Don’t do this when you're in getting married in Hawai'i!

You might be expecting travel tips versus a history lesson, but surprise! I love history and culture so I am always doing what I can to glean information on the culture I am visiting. I think you'll find this interesting, and it will help you avoid offending locals if you keep this in the back of your mind.

The first thing you need to know when planning a wedding in Hawai'i is that Hawai'i was taken over by the United States of America in 1898, against their will. Though the Islanders are kind to tourists, they want to educate tourists about the history and rich culture of their beautiful islands.

The next thing you need to know is that the Hawai'i economy is dependent on tourism. Approximately 98% of all revenue in Hawai'i is because of tourists. Think about it- they have a very small surface area, so they can't export crops, and because of the small surface area, it's not like they can make massive farms and export animal goods.

They do export some coffee, but again, the vast majority of their income and jobs are based off of tourism.

Think about that for a second. We invaded their land and took them over, and now they're dependent on tourism for their survival.

It's important to be respectful of their land and their culture. When I am in Hawai'i, I regularly find trees with initials carved into them, trash on beaches, and people literally touching the wildlife.

None of that is acceptable behavior.

Tourists should not be maiming the forests with their initials.

Tourists should pick up their trash, a basic lesson our mothers all tried to teach us when we were three years old.

And for the love, don't touch the animals or fish. Your scent and skin oils can damage them and cause them to be exiled from the other animals.

It's amazing that you can spend time on these amazing islands, but be aware that these islands do not belong to you, and they require gentle loving and care when you are there.

One more tip- don't tag your favorite scenes, hikes, beaches, waterfalls, or oceanscapes with location tags on social media. This leads to other tourists- photographers, I'm looking at you- flooding to beautiful scenes and leaving them crowded, littered, and over-popularized.

Soak up the beauty for yourself and feel free to share it, but don't invite the entire social media world to come and clog up the most beautiful sights in the world with models, influencers, trash, and commercialism.

Location tags are what caused many of our national parks to take a swift turn to the worse- giving public directions to the best views to the masses can flood in and ruin the most beautiful sights in the world with garish behavior, trash, and ultimately- inconsiderate behaviors that frighten away the wildlife from their homes, causing the beauty to diminish from all the foot traffic.

Here's a little bit more on why I don't disclose locations I like to photograph at on Hawaii:

Keep the islands mysterious so couples like Shanelle and Steve can enjoy a private elopement at a beautiful Oahu waterfall that has been respected for centuries!

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