Nā Pali Coast Adventure Elopement

We’ve been dying to have a couple take us on an adventure elopement pretty much since we started our business about three years ago. Carolyn + Lindsey just so happened to be our first adventure elopement, and not only that, they wanted us to capture their big day in Kauai— the garden isle! Serenity and killer views were important to them, so we ended up choosing a few lesser-known locations along the Nā Pali Coast. Luckily, hiking in was no issue for them, because the ridge line we decided on was no joke, making nearly 2000 ft in elevation gain through thick, scrubby, and maze-like trails. A grassy knoll at the end of the trail made a perfect altar for their elopement, with the massive Nā Pali cliffs as a stunning backdrop! This magical occasion could not have been more picturesque and perfect! We thank you Carolyn + Lindsey for trusting us to adventure with you, and to capture such a beautiful moment!

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Adventure Time: Maldives

So this month was a big one… not only did we finally get married (!!), but we also took our honeymoon to the Maldives— a gorgeous country full of atolls and crystal clear turquoise waters! Did you know that by the year 2100, the entire country is projected to be severely impacted by sea level rise and may very well become submerged?? As scuba divers, we made diving our priority for sure (with relaxation at a close second) and decided to try out a dive liveaboard (can you say, eat- sleep- dive!?). Our three weeks abroad ended all too soon and we still wish we could be sipping piña coladas on the beach with all our baby shark friends!

Looking to head to the Maldives for your own honeymoon or vacation? Here are some tips that I wish we had known prior to going:

  • Travel to and from resorts can be extremely expensive - If you’re booking a resort that is far from Velana International Airport (MLE), then you will likely also have to be booking a roundtrip seaplane transfer (usually done via the resort). These tickets can be >$300USD per person and the weight restrictions are a joke (especially as photographers and divers, bringing all that heavy gear)! Checked bags are capped at 20kg (fair) and hand luggage is capped at 5kg total (dude, my bag weighs like 2.5kg). Additional weight is charged at $5USD per kilogram overweight!! Resorts that are closer to Male may have ferries or speedboat transfers, costing much less, so if you are on a budget, avoid distant resorts!

  • Book an over-water villa, or better yet, all inclusive - Yeah they’re more expensive than the beachy alternatives, but just do it! Trust me. I had read beforehand of people not enjoying the over-water bungalows, but for the ultimate retreat, we loved our little cabin suspended over the water. Open showers, hot tubs, sun beds, and a private deck with stairs leading into the water… We spent our time at two resorts, one before and one after our dive liveaboard. One of those was all-inclusive, the other was not. Needless to say, all-inclusive packages are the way to go when you’re essentially stranded on a small island resort. Sit back, sip the endless cocktails, learn to kayak or windsurf, and don’t worry about additional charges here and there when you check out! C’est la vie!

  • The reefs are hurting, but the fish life is insane - As a marine biologist, my main interest was the health of the coral reefs, and at each resort we went to, most of the reef was dead (at least in the shallows). Relatively recent storms and hot sea temperatures have left their mark, so don’t expect the coral life to be spectacular. However, the fish diversity and abundance was fantastic. Schools of brightly colored fish, eels, rays, (harmless) sharks, and turtles were common every time we got in the water. Many people go to the Maldives for a chance to swim with mantas or whale sharks, but these elusive wild animals are not very common— only some lucky few will have an encounter with either of these magical creatures.

As one of our favorite travel destinations so far, the Maldives is a truly memorable place.

Did you know we also do adventure photography? Got a bucket list trip? Take us on an adventure, or let us take you on one!

Why We Love Unplugged Ceremonies

Sometimes we get asked what we feel is the single most valuable tip from a photography standpoint, when planning your own ceremony— without a doubt, go unplugged!

What is an unplugged ceremony? An unplugged ceremony is when the couple decides that they would prefer guests to not use their phones or cameras during the ceremony itself. Sometimes unplugged weddings range from entire social media blackouts (so that the bride and groom can announce their marriage themselves), to simply asking guests to remain ‘unplugged’ during the ceremony only (so as to be present in moment).

 

So what are the main reasons to go unplugged?

  • Guests will listen and interact more.

As a bride or groom, this may be the most important aspect of an unplugged ceremony. Not only will you be minimizing potential interruptions due to incoming tweets, messages, or phone calls, asking guests to put away their phones will actually increase their attentiveness and allow for everyone to remain present with all the magical aspects of the ceremony. Remember, the ceremony is in many cases, a performance. Like most other performances, using cell phones are usually frowned upon. That’s not to say cellphones should be completely eliminated from the entire day! The most common unplugged wedding is usually just for the ceremony, where afterwards guests are encouraged to add to the bridal hashtag!

  • Your professional photos will not be compromised.

From a photographer’s standpoint, unplugged ceremonies generally make our job a lot easier. The instant satisfaction that guests get from live-streaming, or uploading to social media counteracts the investment you have placed in your professional photographers and videographers (and let’s face it, you’ve hired them to deliver professional results, much better than any mobile phone). For weddings that are not unplugged, photographers must worry about guests placing their phones into important shots (no one wants auntie’s arm + iPad in that down-the-aisle-kissing-shot). Editing out phones in post-processing may also be extremely time consuming (delaying the delivery of your photo gallery), or not possible in some cases. Phones at a ceremony usually force us as photographers to use tighter shots (close and cropped) to eliminate distracting guests with phones. In unplugged ceremonies, photographers can get more wide-angle shots of the entire ceremony, with no worries about a sea of cellphones being captured.

An afterthought for most people will also be how your wedding photographs will look in 20 years! I remember looking back at all my parents’ old wedding photos, laughing hysterically about the outdated styles and era-specific decor. Phones will inevitably be the same way, with styles and technology cycling so quickly. Keep in mind these wedding photos are going to be a timeless treasure for future generations— let your professional photographers and videographers capture every detail, without compromising any details!

  • Everyone’s privacy can be respected.

Although this may not be the highest priority for some weddings, there are always guests who would rather not have photos of them shared. Sometimes the bride and groom would actually prefer to keep their wedding semi-private, deciding to share their special day on their own terms. I must admit, although I will not be doing this for our own wedding, I respect that certain couples would like to be the first (or only ones) posting about their wedding.

 

Drawbacks of an unplugged wedding.

The main drawback of having an unplugged wedding or ceremony is that right after your wedding, you wont have many photos to share until your photographer edits and sends your entire gallery (usually at least a month afterwards). At Eternal Tides Photography, we purposefully deliver ~10 photos in a ‘sneak peek’ within 24-48 hours after your wedding, so that you have something to share almost immediately.

 

How to politely go unplugged.

Sometimes guests who are unable to make it to the wedding will want some sort of social media live-streaming so as to participate as much as possible. We also know that every marriage has that friend or relative who is a ‘photographer’ and is dying to test out some artsy angles. So how do you go about announcing an unplugged wedding without being abrasive?

We recommend letting your guests know well in advanced that you would like to go unplugged (such as on invites, or wedding website FAQs). If you know someone that may be particularly upset, speak with them personally to explain why going unplugged may be the best decision for your ceremony. We recommend letting the day-of wedding coordinators (or sometimes your officiant) make a polite announcement before the start of the ceremony. We also have an unplugged sign for rent ($10) which you can use to display during the ceremony! Let us know if you are interested in renting it, or any of our other decor items! Our clients receive exclusive access to our (growing) list of wedding accessories, rented for much cheaper than any alternative!

 
Rent our unplugged sign ($10) to politely let guests know to put away their cameras and phones during the ceremony.

Rent our unplugged sign ($10) to politely let guests know to put away their cameras and phones during the ceremony.

 

In the end it’s your wedding day, so do what you feel is best! As professional wedding photographers it is our job to make your photos magical regardless of whether or not you decide to go unplugged.

Secret Island Summer Wedding

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Secret Island has been on our bucket list wedding venues for the island, and while we have shot numerous times at Kualoa Ranch, Mariel + Mike’s wedding would be our first time taking the boat to the private island. From the start, clouds were hanging suspiciously low on the windward side, threatening some summer-time moisture. However, for pretty much the entire evening, the rain stayed offshore, with only a passing light shower. The soft, filtered light from the clouds made for unreal photographic conditions, with even the slightest sunset colors coming through! Their ceremony on the private beach, followed by a reception by the ancient Hawaiian fishpond, made for an amazing first experience with Secret Island!

Summer Wedding in Vermont

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Being from the Northeast, I was ecstatic when we got the opportunity to change up a bit of tropical scenery for a quaint New England summer-time wedding in Vermont! Áki + Tori chose their beautiful ceremony and reception at the Inn at Quail Run, nestled in the Green Mountains. The day started out with the final DIY decorations coming together under an endlessly blue sky. The addition of some Icelandic traditions made the entire day completely unique from all the weddings we have experienced. The reception also featured dancing by the pool, cake cutting under the stars, and a bonfire with s’mores to top off the entire evening!

Adventure Time: Maui

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We had been looking forward to our trip to Maui as sort of a pre-honeymoon (not to mention photographing Katie + Wesley’s Sugar Beach Wedding)! We arrived a week early to tour one of our favorite islands— adventuring along the south shore beaches, Haleakala volcano, Road to Hana, and West Maui!

Did you know we also do adventure photography? Got a bucket list trip? Take us on an adventure, or let us take you on one!

When The Rain Comes

Sky + Yuwa Vacation Beach Shoot

Sky + Yuwa Vacation Beach Shoot