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Kat & Daniel’s Dreamy Hawaiian Elopement

Kat & Daniel’s Dreamy Hawaiian Elopement

Kat and Dan are the kind of couple that felt eloping just made sense to them. Not wanting to sort through all the little details of a traditional wedding, the pair wanted the focus to be solely on their love and knew that eloping was the perfect option. They have a huge passion for traveling and wanted to experience something extra-special for their big day – and what could be more special than a dreamy sunset elopement in Hawaii? Their first trip as a couple was to Hawaii – but they both had never traveled to Big Island, so they instantly knew that’s where they wanted to celebrate their wedding day! On March 8, 2020, Kat and Dan were married at Pine Trees Beach and had the ceremony of their dreams. Read all about their love story and their Hawaiian elopement experience below!

How did you meet? What was your first impression of one another?

Kat: We met on OKCupid. Our first date consisted of meeting up at Starbucks in the freezing cold one random day in March. Dan ended up getting an iced coffee, and I thought he was insane! Somehow, Dan roped me into seeing a movie with him, whereas the date was only supposed to consist of a coffee date! I thought he had a great toothy grin, and loved to talk about things that were important to him. I was just glad I wasn’t the only one who had to speak! After the movie ended, we went our separate ways. I declined dinner (the date was already extended as is!) and called my mother. I never called my mother after dates, but this felt different. Dan thought I was cute, and loved that we had very similar interests. Our personalities based on our conversations seemed to balance each other out, but also brought out the best in one another.

Dan:We meet with the help from a dating app and her taking the first step. From the first date, I knew she had a strong drive and she knew how to get what she wanted. On our first date, she didn’t judge me for my iced coffee on a cold winter day. We just clicked.

When did you first fall in love? How did you know?

Kat: I believe I started falling in love when we started going up to Dan’s family country house in Massachusetts. We would go hiking, cook together, and explore the surrounding area. The fact that we went on our first overnight away trip 5 weeks into the relationship seemed to be a good sign! I also saw how selfless he was (i.e. stopping in the middle of the road to move a tree branch so no other car would need to stop, or going to hang out with his elderly neighbor for a drink to make sure that he wasn’t lonely after his wife passed away). Most importantly, it was the little things. He made sure I was laughing. I think I realized I was in love with him coming back from a bar one night and walking along the beach. He’d always reach for my hand and would constantly be making me giggle.

Dan: I first started to fall in love with Kat after our first trip to a family house in a rural area. We went on a hike and had an amazing time, and we just clicked. Our conversation was unique and we acted like we’ve been together for a long time.

How did you propose or accept the proposal?

Kat: I had no idea the proposal was coming that night! I had an inkling it would happen that weekend as we’d barely get away on weekends due to our jobs. We had gone out to dinner earlier, and we had to stop by a store to get ace bandages because I had ended up fracturing my foot. He bandaged up my foot in the parking lot and we drove home. He asked me to stay in the car as he went to turn on the deck lights for halloween. He then carried me out of the car, (almost dropped me), and set me down. He asked me to take a photo of the deck, and as I went to take the photo, he got down on one knee! I was in shock! We talked about it, but I didn’t know it was going to happen that night! I started crying and asking him if he was sure. While we were both laughing and crying, I definitely said yes.

Dan: Hilarious story. Kat loves Halloween and I had just bought some inflatable dragons and set them up on the deck! Her real ring didn’t come in yet because of a delay while customizing it, so I ordered a costume ring that looked close to the real one. When the [costume] ring arrived, we went out for dinner. I had the ring in my pocket the entire dinner. Kat couldn’t walk because of an ankle injury, so when we got home, I carried her across the lawn laughing. I gave her my phone to take the picture of the Halloween decorations as I bent down to propose. The picture didn’t come out, but she started to cry from happiness. She said yes, I put the stand-in ring on, and told her there was a catch: the real ring isn’t here yet!  It was so “us” because we are very spontaneous, in-the-moment people and we don’t get hung up on material things. We just enjoyed the moment!

What do you love about your partner?

Kat: I love how Dan is always trying to make me laugh and to make sure that we are both having a great time. He goes out of his way to do the little things … He helps anyone he can, even if it gets him home later at night. But most of all, I love how when he touches my hand or we snuggle up, I forget all my stressors in the world.

Dan: Kat’s lovely smile when she sees cute little animals and her little squeaks when she sees the smallest of insects. She has a strong will and has the ability to reel me in when my ego gets the best of me when I do something amazing at work. Our debates about our professional lives bring some interesting stares from our waiters and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. At the end of the day, she is my snuggle bunny.

What is the greatest strength of your relationship?

Kat: Dan and I are very similar in what our values are and our interests, but we are also very different. We are both supportive of what each other does, but at the end of the day, we make sure that we make ourselves the priority. We have been told that we flow so well that people assume we’ve been together for forever.

Why did you decide to elope?

Kat: I did not want to pay for a big wedding and still have someone [at the wedding] be upset. I also did not want to choose silly details such as napkin colors, etc. We wanted a small affair that was about us and who we were, instead of focusing on what everyone else thought should happen. We also loved traveling, so we wanted to incorporate that into our wedding.

How did you find Simply Eloped?

Gotta love Google!

How did you know Simply Eloped was the right fit for you?

We knew Simply Eloped was the right fit for us because it had everything we were looking for. Flowers, hair, make up, officiant – all the work was done for us! I’d email asking crazy questions where to get married, or which location was better, and they helped me through it all. The price also allowed us to put the money away where it really mattered: a home for our future.

What attracted you to the venue you eloped at?

Dan and I have always loved adventures and travel, and we really LOVED Hawaii. Our first trip as a couple was to Hawaii by coincidence. We had never been to Big Island before (it was the last island on our Hawaiian to-do list!) and we decided, why not! Let’s do it! It was thrilling to plan something knowing there were going to be surprises (although sometimes stressful), but chatting with Simply Eloped helped! We wanted a wedding that was about us, but not a beach or a traditional wedding. Pine Trees Beach gave me a lava aisle to have my father walk me down, and the photographs were beyond amazing.

What activities did you do before the wedding? How did you prepare? How did you feel leading up to the moments of your elopement?

We did the typical snorkeling with Manta Rays, eating everything and anything to our hearts content, as well as traveling all over the island to soak in the views. The day of the wedding, we all went out for breakfast overlooking the ocean. After breakfast, we drove down to the beach and just enjoyed the views. We had considered spending the night apart, but we realized that yes, while it was tradition, nothing about us was traditional. We began house hunting before we even became engaged! Once we got back to our rental, Dan went to get ready with his brother and mom, while I stayed with my parents and got my hair and make up done. The make up artist did a phenomenal job! She made sure I knew what was going on, and that it was part of my vision (lets be honest, i just asked for flowers in my hair!). She gave me the most amazing updo, and the make up I still wish I could recreate to this day!

Tell us about your experience with Simply Eloped leading up to and on your big day!

Simply Eloped was great at having everything all in one place. Hair? Check. Flowers? Check. Make up? Check. Paperwork? Check. They were fabulous at responding to emails, and are great at choosing an “Instagram photo-worthy” location.

How did you celebrate after?

After taking fabulous and adventurous photos with our photographer Lei, we drove up the Island to Merriman’s, one of Hawaii’s best restaurants, to celebrate with the few people that attended our wedding: my parents, his mom and his brother. We had ordered a wedding cake from a fabulous baker, and had it delivered to the restaurant. While it wasn’t the typical traditional wedding, it was perfect for us.

What words of encouragement do you have for those considering eloping?

Getting married is about you and your partner. We wanted to honor our families in our engagement, so we had an engagement dinner that was a fraction of the cost, but also a fraction of the stress! Remember, it’s about you. Make sure that the both of you are happy, as it’s your life. We found out who really cared for us and how supportive they were when they let us do “us.”

Officiant: Tom Fernandez
Photographer: Lei Conradt
Big Island Hair & Makeup
Flowers: Nicco Designs

Article written by karen norian
Karen Norian is a writer, editor, and content strategist. Her work has been featured in many publications, including INSIDER, Travel & Leisure magazine, and Elite Daily. Her work as a wedding photographer has led her to Simply Eloped, where she has been working since early 2019.
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