Romantic Tropical Island Wedding at Kualoa Ranch, Oahu
The Sleeper Must Awaken
In internet times, where you can see anything with a click, it never ceases to amaze that you can still travel to places that feel like they were kissed by the gods.
Places that make you feel like you might fall of the edge of the world.
This is where the adventurous couple, Christina and Jesse discovered for their second wedding. This is the sacred Ka’a’ava Valley at Kualoa Ranch.
But my cinematic mind is getting ahead of itself.
“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Anthony Bourdain
Paradise Bay Resort Wedding First Look
The couple got ready by the tranquil waters of Paradise Bay Resort, nestled within the lush green of the forest. ABC Weddings did the planning and logistics for this wedding, and they did an incredible job planning a destination wedding for the couple from a distance. (I always recommend a wedding planner for my couples! Check out this link to find out why.)
The bride, dressed in a stunning Rime Arodaky gown separates and adorned with sparkling Miu Miu accessories, and an exquisite tropical wedding bouquet by Puakaie Floristry – (I don’t think I’ll ever be over Protea wedding bouquets! ) — Christina met Jesse by the water’s edge for an emotional first look.
Wedding Photographer Tip: Be Cool: Bring Sunglasses
Wedding photographer tip: bring sunglasses to your wedding. Sunglasses can add personality, depth, and mystery to photos and can be a fun layer of dimension in a portrait by casting shadows on the face. Christina’s wedding day sunglasses by Krewe made for some really fun photos.
Low Camp At Kualoa Ranch Wedding
The couple then set off on an adventure to low camp, through the winding roads of the ranch, capturing expansive and cinematic photos against the backdrop of the mountain range and cloud-covered skies.
As guests arrived at the ceremony site, they were greeted with welcome cocktails served in pineapples and coconuts under parasols, setting the laid-back yet elegant vibe for the day.
Christina and Jesse exchanged heartfelt vows within a grounded floral arch (again, thank you for such magical blooms, Puakaie Floristry!) surrounded by the breathtaking mountain views. An emotional lei exchange during the ceremony added a special touch to the traditional Hawaiian rituals.
A Hawaiian Wedding Butterfly Release
As the summer light broke through the clouds and mist, the cinematic valley and clouds provided the perfect backdrop for a romantic kiss as the couple walked away from the altar. Guests released butterflies in the background – a symbol of new life.
Incorporating a Korean Wedding Paebaek Ceremony
During the cocktail hour, the couple and their family participated in a Korean paebaek ceremony, an emotional moment in which the couple wears traditional Korean hanbok with their parents and the couple pours tea to honor their parents — and following that, parents toss chestnuts and jujubes for the couple to catch, symbolizing how many children a couple will have. I always find this especially touching when some of the parents aren’t Korean like Jesse’s mom, and not quite sure what they are doing, but lovingly do their best to share in the festivities.
Champagne Toasts, Champagne Sprays, and Champagne Towers At Your Wedding
Now, I’m going to tell you a secret of mine: As a wedding photographer – if you don’t come home with cake on you or if you haven’t been drenched in champagne, you probably aren’t doing weddings right. I want to get IN the action with my couples, and Christina and Jesse gave me that chance, with a private champagne spray. (I’m all for a good champagne spray or champagne tower!)
String Lights Add Romance
As the evening approached, the dance floor was transformed with a styled rattan lounge set and a canopy of string lights. (Aloha Artisans and Accel Lighting), creating a romantic “dancing under the stars” atmosphere under the actual stars. (And lighting is something you should always consider for your wedding ceremony – it adds depth, drama, romance and intrigue to your wedding). The couple’s first dance, to Dancing in the Moonlight by Toploader echoing amidst the valley, was a fun moment shared with their friends and family.
Throughout the day, the couple was supported by an talented team of vendors, including AM TOURS for transport, Course Catering for one of the most incredible meals I’ve ever had at a wedding, REVEAL Hair & Makeup for hair, and Jangmi Jewelry for the rings. The ceremony was officiated by Tommy Tokioka, and the day was captured on film by the incredible video artistry of the laid back Sophia Roud. Hawaiian wedding photography by L Hewitt Photography, Just Press Play Productions provided the band, A Cake Life created the stunning wedding cake, and Oahu Strings kept the party going as the DJ.
I’m proud to have been Christina and Jesse’s Kualoa Ranch Wedding Photographer.
Video – Sophia Roud (HIRE HER!!
Florist – Puaka’ie Floristry
Officiant – Tommy Tokioka
Caterer – Course Catering
DJ – Oahu Strings
Accessories – Miu Miu
Dress Designer – Rime Arodaky
Furniture – Accel, Aloha Artisans
Groom Suit Shop – Ted Baker
Planner – ABC Weddings
Ring – Jangmi Jewelry
Transport – AM TOURS
Band – Just Press Play Productions
Hair & Makeup – REVEAL Hair & Makeup
Cake – A Cake Life