Veterinary School

Horseback Hawaii Elopement


March 13, 2020
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Sam Starns

Many couples say the hardest part about choosing to elope is potentially upsetting friends and family. That’s why today’s couple’s dish could offer the perfect kind of advice for couples looking to do a destination elopement.

Deidra and Juan met while attending veterinary school abroad.  Traveling quickly became a shared interest.

With Juan’s family being in Puerto Rico and Atlanta and Deidra’s being in the Central Valley of California, the couple decided to skip the difficulty of trying to find a happy medium that would be fair for both families. Choosing to elope in Kauai, Hawaii wasn’t an easy decision, and it resulted in some hard conversations with disappointed friends and family. But, at the end of the day, an intimate ceremony in Kauai just made sense.

“Frankly, we chose a place pretty much based on a discount offered by our awesome photographer/planner/officiant (yeah, she’s kind of the whole package), and because it had all of the things we love (SCUBA diving, horseback riding, beautiful beaches, lush green landscape, hiking, etc.),” the couple says.

While the planning process was challenging for the couple in the sense that they couldn’t be certain what to expect, the bride Deidra also says that was part of the fun of it.  “Being that we eloped, and it was just the two of us, it was fairly easy planning.  We just had to worry about ourselves and planning what WE wanted to do,” the two say.

Finding vendors turned out to be a piece of wedding cake! The couple took to Facebook where they found their photographer/coordinator, Sam. Sam then referred them to several vendors who, in turn, referred another and so on. Worrying didn’t make the list of things to do for Deidra and Juan, especially because they wouldn’t have to get a large number of people to show up anywhere in the same place (and on time for that matter).

Plus, the couple could save some major cash while creating priceless, private wedding day memories. “Having something at home wouldn’t be very meaningful being where we live doesn’t hold much personal meaning other than it’s where we work. We don’t have any family in town, so if we had an at-home wedding, friends and family would have had to travel to us anyway (other than the friends we have made in town),” Deidra says.

After having a truly magical destination wedding experience, the couple advises others to embrace what YOU want and stand your ground on it.

“If that’s a giant Pinterest inspired glamorously decorated wedding, DO IT,” the couple says. “If you’d prefer to have something a little more intimate and adventurous, GO FOR IT.  You should be able to look back on your wedding with nostalgia, not regret.”

Vendors: Photographer/Coordinator: Sam Starns; Florist: Kealoha Flowers; Hair & Makeup: Kauai Wedding Hair; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Calvin Klein


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