Elopement/Real Weddings

Hawaiian Babymoon Turned Secret Elopement

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“A beach elopement just sounded too romantic to pass up.”

The inspiration for this breathtaking & intimate Hawaiian elopement came to Denise & Finn when planning their island babymoon. Being introverts, the two already had considered simple “I do’s” at San Francisco’s City Hall (which is absolutely beautiful in its own right!) so when the idea came to merge their babymoon with a secret elopement, it was kismet.

Their vows were gorgeous. The two exchanged their promises and leis in front of a awe-inspiring volcanic beach, then immediately ran into the ocean for the most romantic sunset portraits with Aloha Zoe Photography.

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Our Love Story

As many millennials today, Finn and I were matched on an online dating app. After chatting for a few days, he asked me out for coffee one Friday after work. We talked about the usual first date stuff; family, hobbies, work and such. At one point he said he had something important to tell me. I clutched my phone and braced myself for some bombshell as he said “I don’t drink alcohol”. I let out a sigh of relief, laughed and said, “Well, you’re in luck, because I’m allergic to alcohol”. We grinned at each other.

I was originally planning on meeting up with some friends after our coffee, but we had so much fun talking, when he asked if I wanted to get dinner, I quickly said yes and sent my friends an apologetic text. We then got ice cream after dinner.

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The Proposal

We spent most of the weekend with my family, with a cluster of celebrations for my niece and cousin’s birthdays. We got back to our home in San Francisco early enough on a Sunday that we walked to our favorite brunch spot after dropping off our bags.

After brunch, we took a very long walk through SF (over 4 miles) all the way to Golden Gate Park. We explored the outdoor exhibits at the de Young Museum and found ourselves on top of the waterfall on Strawberry Hill by late afternoon.

We were alone on top of the hill, and I was on my phone looking for bubble tea shops nearby when Finn got down on one knee, with the ring in his hand. He asked me to marry him and I said YES a flurry of shock, happiness and tears. We Facetimed our families after that and got some bubble tea to celebrate.

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The Destination & Planning

We eloped! Little did we know when Finn proposed, I was actually pregnant! We had planned a babymoon for late February and I asked Finn if he wanted to secretly elope while we were there. We originally thought about doing a small ceremony in San Francisco at City Hall, but the idea of a beach elopement just sounded too romantic to pass up. Luckily, The Fairmont Orchid offered amazing, last-minute elopement packages. We wanted a short and sweet ceremony at sunset, and they helped put together a beautiful ceremony and celebration dinner for us.

We’re both very introverted, so our priority with planning our wedding was just celebrating our commitment to each other. We wanted something sweet and intimate, which was much easier to achieve when we decided to elope. While we did miss having our families and friends there, we know we made the right decision for us and our growing little family.

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The Dress & Attire

Finn had a great linen suit that he wore, that was perfect for the setting. I was visibly pregnant, so I wanted a gown that was comfortable and easy to move around in, but still airy and romantic.

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The Photography

We definitely wanted to splurge on our photographer, opting not to go with the one recommended by our hotel. We wanted to work with photographers that we felt a connection with, that would help us create unique, beautiful memories and capture a story that we could share with our friends and family.

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Photo by Aloha Zoe Photography via Bridal Musings
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Favorite Moments

Jumping in the water immediately after our ceremony was something we’ll never forget. Our ceremony was at sunset, so immediately after our 15-minute ceremony, Finn and I, along with our photographers, Corinne and Ryan Priest of Aloha Zoe Photography, ran to the other end of the resort to wade into the lagoon for a last set of shots. It was warm that day, and we spent a few hours in the sun taking photos, so the water felt SO refreshing. We ended up drawing a bit of a crowd as hotel guests watched us from their balconies. We loved all the photos they took, but the set of photos from that part of the day were just unreal.

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