Koa Johnson grew up in a tropical garden. Since his childhood
days on his family’s flower farm in Hakipuu Valley, Johnson has
been surrounded by a flurry of ginger, heliconia, protea, bird of
paradise and anthurium.
Most can merely dream of witnessing such a colorful throng of
exotic blooming beauty. For him, this piece of paradise was his own
Johnson matured with Flower Farm Hawaii, learning the art of
floral design from his mother at a young age.
“My brother Ro, sister Arna and I all worked on the farm as
small kids,” he recalled.
Remaining family owned and operated for nearly 40 years, the
business today focuses on design, delivery and installation, it has
more recently found a niche in weddings creating everything from
traditional island-style wedding leis for the bridal party to
elaborate arrangements adorning ceremony and reception areas.
“We do a wedding and stay the entire time,” Johnson said. “We
talk to clients on the phone or via e-mail, discuss their vision
and take it to the end. We’re a single contact. It’s all hands
So when it comes to the most romantic sites in Hawaii, Johnson
is definitely in the know. Whether consulting engaged couples or
looking for a spectacular spot to toast a tropical sunset on his
own, he possesses a keen sense for settings.
“On Oahu, Lanikuhonua at Ko Olina Resort is a beautiful leeward
site,” he said.
Nestled between the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa and
Paradise Cove, the location is a favorite for sunset
“It’s far from the city, well maintained and has a great area
for receptions,” Johnson said.
Another favorite is Turtle Bay on Oahu’s North Shore.
“The Pavilion is where most couples choose to hold their
ceremony,” said Johnson. “It’s covered and very nice, looking out
over the ocean, so sunsets are awesome. For ballrooms, Turtle Bay’s
Sunset Room also has a beautiful ocean view.”
Virtually in Johnson’s backyard, Kualoa Ranch’s Paliku Gardens
overlooks Chinaman’s Hat (Mokolii Island) and Kaneohe Bay.
“The ranch has so many great venues, but the view at Paliku is
my favorite,” said Johnson. “The area is secluded, quiet and very
intimate since it’s so removed. Couples can exchange vows at the
top between two palms framing Mokolii Island on the horizon.”
Johnson is also big on Kualoa Ranch’s Mokolii Gardens, with its
curved stairway descending into a tropical garden setting
overlooking an ancient Hawaiian fish pond.
Closer to Waikiki, Johnson recommends The Kahala Hotel &
“It has a pair of gazebos right on the ocean,” he said. “So you
have a choice between Diamond Head and Koko Head views. And then
you have the bonus that it’s such a fine hotel with the dolphins,
upscale facilities, large reception areas and nice spots for
While Flower Farm Hawaii also accommodates neighbor island
ceremonies, the bulk of its business is on Oahu. Johnson added that
while all these backdrops make for picture-perfect nuptials,
they’re also fine places to share with someone special before
taking the plunge.
“When it comes to romantic settings,” Johnson asked, “what can
Flower Farm Hawaii
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Turtle Bay Resort
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Hanalei Colony Resort
Hotel Hana Maui
Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele
Sheraton Keauhou Resort & Spa