Sam and Gary’s Olowalu Plantation House wedding on Maui was very special for many reasons. We were able to spend the entire week with Sam, Gary, their family and friends enjoying various activities. From hanging out at the pool at the Mahina Surf, to a night out in Lahaina, a beach day at Black Rock, a drive on the Hana Highway (to Twin Falls for their day after session), and need I mention, the main reason we all went to Maui, to photograph their beautiful Olowalu Plantation House Wedding. It was my last wedding in 2019 and the best way to end an already perfect wedding season with a Maui destination wedding.
It was special for one other very specific and unique reason too. For a wedding photographer, there are two really important weddings in your life. Your own wedding and the first wedding you photograph right after your wedding. Sam and Gary got married exactly 12 days after Allie and I. Not only that, we have been close friends for a number of years and to photograph a friend’s wedding is always an honor.
Before the Olowalu Plantation House wedding, we all stayed at the Mahina Surf located north of Kaanapali. This way we could be close to all the action. This location already held so many special memories for Sam as she grew up visiting Maui and always stayed at the Mahina Surf. Now it holds new memories spanning even more family and friends because of their wedding.
On the first day, we immediately hung out at the pool. I was introduced to Sam’s nephews who she absolutely adores. They are such a close family it was fun to finally meet these boys I’ve always heard so much about! It took me only a matter of moments to become aquatinted with them before they wanted me to come to play and take pictures with my underwater camera. They were an outright blast. Because they played so hard they almost drowned me. Only once though…haha.
That night, Gary and the guys, and Sam and her girls split up for their respective evenings out. My wife, Allie, gushed all about their sunset cocktail cruise among other fun activities. I took this opportunity to drive the road to Hana to scout locations for Sam and Gary’s day after session at Twin Falls.
The next day started with a quick tour and ceremony rehearsal at the Olowalu Plantation House wedding venue. Following the rehearsal, we made a stop at Leoda’s Pie shop for key lime pies – my kind of breakfast! After pies, everyone headed to Black Rock on the Kaanapali beach. A little snorkeling, jumping off Black Rock, and enjoying a few frozen Lava Flow beverages was the perfect way to spend the day before the wedding. Later that evening everyone was invited back to the Mahina Surf for a BBQ. It was another fun opportunity for guests to spend some relaxing time together. I’m always able to photograph a wedding better when I get to meet everyone before the wedding.
Finally, the day came for Sam & Gary’s Olowalu Plantation House wedding. The Olowalu Plantation House was the quintessential place for a real Hawaii wedding – located right on the beach, with an abundance of palm trees, everything was lush and green. The perfect Maui destination wedding venue. Because of this taking photos was so easy all day.
Sam and Gary’s wedding party arrived early to get ready. I was shooting this one solo for 90% of the day as Allie, my favorite second shooter, was a bridesmaid. As she couldn’t help herself, she did snap a few photos too.
The ceremony was right next to the beach. You could hear the gentle waves crash on the shore as Gary and Sam shared their vows. The small and intimate ceremony was attended by their very close family and friends and it felt like they shared a small piece of paradise.
When you think of beautiful Maui wedding, the setting always has the most amazing sunset. Sam and Gary were graced with one of the best sunsets of the year. It was timed perfectly for some sunset wedding photos along with their first dance. When I was talking with the locals who see amazing sunsets every day on Maui, even they were amazed at how bold, colorful, beautiful, and long-lasting the sunset was that evening. Someone must have returned the heart of Te Fiti to Maui that night for such a one of a kind sunset.
After the Olowalu Plantation House wedding, Sam and Gary’s day after session at Twin Falls was a great opportunity for some extra creative wedding portraits. Allie and I all traveled the Hana Highway to Twin Falls with Sam and Gary for this fun trash the dress session. not every day you get to take photos alongside waterfalls and bamboo forests!
After Twin Falls we drove back to the Mahina Surf to finish the session on their private beach. When we arrived there were TEN sea turtles napping on the beach. How lucky is that?! The entire week the most we ever saw at one time was one to two. It was like all the sea turtles knew we were going to be taking their wedding photos. We were conscientious to provide the turtles with an appropriate amount of space while we took some of my favorite photos around them. It was something that I never expected to capture.
Sam & Gary were always up for anything on their destination wedding. When they said YES to my last idea of the night I knew they were the perfect clients (and just as crazy as I am). The last thing I requested of them was to jump into the swimming pool. In their wedding attire. This was so we could get some underwater wedding portrait photos. With very little convincing necessary, Sam & Gary jumped into the Mahina Surf swimming pool. The photos are unlike anything else from the entire trip. The lighting and fluid movements remind me instantly of being in the tropical environment floating and splashing, and all synchronizing our breath.
After four days on Maui shooting Sam and Gary’s Olowalu Plantation House wedding and fun beach activities, we were all left with some incredible memories and photos. Thanks again Sam and Gary – congratulation, my friends!
Please enjoy these Maui destination wedding photos of Sam & Gary’s Olowalu Plantation House wedding. Don’t skip the underwater wedding photos at the very end.