An Island-Inspired Wedding at Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens on Kauai

Planned by Moana Belle Events

bride and groom

Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

“The island of Kauai really inspired the style of our wedding,” says Katherine “Katie” Durko. “I wanted the décor to highlight the raw beauty of the lush green island.” Katie, the co-founder of The Edit, said “I do” to Adrian Karvinen, a business, creative, and artist consultant at Fire Club Inc, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

The decision to head from their home in Los Angeles to the tropical destination was a no-brainer: The couple had spent the last three summers vacationing on the islands where Katie’s mother has a home. Plus, there was an added benefit. Since Adrian hails from the Gold Coast of Australia and Katie from southern California, Kauai was right smack in the middle. 

The pair picked the Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens for the ceremony and reception and hired the local planning team at Moana Belle Events to pull off the destination wedding, which included three events prior to the wedding like a lei-making party and welcome drinks. The couple wanted the guests to fully experience the aloha spirit on the “island that holds a dear place in both our hearts” but also take part in their commitment to one another.

Read on for all the details of this island bash, planned by Moana Belle Events and photographed by Stewart and Connie Uy

invitation suite
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Lia Burke designed the couple’s stationery, which included an island vibe and the wedding colors: green and white.

couple kissing
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Since both Katie and Adrian grew up in warm weather destinations by the beach, picking Hawaii as their wedding destination was the easiest part of the process.  

friends
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
lei station
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Katie and Adrian wanted guests to enjoy more about Hawaii than just the wedding day. They threw three events leading up to their nuptials, including a lei-making party in Hanalei Bay.  

lei party
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
lei
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
woman helping friend put on flower crown
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

“I found Ivory, owner of The Lei Collective, on Instagram in the months leading up to my wedding and knew I wanted to incorporate one of her beautiful flower workshops into my pre-wedding festivities,” Katie says.

women
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy  
woman dancing
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

In addition to the leis, the guests made their own flower crowns. Other festivities included welcome drinks, complete with a taco truck and local guitarist, as well as a rehearsal dinner at the local seafood haunt, Postcards.

bride and bridesmaids getting ready
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Katie and her bridesmaids got ready at the house that she and Adrian rented for the wedding. They all wore matching pajama sets.

bridesmaids dresses
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Katie’s bridesmaid Victoria Salisbury owns a clothing line, V. Chapman Studio, so Katie sourced the sage green bridesmaids dresses from the label.

bride putting on dress
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
bride and bridesmaid
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy  
wedding dress
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

“I knew without a doubt in my mind it would be the dress I would get married in,” Katie says of putting on her lace Mira Zwillinger gown at a Saks Fifth Avenue trunk show. The slim-fitting, V-neck dress features 3-D appliqués and pearls sewn into the fabric. 

bride and bridal party
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

From our officiant to my custom-made bridesmaids dresses to our musical guest performance, our friends were all included in our special day. Those personal connections are also what I remembered most.

bridal party
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

“Because all eight of my bridesmaids couldn’t attend the dress shopping, we had a group text chat going where my bridesmaid, Taylor, would send photos to the group to get feedback,” Katie says. “This dress was the one everyone agreed upon.”

bride
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
bride
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

She paired the gown with a formal-length Mira Zwillinger veil with coordinating floral appliqués, baguette diamond huggie earrings, and Gianvito Rossi praline pink heels.  

groomsmen
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
groom
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Adrian wore a velvet tuxedo jacket and silk pants by Versace with velvet smoking slippers from Saint Laurent. His wedding party, including two women, all donned black tuxedos as well.  

ceremony venue
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

The ceremony was set amid the flora and fauna of the property’s Hardwood Forest, where a canopy of teak, mahogany, rosewood, and zebrawood trees.  

ceremony altar
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
ceremony structure
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy  

Paruhi Floral put together the ceremony arch featuring a variety of palms, orchids, anthuriums, and other native flora. 

bride and father
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
father giving bride away
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Slack-key guitarist Pancho Graham played music for the ceremony, including the bride’s entrance to Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.” Katie walked in escorted by her father.

wedding ceremony in forest
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
wedding ceremony
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

The couple specifically picked each song for the ceremony, starting with the music as guests arrived. That featured The Beatles, Van Morrison, and, fittingly, The Beach Boys.

vow exchange
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
bride and groom laughing at altar
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
vows
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
bride reading vows
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Katie and Adrian exchanged their own vows. Katie’s vows highlighted a passage from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist: “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

ring exchange
 Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
wedding ceremony
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

The couple exchanged rings designed by the bride’s custom jewelers in Los Angeles.

first kiss
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
newlyweds
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
recessional
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Katie and Adrian exited as newlyweds to a cover of “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. 

newlyweds kissing
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
wedding party
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
wedding party
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

“Look for ways to incorporate your nearest and dearest. From our officiant, to my custom-made bridesmaids dresses to our musical guest performance, our friends were all included in our special day,” Katie says. “Those personal connections are also what I remembered most.”

bride and groom
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
bride and groom walking
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Katie and Adrian actually had their first date at Coachella Music Festival, where they met for a drink at the main stage. “The rest is history,” Katie says.  

bride and groom
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
couple kissing
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

“The island holds a dear place in both our hearts and reminds Adrian of his hometown on the Gold Coast of Australia,” Katie says of Kauai. “It was an added bonus that this was a ‘meet in the middle’ location for both Aussies and Californians.”

bride and groom in front of ocean
 Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
bride and groom kissing on beach
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Adrian proposed to Katie with several surprises. He conned her into thinking they were going on an overnight hike to Topanga Canyon, outside of Los Angeles, and had her pack a bag. Instead, he popped the question at the top of the hiking trail and whisked her off to a surprise dinner where friends and family awaited with “congratulations.” “It was an incredible evening,” she says, to which she adds, “It turns out the packing of the bag was just to throw me off; we weren’t actually staying in Topanga for the night.”

lounge area
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
bar
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy  

Guests sipped on three different signature drinks at cocktail hour, one for the bride, one for the groom, and one in honor of their cat, Coco. Coined the “Coco Loco,” it mixed coconut rum with fresh pineapple juice.  

newlyweds
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
cocktail hour
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Walking into the reception to ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ and seeing the décor for the first time with friends and family cheering and dancing—I will never forget that moment.

couple entering reception
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

“Walking into the reception to ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ and seeing the décor for the first time with friends and family cheering and dancing—I will never forget that moment,” Katie says of their grand entrance to the reception tent.   

lei display
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
escort card display
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
escort card
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

The escort cards were attached to a hanging display of white orchids by clothespins.

wedding tent
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Katie let the Moana Bella Events planning team run with the reception décor. What resulted was a tented celebration with white and green accents, bamboo details, and lots of nods to Hawaii.  

reception table
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
neon sign
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Modern touches snuck into the island-inspired vibes of the reception, including a neon sign featuring the couple’s initials.  

table
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Tables were topped with a mix of low arrangements of white flowers and palms in glass vases. Glassware and linens kept a low profile but reinforced the “island vibe” that Katie wanted.  

table setting
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Dinner featured island stations of Hawaiian dishes like basil seared mahi-mahi, braised short ribs, mango salad, and shaved ice.  

first dance
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
couple kissing during first dance
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

The newlyweds took their first spin on the dance floor to an Elvis jam, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

birthday cake
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
men blowing out birthday candles
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Two of Katie and Adrian’s friends had birthdays on the same day as their wedding. To honor them, they sent out a birthday cake during the dinner party.  

wedding cake
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
cake cutting
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 
bride and groom feeding each other cake
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

The couple cut into a two-tier minimalist cake that was anything but on the inside it. It featured two outstanding flavors: brown butter cake with vanilla bean syrup, mango curd, toasted macadamia nuts, and fresh strawberries as well as a coconut cake with light rum glaze, macadamia nut pastry cream, and pineapple buttercream.  

bride and groom
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy  
couple kissing
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

The reception made plenty of memories—cake included—but one moment really stood out. “Two days before the wedding, Adrian’s best man was turned away at the Honolulu border and not allowed into the country after flying nine hours from Sydney,” Katie explains. “Because he could not deliver his speech in person, he sent us a video recording, wearing his tux, which we projected on a large screen at the wedding reception. It was both heartfelt and hilarious. The end frame panned out to a wider shot and showed he was only wearing the top half his tux and his boxers and socks. He had the entire room roaring with laughter.”

bride
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

Katie changed into a custom V. Chapman Studio dress for the afterparty.  

bride and groom
Photo by Stewart and Connie Uy 

After the wedding, the newlyweds celebrated further with a mini-moon at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, a neighboring island. The following summer, they took a formal honeymoon to Europe, with stops in romantic destinations such as the Amalfi Coast of Italy, Paris, and Mallorca.

Wedding Team

Wedding Venue Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens

Wedding Planner & Designer Moana Belle Events

Bridal Gown & Veil Mira Zwillinger

Other Dresses Emilio de la MorenaV. Chapman StudioZimmermann

Shoes Gianvito Rossi

Hair & Makeup Mia Moriguchi

Bridesmaid Dresses V Chapman Studio

Groom’s Attire Versace

Groom’s Shoes Saint Laurent

Flowers Paruhi Floral

Stationery Lia Burke

Entertainment Pancho GrahamDart CollectiveSay Lou Lou

Catering & Cake Contemporary Flavors Catering

Rentals Blaze EntertainmentLee’s Rentals, Inc

Videography Ryan McDuff

Photography Stewart and Connie Uy 

 

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