This Tropical Wedding in Maui Will Have You Planning Your Own Hawaiian Celebration in No Time

Native greenery, a Hawaiian-inspired ceremony, and some seriously cool local entertainment helped make sure this wedding was entirely inspired by the surroundings

Updated 03/11/17

Photo by Chris J. Evans

Jennifer Amber and Lawrence Kau first hit it off at a bar in Hollywood while out with friends in November of 2007. After a few drinks, the pair exchanged numbers and planned to meet again. “It might not be the smoothest way to meet someone, but it worked for us!” Jennifer says. Over the next few years, couple’s relationship grew, and at a time when Lawrence was traveling constantly for work, he snuck in a trip to Pennsylvania to ask Jennifer’s dad for her hand in marriage. Later, on a romantic trip to Bora Bora, Lawrence chartered a boat to take the pair to a private island for dinner and dessert. As the sun was setting, he got down on one knee and popped the question.

The elated couple decided on a destination wedding in another lush tropical location: Maui, Hawaii. With beach-inspired invitations, Jennifer and Lawrence invited just 35 guests to join them for an intimate ceremony at the historic Haiku Mill and an oceanfront reception at Andaz Maui Wailea Resort. They enlisted planners from Elements by K.H & Co. to pull all of the details together, and photographer Chris J. Evans to capture the day on film. Read on to see how they pulled together a rustic romantic ceremony followed by a modern reception inspired by the Hollywood Hills on September 17, 2016.

Photo by Chris J. Evans

"We first decided on a destination wedding because we liked the idea of having an intimate group in a tropical location," Jennifer says. "We also wanted to more fully accommodate and host a smaller group of close friends and family to a higher degree. We had visited the Maui upcountry area many times, and fell in love with it's tropical yet rustic feel."

Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans

The bride went into wedding dress shopping with an open mind, but after trying on tons of different styles, Jennifer ended up choosing the gown she had dreamed of all along. The silk-lined sheath by Katie May featured a dramatic open back and French corded lace.

Lawrence wore a white dress shirt with grey slacks with a kukui nut and leaf lei, a look that his groomsmen then mirrored. “We didn’t want anything too dressy, and we wanted to incorporate traditional Hawaiian aspects,” Jennifer says.

Photo by Chris J. Evans

The bridesmaids wore a mix of different dress from Show Me Your MuMu, each flowy and in a different neutral tone. Rather than holding bouquets, they each wore a Haku, or floral crown, in their hair for an ethereal look.

Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans

Haiku Mill feels like a secret garden with its lush greenery and stone walls. The bride and groom dressed up the already unique space by adding hanging crystals, chandeliers, bistro lights, gold urns, vintage mirrors, and a Haku-making station for guests.

Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans

The couple hired a local Hawaiian officiant to lead the ceremony, which was complete with traditional native Hawaiian vows, a ukulele vocalist, and a conch blowing ceremony.

Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans

As soon as Jennifer and Lawrence were pronounced husband and wife, the party moved to the Andaz Maui Wailea Resort for cocktail hour. There, guests took in a stunning ocean view, enjoy the open bar, and lounged on comfortable furniture. As a nod to their tropical locale, the bride and groom used native greenery as their signage.

Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans

To personalize cocktail hour, guests sipped the couple's two signature drinks: The Guava Rose, a mix of guava, house-made rose syrup, vodka, and rose mist, or The Smokin' Gun, made from fresh-pressed celery and lime, honey, mezcal, and smoked sea salt mist. Another crowd pleaser? Mini Bloody Mary's, complete with fresh citrus and shrimp cocktail.

In addition to passed hors d’oeuvres like grilled watermelon with goat cheese and microgreens, Jennifer and Lawrence invited their loved ones to enjoy artisanal cheeses and made-to-order crab cakes.

Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans

Just like their fun bar signs, the bride and groom had their dinner menu penned in gold calligraphy on a tropical leaf. Everyone dug into an avocado and kale salad and their choice of Masami Wagyu Flat Iron steak or butter-poached lobster.

Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans
Photo by Chris J. Evans

Dinner took place at round tables topped with white linens, gold-rimmed dinnerware and glasses, and stunning white and blush flower arrangements with plenty of greenery. To ensure the reception had a unified look, the same tropical leaves used for signage also served as place cards at dinner. The head table had a rustic wood backdrop covered in tropical leaves with an elegant chandelier hanging above.

The laid back beach feel was enhanced by music from Grammy Award winners Garrett Probst and Peter DeAquino, better known as Da Ukulele Boyz.

Photo by Chris J. Evans

Keeping the aesthetic consistent, Jennifer and Lawrence served a two-tiered white cake embellished with a tropical palm leaf for dessert. The champagne-flavored cake was filled with fresh with mango (which were harvested from the ceremony space!), as well as white chocolate and coconut crème brûlée.

The evening came to a close as fire dancers wowed guests, then invited everyone to join the couple in the Presidential Villa for an after party. To couples currently knee-deep in planning, Jennifer says, “Breath! We had plenty of things go wrong, and most of them we didn’t even know about until after the wedding!”

Ceremony Venue: Haiku Mill || Reception Venue: Andaz Maui at Wailea || Wedding Planner: Elements by K.H. & Co. || Bride's Wedding Dress: Katie May || Hair & Makeup: Ry-n Shimabuku || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Show Me Your MuMu || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Kenneth Cole || Flowers: Teresa Sena || Invitations: The Lettering Studio || Additional Paper Products: Simply Ink || Calligraphy: Miss B Calligraphy || Music: Ben Deleon; Da Uulele Boyz || Catering: Cloud 9 Catering; Garnish Cocktails; Andaz Maui at Wailea || Cake: Cake Fanatics || Rentals: Signature Event Rentals; Rio Event Design; Island Rents; Set Maui; La Tavola || Videographer: Wade Koch || Photographer: Chris J. Evans

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