Offbeat partner: Esther, production coordinator
Offbeat partner: Matt, producer
Date and location of wedding: Kualoa Ranch, Kaneohe, Hawaii — October 15, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Both my husband and I absolutely love Jurassic Park (we're huge film and sci-fi nerds). It's our favorite movie and what we first bonded over when we started dating.
We didn't even know we wanted a themed (or destination) wedding until I was browsing venue sites and came across Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii. When I first saw the photos of the sweeping valley and dramatic mountains I laughed and told my partner that it looked like Jurassic Park…then we googled it…and it WAS Jurassic Park! Well, at least a few of the filming locations. We knew right then and there that we were going to Hawaii.
We decided on having a tiny wedding with our close family at the location of our dreams. And of course, because you can't skip the opportunity, we had the entire party go on the movie locations tour at Kualoa Ranch the day before the wedding for some geeky bonding time.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our ceremony was small and intimate and took place at Hale Nanea at Kualoa Ranch. It's a cozy nook encircled by an ancient fish pond with a gigantic tree that covers most of it. The entire wedding consisted of 14 people (including ourselves) so we decided to have a non-traditional, Jew-'ish' ceremony.
I grew up in a Venezuelan-Jewish household and my husband is a Christian from California. We ended up with our amazing native Hawaiian officiant blowing the Pu (conch shell), chanting, singing, and my husband breaking the glass at the end while some in the audience yelled Mazel Tov. It was magical. Our vows had references to nerdy movies and jokes and all the things we loved about each other for the past four years we'd been together.
I walked down the aisle to The Piano Guys' rendition of the Jurassic Park theme. I wore a real Baltic amber pendant with a fly trapped inside (which was an AMAZING find) and my husband had a replica Velociraptor claw fossil in his suit pocket. We also gave my dad a claw as a gift. And I think what's most amazing of all is that my mother-in-law and husband took all the photos for us!
Tell us about your reception:
Since our wedding was so small, we decided to trade in a reception for a family-style dinner. The groom's father and step-mom decorated the table with native Hawaiian plants and flowers from the area, including fruits they found that had fallen from a nearby tree. We had a simple farm table and the plants felt natural and earthy and really complemented the Jurassic theme.
We also commissioned the groom's mother along with one of my best friends to cross-stitch some movie related items that we later framed and placed at the table in between replica Parasaurolophus and T-Rex skulls. The caterers knocked it out of the park with the menu and we even had fresh oysters from Kualoa Ranch itself! It really felt like a relaxed dinner with our close family making jokes and talking about the day.
Once we got back from our honeymoon, we had an informal backyard party with all of our friends and family so we could really celebrate with everyone. We borrowed a popcorn machine from my brother, got a taco truck and an ice cream truck, made a photo booth, and got multiple pies instead of a big wedding cake. We also rented a projector and played Jurassic Park in the background because why not?
What was your most important lesson learned?
This is cheesy but I would say never give up! We had budget constraints that put a lot of pressure on the wedding and on the party back home. Often, I would find myself giving up on something before really putting the effort in finding a work-around. If you really want something, there is always a way to make it happen, even if at first your gut says to let it go. For example, we ended up making a lot of photo booth items instead of buying them and had a talented friend paint our wedding invites (which we then scanned and also used as backyard party invites too). Our friends and family came together in a way that we will forever be grateful for. If you have those people in your life, never be too scared to ask!
- Photographer: M & K Photography
- Officiant: `Ae`Ike Hawaiian Weddings
- Dress: Lovely Bride
- Venue: Kualoa Ranch
- Catering/rentals: Memoirs
- Bouquet/leis: Flower Farm Hawaii
- Cross-stitch patterns: "Insect in Amber" – Popular Stitch,
"Dino DNA": Lara Craft, and "Jurassic Park Jeep": Stitch Bucket
- Lace Choker: The Salty Crew
- Amber Pendant: Amberica West
- Dinosaur skulls and Velociraptor fossils: Prehistoric Planet