A Hawaiian Elopement and Garden Picnic Paradise

Like so many couples in 2020, Katie and Chris got engaged and were planning their wedding during the outbreak of COVID-19. After a period of deliberation whether to go ahead with the ceremony, the couple eventually decided that they didn’t want to wait any longer to tie the knot.  

They live on the Hawaiian island of Kailua and decided upon an intimate ceremony at the beautiful Male’ana Gardens, which has a private garden area that provides the perfect setting for intimate celebrations. 

Whoever said a meaningful ceremony had to be a grand affair? We think that this stunning elopement shows that love has been kept alive even after all the difficulties brought about by the pandemic. Undoubtedly.


Bringing to life their vision for the wedding was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. They went from a convenient central location for both of their families, to considering eloping to a remote destination somewhere across the world, to paring it back to a neighbouring Hawaiian island, before eventually (due to COVID restrictions), choosing a beautiful, intimate garden setting that was right on their doorstop.  

They knew that this compromise would allow them to keep the classic wedding they had dreamed of, while still making the most out of the beautiful tropical paradise that they are fortunate to call home. 

They only had their two children as witnesses, and John Fuchigami of Marry You in Hawaii concluded this beautiful ceremony with a ukulele performance. 

One of the essential elements for the couple was the photography, and they knew they would not try to save some pennies by cutting corners on this. The couple spoke about how, since it was only going to be the four of them on the day, it was so important that they felt that they could completely relax, knowing that their memories of the day would be candidly captured by the talented Rae Marshall Photography

After some photos taken around the luscious tropical garden, they enjoyed a picnic full of fresh and tasty treats set up by Aloha Picnics. Even though the setting was a stone’s throw from their home, it still felt like a romantic destination. 


The couple decided not to go all out on the flowers or decorations, largely because they didn’t need to—they were so blessed by the venue’s natural beauty.

Katie attempted to do some lockdown dress shopping, and after a bit of searching, she found the perfect dress for her: a timeless, elegant piece that was simple in its design, but a little bit sexy, too. 

Chris went for a classic blue suit without a tie, to complement the classic (but not particularly formal) garden setting.

Similarly, the cake was simple in its design, but was filled with amazing layers of locally sourced passion fruit flavoured cream. They also added a simple copper cake topper in the shape of a cupid’s arrow, in order to represent their first meeting on the OkCupid dating app. 

Another personal detail incorporated into the ceremony was inspired by the wedding taking place on Veterans’ Day. Katie was a nurse in the U.S. Army. During a 15-month deployment to Iraq in 2006, her mother gave her a guardian angel pendant, which Katie wore everyday while she was away. Since her mother could not be with them to celebrate the day, Katie wanted to make sure that she had her angel with her. So, she made a simple heart shape with silver wire, and then included the angel as a bouquet charm, in order to honour both Veterans’ Day and her love for her mother.


  • Remember what the day is about: love between two people. It will go by so fast and all the stress about the small stuff is just not worth it. 
  • Write your own vows: it adds so much sentiment to the ceremony and creates some wonderful memories for you both to look back on. 
  • Sticking to a very intimate day means that you can truly relax, soaking up the special moments and celebrating with those that matter most.



Photography: Rae Marshall Photography // Ceremony Venue: Male’ana Gardens // Wedding Cake: A Cake Life // Hair and Makeup: Face Art Beauty // Wedding Cake and Rentals: Aloha Picnics // Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal // Ukulele Performance: Marry You in Hawaii // Submitted via: Matcholog




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