A Hawaii wedding may seem like a fantasy, but Hawaii travel is easier than you think — the Aloha State is a nonstop flight from almost a dozen major U.S. mainland cities. Here’s where to go for your Hawaii wedding, whether you’re looking to experience Hawaii on a budget or pull out all the stops.
Big city, bright lights, broad beaches and beautiful vistas: Oahu has it all and then some. The third-largest Hawaiian island, it’s often called The Gathering Place, because it’s home to most of the state’s population — 900,000-plus people — and more than 5 million tourists flock to its iconic beaches annually. Between its cultural heritage, historical significance and modern luxury, Oahu’s myriad options fit almost any style — and spark your inner surf-goddess.
Oahu Value Wedding Venue: Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
This colorful 645-room resort is proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get married in the heart of Waikiki. Aston’s 21st-floor Coconut Club can accommodate up to 120 for a terrace ceremony and buffet reception, while the beach is across the street and Waikiki’s nightlife is a short stroll away.
Oahu Midrange Wedding Venue: Hilton Hawaiian Village
Modestly priced but lavishly appointed corner suites at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort flaunt a full-on view of the ocean, beach and Diamond Head crater. If you’re tying the knot on the Great Lawn on a Friday evening, the resort outdoes itself with a wedding-worthy fireworks display to cap off the night.
Oahu Luxury Wedding Venue: Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Tucked in a secluded cove in Ko Olina — one of Oahu’s less-populated beaches just 30 minutes from Honolulu — the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina (formerly the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina) will be outfitted with a private lanai in every room, a championship golf course and both outdoor and indoor venues, including the sunset-facing lawn.
Oahu Luxury Wedding Venue: The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Saying I do at this gorgeous 338-room property affords you exclusive surroundings, yet allows your guests easy access to the activities and dining in Waikiki, a 10-minute drive away. Your event can be intimate or lavish (10 to 450 people). Exchange vows under an oceanfront arbor; then hold the reception on the lawn, in a seaside grill, or in one of several ballrooms overlooking a dolphin lagoon.
Oahu Luxury Wedding Venue: Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
If an infusion of historic charm is important to your day, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa is the place. Built in 1901, the Beaux Arts-style stunner was Waikiki’s first hotel. The “First Lady of Waikiki” keeps guests gawking with nightly hula performances and event spaces like turn-of-the-century reception halls and a majestic banyan tree.
For an A-list island, Maui is surprisingly low-key and unpopulated. And that’s how the locals like it. Maui has strict building codes that limit structures to approximately 10 stories, so the undisturbed views of cloud-shrouded mountains, lava-rock cliffs and pineapple fields-cum-coffee orchards stay that way. Plus, it’s easy to circumnavigate, even though it’s Hawaii’s second-largest island.
Maui Value Wedding Venue: Aston Kaanapali Shores
A $14 million renovation gave this condo resort’s 400-plus hotel rooms, studios, and one- and two-bedroom suites (the latter two with kitchens) a warm Tommy Bahama feel. Situated on Kaanapali Beach North, it comprises two pools and a restaurant, plus a garden gazebo and a beachfront setting for weddings.
Maui Midrange Wedding Venue: Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
If you like onsite diversions, this 806-room property (updated in late 2010) on Kaanapali Beach is a great choice, with its six restaurants, two free-form pools (with a Grotto Bar and a 150-foot tube slide), a golf course and a spa. Event sites abound, from the intimate Ka Hale Aloha gazebo to the expansive Napili Garden and Lawn overlooking the Pacific.
Maui Luxury Wedding Venue: The Fairmont Kea Lani
The Fairmont Kea Lani has two- and three-bedroom villas with private courtyards and plunge pools, which are more affordable should you wed during low season (September through November). Fairmont’s honeymoon registry lets friends and family gift contributions like massage treatments, drinks at Luana Lounge and dinner at Kō.
Maui Luxury Wedding Venue: Andaz Maui at Wailea
The resort community of Wailea is on Maui’s leeward side, which means calm weather and water plus Instagram-worthy sunsets (#nofilter). Its newest resident, Andaz Maui at Wailea, has you at aloha: The elevated entryway provides direct eye contact with the horizon. The 297-room resort has three tiered, cascading pools, an apothecary-inspired spa and great snorkeling just offshore. Wedding spaces are plentiful and flexible; the event studio with an open kitchen offers an interactive vibe for rehearsal dinners.
Maui Luxury Wedding Venue: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is the most upscale option in Maui’s resort community of Wailea, but a stay of five nights can earn you up to $1,000 in resort credits. There are 13 event sites, but the Ocean Front Lawn (seats 200) is the most popular.
Maui Unique Wedding Venue: White Orchid Beach House
“The White Orchid Beach House is located on its own private sandy beach cove on the remote southern shores of Makena,” says Carolee Higashino of White Orchid Wedding. “This venue can hold up to 50 guests and is one of Hawaii’s only white-sand-beach oceanfront estates.”
Hawaii’s fourth-largest isle (at 552 square miles, it’s one-third the size of Rhode Island), Kauai is small but mighty. Engaged couples and filmmakers alike swoon for the island’s epic scenery — Jurassic Park and Avatar utilized Kauai’s jungle-porn landscape to conjure both a prehistoric era and another planet. Pair that with rich history (legend holds that hula began here) and a wealth of only-in-Kauai wedding touches, and you’ve got a formula for an Oscar-worthy big day.
Kauai Value Wedding Venue: Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach
Set amid the towering palms of the Coconut Coast near Kapaa, this resort completed a $13 million renovation that enhanced the pool and beach area with a hot tub, a fire pit and daybeds. All 311 rooms have lanais, and 65 percent boast ocean views. Ceremony sites include a beachfront garden or lawn. Postwedding bashes take place beachfront or poolside (up to 300), in the indoor/outdoor Makai Lounge (up to 75), or in the Voyager Lanai or a ballroom (both up to 200).
Kauai Midrange Wedding Venue: Sheraton Kauai Resort
The sunsets here are spectacular, and now that this 394-room Poipu property has been rejuvenated (to the tune of $16 million), the rooms and grounds are equally special — think black-lava accents with flickering fire pits and tiki torches. Two beachfront lawns, an oceanfront cove and a garden pavilion make for lovely ceremony spots (up to 250), while receptions wow on the luau lawn or in one of four ballrooms.
Kauai Luxury Wedding Venue: The St. Regis Princeville
To the north, Princeville is home to Kauai’s plushest property, The St. Regis Princeville Resort. Wed on the Kamani Cove beach lawn in the shadow of Makana Mountain; the in-house events team dreams up eye-popping orchid arrangements and other decor details. Late night, serve Bloody Marys, invented at The St. Regis New York — each resort features its own local spin, and in Princeville it’s the Aloha Mary with Hawaiian Ocean Vodka, wasabi powder, sriracha and sea salt. For guests on a tighter budget, nearby sister property The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas offers modern studios to two-bedroom condos.
Kauai Luxury Wedding Venue: Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
On the south shore, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is the grand dame of Poipu Beach, where monk seals often come ashore to sunbathe. The hotel’s luau is one of the best on the island, and weddings wow with dashes of native flair (hula dancers, conch-shell blowers, lei exchanges). Plus, couples marrying at any Hyatt can earn free honeymoon nights.
Kauai Unique Wedding Venue: Plantation Gardens
In Poipu, Plantation Gardens restaurant keeps the celebration all under one roof (er, sky), and its Moir Gardens doesn’t need much dressing up.
Kauai Unique Wedding Venue: Makai Golf Course
“Makai Golf Course in Princeville offers the most spectacular ocean-bluff site,” says Kauai wedding planner Lisa Insalata. “At the seventh hole, you can stage your events right on the perfectly manicured greens, with views of both the ocean and the mountains.”
The Big Island, as one might guess, is rather large, which means it’s a massive canvas for show-stopping natural wonders. Geographically unique, it comprises 11 of the world’s 13 climate zones. Couples can wed on the beach with a snow-capped volcano in the distance and then entertain guests with rainforest treks or excursions to view the lava flow.
Big Island Value Wedding Venue: Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa
With a $20 million face-lift completed in September 2012, this 509-room resort retains its distinctive 1970s architecture — but with a sleek edge courtesy of Hawaiian designer Sig Zane. Nestled amid black-lava cliffs on Keauhou Bay, the Sheraton also has the coast’s only wedding chapel (seats 50) and reception sites like the Bayside Wedding Lawn (seats 180).
Big Island Midrange Wedding Venue: Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
There’s nothing fussy about this modern, 555-room Marriott on the Kohala Coast. Lava-rock-lined paths lead to the King’s Knoll, a wedding lawn by ancient Hawaiian fishponds (seats 75). Reception options include a pool terrace, the alcove (part of the resort’s restaurant) and banquet halls.
Big Island Luxury Wedding Venue: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
This 243-room enclave of two-story bungalows encompasses six pools, three restaurants, a golf course, a 2,600-foot-long beach and a snorkel pond with more than 3,000 tropical fish. Ceremony sites range from secluded Kumukea Beach and the lush Palm Grove to the oceanfront Wedding Tree. Hold your postwedding soiree at the Sea Shell Pool, on one of two lawns, in a Hawaiian amphitheater or in an indoor banquet room (many have lanais).
Big Island Luxury Wedding Venue: The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii
To the north on the Kohala Coast, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii is a 32-acre playground. Here, an afternoon wedding at the Victorian-style Turtle Pointe Gazebo comes with a mountain backdrop, black-and-white coral and basking sea turtles. The event staff will even arrange for a ceremony arrival via outrigger canoe. Be sure to reserve Saturday night for the impressive luau celebration, a full-on feast with music, dance and history.
Big Island Luxury Wedding Venue: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, on the Kohala Coast, offers a bluff-top ceremony site on the third tee of the resort’s oceanfront golf course, as well as hyper-manicured lawns, a tropical garden and a lava-stone patio. A rehearsal dinner in the terraced Garden Room is a crowd-pleaser thanks to the sprawling buffet.
Big Island Unique Wedding Venue: Lava Lava Beach Club
This beachfront property in Waikoloa offers four casual-chic cottages, a restaurant (seats 207) and a large reception lawn (seats 600).
Big Island Unique Wedding Venue: Puakea Ranch
If saying your vows at a resort isn’t your cup of tea, consider upcountry Puakea Ranch for a heavy dose of Old Hawaii. (Don’t be surprised if you hear farm animals in the background at this cattle-ranch-turned-B&B.)
Big Island Unique Wedding Venue: The Falls at Reed’s Island
To the east in Hilo, The Falls at Reed’s Island is a luxury vacation rental with soaking tubs, a gourmet kitchen and a waterfall you’ll have all to yourself.
Lanai Luxury Wedding Venue: Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay
Most weddings take place on the four major Hawaiian islands — but don’t rule out the smaller ones. Bill Gates sure didn’t. He married on the Challenge at Manele golf course, which overlooks the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay. Consider Hulopoe Bay if your guests are OK with a short walk: A marine preserve, this white-sand beach is footsteps from Sweetheart Rock, a natural altar sculpted by the sea.