Today I am thrilled to share a vibrant tropical wedding on Oahu channelling a celebration of nature and heritage.
Images were captured by Flora & Fauna Photography.
Jenn & Derrek, of Flora and Fawn are a husband and wife team specializing in wedding photography and cinematography. Together, we’ve been documenting couples and their stories since 2010.
They are Florida natives, but you can find them on the road pretty often for work.
They are both very passionate about film photography, both growing up on 35mm and polaroid cameras, and because of that they are what you would call ‘hybrid photographers,’ meaning that they use a mixture of film & digital medium.
Their aim has always been to create timeless photographs that will see the hands of multiple generations.
Beautiful Bride Hannah says of the couple and their day…
How did you meet?
We met seven years before we got married at a horse stable in Brooklyn, NY.
I was a trainer at that stable, and T Kira was a volunteer there, working with homeless veterans.
A couple of years after meeting, we fell in love.
Tell us about the Proposal…
We travelled the country together on countless road trips, so it was very appropriate for me to propose on one of those trips, in Wyoming, at a friend’s ranch.
In our rented Toyota, under a meteor shower, I proposed, opening the car door on one knee with a custom made ring, co-designed by Misa, a Hawaii based artist.
Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?
T Kira worked for Zac Posen all through college, and always dreamed of wearing one of his designs.
Posen custom made the dress in a marigold yellow, one of T Kira’s favorite colors.
She chose funky Christian Dior pumps, mesh with disco balls and gold lips, to offset the formal dress.
I chose to support Bindle and Keep, who make bespoke suits for many in the queer community.
We always thought a mauve or purple would compliment gold, and the mauve/blue plaid fabric she found was absolutely perfect.
I wore a black continental tie beneath a gold collar bar and chain, and deep purple dress shoes that read black in particular light.
The shoes were one of the last things that T Kira’s father gifted to her before his passing. It was another way to keep him present that day.
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your tropical wedding day?
Our number one priority was to create a wedding experience that felt personal, something that told a story about us as individuals and as a couple.
We wanted guests to leave knowing more about who we are than when they had arrived.
We stayed faithful to our aesthetic, our joys, our “happy colors” of vibrant, saturated colors, and details that reflected who we are, how we love, and what land we were on.
T Kira is Native Hawaiian, and Hannah grew up on rural farmland, and both cultures share a reverence for the natural world.
Thus, every detail in our tropical wedding was a celebration of life, flowers, plants, and the chosen family who made to Oahu.
The night before, we even hand threaded every lei for every guest. Every person’s presence meant that much to us.
Let’s talk wedding decor…
We really thought about every last fork, every jar on the table. We hand selected the flowers for the leis (which T Kira’s grandma threaded all night long), and picked up chopsticks and fans from Oahu’s Chinatown.
For place settings, we handmade tile coasters with images personal to every guest (we laminated photos onto the tiles).
We also curated tables to honor those who have passed on to become ancestors; we had their photos on display with leis and a Hawaiian prayer, so they could share the evening with us, too.
Every other design was in service of color, comfort, and our authenticity as individuals, and as a couple.
Tell us about the florals…
I have a bi of a green thumb; and absolutely love flowers and plant life.
We knew the indigenous flora would be central to our aesthetic and that we’d work around those guiding colors.
For example, we wanted to have our ceremony beneath a giant, gorgeous tree, but we didn’t want to disturb or upstage the tree, so we chose not to build an arc.
Instead, our “arc” was built on the ground, around the tree, as if to honor it.
We knew we wanted many traditional leis, and T Kira wanted a haku headpiece, so those also helped guide our florals. Every flower and leaf had a meaning
Did you have any special touches?
Neither one of us like cake, so we had a friend to pick up malasadas from Leonards food truck and drop the boxes off for dessert. We loved that!
We enjoyed hiring local hula dancers, and a local trio band called Keauhou. In general it was incredibly important to us to support local and Kānaka businesses, especially holding a tropical wedding on an occupied nation.
Our ceremony speeches also reflected this with a lengthy land acknowledgment on the history of the islands, and a speech about the history of gay rights and marriage equality.
We could only be married by standing on the shoulders of those who have fought for our right to do so, and we wanted to bring those people, and those acts of revolution, into the space.
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
Reciting our vows to one another, in the presence of the people we love most.
We didn’t have any “first look,” so the ceremony really was the first time we saw each others’ outfits and heard each others’ vows. It was transcendent.
Second to that, was the surprise sing-along that T Kira orchestrated with all of our guests, after a scene from one of my favorite movies, My Best Friend’s Wedding.
T Kira spontaneously kicked the sing-along off during the reception, and then, to my surprise, everyone joined in and knew all the words.
Half a dozen guests even gave solos throughout the song. It really felt like a movie; it was magical, and surreal, and hilarious–and a moment that, we suspect, no one will ever forget.
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
Both marriage, and your wedding, should be about you as a couple.
We found, throughout the process, that it was difficult to cast off so many presumptions about what a wedding ought to look like.
Even as a queer couple, we realized we’d consumed a lot of traditional rhetoric and representation, and had to continually remind each other and ourselves that we truly could do anything we wanted!
We could skip the parts that would have made us anxious and we could incorporate a spontaneous sing-along mid-reception.
That feeling of liberation – of focusing on what would truly feel the most joyous in each and every moment–had everything much to do with how perfectly the day came together.
Tropical Wedding Vendors
Ceremony Location: Kualoa Ranch / Reception: Venue: Moli’i Gardens
Photographer / Cinematography: Flora & Fauna
Event Planner: Modern Elopement (Moana Events)
Dress: Zac Posen
Tuxedo: Bindle & Keep
Floral Designer: Mei Day
To Contact Flora & Fauna
Website: Flora & Fauna