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Marssi & Dane’s Hawaii Elopement
Like so many other couples in 2020, Marssi and Dane had to reschedule their original wedding plans in exchange for something that aligned with current travel restrictions. Thankfully for them, we managed to get flights to Kauai during the short window of time the island was open to visitors—it may not have been their initial plan, but it was still a gorgeous tropical Hawaii elopement!
Each state had different travel restrictions in 2020—of all the places I traveled for elopements, I think Hawaii was the most strict. We each needed to get negative COVID-19 tests within 72 hours of traveling, and thankfully the results came back just in time for our flights. Hawaii was Plan C for Marrsi and Dane—their original plan was to elope in Bali. When it began to look like the island would close to international travelers, we started planning for Thailand instead. But then that plan was derailed when it became clear this pandemic wasn’t going away any time soon. I’ll forever be in awe of how flexible our couples were last year!
The morning of their Hawaii elopement, we met before sunrise. Marssi was getting her hair and makeup done at their Airbnb. From there, we headed to a secluded local spot aptly named Secret Beach. The trail down to the shore is, like so many other Hawaii gems, unmarked. The hike isn’t long, but it is steep—we relied on the exposed roots to keep us from slipping on the muddy hillside.
We found the beach deserted at this early hour. The only sign of other visitors was a tent perched on the cliffside, and the person inside waved upon emerging later to see a couple getting married not far from their chosen campsite. When I’d scoped out the location the day before, only a few local surfers were on the beach—I had high hopes Marssi and Dane would have the place to themselves this day.
With the sun still making its way above the horizon, we set up a spot for them to enjoy a breakfast picnic of fresh local juice and croissants. During breakfast Marssi and Dane read emotional letters from their friends and family members who couldn’t be there. But then, about 20 minutes into their quiet morning, a sneaker wave swept up and grabbed their things! I was standing a little ways away taking photos from afar, so I couldn’t help—Dane jumped into action to grab the blanket before it was swept away.
It was a beautiful sunrise and quiet morning—the waves were crashing against the rocks, and they chose a location above the white water to have their ceremony. Dane wore a lei he picked up from a local florist, and Marssi wore a gorgeous flower crown. After their sweet ceremony, they had an emotional moment of Dane releasing some of his father’s ashes into the ocean. Marssi never had the opportunity to meet Dane’s father, so it was a beautiful way of incorporating the memory of someone who was deeply loved and missed.
Afterward, we hiked back up to the trailhead. Marssi was over wearing a wedding dress at this point, so she dressed back into casual clothes and we all hiked out to a ridge view. They packed along a local beer for the walk, and after the muddy trek they rinsed the dirt off in a creek. It was midmorning by now, and we planned to meet back up at sunset at another beach.
Unpredictable Hawaiian Weather
Something remarkable about this day was the weather—it rained a lot, but never really when we were outside. Each time the skies opened, we just happened to be indoors or had stepped undercover. It was pouring when they were getting ready early in the day, midday when we took a break, and even when we stopped at a food truck between the first beach and the hike. We stepped under an overhang just as the rain came down hard.
When we met back up at the second beach for sunset, it was a little busier. Locals were out on the beach grilling, but it still wasn’t packed by any means. We walked out into a pier jutting out over the ocean and watched a couple sea turtles swimming around. As it began to get darker, we strung up some lights and took more photos.
Finally, our luck with the weather ran out. It began pouring rain again, and this time we got into their car to hide from the weather and sign their marriage certificate. After this we parted ways, but Marssi and Dane remained in Kauai for another couple weeks to drive around, and go hiking and camping out of their car.
Want to see images from another Kauai wedding? Check out this hiking elopement!
Check out our current travel schedule if you want to book a Hawaii elopement, at least one of us visits the islands each year!
Ready to plan your own Hawaii elopement?