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Mauna Lani Bay Sea Turtle Independence Day | Christen + Leigh

As if their destination wedding week wasn’t epic enough, Christen and Leigh were also asked by the wonderful staff at the Mauna Lani Bay resort if they wanted to take part in this year’s Sea Turtle Independence Day on the Fourth of July. The Mauna Lani hand-raises baby sea turtles in some of their on-ground ponds to mature adulthood and then releases them when they are big enough to fend for themselves in the less hospitable sea. Every Independence Day, they release the newly minted turtles into the sea with the help of guests and their children. Of course, Christen and Leigh were all like, “HECK YES, SIGN US UP.” (I was too, I mean, who are we kidding… I love me some sea turtles!)

Sea turtles abound at the Mauna Lani… maybe the beach has some really tasty algae growing there. The first night I stumbled upon what I thought was a dead sea turtle on the beach and I was really upset. The staff reassured me it was just sleeping, which I thought was a cover-up, hush-hush way to get rid of the dead sea turtle without upsetting the guest. It turns out, sea turtles just sleep like the dead (something they usually do during daylight hours) and my “dead” friend moved on after a nice, long nap. Almost every day there was a sea turtle sleeping in the same spot on the beach. In the evenings, more animated turtles would swim offshore and nibble the sea plants there, which I discovered when two of them bumped into my legs as I was wading. Why hello there!

So I was totally psyched to photograph these two letting a sweet sea turtle free into the wild blue. The turtle Christen and Leigh set free was named Pilialoha, which means “a loving or tender relationship.” Aww!

The local news channel also reported on the event, with a short video where you watch the newlyweds release Pilialoha!

Hula dancers with haku head wreaths at Mauna Lani Bay Sea Turtle Independence Day 2011Mauna Lani Bay Sea Turtle in sale water pond before turtle independence day release 2011Sea turtle Independence Day on July 4, 2011 at Mauna Lani Bay Resort in Hawaii with bride and groom Christen and Leigh HunterAdult Sea Turtles at Mauna Lani Bay Resort being prepared for Sea Turtle Independence DayFine art sea turtle photography by Seattle wedding photographers Persimmon Images at Hawaii Big Island Mauna Lani Bay ResortHawaiian male hula dancers wearing haku wreaths waiting for sea turtles on Sea Turtle Independence Day at Mauna Lani Bay resortSea turtle and hula dancer, two native Hawaiians, meet on July 4 on the Big Island at Mauna Lani Bay resortHula dance at Mauna Lani Bay resort as a tribute to the legendary turtle PunaluMauna Lani Keiki kids help newlyweds Christen and Leigh with the sea turtle PilialohaSea Turtle Independence Day on July 4, 2011 at the Mauna Lani Bay resort with destination wedding couple Christen and Leigh, who are releasing turtle PilialohaThe Hawaiian sea turtle Pilialoha, meaning Couple releases sea turtle on July 4th for Hawaiian sea turtle Independence Day at Mauna Lani Bay resortCaptive sea turtle in new ocean home, the Hawaiian sea off the Big IslandMale hula dancer displays haku lei head wreath and Polynesian tribal tattoo at the Mauna Lani Bay resort on the Big Island

Want more photos? Check out Christen and Leigh’s destination wedding at the Mauna Lani Bay, complete with karaoke craziness!

Mauna Lani Bay Hawaii Destination Wedding | Christen + Leigh

All RIGHT! It’s about time for an epic wedding around here, don’t you think? Since it’s fuh-reezing outside, I thought I’d take us someplace tropical and warm. Christen and Leigh’s “amazeballs” Hawaiian Mauna Lani destination wedding was recently featured over on the awesome Offbeat Bride blog. So, please, head over there to hear Christen’s take on the wedding day. YES! There was wedding-morning swimming… YES! There was a TARDIS wine box… YES! There were sea turtles… YES! There was a mid-ceremony pinky-swear AND rock-paper-scissors… YES! There was even karaoke!

Christen and Leigh chose Hawaii for their wedding because it’s a half-way point between his home (Australia) and hers (Wyoming). Though they booked us almost two years before their wedding, we never met them in person until the day of their karaoke co-bachelor/ette parties in Kona. Holy moly, was that one heck of a way to start off a week like no other.

On the morning of the wedding, Christen and Leigh went with their “crew” to swim in the salt-water Love Pond on the grounds of the Mauna Lani. Cold, purifying, and a great initiation into marriage! After getting ready in the hotel, they were wed on the beach with a sea turtle slumbering not 50 yards away. They celebrated on the Mauna Lani lawn with glow-in-the-dark bocce ball, dancing, hors d’oeuvres, cupcakes, cigars, and karaoke. But even after that, the party wasn’t over! We took a full-day road trip around the Big Island with Christen, Leigh, and some friends to see Volcanoes National Park. Then, on the Fourth of July, Christen and Leigh were selected by the Mauna Lani to be a part of their Sea Turtle Independence Day turtle release! I’ll have a separate post or posts with some of those photos later. For now, enjoy these photos from their wedding day, and don’t forget to read Christen’s account on Offbeat Bride.

Wedding Service by:
Turquoise Pearls: North Atlantic Art on Etsy
Turquoise Buttons: LiD Designs Supplies on Etsy
Red Sox Garter: Garters by Kristi on Etsy
Brooch Bouquet: Bride’s mother-in-law
Dress: David’s Bridal
Groom’s Shorts: Volcom from
Venue: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows
Photographers: Persimmon Images
Wedding Bands: Kathryn Riechert on Etsy

Hawaii destination wedding photography at Mauna Lani Bay resort, Mauna Lani palm treesMauna Lani Bay resort destination wedding photography on HawaiiDestination wedding photography by Seattle wedding photographers at Mauna Lani Bay resort in Hawaii. Bride having her hair styled in Mauna Lani resort hotel room.Mauna Lani destination bride laughing on the morning of her beach wedding on HawaiiModern wedding detail photography of bridal makeup and bridal perfume Coco Mademoiselle. Contemporary destination wedding photography by Seattle Photographer Persimmon ImagesGetting ready detail photography by contemporary wedding photographers Persimmon Images at the Hawaii resort Mauna Lani BayMauna Lani Bay wedding photography of a bride getting ready in her hotel room with professional make up. Hawaii beach wedding photography by Seattle photographers Persimmon Images.Wedding detail photography of short wedding dress with beaded straps and blue buttons. Custom hanger text Wedding detail photography by Seattle wedding photographers Persimmon Images of custom wedding bands with the engraving reading forever + ever and wedding date. Photographed on lava rocks at Mauna Lani Bay resort on HawaiiCustom blue and turquoise wedding brooch bouquet made of antique brooches and locket for blue Hawaii wedding at the Mauna Lani Bay resort.Custom blue and turquoise brooch bouquet detail, a locket with photographs of the bride and groomDestination wedding detail photography of blue wedding shoes. Blue slingback bridal heels with purple orchids and blue Converse menHawaii groom with shorts, aviator glasses, and blue suspenders at the Mauna Lani Bay hotel before his beach weddingPocketwatch wedding gift with engraving, gift from groom to groomsmenGroomsmen gift pocket watches, wedding detail photography at the Mauna Lani Bay hotel and bungalows in HawaiiBlue surf off the beach in Hawaii at the Mauna Lani Bay resort and bungalows before a destination wedding on the beachHawaii wedding photography on the beach at the Mauna Lani Bay resort. Destination wedding with couple from Wyoming and Australia married in Hawaii.Hawaii destination beach wedding photography of seaside wedding ceremony at the Mauna Lani BayHawaii beach wedding detail photography of TARDIS wine box and groomSunglasses on the beach at the Mauna Lani Bay during a beach destination wedding in HawaiiDestination wedding bride and groom photography on the beach during Mauna Lani Bay wedding ceremony. Photography by Seattle wedding photographers Persimmon ImagesBride and groom pinky swear during their destination wedding ceremony on the beach at the Mauna Lani Bay in HawaiiPassionate kiss during destination beach wedding in Hawaii by Seattle wedding photographer Persimmon ImagesBride and Groom with toes in the sand on Big Island Hawaii beach at the Mauna Lani Bay after their destination beach weddingContemporary destination wedding kiss in front of the ocean sunset in Hawaii at the Mauna Lani BayCasual, contemporary, wedding detail photography at a Mauna Lani Bay destination wedding in Hawaii by Seattle wedding photographer Persimmon ImagesBride and Groom in beach hammock with palm trees relaxing at sunset at HawaiiDestination bride and groom replicate or emulate famous the VJ Day (Victory Over Japan Day) kiss photograph from World War 2 (II) on the Hawaii beach at the Mauna Lani BayDestination beach wedding with colorful balloons. Bride and groom stroll down the beach in Hawaii at the Mauna Lani Bay resort with a bouquet of colorful balloons.Modern destination wedding photography at the Mauna Lani Bay on the beach at sunset. Bride in short wedding dress with blue buttons and bare feet and groom with black shorts and blue suspenders recline on a palm tree trunk at sunset.Wedding reception details shots. Destination wedding at the Mauna Lani Bay in Hawaii. Glow in the dark bocce ball and tiki torches. Colorful bunting on cocktail tables. Glowing centerpieces and plastic colorful animals drink charms.Wedding reception on the lawn at the Mauna Lani Bay resort with paper lanterns, colorful bunting, dancing, bocce ball. Destination wedding photography by contemporary wedding photographers Persimmon Images.Bride and groom grand entrance and first dance with balloons at Mauna Lani Bay resort. Modern wedding photography by fun, fabulous Persimmon Images.Destination wedding photography of first dance at Mauna Lani Bay resort in HawaiiDancing in Hawaii at karaoke rock and roll destination beach wedding. Bride with blue and white pearls.Wedding guests dancing at the Mauna Lani Bay beach wedding reception on the lawnSwing dancing wedding guests at the Mauna Lani Bay resort in HawaiiMauna Lani Bay wedding karaoke at destination wedding reception in Hawaii. Bride singing karaoka to guestsChocolate and vanilla wedding cupcakes with a Gir topper at the Mauna Lani Bay in HawaiiGroup photograph of bride, groom, and best friends at Mauna Lani Bay destination wedding in HawaiiKaraoke wedding at Mauna Lani Bay in Hawaii with bride and groom singing karaoka together at receptionKaraoke Mauna Lani destination wedding by Seattle wedding photographers Persimmon ImagesGroom wearing blue suspenders lights a cigar on a tiki torch in Hawaii after his destination wedding at the Mauna Lani BayNight reception on Mauna Lani Bay resort lawn in Hawaii. Modern destination wedding photography by Persimmon Images Seattle wedding photographer

Want to see more? Watch their wedding slideshow!

Clise Mansion October Wedding | Karen + Chris Teaser

Here’s a little teaser for Karen + Chris, who were our last wedding this season and are coming over to view their photos tomorrow. You guys said you loved awkward photos, and this is one of my favorites just for the look on Chris’s face that he’s holding the bouquet. I had to include the photo of their hilarious wedding party, too. Consider yourselves teased!Seattle wedding photographers Persimmon Images captured this black and white photojournalistic image at Clise Mansion in Marymoor Park during an October wedding

Modern wedding party portrait photograph at Clise Mansion in Redmond, WA

Back to Weddings! | A Few Unseen Favorites

Hello world! I’m back from Japan and with a ton of amazing photos to share from our tsunami relief efforts. I also have a bunch of great weddings from this year to show off on the blog — one or two full wedding showcases per week for the next couple months. To get started, I’ve got a few favorite photographs from a couple of lovely 2010 weddings. I was either the assistant photographer or a guest at these weddings, so I can’t show off the whole thing the way I would a wedding that Justin and I photographed ourselves, but enjoy these little tidbits, and keep an eye out for new photos in the next couple of days. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bride and groom toast at Seattle Georgetown brewery wedding with rainbow details and chucks and beerMichigan Catholic mass wedding black and white fine art wedding photographyBride kisses her father coming down the aisle in Seattle Catholic church weddingDusky purple bridesmaids dresses with pink flowers during Seattle wedding ceremonyAdorable ring bearer junior groomsman in a suit black and white fine art wedding photography in MichiganContemporary wedding photography of bride and groomMichigan wedding photography of Catholic wedding mass in cathedral. Modern fine art wedding photography.Seattle wedding photography at Georgetown brewery. FIrst dance with chuck taylors and blue shoes, delicious cupcakes.Michigan wedding photography Catholic recessional with bubbles and bride and groom

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