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An authentic Hawaiian wedding experience is a combination of six components: you want a stunning location for the ceremony, an officer who can speak in Hawaiian for your blessings, fresh tropical leis to exchange at the ceremony, flowers for your table, Hawaiian Music and dancing for the reception, aloha wedding attire, and Hawaii-inspired libations and menus.
But how can you make all of this possible for your Hawaiian wedding day? You are in the right place. Our complete guide to getting married in Hawaii will take you and your loved one down hassle free and with all of the Hawaiian authenticity and natural beauty you seek, with advice and inspiration from the local Hawaii wedding experts.
From the best time of year to get married to the best food to be served, here is everything you need to know to plan a memorable Hawaiian wedding.
Hawaii wedding expenses
According to Julie Aragaki, owner of The Best Hawaii Wedding, 21,000 weddings were held on the islands according to Hawaii’s marriage license statistics in 2019, with an average wedding expense of $ 38,000. However, this number does not include airfare, wedding attire, hair and makeup, rings, guest experiences, or accommodations.
“The cost, of course, depends on the circumstances, location, and so many variables,” added Carolee Higashino, president and founder of White Orchid Wedding. “But here’s a general overview based on my experience: elopements, including beach ceremony, musicians, photos, flowers, on-site coordinator, and dinner (for two), start at $ 2,500. For 50 guests, $ 45,000 and more for a ceremony and reception including the venue, flowers, musicians, photos, video, rentals, catering, lighting, sound, dance floor, etc. For 100 guests it’s $ 75,000 and more. ”
When to get married in Hawaii
“We design weddings 365 days a year with the greatest demand for weddings from May to September,” says Stuart Y. Kotake, assistant director of catering and event management at the Marriott Waikiki Complex. Be drier than the mountains and valleys, we’re all year round about a great place. But to be on the safe side, we always have a backup space on hold. ”
You can get married on the sunny side of any of the larger islands all year round. On Oahu these are Waikiki and Ko Olina, Maui’s Kaanapali to Wailea, Poipu to Waimea on Kauai and the Kona coast from Hawaii to Kohala.
How to get married in Hawaii
To be legally married in Hawaii, you must apply for a marriage license and your official must register with the state of Hawaii. Both are chargeable. It is easier and more authentic to hire a local officer than to bring your own. Contact the Hawaii Department of Health for information on obtaining a marriage license and registering a “Marriage Artist”.
Hawaii’s beaches are open to the public so many people feel like you can show up on a beach with your entourage, plant your wedding arch, park your chairs, decorate, and hold your ceremony with 100 guests – but that’s not the case Case. Aragaki explains, “Beaches have many restrictions. Before COVID, you could have up to 30 people. No chairs, arches, or amplified music. And don’t forget that you need a permit. Lots of beaches will be busy so don’t expect privacy. If you’re looking for something private, consider a property rental, chapel, or hotel location. ”
A “Wiki Permit” for Commercial Activities is required for your ceremony on the public beach or other public areas. Permission allows your photographer to take your pictures and your officer to legally conduct your ceremony on the beach. The list of beaches for ceremonies can be found in the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources.
Many officers and photographers will get your wiki permit as part of their fee on your behalf. Ask them when you book.
With so many ceremonial and reception locations to choose from, your only consideration will be to fulfill your unique vision and how many guests you will have. Suites, chapels, and beachfront venues are perfect for elopements, vow renewals, and small weddings. Depending on the COVID-19 protocols at the time of your wedding, most hotels can accommodate larger rooms for more guests.
Beach weddings in Hawaii require a casual elegance. Choose simple, lightweight fabrics. A white shirt or designer aloha shirt by the island designers Manuhealii, Manaola or Sig Zane is incomparable. Brides should choose a simple, but elegant, flowing dress and dress it with a flower head lei. If you didn’t buy your dress at home, try Casablanca Bridal in Honolulu or Ellys Formal Wear on Maui.
In Hawaii, food is considered an important part of any Hawaiian wedding. Hawaii-inspired regional cuisine brings the abundance and spirit of the islands to your celebration. “Hawaiian weddings represent the whole experience for us. Instead of traditional luau food, we offer Hawaiian regional cuisine with mostly local ingredients and the unique amalgamation of our people and culture. It’s a combination of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, and Filipino [flavors] with a classic French style of cooking ”, says Chef Chai Chaowasaree, owner of Chef Chai. “Food may be a big part of Hawaiian culture, but Hawaiian hospitality is like no other.”
Kotake adds, “I always mention local traditions and inspiration [to engaged couples]. One particular wedding focused on a signature item from each island for starters (dolls), plated dinner, dessert, and wedding cake. Choices ranged from Kauai shrimp, Kona lobster, Niihau clams, Kahuku corn, Waimanalo radish, Kula strawberries, and Maui lavender. The menu was a highlight of the best of land and sea. ”
The cocktail and pupu hour is another opportunity for Hawaiian inspiration when fresh tropical juices and liquors are paired into island potions. “My favorite is KoHana Pineapple and Coconut Rum Punch. Perfect with Ahi Poke, our yellow fin tuna in sashimi quality, with Maui onions, kukui nut oil, shoyu, spring onions and fresh limu, a local seaweed. We also make a vegan version with tofu. As we say in Hawaii, Kotake broke his mouth.
One of the best things about a Hawaii wedding is the opportunity to share the culture and natural beauty with your guests through scheduled activities. Take your guests to the ocean on a sunset catamaran cruise along the Oahu coast or tour a cocoa farm (including a chocolate tasting!) In Maui.
Welcome dinners or luau-style receptions are also popular on the islands. You can even learn how to make an authentic flower head lei with your wedding reception or your guests. The Hawaiian Agricole rum tasting and tour at KoHana Rum Distillers offers a fascinating glimpse into the native Hawaiian sugar cane that grows 800 years before the plantations. Discover the process and try small bottlings of heirloom varieties. Or try wine flights with tropical fruits like yellow guava and the exotic jaboticaba berry at Volcano Winery.
Local wedding sellers
Flowers and leis
Entertainment and talent
Editor’s Note: While we recognize the proper use of the Hawaiian language, we have omitted the unique punctuation marks for this online version so that they can be read by those unfamiliar with the written language.