Island Address Book 2-16-2007

Koa Johnson, Flower Farm Owner, On Romantic Wedding Sites

By: Dawna L. Robertson

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 backyard.

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 on.”

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 ceremonies.

“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 & Resort.

“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 photography.”

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 beat Hawaii?”



Flower Farm Hawaii

The Kahala Hotel & Resort

Kualoa Ranch


Turtle Bay Resort


Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Hanalei Colony Resort


Hotel Hana Maui

Tedeschi Vineyards


Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele

Big Island

Parker Ranch

Sheraton Keauhou Resort & Spa