t made the list, I wouldn’t have known that we were on the exact same page as far as wants went. Sometimes it’s hard to communicate amidst the lists, ideas, books, magazines, etc., so writing things down can help you organize your thoughts and cut-down on stress.”

Vendors: Photographer: Karma Hill Photography Team, Wedding Planner: Simple Maui Wedding, Ceremony/Reception Site: Kukahiko Estate, Videography: All Time Media Maui, Florist: Dellables Wedding Florals & Design, Cake: Cake Fanatics, Hair & Makeup: Salon 253, Music: Maui Harps, Officiant: Reverend Valentine Tino Rosete, Gown Designer: Atelier De Couture by Jarka Kocanova (hand-sewn in Slovakia), Groom’s Clothing Designer: Satel’s in San Antonio, Texas (suit) & Speak Louder in Magala, Spain (custom bow tie)

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