Is there anything more romantic than the idea of eloping off to get married? Perhaps. Hawaii beach weddings add in gently lapping waves, jaw-dropping scenery and a touch of drama with volcanic backdrops. Then things start to get truly unique. Hawaii wedding packages include the chance to wed in the midst of an adrenaline-pumping helicopter flight. Or maybe the tropical wonders of the many rainforests. Then there’s those volcanoes we mentioned. Flowing lava not your bag? Rest assured, if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, getting married in Hawaii, can include a glorious hotel setting with all the trimmings…
Location, location, location
Hawaii weddings mean, white sand beaches, yes? No – at least, you do have options if you want to change things up. Punaluu Beach on Big Island has black sands. Perfect for really allowing your white dress to stand out. And, also very attractive to the local sea turtle population. This spot rarely gets busy with weddings – making it a viable, but fairly out there, option if your other beach locations are looking a little crowded.
If stretches of white sand are an absolute must? Book your nuptials on Oahu. There are 5 miles of pristine coastline to host you and your guests. You’ll find them on Waimanalo Bay Beach. Realistically, glorious sands aren’t in short supply on Hawaii.
But, and it’s a big but, on this beach you’ve got some geographical elements to help out your wedding photographer. Think mountains, blue seas and a handy car park. Not all elements are entirely natural, but accessibility never hurts when there’s much to organise.
You can look at Hawaii’s beaches and find them a little, dare we say it, obvious. How about the distinctly tropical surroundings of Hawaii’s rainforests? Now we’re getting a little more off the beaten track. But that doesn’t mean going full Ray Mears into the jungle. Farms that sit on the edges of the forests have wedding hosting as a lucrative side gig. Maui’s Twin Falls farm also happens to come complete with plunging waterfalls that nicely accessorise the natural look. Though, eco-shoppers dropping by to pick up a week’s worth of tropical fruit might not be on your guest list.
For a lush, green day – without the market stall vibes, take a look at Ho`omaluhia Botanical Garden on Honolulu. Yes, the surroundings are far more manicured, but the facilities are there for all of your wedding needs. Or, a casual post-wedding picnic on the lawns. It’s ornate, impressive and there’s no chance of getting sand in your eye on a blustery beach here. The only problem? Those mountain backdrops are absolute scene stealers on your big day.
If you thought a black sand beach was pushing the Hawaii wedding boundaries, you’ll find the lava fields quite the challenge. But there are those that choose to get hitched on – or suitably near – Hawaii’s volcanoes. Your options include a wedding in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a ceremony overlooking an active volcano or, perhaps just some suitably adventurous wedding photos near the lava flow. Admittedly, it’s not for everyone, but the drama of saying your vows in front of the Kilauea Crater certainly makes a scene. For a more balanced mix of Hawaii’s best bits, Volcano Weddings has all the options. A rainforest setting – on a volcano – smooths out the harder edges of the volcanic landscape.
Of all the Hawaii wedding options so far, a helicopter wedding feels the most lavish. Chartering your own chopper to whisk you over an island or two certainly keeps the focus on you – and perhaps a few handpicked guests. Maverick Helicopters offer a two island flight – along with a touch down in an idyllic spot to exchange vows – for $4,000. When you consider that includes the cake, minister, 60 minute helicopter ride, photographer and some drinks, it starts to look a little cheap. Besides, when was the last time you saw some Hawaiian Leis at a quintessential British wedding. Included garlands aside, this one has elopement written all over it.
With so many options to tailor to your specific wedding dreams in Hawaii, a package might not be the best way forward. For our money the helicopter wedding we mentioned above represents a Hawaii wedding package that’ll tick many people’s boxes. But, if you’re in the market for more one stop solutions, we’ve got you covered.
Simple Oahu Weddings
This one sets its stall out straight out the gate. Simple Oahu Weddings start at $2675 (plus taxes) and offer coastal elopements for you and up to 6 guests. Add more guests, more photographs and more services and the prices rise from there, but it’s worth pointing out – although these are billed as packages, you’ll still be looking to add more for caterers, hair, make up, activities and the list goes on.
Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel
For something a little more all-inclusive, it’s worth talking to some of the larger hotels. They usually combine, location, facilities and experience with weddings well. Plus, there’s usually a place to retreat to, should the wind or weather not go your way. For the full works at the Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel, expect to pay around $9,500 (plus taxes). This does include a ceremony, reception and a wedding specialist to coordinate your big day. And, usually, the coordinator is worth their weight in gold – especially when you’re trying to arrange everything from overseas.
When to go
If you’re getting married in Hawaii, chances are, weather’s going to be a big deal. Temperatures are toasty year–round, so your only worry is rain – and the wind patterns. Winter, which runs from October to April, tends to see some cooler temperatures and more rain. In reality, those cooler temperatures are still in the 70s. If wind and rain are a deal breaker, you’ll want to be banking on the Hawaiian summer. But those guaranteed sunny days lure every tourist looking for a fortnight basking in Hawaii’s wonder. Which means just one thing. High prices.
For lower prices, less people crowding your idyllic beach spot and all round Hawaii wedding bliss, consider June or September. Time your wedding well if it’s planned between December and February. On Hawaii, Maui and Oahu it pays to check your festival calendar. When the big waves hit Hawaii, pro-surfers and their entourage descend to contend for glory in international championships. While that may make for great entertainment on the honeymoon, it also sees local prices soar.
No matter how swoon-worthy the big Hawaii wedding packages are, it’s worth looking at the wider island itself. If the island doesn’t appeal, consider a package on one that does.
Yes, the year-round sun is almost guaranteed, but that sneaky ‘almost’ is there for a reason. Having an alternative spot to flee too if a tropical shower drops by could just save the day.
No matter your budget, consider finding a wedding planner based in Hawaii. On-the-ground knowledge, beats trying to FaceTime your way through any snags before you fly out.
As thrilling – and unique – as those volcanic weddings look. There’s one thing you can’t get a sense of via Instagram. Sulphurous smells. Wind direction has never been more important.