When we close our eyes and imagine a tropical paradise, Hawaii quickly comes to mind. It’s one of those rare places where beauty is in every direction as far as the eye can see. Jennifer was close to moving to Hawaii to be with Matt when they decided that Kauai was the perfect location for their garden wedding. The botanical gardens offered a backdrop of an endless forest. We love the simple yet elegant floral arrangements, the brides long sweeping veil, and the traditional Korean tea ceremony to bring their two families together.
Photography by Blenda Montoro.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? My husband told me to get a wedding planner! I was in the midst of studying for medical boards, finishing residence and moving to Kauai. I was so glad that I had professionals to put on my dream wedding — I didn’t have to worry about anything.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Be sure to have a wedding planner to tie your vision together.
“We chose Na Aina Kai Botanical Garden on Kauai because it’s so beautiful. I was just a month away from moving to Kauai to be with Matt. We wanted to have our wedding in Hawaii because it’s so special to us. The gardens have many locations to hold a ceremony and we just fell in love with the forest. It was magical, quiet and gave us a moment of pause that was really enjoyable while our ceremony was happening. It was exactly what we wanted for our ceremony.”
Your ceremony in three words: Heartfelt, intimate and lighthearted.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We relied on our wedding planner to help direct and guide us. She did an amazing job of making sure that everything that was important to us was the focus of the day.
Who officiated your ceremony? Kahu (the word for Hawaiian priest) Jade Battat was our officiant. She was recommended to us by a friend on the island and combined the Hawaiian culture with a traditional western ceremony.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We included a Hawaiian lei exchange where we both put lei’s on our mothers to express gratitude and thanks.
What were your vows like? We said traditional wedding vows.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Kissing my husband at the end of the ceremony!
“The Hawaiian islands are so beautiful. Kauai is the oldest island — it’s lush, overgrown, and has so much natural beauty.”
Did you have a signature cocktail? Ruel Mule — A Moscow Mule with lilikoi.
How would you describe your reception? Bohemian, island style, elegant, outdoorsy and simple.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. Our wedding planner surprised me with dream catchers for the back of our bride and groom chairs. They were beautiful and made out of lace with sea glass, shells and wood beads.
What was your wedding menu? Appetizers: Brie Cheese on Crostini with Pineapple Macadamia Nut Chutney / Spicy Ahi Poke Shooter with Ginger Scallion Guacamole and Wonton Spoons / Shrimp Corndogs with Wasabi Tomato Jam // Hawaiian Shave Ice Station: Made to order with assorted Tropical Syrups including Mango, Lychee, Lilikoi, and Coconut Topping // Dinner: Kailani Farms Organic Greens with a Sunrise Papaya Seed Vinaigrette / Fresh Sliced Seasonal Fruit Platter / Kauai Asparagus, Tomato and Red Onions with Sesame Soy Dressing / Steamed White Rice / Wok Fried Vegetables Medley / Grilled Kalbi Chicken with Kimchee Pineapple / Hoisin Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs with Baby Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushrooms / Sauteed Mahi Mahi with Macadamia Nut Lemon Butter Sauce
Catering by Contemporary Flavors.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? We had a Korean tea ceremony in honor of my heritage. My mom lead this — it was special for us! Matt hadn’t met a ton of my Korean family and we got to expose our guests to a traditional ceremony. We loved it, they loved it — especially the part where Matt piggy-backed me and my mom around the whole wedding tent.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The Speeches! Hearing from our loved was was really special and what I remember most about our reception. And then there was the dancing — we all danced the night away.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a two-tier cake — Vanilla Buttercream Cake soaked in Grand Marnier Syrup layered with Lilikoi.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I didn’t realize how busy we would be with everyone flying in for our wedding, so I would have made sure I had more time to spend with my husband before the wedding.