I had the pleasure of connecting with Dina in October where she shared that she wanted an engagement session for her and and her fiancee, Derek. However, this wasn’t like any other engagement session… this would be an announcement to family and friends that Derek and Dina would be eloping AND moving to a new city. From the very start, Dina and I were in super duper planning mode. We were constantly texting and sending each other photos for our vintage styled session. One little tidbit that Dina wanted for her session was a VW truck. Ummm….

This may or may not be an actual representation of what my face looked like when she said she wanted a VW truck. But you best believe I went searching. And this is where I introduce the lovely Lynette from Pua Blooms. Her flower VW truck is the absolute cutest thing in the entire world… you NEED to check her out. Right now. Don’t walk… run. Or in this case, CLICK! Seriously, I’ll put a link again in case you missed the first one:


Dina shared that she has always loved the modern rustic vintage theme when it came to parties, so she decided to incorporate it in her session. When she thought of “vintage” VWs, pearls, and an old fashioned look came to mind. As our planning continued, she thought it would be a great idea to incorporate vintage suit cases and a globe since she and Derek both love to travel around the world and because they were moving soon.

I present to you Derek and Dina. Please bask in their cuteness and fawn over their love story.

“Derek and I met on a dating website. We actually talked for about a month before we went on our first date. At that time I was still living in California, scheduled to move to Hawaii for work and I didn’t think anything of it other than to look for people to hangout with. We started off as friends and the rest was history.”

Derek proposed to Dina in a very non-traditional way. They were both in Oklahoma City for his interview into the Physician Assistant program. One night he popped the question in their hotel room. Derek didn’t get down on one knee, but, no worries, Dina still said yes!

Neither Dina, nor Derek wanted a big marriage…

“It’s about two people loving each other, caring for one another, supporting each other, and most importantly accepting each other. So we decided to elope and tie the knot in Las Vegas on December 12, 2019, with both of our parents.”

“You are amazing! From the beginning to end, you had helped me planned this whole session in a short period of time. I couldn’t have done it without your help. Derek, being the uncomfortable one, told me the photo shoot exceeded his expectations. He felt comfortable the whole time and we both had so much fun during the whole photo shoot.”

Thank you so much to Derek and Dina for allowing me to witness your joy, happiness, and infectious love. Not gonna lie, I think I’m most proud of the fact that Derek had a good time! Congratulations to you both! Wishing you a long, joyful, and adventurous marriage.

A special thanks to my friend and assistant for the day, Julie! She provided the suitcases and helped design/style the set. (P.S. Check her out at A Thoughtful Box by Jules).

Planning a surprise announcement or eloping? Well, you know what to do (*wink, wink*) Let’s connect ;).

Kristen Iwalani of Iwalani Photography is a couples and elopement photographer based on the island of Oahu, ready to provide a chill, yet high-vibe adventure. She loves capturing the real, raw, and messy moments of your story. Contact her today to start planning your island adventure!

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