Beach Ceremony Wedding Photo of bride and groom clasping hands during traditional Hawaiian ceremony

Kapalua Bay, Maui Wedding Photographer | bride and groom clasp hands during their traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony
Image Location: 
Kapalua Bay. West Maui. Hawaii

The bride and groom clasp hands during their traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony, which took place on a beach in Maui. Officiant Kahu Kale Kaalekahi offers a blessing as the sun begins to set on the Pacific Ocean.

I first met Dan and Christine at a cafe in San Francisco. Sipping pour-over coffees they told me about their plans to elope on a quiet beach in Maui, Hawaii. Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, Christine turned to me and explained, “We really want a photographer who can capture genuine moments so that we can remember what it felt like to be there and so we can share the photo story with our families.” 

This was music to my ears. I knew right away after meeting Dan and Christine that we were a really great match both aesthetically and with our personalities. And who doesn’t love the idea of a beach wedding in Hawaii?! Over the next couple of months, we did some preplanning which included deciding on the beach location also connecting with the right officiant. 

I flew from my home in Oakland, California to Maui a few days early to scout the location for the ceremony and also to scout some additional adventure portrait spots. The ceremony was very intimate. It was Dan and Christine, the officiant, and myself. That meant I also had to serve as the witness. 

It was a traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremony. We gathered on the beach at Kapalua Bay in West Maui a few minutes before sunset. Kahu Kale Kaalekahi, the officiant, began by offering a blessing and the Oli Aloha Chat. This rhythmic chant was meant to prepare the space for the ceremony and to welcome us to that point in space and time. It also serves as a call to the divine to usher in “mana” or energy.  

Dan and Christine also exchanged leis that were blessed by Kahu. The leis are garlands made from local Hawaiian flowers and they symbolize love and aloha. The leis also represent the intertwining of the couple’s new life together. 

Following the exchange of leis and rings, Kahu finished the ceremony with the Blowing of the Pū, a musical instrument made out of a conch shell. This is a sacred tradition in Hawaiian culture that signifies the sealing of the marriage vows and coincided with the couple’s kiss. 

Sunsets always seem so beautiful in Hawaii. But the sunset on this day felt especially gorgeous. I certainly felt the mana and the aloha. It was a great adventure and a real honor to document this elopement photo story on the beach in West Maui.