Elopement once meant star-crossed young lovers stealing away to the Justice of the Peace. But today all kinds of couples are choosing elopement—and they’re no longer sacrificing tradition to do so. “About 35 percent to 40 percent of our weddings are elopements,” says Jenna Gillis, wedding manager at Four Seasons Resort Hualāla’i at Historic Ka‘ūpūlehu. The Resort offers a special elopement package that includes the ceremony, a bride’s bouquet, dinner, wedding cake, a couple’s massage and more. For couples who can’t get enough of the Hawaiian islands, the enhanced Romance Escape package offers newlyweds the option of extending the occasion of their matrimony into a honeymoon. Relax and revitalize as a couple with an aphrodisiac bath followed by a soothing body scrub and an aromatherapy massage with the Resort’s signature romance oil or lotion.
Gillis began noting the trend for smaller weddings and shorter-term bookings in 2008. Elopements to Hualalai, in particular, got a boost when celebrities Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green eloped there in 2010. Some couples elope to avoid the spotlight or to bypass complicated wedding plans. Others make the choice for budgetary reasons—if not their own, then out of concern that their guests or attendants might not be able to take part in their dream ceremony in a faraway place.
Whether your “I do’s” involve just you two or add a couple of your closest friends or relatives, an elopement can be just as memorable as a larger event. Here are just a few of the ways Four Seasons makes it special.
You Pick the Place
When you don’t need to consider seating a crowd, your choice of where to say your vows is wide open. Couples who elope to Hualalai often opt for a ceremony beneath the Wedding Tree, an intimate site atop a black lava bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Tradition With a Twist
With an audience of one or one hundred, most brides want to walk down the aisle to meet their groom. “Eloping couples are still looking for quite a bit of tradition,” Gillis says. If you’ve always dreamed of a white dress, cascading bouquet and petal-strewn path to the altar, you can include them all in your wedding, even if it’s just the two of you.
Party of Two
After the ceremony, the bride and groom (and up to two additional guests) are treated to a romantic three-course sunset dinner on Waiakauhi Beach. The smaller event is no less festive; during dinner a solo guitarist, violinist or ukulele player fills the air with music—just the right island accompaniment for a first dance.
Short and Sweet
As in any wedding, you’ll seal the deal by cutting the cake. Four Seasons pastry chefs are able to deliver your preferred design and flavours in a one-tier cake fit for two or a few. Many brides, Gillis says, send pictures of grand confections and ask the resort to recreate just the top.