Destination Weddings/Elopement

Korean Culture Meets The Hawaiian Islands For This Stunning Elopement

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 12

My favorite island of Hawaii? The Big Island. And while most of our Hawaiian weddings & elopements seem to take place on Maui or Oahu, today’s is a little treat from my favorite place in the middle of the Pacific.

“Organic, surprising & unconventional”, Jean & Bryan let go of their original wedding plans due to Covid-19 and let their breathtaking Hawaiian nuptials naturally occur. One thing you can count on in the islands: unending natural beauty & a relaxed way of things.

Pivoting to an intimate ceremony on the islands (and reception someday later to come) Jean & Bryan incorporated both their shared Korean heritage & local Hawaiian tradition. Wearing beautiful handmade Korean hanboks, they brought their families’ culture to Hawaii. And, making the most of their chosen destination, their ceremony – performed by a Hawaiian priest – featured cultural traditions of The Islands, including a beautiful lei exchange.

Looking for a gorgeous Korean wedding dress? Shop our curated selection of modern bridal hanboks.

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 17
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 48

Our Love Story

Jean and Bryan happened to meet through a mutual friend on her birthday weekend at a club in DC called, we kid you not, Love. They introduced themselves and had fun, but didn’t really connect until Jean happened to transfer to Bryan’s college a semester later where they became good friends.

Jean would invite friends over and feed her guests whatever experimental creations she would cook up in her kitchen. Usually, some kind of “gourmet” egg sandwich: over easy egg, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, toasted bagel, or some variation of that! Guess food really is the way to a man’s heart because they ended up dating for 5 months. They broke up, but reconnected 7 years later.

Funny fact, Jean was trying to ask for Bryan’s advice on some other guy she was trying to date back then. Jean asked, “Is it a turn-off if the girl just asks the guy out first?” and Bryan replied, “If he’s a real man, no. Second, if it’s coming from you, it’s not an insult.” Smooth move! Basically, the rest is history.

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 60
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 13
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 14
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 22
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 20

Korean Tradition & Style

Both of us are half Korean and therefore, decided to honor our culture and as inspiration for our wedding attire, but with a modern twist on the traditional colors.

Bryan wore a custom-made, traditional sleek black silk Korean hanbok, by Meehee Hanbok, adorned with a Ti Leaf Maile Lei. Jean wore the gold-embroidered white silk Kaia gown by Lee Hwa Wedding and a quick outfit change for the beach ceremony to the Coralia gown by Carol Hannah Bridal, adorned with Ti Leaf Haku Crown and Pikake Lei strands, both smells incredibly fragrant and plays a powerful memory trigger of the wedding day!

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 16
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 32
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 2

The Destination & Planning

We chose the Big Island of Hawaii because we have some really good friends from there. Then, we hired Vintage & Lace Weddings, someone local with a good reputation, because we thought it would be difficult to vet vendors for a destination wedding. They have a very clear and uncomplicated menu that is customizable to your wedding day, and they were able to adjust and adapt to the unforeseen plans of COVID. Instead of stressing over something out of our control, we just went with the flow.

We had to divert from our original plan of an intimate wedding of thirty guests in Hilo at The Falls at Reed’s Island, to an elopement honeymoon half a year later with just us two on the Kona side of the Big Island. We honeymooned at the beautiful Holualoa Inn, where our room overlooked a beautiful 30-acre estate with lush gardens and ocean views.

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 4
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 5
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 35
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 34

The Ceremony

We had a beach ceremony on Kukio Island and had a Hawaiian pastor do a Hawaiian ceremony that was intimate and a powerful reminder of why we chose each other and our promise to continue to choose from this day out.

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 36
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 27
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 8

The Photography

We wanted someone who could capture the juxtaposition between nature and architecture, appreciate the negative space as much as the attention to detail, the contrast between traditional and modern. We wanted the images to evoke the emotions of our time on the Big Island, like fragments of our memory there, and giving hints of our dynamic as a couple, and later provide us a strong reminder of why we are together. Our chosen photographer & videographer were really important because it’s one of the few things you will take away from that special day.

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 43
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 45
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 47
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 50
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 51
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 11

“The real magic happens in the unplanned moments, so look forward to them with an adventurous spirit.”

– Bride Jean

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 56
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 53

Special Details

The Hair Tie

I (Jean) remembered thinking to myself, “Don’t forget to take off the hair tie around my wrist!” and what did I do? Forget to take off the hair tie around my wrist. That is such a Jean thing to do.

Bryan always said that people perceive me as elegant from the outside, but no one really sees how clumsy and forgetful I am, except him. Now, in more than half of our wedding photos, I have a hair tie around my wrist, praying that it looks like a bangle. It’s a small, but dead giveaway to my “elegance”. LOL.

I believe that we don’t end up remembering or talking about the “perfect moments.” It’s the “mistakes” that will often make the funniest and strongest memories in the future!

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 29
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 57
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 55

The Reception

We dined at this farm-to-table Hawaiian gem, Napua Restaurant, run by two Hawaiian brothers. Everything was delicious but what stole the show was their ‘Nduja toast, compliments of the brothers as congratulations. Everyone was so warm and welcoming.

We plan to celebrate with our friends and family at a cocktail and dinner wedding reception back in our hometown where we can share a recap of our wedding ceremony in the backdrop and guests can view the wedding album at their leisure. It wasn’t the wedding we planned for, but when we stopped trying to control every outcome, we got to discover our wedding day instead of knowing everything that was going to happen, there was a sense of surprise, spontaneity, and adventure.

Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 33
Korean Hawaiian Elopement with a Traditional Ceremony – Alyssa Luzaich Photography – Kukio Beach – Bridal Musings 59

The Honeymoon

We did an elopement with our honeymoon and would definitely recommend it. It’s an important time to focus on each other, bond, and create memories that will be good to look back on in good and bad times to come.

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