Intimate Big Island Wedding


August 26, 2020
Words by Katy Anderson
Photos courtesy of Aloha Zoe Photography

Surrounded by the glittering waters of Hawaii and their immediate family, Grace and Zachary’s exchange of vows under the Big Island sun was nothing short of intimate. It’s safe to say, their destination wedding turned out exactly how they envisioned.

“We wanted the spirit of Aloha, rich in Big Island vibes,” Grace says.

When Grace and Zachary told their 16 family members the plan to marry in Puako, they were ecstatic. A destination wedding in Hawaii meant a vacation for everyone.

“We had planted the seed a year leading up to it that we were going to do something a little less than conventional and intimate,” the bride says.

However, exchanging vows in Puako with their immediate families present was not the original plan. In fact, they’d started to make plans for a hometown wedding until their guest list added up to 400 people. Feeling overwhelmed, they began plans to host a more intimate wedding with immediate family only.

“It would have been a much bigger production and far less intimate if we got married on the Mainland,” the couple says.

The couple chose Puako because it was already a very special place for them. Zachary had lived on the Big Island, and Grace vacationed there with family and friends. The two even had their first vacation together as a couple on the Big Island. The bride and groom decided to plan the wedding themselves, after trying to find a good fit for an elopement planner, to no avail. Luckily, their planning was made easy thanks to vendors and people that were genuinely interested in creating their dream wedding.

“Thankfully, our Hawaiian vendors were well connected, knowledgeable, and responsive which made up for the lack thereof from the elopement planner,” Grace says. 

Grace and Zachary added numerous unique touches to their wedding that added another level of personalization and intimacy. Grace designed the invitations, programs and place cards herself, which were all printed by Zachary’s parents’ branding agency. The bride also curated the table settings, adding sweet, personal touches atop the single table their families gathered around. Included in the personal touches were framed photos of their parents’ and grandparents’ wedding pictures, upcycled coconut candles, healing crystals and stones and pineapples as place settings. The effect was vibrant, moving, and sentimental.

“We did not want to skimp on any detail,” Grace says, “So, we ended up putting money where we wanted, investing in quality over quantity.”

For Grace and Zachary, an intimate exchange of vows in Puako surrounded by their immediate families was a dream-come-true wedding. Although the rest of their friends and family were bummed to not be with the bride and groom on their special day, overall, they were happy for them. The couple plans on celebrating with more of their friends and family in the future.

“We are really excited to celebrate with mini receptions once the pandemic allows for safe get-togethers!” Grace says. “We plan on doing a West Coast, Midwest, and East Coast celebration tour.”


Vendors: Photographer: Aloha Zoe Photography; Florist: Grace Flowers Hawaii; Stationery: Meyer Bennett Creative; Cake: Puako Provisions; Gown Designer: Monique Lhuillier; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Suit Supply, J.Crew & Salvatore Ferragamo; Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Reformation; Caterer: Puako Provisions; Event Rental: Big Island Tents

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