Alohana = Aloha (love) + Ohana (family)
On Hawaii’s north shore, down a steep road, lies an enchanted and sacred place. Here, tucked away from the modern world, you’ll find a black sand beach divided by a river and dotted with hundreds of coconut palms. Leading up to their epic love story elopement in Hawaii, our discussions with Dylan and Keana about a location for their ceremony quickly revealed that this valley held a special place in their hearts and was the ideal place for them to exchange their vows. For years they had been coming here, getting up in the middle of the night to drive to this spot and surf together at sunrise.
On the morning of their all-day romantic elopement, we reached the beach a few minutes after sunrise. Dylan told us to look up as soon as we got out of the car. Overhead we saw thousands of white egrets taking flight from their nighttime roosts. It was a magical sight. Dylan told us that you only get to see this if you arrive close to sunrise. He was right. Within several minutes they had all but disappeared. But we were able to send up our drone before they flew out of sight over the eastern cliffs.
After wading across the river, Keana and Dylan changed into their bridal clothes. Dylan walked on ahead to the place where Keana would meet him. At this point in the morning, golden light streamed through gaps in the forest canopy, cascading across Keana’s dress, haku (flower crown), and bouquet (Haku’s by Ki). Barefoot, she began her short journey down the trail toward her beloved.
A meeting of two souls.
It was at this moment that we realized we were merely observers, spectators to a meeting of two souls deep in love and commitment. This is one of our favorite points during a shoot when a couple enters their own world, allowing us to quietly record the magical, intimate moments between the two of them. Capturing the raw and real takes work. It requires trust and familiarity between us and them. It’s why we place so much importance on establishing that connection with our couples from day one.
As Keana approached, Dylan smiled and offered her his hand. She took it and they walked together along the path, parallel to the sea. After several minutes they turned off the path and made their way down toward the ocean where Dylan picked her up in his arms to carry her over the rocks. Here, alone, and drenched in sunlight, Keana and Dylan opened up their hearts to each other and shared their love, promises and dreams for the future.
Following their intimate ceremony we watched them from above as they strolled hand in hand back towards the river. Here in the cool, gentle flow they embraced as husband and wife for the first time. The light was unreal for this picture perfect postcard moment.
Here in the cool, gentle flow they embraced as husband and wife for the first time.
Now came the finale to Keana and Dylan’s incredible morning. We were so excited to capture what we knew would be THE SHOT if we could get it. Since this was their favorite place to surf, Dylan and Keana wanted to try riding the same board to catch a wave together while in their wedding clothes. We were of course down for this and couldn’t wait to put the drone in the air. It took them several attempts, but they eventually got up and we caught it (watch the moment happen in the film!).
But their storybook day was just beginning.
How incredible would it be to start off your day with a romantic elopement ceremony on a secluded black sand beach followed by surfing with your lover in your wedding clothes? If this was all Keana and Dylan had planned it would have made for a killer love story film. But their storybook day was just beginning. They had so much more to share.
After getting cleaned up from the morning’s session, we met Keana and Dylan that evening at an unbelievable location. The meeting place? A tree. This ultimate honeymoon spot is a two story, luxury treehouse which faces the pacific ocean on the slopes of Mauna Loa, Hawaii’s biggest mountain. (Luxury Kona Treehouse)
Inside you’ll find warm tones from the natural woods and soft, white linens throughout. The open air kitchen, hallway, and wraparound lanai (balcony) provide couples with a comfortable adult answer to every kid’s dream question: what would it be like to live in a tree? The fully furnished bedroom and bathroom provide every modern comfort with privacy doors and automatic shades to keep away nighttime pests.
It was only them. Alone, together. Forever.
Here, surrounded by the tropical darkness outside, their world was lit by candlelight and the glow from their love for each other. Nothing else existed outside of this time and place. Not us. Not the world. It was only them. Alone, together. Forever.
Their story continues…
We came up with the title “Alohana” for Dylan and Keana’s film by combining the words, Aloha (love) and Ohana (family). It seemed the best way to encapsulate the Spirit of Aloha, their deep love for each other, the land, sea, and their family. Watch ’till the end of the film to see the next chapter in their story begin to unfold with their young son, Rua.
It was truly a blessing to be a part of Keana’s and Dylan’s epic love story elopement in Hawaii. We knew their story was special, but we didn’t know just how special and incredible it would turn out to be and how amazing they both are. Plus, we now have the added bonus of having made two lifelong friends in Hawaii!
John + Brittainy
Jocund Bliss is a wedding film house based in Mesa, Arizona. As a husband and wife team, their approach to wedding films is to craft tailored films that tell intimate, human love stories, blended with stunning, purposeful cinematography.