Kauai Style Episode 1 “Officiants”

Episode 1 in a series of videos related to the event industry in Kauai, stories about wedding officiants, hair and make-up artists, coordinators, caterers and other artists. If you are having/ planning a wedding in Kauai, this video might be a valuable tool in your research, as you’ll see in action the best non-religious officiants on Kauai, ideal for elopement weddings, vow renewals, and events that require official services by a licensed officiant.

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2020 yikes!

2019 bye-bye. You went by in a blink. And so much  happened? Now look, 2020 is almost here.Yikes! I dare not think what will happen.

the wedding 2020

 

All hail…here comes royalty

When you get married in Hawaii, ukulele music might fill your ears, or maybe your musician will play the ukeke or maybe even the pahu. You’ll probably have a lei placed around your neck.  Leis are tokens of love and aloha. Grooms often wear a garland of green leaves (manly) rather than Kika or jasmine blossoms.  At the beginning of your ceremony, the conch might be blown, especially if it’s a beach elopement—a Hawaiian tradition that dates back to the time when the conch was blown to announce the arrival of Alii or Royalty.  Your officiant might smash open a coconut and spill the milk on the sand, and then ask you to rest your forehead on your partner’s forehead.  But you’re unlikely to experience a wedding tradition in Hawaii that will shock you. If your breath is taken away, it’s probably because you’re standing on the most dramatic beach you’ve ever seen, not because you’ve been punched in the gut for good luck or because your guests have suddenly gone berserk, yelling and laughing and banging and rattling pots and pans.  This pot banging business is an actual wedding ritual that was once commonplace in parts of Europe, especially in the middle ages. It’s still practiced today at some weddings. They call it Charivari in France, In Northern England, skimmington.  Family and friends gather outside the house of the newly weds and make pot-and-pan music or the din of a lifetime. The wedding couple has to bring out food and drinks and endure the racket.
How about this tradition: in some parts of Korea a groom can expect to be slapped about with a dead fish, apparently to prepare him for his first night of  marriage. The connotation is darn right unspeakable.  In Scotland, there’s the old Scots blackening ritual. Wedding gatherers throw all sorts of black and brown vile things at the couple before the wedding—if they can accept the disgusting, stinky mess they can endure anything.  Then there’s Chinese tears training — the bride-to-be spends a month before the wedding learning how to weep like a professional. They smash dishes in Germany and Swedes aren’t just noted for their meatballs, they’re known for kissing and spitting on the bride and groom—yup, a very Swedish thing, I’m told.   So if a young man places a whale’s tooth in your palm, I’m guessing that you have to be a father, and the young man is asking for your daughter’s hand in marriage—a Fiji thing!
If you know of other slightly strange wedding traditions, I’d love to hear from you—Mahalo— David. See my website for more stories about weddings, especially in Kauai where I spend much of my time filming brides.IMG_7613

 

Shipwrecked

She walked slowly, her thin shoes not completely shielding her feet from the hot sand. She was nervous… and excited in the same breath. Shore waves, about three feet tall, were crashing along the shoreline. Misty sea-spray was in the air. She took a deep breath,   tasting the briny elixir that was on her lips.  There wasn’t a shipwreck in sight.  But she could see her man, faced away from, as he was meant to at this moment.  He was waiting for her. Her heart began to beat even faster.

Not that I really knew what was going on in the bride’s mind at that moment; I just guessed it.  I had been hired to capture these moments on video.  It’s a typical scene that is experienced by thousands of wedding couples at this particular beach: Shipwrecks Beach. My mind drifted off for a moment, and I wondered, how many ‘shipwreck beaches’ are there? I know that in Greece there’s a Shipwreck Beach that some call Smuggler’s Cove. And I’ve heard that Oregon has a Shipwrecks beach, as does Washington State. In Hawaii there are at least two that I know of, the one at Lanai, aptly named Shipwrecks because it really does have mangled sea vessels littering its shore, and the one that I was on at that very moment: Shipwreck Beach, Poipu, Kauai. But here you wont actually find a shipwreck, not anywhere along the beach or along the spectacular coast. You will, however, see the iconic rock face—Makawehi Point—a sandstone landmark which the bride was presently heading to, and where her groom was waiting. You might have heard about this particular beach for another reason: This is where locals (and some brave tourists) leap thirty-five feet off the rock into the turbulent Pacific. Notably, Harrison Ford and Anne Heche jumped from it for the movie, “6 Days and 7 Nights.”  It’s just a short walk along the sand from the Hyatt Regency and other Poipu resorts, which might also be why so many wedding couples choose this location.  Waves smash again the cliff and when it’s really hot, wedding couples can move twenty feet from the water’s edge and find shade under the canopy of lush ironwood trees. It’s idyllic for dramatic photography and videography. The image below is pulled directly from the video, filmed by me at Shipwreck’s on November 11th 2019.

The groom turned…and gasped as he saw her for the first time that day. His heart was   galloping at a hundred miles an hour.   In his prepared vows, he told how she’d so profoundly changed his life, for the better; that God and destiny had made it so.  When it was her turn, her eyes turned watery and her voice trembled lightly; this also made his eyes glisten.

Fifteen minutes later, the officiant proclaimed them husband and wife and they fell into each other’s embrace. There weren’t any violins but if there had been they wouldn’t have been out of place. Nice ceremony.

A footnote:  there used to be an old weather-beaten boat lying at the water’s edge. It sat there for many years, and that’s where the pirate-like name came from, I guess.

If you know of another Shipwrecks Beach, I’d love to hear about it. Shoot me an email at davidm617@me.com and visit my website: Kauai Video Productions edit 1 Max

 

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Surprise “will you marry me?”

In movies and television commercials we see it all the time: the proposal that brings on instant tears of joy and the most passionate kiss in the history of kisses. In real life, I’m sure the moment really does brings on tears of joy—when it really happens. Reality is less than one in three proposals really come as a surprise, not that getting engaged is something less because the couple has had numerous candid conversations about marriage or that the decision has developed slowly,  sometimes over a period of months or even years and it’s not really a violins and tears singular moment.  But when it is a surprise, when it is a jaw-dropping, knees-shaking earthquake of a moment, it’s magical, not just for the couple but for any bystanders who get to witness it. As a photographer, wedding cinematographer, I often shoot engagement couples. Rarely am I asked to help plan the moment,  “will you marry me?”  When I am asked, I find myself acting life a covert agent, hiding behind a tree or lurking in the shadow of a building—after all, I’ve got two professional cameras on me, slung over my shoulders.  I must not be seen until the exact moment; I have to watch for the special signal and then emerge and fire off my shots quickly so that I don’t miss anything: him kneeling, the ring, her shock and tears. It’s like a TV commercial moment, a Zales or Jared Christmas commercial only it’s real. IMG_6959-compIMG_6970IMG_7051IMG_6978Can I be a part of your magical question and capture the moment in photos or video? Please visit my website: Kauai Video Productions to see much more of my video and photography portfolio.

Mahalo

—David

Tunnels Beach, kauai, back again

On April 14th 2018, the skies above Kauai opened releasing rainfall like I’d never imagined, a barrage of non-stop lightning and thunder like artillery fire shaking the foundations of my home.  The storm raged for over a day. When it eventually left us, I saw first hand some of the substantial and devastating damage, the worst on Kauai since Hurricane Iniki in 1992. The rain had been record-breaking, over 50 inches, the most in a 24-hour period ever recorded on American soil.  The landslides and flash flooding left homes in ruin, turned streets into rivers, and reduced a massive swath of the north shore into an unlivable shamble. The highway leading from Hanalei north was destroyed, mile after mile, and would remain closed for over a year while construction crews worked tirelessly to rebuild. All of the spectacular beaches on the north shore including Hanalei’s Black Pot and the pier were closed to the public, both residents and tourists alike.  Tunnels beach, one of the most spectacular beaches in the world would not see a tourist for fifteen months. I ventured to Tunnels this month, my first venture back since the April storm. The sun had just risen. The beach was pristine.  And my photo shoot was a blast. At last, the north shore is back!

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A 2nd Day of Wedding Photography

If you believe that the bride and groom’s wedding is a celebration, and not a day to spend countless hours  posing for photographs, which typically means walking away from family and close friends ( for an hour, often two or three) in order for the photographer to do his/her stuff, consider this: Photographers used to only capture candids then some 24 portraits on the steps of the church or temple or side of a building.  10 minutes! Admittedly, in our splashy media age 24 shots wouldn’t cut it, even if they’re fantastic; 24 is just piddly.  This is why I always offer my wedding clients a 2nd day of media capture either before the wedding day or on a day after. There’s numerous advantages of a 2nd day. The pressure is off; there’s no need to clock watch; the bride doesn’t have to worry about her gown’s wear and tear;  in fact she can even opt for a trash-the-dress photo session. In Kauai, another great reason to offer a 2nd day is: our island. It’s seeing more of it, because one beach, one forest, one location is awesome but two or three locations is even more awesome, a different beach, jungle spot, one of our sparkling blue lakes, a cascading waterfall, creating an added dimension to your fabulous wedding album.

The first 2 photographs (below) were filmed on day one. We spent just 30 minutes on portraits. The other photographs you see are from day two.  In this 2nd day shoot, we spent ninety minutes and covered 6 different locations, another 100 dynamic photographs for the album.     IMG_0622_sun6 IMG_0591_a71f1246616e4bc38efaa4da6efb18633N8A7470-sun3N8A7484-Edit-2See more of the photo session of this Kauai wedding and the wedding video of Erik and Pui at www.kauaivideoproductions.com