Maui Elopement in Haleakala’s Crater

This was one of those weekends that I will never, ever, as long as I live.

I had just finished up with a workshop in Arizona and was currently visiting my family in Michigan when called my husband and he told me the plan. Only a few other folks knew about it and it was going to take place the weekend after I got home. My last trip into the crater wasn’t enjoyable for me (later I found out my iron was low, which is why I had such a difficult time breathing), but the thought of missing out on my friend’s wedding was out of the question.

Max and Mel both came to Maui to forge a new beginning for themselves. They had both been in other relationships that had come to a screeching halt and Maui offered the peace and solace that they both needed to repair themselves and move forward. They met through our paddling club within Mel’s first month living on Maui and their relationship quickly ignited through paddling together, karaoke after parties, and the amazing adventures Maui had to offer. And when they thought about where they wanted to make official what they already knew in their hearts, they knew that Haleakala was the place they wanted to do it.

Friday night, my husband Anthony, our friend Joe, and I started our descent into the crater. We got a late start and began hiking about two hours before sundown. We had 10 miles to go and ended up doing the last 5 miles or so in pitch-black darkness.

When we arrived at Paliku Cabin around 10:30 PM where we were met by Max and Mel and a warm cabin (and dinner) waiting for us. The weekend had begun.

The next day, Rikki, Stephan, and Mike arrived and we began preparations. They had hiked in a cake, a disco ball, fake flowers for the bouquet and boutonniere, and various decorations for the “reception” afterward.

Before the ceremony, we did some location scouting and thought that the field outside of Paliku was the right way to go. Wide open vistas, dramatic cliffs, and clouds lazily drifting through the crevices made the scene look ethereal and definitely not like the typical “Maui”.

Maui Elopement in Haleakala’s Crater

When the time came, Max put on his dress shirt and maile lei, Mel put on her amazing lace dress made by Jen’s Pirate Booty and her haku made of ti leaves and we set out to the field where they would make their marriage official.

As they said their vows, the clouds rolled down into the field and encompassed all of us. The energy felt in that field was unlike anything I have felt before. We all were incorporated somehow into the ceremony. After the vows were done and they were pronounced man and wife, I took them to do their romantics in the surrounding area while the rest of the crew went back to the cabin to prepare.

Max and Mel had no idea that Rikki, Mike, and Stephan had packed in the cake and all the decorations (even a bottle of champagne). And let me tell you, hiking 10 miles with that stuff is no small feat. When we were done, I cued their grand entrance – they were so surprised.

We spent the rest of the evening celebrating by incorporating old wedding traditions with some new ones of our own. The last photo of the evening is one of my favorites.

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Max and Mel – You know I wouldn’t have hiked the crater again if it wasn’t for your wedding. The truth is that I feel so honored to have been a part of this celebration of love. It’s not often that you find two people who are so well suited for one another. What a privilege it is to call you both my friends. Welcome to the marrieds club you two!

PS – I tried my hand at videography for the first time. If you’re interested, check it out below!

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