This Kukio Beach elopement on Big Island was everything an elopement should be and so, SO much more. But I feel like you need some background on this wedding and this amazing couple to appreciate it in its entirety!

I met Jake forever ago. It seems like another lifetime – but to be real it was probably 20 years ago. We went to school together in our small town of Dexter, Michigan. A place where the first day of hunting season is a holiday and where the line for the Dairy Queen on opening day floods into the street. It really is an idyllic middle-America town with a river that runs through the outskirts of town and parks galore. Looking back on my childhood, it really was an awesome place to grow up. And since I only graduated with 200 other people, we all knew one another pretty well!

The Adventure begins…

One of my 2018 goals is to photograph a wedding on each island so not only did this check off my bucket list, but to do it for a friend made it SO much better. Right away Naomi and I started exchanging emails and we figured out the place, the time, and all the details.

Getting to Big Island was insane. I was set to leave Thursday night for a Friday evening wedding. The whole thing was a shit show, to be completely honest, so I won’t bore you with all the details. Here are the cliff notes:

Thursday thunderstorms, canceled flight, came back Friday, delay, delay, bird blood on plane, everyone off the plane, delay, delay, plane change….and I finally made it.

I also had my nine-month-old daughter with me as my husband was meeting me over there (he flew direct from O’ahu). So he got to have a guy’s night in by himself in our hotel room while I went home and unpacked with my nine-month-old in tow. Note to travelers: be sure that you’re on a JET during inter-island travel and NOT a prop plane.

I made it just in time…

But I made it with 2 hours to spare. It took me 19 hours to get to Big Island, but I would do it all over again to have been a part of their day. The storms from the day before gave us the coolest sky I have seen in a long time. The light was muted and the colors just popped.

I asked Jake and Naomi prior to their wedding day if they’d be willing to entertain a star shot for me. They were getting married on a New Moon and I knew that the stars would be out and I’ve always wanted to get a wide shot with the stars! Thankfully, they were willing and after dinner, around 10 PM, we drove out to Hawaii Kai, pulled off to the side of the road, and took in the brightest, the clearest sky I’ve ever seen.

Big Island wedding setup

wedding rings with ti leaf

wedding portraits at kukio beach

Big island elopement photographer


Four seasons at hualai - big island wedding

beach elopement in kona, hawaii

Big Island Elopement at Kuki'o Beach

Naomi and Jake: Thank you for choosing me to photograph your Kukio Beach Elopement. I know you could have chosen anyone and there are so many talented Big Island Photographers – I am truly humbled. The biggest congratulations to you both and Jake, keep an eye on your inbox for our next NKE order and GIF high-five!

Officiant: Larry Altshu of Vows in Hawaii | Haku: Hakus by Nicole

Planning a wedding on an island other than Maui?

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See more Hawaii Elopements HERE

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