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Welcome to Paradise: Why Kualoa Ranch is the Ultimate Hawaiian Wedding Venue

the ultimate resource for kualoa ranch wedding information from an oahu wedding photographer's perspective.

Flower Puppy walks down the aisle at Paliku Gardens Kualoa Ranch Wedding

Aloha, future brides + grooms!


Today I want to tell you about one of my most Favorite #hawaiiweddingvenues Kualoa Ranch. If you're dreaming of a wedding that combines breathtaking natural beauty, unique charm, and a touch of cinematic history, look no further than Kualoa Ranch, which includes one of the most iconic mountain ranges on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. This gem is not just a stunning venue; it's an experience that will leave you and your guests mesmerized. Because we've easily captured over 100 events at this incredible venue, we are a great source of insider information for booking your event here.


Wedding Photography at Kualoa Ranch showing custom metal light signs by Designed with Aloha.
Beautiful ALOHA and Custom Signs Available from Designed With Aloha... be sure to check them out!

First, here's why Kualoa Ranch should top your list for a Hawaiian wedding venue.


1. The Unmatched Scenery

Kualoa Ranch is a living postcard of Hawaii’s natural splendor. Nestled against the majestic Ko'olau Range and facing the tranquil Kaneohe Bay, the ranch offers a backdrop that is both dramatic and serene. Imagine exchanging vows with panoramic views of emerald mountains and azure waters - it's a photographer's dream! We absolutely love photographing weddings at Kualoa Ranch. Every way you turn is arguably more beautiful than the last, with loads of options and variety for your gorgeous wedding imagery. Hawaii wedding photographers adore this locale for its diverse and photogenic landscapes.


A wedding party at Paliku Gardens  getting their wedding photography done. Kualoa Ranch Wedding Photography at paliku gardens.

2. Versatility for Your Dream Wedding

Whether you envision a ceremony below the epic mountains with incredible ocean and island views, a beachside exchange of vows, or a grand event in a tropical setting, Kualoa Ranch caters to all. With multiple venues within the ranch, each offering a unique ambiance, you can tailor your wedding to match your vision perfectly. This versatility makes it an idyllic spot for Hawaii weddings, be it intimate elopements or grand celebrations. There's even an epic beach that requires a boat ride across ancient fish ponds to get to- gorgeous wedding location and an epic adventure, all in one!

Wedding Photography at Kualoa Ranch. Bridal Portraits in front of the mountains as the wedding couple sail from Moli'i Gardens to Secret Beach.
Newlyweds boat across the fishponds in front of the epic mountains at Kualoa Ranch.


3. Cinematic Fame

Are you a movie buff? Kualoa Ranch has been the filming location for numerous Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park, the Hunger Games, 50 First Dates, and Jumanji. Walking down the aisle here, you're literally stepping onto a piece of cinematic history. It adds an exciting and unique element to your wedding story that you can share for years to come.


4. Exceptional Services and Amenities

From catering to decor, Kualoa Ranch offers comprehensive services to ensure your day is as stress-free as possible. The ranch's experienced team understands the nuances of Hawaii weddings, ensuring that every detail reflects the island's spirit. Plus, their commitment to sustainability means your celebration will be as eco-friendly as it is beautiful. Because Kualoa Ranch is such a popular wedding destination for Hawaii weddings, most vendors are quite familiar and experienced with Oahu weddings here, helping to ensure your day will run smoothly.


5. A Paradise for Destination and local Weddings alike!

For couples planning a destination wedding, Kualoa Ranch is a paradise. Not only does it offer magnificent views and services, but it's also a gateway to the many wonders of Hawaii. From adventure activities like horseback riding to relaxing beach days, your wedding can be the start of an unforgettable Hawaiian getaway for you and your guests.

A Bride and Groom sit atop a fence in front of the epic mountain range at Kualoa Ranch on their wedding day. Venue space - Paliku Gardens.



6. Cultural Richness

Hawaii is a land steeped in rich culture and traditions, and Kualoa Ranch embodies this heritage. Infusing your wedding with Hawaiian customs can be a beautiful way to honor the island's spirit, making your ceremony not just a union of hearts but also a cultural experience. Picking the right officiant for your occasion is crucial if this is important to you.

If so, we HIGHLY recommend the following officants.

Kahu Kelehua Kawai - Intentional, grounded, and spiritual we just LOVE Kelehua's beautiful and radiant energy and spirit and could not recommend her more highly.

Elsworth Simeona - Wonderful officiant, and can even play the ukele and sings too!


In a nutshell...

Kualoa Ranch isn't just a wedding venue; it's a destination that promises an enchanting, memorable, and deeply personal experience. For couples looking for Hawaii wedding photographers, venues, and vendors, this ranch is a treasure waiting to be discovered. So, why not say 'I do' in a place that’s as magical as your love story? Embrace the aloha spirit and start your forever in the heart of Hawaii’s breathtaking landscape. Kualoa Ranch awaits you!


Groomsmen through the groom up in the air during wedding day at Kualoa Ranch Wedding on Oahu

Pricing at Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch offers a range of pricing options, catering to various budgets and preferences. While specific pricing may vary based on the time of year, the day of the week, and the specific needs of your event, here's a general overview:

  • Venue Rental Fees: The rental fees for wedding venues at Kualoa Ranch typically range from approximately $3,500 to $7,500. This fee can vary based on the chosen location within the ranch, the duration of the event, and the number of guests.

  • Catering and Additional Services: Kualoa Ranch provides catering services with a variety of menu options. The catering cost is usually based on a per-person rate, which can range from $50 to $150 or more, depending on the menu selection. Additional services like decor, equipment rentals, and special requests can also affect the total cost.

  • Wedding Packages: Some couples opt for comprehensive wedding packages, which can include venue rental, catering, decor, and coordination services. These packages are tailored to different needs and budgets, offering a more streamlined planning process.




Ceremony & RECEPTION Locations at Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch is renowned for its diverse and stunning locations, each offering a unique ambiance:



Paliku Gardens

Overlooking Kaneohe Bay and the iconic Mokoliʻi Island, Paliku Gardens is perfect for a BREATH-TAKING location, with the most stunning views all around. We shoot more weddings here than the other locations, for the simple reason that it's hard to compete with the wedding views so perfectly framed by the Palms Trees, this location provides. Although some opt for lower-bowl ceremonies based at the foot of the mountain or utilizing the ocean backdrop, there really is no wrong answer. At Jenna Lee Pictures, we make sure to capture the views in every direction! With lush greenery and a picturesque landscape, it’s ideal for both ceremonies and receptions.


Located at the base of the sacred 1000 ft high Kānehoalani mountain peak, Palikū Gardens provides guests with beautiful views of Kāne’ohe Bay, rolling pastures, green gardens, and iconic Mokoli’i Island. The site consists of two large lawn areas, an upper garden, as well as an open-air pavilion Capacity: 250 Price: $4,495 Sat/Sun; $3,895 Weekdays

Whats Included?

– (150) white resin folding chairs -(15) 66” round tables (seats 8-10 guests) -(10) 6 foot banquet tables (seats 6-8 guests) **Setup not offered through Kualoa. This can be booked through rental company, catering, coordinator, etc. -An open-aired pavilion (capacity: 120 guests) -Two lawn areas that can hold reception tenting (250 guests) -Air-Conditioned bridal suite & “get ready room” -Restrooms/Water/electricity -Partial food prep area (refrigerator & sink)

What you should know

CEREMONY LOCATIONS: Sure Paliku Gardens is a ceremony location at Kualoao Ranch, but did you know there are multiple spots within this location to set up your ceremony? Most couples choose the "Water Tower" spot which features a group of palm trees framing Mokoli'i island, however, the lower field (pictured above) is another option, with the gorgeous mountain rain that sits behind, being a third popular choice.



BRIDAL SUITE: They recently redid their bridal suite and it's light years beyond where it used to be. The furniture, flooring, and decor are nice for getting ready images. It's incredibly private having no windows, and cool being one of the only areas with A/C, however, the lack of windows makes the area fully lit with artificial light, usually making flash photography in this space necessary.

GROOMS SUITE: There is an additional large bungalow on property up above which is a great space for the guys to get ready. It has a lot of natural light and space. This space does incur an additional cost.

SPACE: This is a fully outdoor space, with a small room with A/C used as the bridal suite. Recent weather/ and wedding patterns (influx of weddings crammed into a shorter period of time) had an impact on some of the grass, which has been replaced with turf in certain areas.

WEATHER: Of all the weddings we've shot at Kualoa Ranch (more than we can count!) only one has been more notabely impacted by rain, and this couple didn't even have a tent!! Despite the recurring rain throughout the entirety of the event the couple made the most of it! They danced in the rain, made the most of it and just enjoyed their beautiful Hawaii Wedding! Most couples will opt for a tent, for this reason, because on an island it's very common for rain to blow in at some point for a couple of minutes. But hey! this is why, this paradise is as gorgeous as it is!



Moli'i Gardens


Situated beside an ancient fishpond, Moli’i Gardens exudes a blend of cultural history and natural beauty at your Kualoa Ranch Wedding. The two-tiered garden space, complete with a pavilion, is perfect for intimate ceremonies and grand receptions alike. The most jungley of Kualoa's space, there is no shortage of epic trees, not to mention the grand staircase the bride gets to descend on her way to ceremony! It does make for one EPIC grand entrance! I will say with ceremony times most commonly falling around 4-4:30 it does make for a very backlit ceremony as the sun is lower in the sky and fully reflects off the pond at that time. This paired with the shade from the large trees overhead, creates less than ideal lighting (IMO.) So while this location is EPIC, the lighting isn't the best at the normal ceremony times, unless you dig the bright glow of the fish pond! I will say the EPIC trees and jungle vibes hugely make up for it though. Not to mention the random wild chicken guests you'll likely have too! Making this a fan favorite for Kualoa Ranch Wedding spots.

The upper garden and pavilion at the venue are well-equipped with amenities including water, electricity, restrooms, and a kitchenette. Additionally, the lawn area is furnished with numerous electrical outlets, offering convenience for wedding vendors like DJs and photobooth operators who need power access. Parking is also readily available, with a paved parking lot adjacent to the site for both vendors and guests.


What you should know

BRIDAL SUITE: The Bridal Suite is very small, akin to a shed, but cuter and smells much nicer. 😉 Only a handful of people will fit comfortably inside. It does have back, very shaded and dark, lanai (roofed patio.)

GROOMS SUITE: The lower area has a really cool open-air bungalow known as the Dupree Cottage that's a nice area for the guys to get ready and/or hang. With a wrap around lanai, it's a cool spot for photos indoors or out and boasts a stunning view of the historic Hawaiian fish pond.

CRITTERS: Wild chickens are almost always cruising around, which I totally love and can make for fun photos! Mosquitos might also show up to your wedding, the bathrooms usually have bug spray though and it's not usually a bother.

MAX OCCUPANCY: In terms of the overall venue, Moli'i Gardens features several distinct areas. The covered pavilion itself has a seating capacity for 100 guests. Additionally, there are upper and lower garden areas which, when combined, can host up to 250 guests. The venue also boasts an open-air cottage situated right at the water's edge.

LIGHTING: Be conscious of your ceremony start time. Most ceremonies in Hawaii tend to start around 4-4:30pm. With the fish ponds behind this ceremony location, it reflects the sun very brightly off the ponds.


SECRET ISLAND BEACH

For a quintessential beach wedding that's extra adventurous and picturesque, Secret Island Beach is your go-to spot. Accessible only by boat, this private beach offers a secluded and romantic setting with stunning ocean and mountain views. From the iconic dock views with the fishpond and mountain in the distance.


What you should know

BY BOAT: All guests headed to Secret Island must arrive and depart by boat, so consideration will need to happen with your timeline to ensure the transportation of all guests. Timing is also fairly strict meaning you'll want to make sure you have a great coordinator to ensure everything is running on time.

ELECTRICITY: There's a limit on what can be taken to the island by boat and there's no power (meaning generators are a must) There are permanent tented picnic tables, so most couples opt to have any sort of reception over at Moli'i Gardens. I will say I did shoot a wedding here once, the couple had Pig & the Lady cater it (which was epic) and instead of a dance floor the danced on the beach while the sun set. It was epic!

TIMING: Did I mention they're pretty strict on time? Kualoa Ranch is a fully functioning ranch, complete with daily boat tours to and from the island, this means timing is rather strict. So just make sure you have an awesome Coordinator, and you'll be all set!

We recommend: ABC Weddings, Tropical Moon Events, Forest & Lauren, I Do Weddings Inc (Sun Kim), or Neu Events just to name a few!


JUMANJI

Fans of the 'Jumanji' films will love this unique location. Set in a lush, jungle-like setting at the base of incredible mountains, it offers a truly adventurous and exotic backdrop for your wedding.

(*This site is currently not available for weddings.)


KA'A'WA VALLEY (LOW CAMP)

Known for its dramatic landscapes featured in movies like 'Jurassic Park,' this location offers a panoramic backdrop of towering cliffs and green valleys, perfect for a breathtaking outdoor ceremony.

(*This site is currently not available for weddings.)


With a range of pricing options and a variety of stunning locations, Kualoa Ranch caters to diverse wedding visions and budgets. From intimate beachside ceremonies to grand garden receptions, this venue offers the perfect blend of natural beauty, Hawaiian charm, and memorable experiences for your special day. Remember, prices and availability can vary, so it’s always a good idea to contact Kualoa Ranch directly for the most current information and to discuss your specific wedding needs.


PRO TIPS

  1. CONSIDER KUALOA BEACH PARK (as an alternative to booking additional Ranch spots for photos): Because Kualoa Ranch is wildly busy, if you were want to add an additional spot to have photos taken, it's usually accompanied by a reasonably hefty price tag. While their spots are all epic and worth it, there is an alternative option that won't cost you much! Kualoa Beach Park is a nearby location that only requires your photographer file for a $20 permit! Because it's owned by the state and not privately owned, like the ranch, it makes this spot an incredibly affordable photo location. This is perfect for couple's really wanting to get their toes in the sand, or say who are getting married at Moli'i and missing the epic open mountain views. The way this works is, usually the couple will either arrange a "First Look" or a photo session for around an hour following First Look and prior to ceremony. This can be done with your wedding party, just the two of you, or with your family if you want to knock out family formals prior to the ceremony!




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