19 Ways To Make Your Hawaii Destination Wedding a Success

Posted in Destination Weddings on November 23, 2015

Many of us dream of an idyllic Hawaiian wedding. The sandy beaches, the outdoor ceremony as the sun sets in the Pacific, friends and family gathered for a luau-style dinner afterwards, all the expectations of the perfect tropical destination wedding. Here are a few helpful tips to make that dream become a reality.


  1. Plan Your Date Early

No matter what, getting to Hawaii is going to involve airline travel and several days to truly enjoy the island of your choice. Your guests are going to need enough time beforehand to save for the trip and set aside enough paid time off to be able to come and enjoy your wedding. Give yourself about a year lead time for you and your guests to plan.


  1. Pick Your Perfect Island

Hawaii’s islands have a diverse range of different possibilities as the backdrop for your wedding. Hawaii’s tourism page can help you decide. Are you seeking the mingling of touristy bustle and natural beauty that Oahu has to offer? Maybe you’re more interested in the natural outdoor adventures of Kauai or the famous beaches and waters of Maui. Whatever you’re looking for, choose the Hawaiian island that perfectly fits you and the vision you have for your wedding day.


  1. Pick Your Perfect Resort

Just as Hawaii has numerous different terrains and attractions through its different islands, so each island has resorts with their own personalities and aesthetics. Once you know the specific island flavor you want for your wedding, start looking at the different wedding venues on that island and what they have to offer. There are so many places to choose from for lodgings and activities that you’ll find the right place to fit your wedding vision and budget.


  1. Remember the Seasons

Hawaii is not always sunny and clear. There is a rainy season that lasts roughly from November through March, though it is very mild. So if you’re looking for that perfect weather with clear skies, you have a better shot sometime during the summer months. It still rains everyday somewhere in the Pacific islands, but sometimes it’s about playing the odds. Keep those goals in mind when planning out your date.


  1. …Or Save Some Money in the “Rainy Season”

If you care less about the sunshine and simply want the overall Hawaiian experience, you can use the rainy season to save a little money. Crowds and costs are naturally going to be higher in the summer vacation months, and the “rainy season” is still pleasant in the tropical Pacific. If you don’t mind a little gray drizzle during your Hawaiian wedding, it might be to your advantage to look for bargain packages for this time.


  1. Pick the Right Place on the Island for Your Outdoor Ceremony

Depending on your priorities, you’ll want to select just the right spot for your beach ceremony. The best chance to avoid rain is on the southwest of the island of your choice. Weather patterns and terrain make most of Hawaii’s rain fall on the mountains and northeastern portions of most of the islands. A perfect view of the sunset will depend on the season, as the position changes throughout the year due to Hawaii’s position in the Pacific. When picking your spot, know what’s most important to you and do a little extra research so that your wedding is just as you envision.


  1. Be Prepared: Your Beach Ceremony Might Be Very Public

If you choose to have a beach ceremony, be ready for the fact that in most cases you are still in a public area. You may be lucky enough to find the perfect secluded little spot of coast, but more often, you’re staking your claim to a small area of what could be a crowded beach depending on the time and island. This also might make it a relatively short ceremony if you find yourself in a popular area, so be prepared to have onlookers and to take the wedding party somewhere else for the reception and such once the ceremony is over.


  1. Explore Ceremony Options

While many people picture that beach ceremony when they think of a Hawaiian wedding, maybe you simply want all the Hawaiian activities surrounding your special day, but have another actual wedding in mind. Hawaii and its resorts offer a wide variety of venues and styles for your ceremony. The diverse options from high-end hotels to private villas, or other natural settings like gardens and mountains, mean you can choose the perfect wedding to match your personalities while enjoying all the Hawaiian scenery and fun in the days surrounding it.


  1. Look at a Number of Different Vacation Packages

With a popular tourist destination like Hawaii, there are always a lot of potential deals out there. Airlines, resorts, and attractions all want your business, and if you’re bringing a lot of it (such as a whole wedding party), you may even be able to contact some of them individually to sweeten the deal even further.


  1. Talk to a Travel Agent

Even in the days of online do-it-yourselfing, there are advantages to working with people who make it their business to get the best deals around. They usually have all the contacts already, and if you come to them with a plan for what you want, they can help set you up with the best possible pricing on travel and lodging. Some can also help you decide between a few options if you’re undecided about just what you want to get out of your Hawaiian wedding.


  1. Search Hawaiian Wedding Planners

That’s almost literal. Do a web search on Hawaiian wedding planners, and you’ll find a number who specialize completely in ideal Hawaiian weddings. Some focus on specific islands, and most have packages ranging from complete handling of the wedding to just a little help in the month of the ceremony. Having consultants with years of experience can definitely take a load off your mind, especially when you can still choose your own level of involvement in the planning.


  1. Check for a Staff Wedding Expert at Your Venue

With the number of Hawaiian weddings being planned at any given time, many resorts and other venues have a specific wedding expert on staff that can help with a lot of the logistical issues. Working with someone like this can be invaluable if you’ve already chosen your ideal location to host your wedding party, as they’ve been through it in the same venue so many times before and can help liaise with various service providers that they’ve most likely worked with before. Find out directly what services the staff has to offer when booking your resort.


  1. Get Permits for Beach and Other Natural Settings

You won’t always need a permit for setting up your ceremony on Hawaii’s public beaches, but for some areas and for other natural treasures in Hawaii, you might need to have the right paperwork. This can also include separate permits for photographers and other service providers involved in the wedding ceremony on the particular land. The easiest way to find out what permits you’ll need for where you want to have your wedding is to contact the Hawaii Division of State Parks and find out just what’s required before the big day. If you’re using a wedding planner or resort staffer, they should be able to help you with this process.


  1. Apply for Your Marriage License

The state of Hawaii now has an online application that can be completed for a marriage license. Getting this step done early and paying the fee online can help have one very important piece of paperwork set up for when you arrive for your wedding. Both partners will still have to meet with an agent after your arrival to actually get your marriage license, so be sure to bring all your proof of age and identification with you, which may include driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and other documentation depending on your situation. Visit the Hawaii Department of Health’s Vital Records page for more information.


  1. Keep Most Aspects Local

There’s a reason you chose Hawaii for your destination wedding, so celebrate the island you’ve picked for your ceremony, reception, and other parties. Use the beautiful local flora for the flowers instead of trying to ship in something from the mainland. Find musicians that fit your budget and can give your wedding a real Hawaiian feeling. Work early on to find the best service vendors near to your chosen space, using the Internet, resort consultants, and planners at your disposal to help with contacting them.


  1. Consider More Casual Wedding Attire

For a location like Hawaii, especially if performing your ceremony on the beach in the summer, you may want to think about scaling down from traditional tuxedos and/or heavy wedding dresses. A tropical paradise can be the perfect place for a fun, more casual wedding, and this can be an appropriate area to save some money. Meaningful Hawaiian shirts and lightweight island dresses can give your wedding a stylish, personal feel for the destination and are much easier to pack or purchase.


  1. Plan for Your Luggage Needs

If you are going to be bringing a wedding dress or specific irreplaceable items, remember that they all have to go overseas. Pick the items for carryon that you absolutely can’t do without and save checked bag space for things that can be replaced if necessary. For something like a one-of-a-kind wedding dress, some airlines may allow a bride to bring it as a separate specific carry-on item if you talk to them in advance.


  1. Visit Before the Wedding If You Can

It can be very useful to actually see and feel the Hawaiian locale you’ve chosen before planning the entire wedding and hiring everyone involved. If you can fit it into your budget, give yourselves an extra vacation to check out the venues you’re thinking of and to take a look at alternatives if you find that something didn’t quite match the descriptions or pictures online.


  1. Plan Your Hawaiian Honeymoon

With all the different possibilities represented in the Hawaiian Islands, you can plan an entirely separate honeymoon vacation simply by visiting a different island. If you’re on a tight budget, this can be a wonderful way to save both money and travel time by avoiding extra airfare while still having another unique and memorable experience after your Hawaiian wedding.