Top Reasons to Plan a Hawaii Destination Wedding and How to Do It

June 20, 2024

Besides being a popular vacation spot, many couples dream of a Hawaii destination wedding, and for good reason! The Aloha State is renowned for its natural beauty, abundance of picturesque locations, and beautiful weather year-round, making for a truly unforgettable wedding celebration.

Destination weddings often feel unattainable because of the high costs of international travel and venues. But Hawaii is especially appealing for couples who want to experience a destination wedding without breaking the bank or leaving the States.

Keep reading to discover why Hawaii is the ultimate destination wedding spot, and get all the details to plan your wedding in this tropical paradise.

Hawaii wedding venues

1. There are so many Hawaii wedding venues and locations to choose from.

Couples flock to Hawaii for its unparalleled natural beauty. The state is known for its white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and crystalline waters, set against lava rock formations and majestic mountains.

There’s certainly no shortage of stunning landscapes and wedding venues in Hawaii, offering endless possibilities for creating your dream tropical wedding. Each island—Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island—boasts distinctive scenery, from vibrant Waikiki to tranquil Kauai rainforests.

There is a diverse array of both public and private Hawaii wedding venues to accommodate weddings of all sizes, from intimate beachside elopements to lavish indoor affairs.

Whether you imagine exchanging vows on a beach at sunset, amidst lush gardens, or beside cascading waterfalls, there’s something for everyone. 

Popular public Hawaii wedding venues:

Popular private Hawaii wedding venues:

2. Have a destination wedding without going international. 

Having a Hawaii destination wedding offers couples a dreamy escape within the comforts of the States. Since Hawaii is a US state, there’s no need for extra paperwork to make your marriage legally binding.

What’s more, US citizens don’t need a passport to travel to the islands. This makes it even more accessible for both couples and their guests.

Contrary to popular belief, having a Hawaii destination wedding can be surprisingly affordable compared to planning an international affair. The average cost of a traditional wedding in the US is over $25,000, and going international can easily surpass $40,000.

However, many couples find they spend much less than this on flights, accommodations, and a spectacular ceremony in Hawaii. It’s the perfect option for a memorable destination wedding that won’t break the bank.

best Hawaii wedding venues

3. Combine your wedding and honeymoon into one.

Planning a destination wedding can be very stressful, and it can be even more so with the added pressure of coordinating your honeymoon.  

With a Hawaii destination wedding, you can fully immerse yourself in your wedding, knowing you don’t have to rush off right after your big day. Instead, you can transition right into your honeymoon and continue celebrating in the paradise where you tied the knot.

Having both your wedding and honeymoon in Hawaii can also be cost-effective. Many resorts and hotels offer discounted rates for extended stays. Hawaii allows newlyweds to go from wedding bliss to honeymoon relaxation without any added hassle or stress.

Oahu Wedding Photographer

4. There are so many activities to enjoy before and after your wedding.

Hawaii offers a wealth of unique activities and attractions for couples and their guests to enjoy pre- and post-wedding celebration.

There are endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation, from snorkeling in crystal-clear waters to hiking to majestic waterfalls and participating in a traditional luau feast.

You can even plan excursions to other islands, like the Big Island, where guests can explore volcanoes, swim with dolphins, or take bike tours of the island.

Couples and their guests can also embrace the rich Hawaiian culture to create a truly authentic and memorable Hawaii destination wedding experience. You can include special touches like a traditional lei exchange, a ceremonial conch shell-blowing, or a hula performance. 

FAQs For How to Plan Your Hawaii Destination Wedding

I know it can feel daunting to plan a destination wedding. So, here are a few tips to plan the dreamiest Hawaii destination wedding and make the most of your time on the islands.

Where’s the best place to get married in Hawaii?

Each Hawaiian island has its own unique charm and allure, so it’s worth exploring them all to find the perfect spot for your Hawaii destination wedding.

Oahu, often dubbed “the gathering place,” is the most popular island, followed by Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. It boasts iconic locales such as Waikiki, Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and Diamond Head, along with some of Hawaii’s most stunning beaches.

Plus, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and other activities to keep you and your guests entertained.

The outer islands are quieter and more laid-back. While they still offer plenty of shopping, hikes, and places to eat, they’re ideal for couples looking to escape the hustle and bustle.

When choosing an island for your dream destination wedding, be sure to consider accommodations, available venues, and local attractions.

Kualoa Ranch wedding

What is the best time of year to get married in Hawaii?

Thankfully, Hawaii boasts beautiful weather all year long. This makes it a fantastic choice for a wedding, no matter when you plan to tie the knot. But when planning your dream Hawaii destination wedding, it’s helpful to consider things like seasonal weather patterns and peak tourist times.

Peak tourist seasons usually fall around spring break, Christmas, New Year’s, and Japanese Golden Week. Meanwhile, the quieter times are typically from early spring through June and from September to mid-December.

While it’s handy to consider these times for planning, Hawaii is well-equipped with plenty of accommodations and venues available year-round.

The average temperature stays comfortably between 75°F and 85°F (24°C-29°C) throughout the year, though you might see a bit more rain in the winter months.

Certain spots, like the North Shore of Oahu, can see larger waves at certain times of the year, which might affect beach weddings.

When’s the best time of day to get married in Hawaii?

Hawaii’s natural beauty sparkles from sunrise to sunset, so there’s really no bad time of day to get married here. The timing of your celebration will depend on what you want your wedding photos to look like, the desired ambiance, and the venue you choose.

For instance, some public beaches, like Sandy Beach, can get pretty crowded during peak season. To beat the crowds and have a more private ceremony, consider a sunrise wedding. The early morning light is magical and creates a serene setting for your big day.

On the other hand, the south shore of Oahu, for example, has fantastic lighting from morning to sunset—golden hour wedding photos are some of my favorites to capture!

On especially hot days, consider hosting your wedding ceremony just before sunset. That way, the weather will start to cool down, and you’ll have that stunning Hawaiian sunset backdrop.

No matter when or where your Hawaii wedding takes place, I’ll be there to capture every special moment in photographs you’ll cherish forever.

How much does a wedding in Hawaii cost?

Having a destination wedding in Hawaii can be surprisingly affordable! The average cost ranges from $5,000 to $8,000, including flights from the mainland, a week of accommodations, and the wedding itself.

The total cost of a Hawaii destination wedding depends on the type and size of the celebration. Larger weddings hosted at a private venue typically cost more than an elopement at a public beach.

This is a significant saving compared to traditional weddings, which (as I mentioned earlier) often cost over $25,000 domestically and more than $40,000 for international destination weddings.

Hawaii Wedding Photographer

What is required to get married in Hawaii?

Since Hawaii is a U.S. state, getting married there is much like tying the knot on the mainland. Here are the basics you’ll need:

  • Marriage License: You can easily apply for a Hawaii marriage license online. Hawaii doesn’t require state residency, witnesses, or blood tests. Then, once you get to Hawaii, both you and your spouse will need to pick up the license at the Department of Health
  • Permit: If you plan to have your ceremony in a public area, you’ll likely need a permit from the State of Hawaii. The costs of these permits vary depending on the location.
Kualoa Ranch wedding

Planning Your Hawaii Destination Wedding

Hawaii offers the ideal backdrop for a romantic destination wedding in a tropical paradise. If you plan to say “I do” in Hawaii, I’d love to capture your love story.

Although I’m based in Portland, Oregon, I enjoy traveling worldwide for my couples! Contact me to learn more about my travel packages.

Keep scrolling to see highlights from a stunning wedding I recently photographed at Kualoa Ranch.

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