“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Katie and her bridesmaids got ready at the house that she and Adrian rented for the wedding. Her bridesmaid Victoria Salisbury owns a clothing line, V. Chapman Studio, so Katie sourced the sage green bridesmaids dresses from the label.
“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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
Paruhi Floral put together the ceremony arch featuring a variety of palms, orchids, anthuriums, and other native flora.
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.
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.
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.”
The couple exchanged rings designed by the bride’s custom jewelers in Los Angeles.
Katie and Adrian exited as newlyweds to a cover of “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
The escort cards were attached to a hanging display of white orchids by clothespins.
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.
Modern touches snuck into the island-inspired vibes of the reception, including a neon sign featuring the couple’s initials.
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.
Dinner featured island stations of Hawaiian dishes like basil seared mahi-mahi, braised short ribs, mango salad, and shaved ice.
The newlyweds took their first spin on the dance floor to an Elvis jam, “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
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.
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.
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.”
Katie changed into a custom V. Chapman Studio dress for the afterparty.
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 Venue Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens
Wedding Planner & Designer Moana Belle Events
Bridal Gown & Veil Mira Zwillinger
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 Libaire
Catering & Cake Contemporary Flavors Catering
Videography Ryan McDuff
Photography Stewart and Connie Uy