Destination I Do
Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Real Catalina Island Elopement

Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Parallel33 Photography
Sometimes we get the special honor of hearing about a couple's day through their photographer or planner's eyes. It is always a treat because the perspective these vendors bring may help you (future destination wedding couples) to know your vendor's thought processes. With that, we will let Bree of Parallel33 Photography take it away with this beautiful elopement on Catalina Island!

"Betsy and Kazu met in college at the University of San Diego (but thanks to Tinder), then spent four years doing long-distance while she moved back to Indiana for nursing school. Finally, she decided enough is enough, and that she needed to move back to be with Kazu. In fact, the couple just bought a house and moved in together two weeks before they eloped!

Betsy and Kazu reached out to me a couple of weeks before they were planning on eloping on Catalina Island! They had a loose plan and a dream of eloping with just their closest people and having an adventure-filled day.

For those who don’t know, Santa Catalina Island is a tiny island just an hour offshore of LA/Orange County in California. It’s perfect for weekend getaways and unique weddings! Being a super adventurous person myself, and loving laid-back days like this, I was so excited! After doing a ton of research and dreaming of the perfect day, we came up with an awesome elopement plan.

Their day: First things first… We planned the day around their favorite things about the island. Betsy absolutely loved the nature and sunset vibes, and she adored the architecture unique to Avalon, the main “city” on the island.

They booked me for a 4-hour package, where we could go on real adventures and capture their love around the island without the stress of a strict timeline. They decided to get ready at their hotel (sentimental moments captured, of course) after a pizza lunch on the roof with family. We headed up top to the rooftop for some epic photos overlooking the city and the water! They stayed at Avalon hotel, and we highly recommend staying at a hotel with a roof so you can take amazing photos there.

We rented a golf cart (customary while on Catalina) and cruised around to capture the culture of the city! Without spoiling too many of my secrets and locations, we hit some main spots and some secret corners around Avalon like the Hotel St. Lauren, the Casino, and Main street. Betsy also brought a huge floppy hat to match the beach vacation vibes. Her mom also created a makeshift bouquet made with flowers from the Vons on the island! Although the island is small, there are ways to make it exactly like a normal wedding if you choose to! Then, when we were ready to get them hitched, we headed to a secluded viewpoint with the most gorgeous views of the city.

(Here’s a little tip: get married 1.5 hours before sunset for the perfect lighting like this during your ceremony!)

They celebrated a super quick ceremony and I took some photos with everyone there. Finally, we ended the day with some more photos down by the beach before I set back off to the mainland on the ferry. They celebrated into the night with their family at a restaurant and after-party on the hotel roof. Peep the moon over the water for a perfect end to a perfect day!"

A few notes from the couple: 

"A challenge was finding a professional photographer who lived on the island. Options were slim, so Betsy reached out to a photographer whose work she was admiring on Instagram, Bree Hulan. She loved to travel and she agreed to meet us out there on the day of. She was super easy to work with and made planning a breeze!

Proper prior planning was of the utmost importance as we couldn’t risk anyone missing a boat ride, especially since a lot of us were taking the last ride of the day. To help us get through it we recruited to the assistance of our guests and delegated tasks and made sure they communicated with us frequently. 

Having a small party made it very intimate. It took away the pressure of entertaining guests, making rounds to everyone and worrying about planning details!"

Vendors: Photography: Parallel33 Photography; Hotel Accommodations: Avalon Hotel; Bride's Hat: San Diego Hat Company; Florals: Vons Grocery; Wedding Submission Services: Published + Pretty

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