To kick off our Destination Wedding Location Series, I thought I’d start with a place very close to my heart, Hawaii. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian islands are a very popular location for destination weddings for both U.S. and international couples. Hawaii destination weddings are beautiful, tropical and with some of the best beaches worldwide, there is so much to offer. I have to admit that growing up there has made me a huge beach snob.
A nice perk for any U.S. citizen is that Hawaii is far enough away that it feels like a true destination wedding (you have to cross an ocean), but you don’t need a passport to get there (or have to worry about customs and immigration). Getting married in Hawaii is pretty simple no matter where you are coming from, as there are no blood tests required and no state residence or U.S. citizenship requirements.
It’s sunny and warm almost all year round and the temperature doesn’t stray far from a perfect 75-80 degrees. One thing you should know about the weather is that on each island there are areas that have their own microclimate. This means that depending on where you choose to have your wedding, the normal temperature and weather may not apply. In particular, the windward or northeast side of every island tends to get more rain.
Hawaii is comprised of 8 islands with the most popular for destination weddings being Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Lanai and the Big Island. Each island (and each part of the island for that matter) is different and has its own special features and attracts a different kind of couple.
Oahu is the main hub, the most city-like of all the islands. It’s the home of the capital city, Honolulu and the majority of the state’s population. This island is by far the most modern and provides the most options in terms of vendors for your wedding and also activities for your guests. However, it is also the most populated and the most touristy which can be a good thing or a bad thing, it just depends on you and your guests.
Maui is the second most popular and populated island. It has a slight city like feel in some areas and in others a complete remoteness. Couples tend to like Maui because it toes the line nicely between the desire to be in an urban area (with all its amenities) and the untouched country. I have to mention that I’ve seen some of the best sunsets on Maui.
Kauai is the northernmost island, which means that they tend to get the rain first. While rain can seem like a downer when it comes to weddings, it results in Kauai being by far, the most lush of all the islands. It is very green, beautiful and majestic and arguably the prettiest island.
Lanai is one of the least populated islands, which makes it the most peaceful. For those looking for discretion and privacy (celebrities, I’m talking to you!), this is the island for you. There are only 2 hotels on the island, but they are both Four Seasons hotels, which means the service is impeccable.
Big Island is quite obviously the largest island (not very original name, is it?) and the most easterly. The Big Island has a very country mentality. The people who like the Big Island like living off the land and enjoy having a slow pace of life.
Hawaii destination weddings are great because of what it can offer from a scenic standpoint, but also from a cultural standpoint. Hawaii is a melting pot of cultures which can be seen in its customs, food and aloha spirit way of life. I think this is what makes Hawaii unique and a great destination, but don’t just take my word for it! I’d like to introduce a good friend of mine, Derek Wong of Derek Wong Photography to share some of his thoughts and expertise (and some great photos!) about Hawaii and Hawaii destination weddings.
Jamie: Derek, what do you love about Hawaii? What is your favorite thing about Hawaii?
Derek: Hawaii has to be one of the most amazing places in the world to see. We are surrounded by Hawaii’s natural beauty – pristine beaches, gorgeous mountains, dramatic waterfalls, and a live volcano. We have yellow sand beaches, green sand beaches, and black sand beaches. The weather in Hawaii is pretty amazing year-round. Even during the warmer summer months, the trade winds keep our islands cool. The people of Hawaii are what make this a really special place. The aloha spirit of the people is something you have to experience when visiting the islands.
Jamie: Why do you think a couple should consider Hawaii for their destination wedding?
Derek: Hawaii has so much to offer for wedding venues. We have a variety of locations that would suit the needs of many couples. You can get married anywhere from a beautiful secluded beach to a luxury hotel. I have seen very formal weddings to more casual weddings. The amazing weather is probably one of the biggest factors in getting married in Hawaii, especially when hosting an outdoor wedding event. And Hawaii is truly one of the most romantic getaways.
Jamie: Why should couples be interested in a Hawaii destination wedding?
Derek: Many couples that get married in Hawaii also spend their honeymoon here. Every island has something different to offer, so there are a great variety of options when it comes to travel here. The island of Lanai has no traffic lights and is probably one of the most tranquil and romantic getaways, whereas Oahu has much more options when it comes to activities and restaurants. The energy of each island is very different, and each island has something special to offer. A lot of couples who get married in Hawaii are always interested in what their family and guests can do while they are visiting. Hawaii has so much to offer in terms of sightseeing, shopping, a good variety of restaurants, and amazing outdoor activities.
Jamie: What’s one thing a couple should know before choosing Hawaii for their destination wedding?
Derek: The wedding season in Hawaii is year-round though many couples tend to get married between the months of March through December. I think January-February is an amazing time to get married in Hawaii – the weather is most comfortable during the winter months, although January-February are usually the rainier months, many of the major wedding venues are on the drier side of the island. There are also other options during these months to avoid being rained out, but I really think that January-March weddings are the most comfortable temperature/humidity wise.
(Photo credit for all photos: Derek Wong Photography)
Don’t these shots make you want to hop on a plane and jet to Hawaii? I hope this gives you a taste of what Hawaii is like and what it can offer as a destination wedding location. I personally think Hawaii destination weddings are perfect for the couple who wants a laid back wedding in a beautiful and easy location. If Hawaii doesn’t seem right for you, another exciting location is coming your way soon!