Updated: Jan 10, 2022
Photographing a destination wedding on the island of Oahu in Hawaii is a dream for many destination wedding photographers. This past Memorial Day weekend, Jake and I boarded an airplane and took the five-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles to Oahu to photograph one of the most beautiful weddings we’ve witnessed.
On August 21, 2016, Kevin planned a sunrise walk on Waimanalo Beach to propose to Kristen as the sun came up, stretching golden light on one of their favorite sunrise spots! Without hesitation, Kristen said YES!
“I knew I was crazy about him by the second date. Knew I wanted to marry him around the time he went on deployment a few months later,” says Kristen.
Although Kristen and Kevin were both raised on the mainland, they knew they wanted to get married in Hawaii. Their date was set for May 26, 2017…to be held at Kualoa Ranch – a 4,000 acre, private nature reserve on the windward side of the island. The Kualoa Private Nature Reserve is legendary to ancient Hawaiians as well as the Hollywood film industry, and is also a working cattle ranch and farm! Jurassic Park, Skull Island, Jurassic World and Godzilla were all filmed at Kualoa Ranch. How cool is that?!
THE BIG DAY
Sometimes called “The Gathering Place,” Oahu certainly lived up to its name as Kristen and Kevin’s guests started arriving from the mainland the week leading up to the wedding. Guests were greeted by the island with partly cloudy skies, lower-than-normal humidity, and a week of scattered showers—cooling us off JUST when it started to get too hot. Most of their quests had never been to Hawaii before, including Jake, so everyone showed up more than ready to meet, socialize and celebrate the big event. It was going to be a beautiful wedding…
We turned into the driveway of Kualoa Ranch and I was instantly blown away by the spectacular view. Paliku Gardens is nestled 1,000 feet above Kualoa Ranch on the base of the Kualoa cliffs. It’s surrounded by tropical gardens and features panoramic ocean views; providing guests with beautiful sight lines of Kane’ohe Bay, rolling pastures, green gardens, and the iconic “Chinaman’s Hat” island just off the coast. I was seeing amazing photo opportunities everywhere!
The ceremony was sweet, pointed and heart-felt, with Kristen and Kevin reciting vows they had prepared for each other before the wedding. Kristen and Kevin came together in the presence of their family and friends, exchanged their special vows under the floral arch overlooking Kane’ohe Bay, and the iconic “Chinaman’s Hat”.
It started with a beer. Strengthened with distance of deployment. They began their happily-ever-after with this promise: “I will love you deeper than the ocean, stronger than quicksand, the long way. Every single day. Forever”
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Photography: Erin & Jake Wedding Photography
Hair & Makeup for the Bride: Cheryl Hazelgrove
Hair for the Bridesmaids: Creative SOL – Luxury Hair & Makeup, Katie Rezantes
Day of Coordinator: Tropical Moon Events, Dania S. Weinberg
Florist: Designs by Hemingway, Debbie Hemingway
Venue: Kualoa Ranch, Paliku Gardens
DJ: Spectrum Entertainment, Toshi Nakasone
Officiant: Liz Leavitt
Rings: Blue Nile
Jewelry: The Pearl Shop
Cake & Cupcakes: Harmony Cakes
Catering: Kualoa Ranch Catering
Table & Chair Rental: Accel Party Rentals & Design