Darrick and James selected Hawaii as their wedding destination, finding it to be the perfect midpoint between their hometowns in Australia and New York. Their decision was solidified when they discovered their stunning venue with its epic mountain backdrop. In planning their Kualoa Ranch wedding, they focused on reflecting their personal styles, drawing inspiration from the colors and themes prominent in their apartment and photography work. Opting for a combination of dark and moody wood tones–highlighted by contrasting dark and gilded accents and adorned with lush greenery and white florals–they crafted a vision that felt uniquely theirs. Fortunately, their team of vendors grasped this vision and exceeded expectations by going above and beyond to bring it all to life.
The beginning of the couple’s special day was marked by heartfelt “I do’s” shared amid nature and with their closest loved ones. Enhancing the breathtaking surroundings, they adorned the space with a unique display of greenery pillars, creating a beautiful frame around the mountain views. As touching as these moments were, the couple aimed to surpass them with their tented reception. They welcomed guests to the celebration with long banquet-style tables awaited, adorned with elegant black and gold settings and a warm glow from numerous candles.
The two grooms made a beautiful and inviting setting to enjoy and soak in all the special moments together. They mixed in parts of their traditions thoughtfully, showing off their personalities. To see more, take a look at these incredible photos by Keani Bakula and enjoy all the details of their lush and romantic celebration.
Darrick and James
Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, United States
The Story Behind Their Kualoa Ranch Wedding
We chose Hawaii because it is the midpoint between Australia and New York, where we are from. We also knew we wanted something other than a beach or hotel wedding, which further narrowed down venue options. When we saw the photos of Kualoa Ranch and the epic mountain backdrop, we were sold. How could we pass on an opportunity to get married where Jurassic Park was filmed? This was a more complex venue as everything from the chairs and utensils to the tent and bathrooms had to be brought in, but we had confidence knowing that our planner was a seasoned professional who had planned many weddings at that spot.
Infusing Hawaiian Flair and Their Moody Personalities Into Their Wedding Design
We wanted the wedding to reflect our styles. Drawing upon colors and themes we like to use in our apartment and photography. We settled on dark and moody wood tones, contrasting gold and black accents, and lush greenery with white orchids. To embrace our wedding destination, we mixed custom Hawaiian motifs subtly in our stationery and asked our florist to incorporate tropical greenery into her design. Finally, we used a mix of candles and different styles of chandeliers to create a warm but elevated atmosphere for the guests after the sun went down.
Intentional Moments to Soak and Enjoy Their Kualoa Ranch Wedding
We snuck away from dinner for a few minutes to spend time with one another and fully take in the evening and our surroundings. Seeing the moon rising over the majestic Kualoa mountain range was surreal. As we looked back at our guests and the wedding tent lit up. We are glad we made a conscious effort to stay present throughout the wedding day and cherish the moment together as a couple. The evening flew by so quickly, but we’ll always have these special memories to think back on.
Advice: Hire Help From Professional Vendors (Especially Wedding Planners)
First, hire a wedding planner if your budget allows for it. Given our venue’s complexity and carte blanche nature, it would have been impossible to plan this wedding on our own. Our rockstar planner Angelica had a lot of experience with this venue. And brought up things we would have needed to consider. Like where to position the tent vs. the ceremony set-up to maximize views, number of generators required, etc. Second, trust your wedding planner and your vendors. They know what they are doing and have great advice from the other weddings they have worked on before. Finally, feel free to have open conversations with your wedding team about what you really want and use your vision and their experience to create something unique for you as a couple.
Boarding Passes and Hand-Written Notes: Personalized Moments at Their Wedding
We’re proud that our wedding felt authentic to both our personalities. We skipped traditions or customs that did not resonate with us and focused instead on injecting our personalities and stories into the details throughout the day. We had a lot of fun with this part. For instance, because James is a pilot, we created boarding passes for the escort cards and used airport codes for table numbers. We also had personalized notes on the boarding passes to thank guests for coming to Hawaii to celebrate our wedding.
Crafting a Personal Soundtrack That Defined Their Wedding Moments
Music is a big part of our relationship, and we have many artists that we love listening to together, such as Rufus Du Sol and Odesza. We carefully picked songs for big moments throughout the night (e.g., champagne pour, ceremony recessional). And it felt like we were living in a movie with our soundtrack. In addition, our DJ Toshi of Spectrum Entertainment created a lit dance floor by mixing in songs and artists that we love while also playing crowd-pleasers that had people out of their seats.
The Wedding Team:
Photography – Keani Bakula
Event Planning – Forever Amour Events
Venue – Kualoa Ranch
Floral Design – La Flor Events
Catering – Memoirs Catering
Officiant – Kelehua Kawai
DJ – Spectrum Entertainment
Live Music – Ono Kine Entertainment
Videography – Twin Fin Filmworks
Makeup Artist + Hair Styling – The First Second
Rings – Cartier
Rentals – Aloha Artisans + Ambient Rentals + Accel Rentals
Transportation – Rio Limo Hawaii + Royal Star Hawaii
Choosing a bold color scheme is an excellent move if you want your wedding to stand out. Keep in mind that bold doesn’t always have to be bright. Using deep, moody tones like black is a unique and daring way to make your wedding distinctive. To make your wedding truly unique, explore our guide for creative ways to subtly and not-so-subtly bring black into your celebration.