So you did it – you decided to have a destination wedding in Hawaii! You probably love destination weddings for the same reason I do. They’re non-traditional, give you the ability to make the day 100% about you, and give your guests an unforgettable experience. You most likely choose to have a destination wedding to avoid the stress of a typical wedding day, and then the realization that you’re planning an event thousands of miles away starts to set in. Fear not! Destination weddings are my JAM. I freakin’ love them, and I’ve specialized in them for more than four years. I’m always available to my couples to answer any questions they might have, especially those that are specific to the islands. I’ve learned a thing or two about destination weddings over the years, so I bring to your my top tips for planning your destination wedding in Hawaii!
Hire a local planner
Some couples skip having a wedding planner because they think their destination wedding is going to be 100% stress free. While planning a destination wedding is a lot more laid back than a traditional wedding, there are still going to be challenges when planning and executing your day. A local planner knows the best locations, vendors, and timeline challenges for an island wedding. This might be paradise, but there still can be major delays during the day, umm hello Waikiki traffic! If you truly want a stress free day – hire a local planner! I’ve worked with the best of the best, and provide my top recommendations in your wedding welcome guide.
Create a Facebook group for your guests
Picture this. You’re relaxing on the beach with your fiancé. You’re soaking in the sun, listening to the crashing of the waves, sipping on your fresh coconut. And then your phone starts buzzing every 2 minutes with texts asking, “What are you guys doing today??” You can’t blame your guests for wanting to hang! Create a Facebook group for your guests so you can tell everyone at once where you will be that day so they can come see you! It’s also a great way for your guests to interact with each other and to plan activities together when the two of you are busy. The Spruce has a great article about things you can post on the group, and instructions on how to set one up.
Visit in advance
Like you need another reason for a vacay! Come check out your venue in advance so there are no surprises on the day of. Meet your vendors so they are friendly faces rather than strangers, and of course schedule and engagement sesh with yours truly! Seriously, getting to meet my couples ahead of time is so much fun, and will help you get comfortable in front of the camera.
Skip the heels
While I have had brides who could not say “no” to a stiletto on their big day, and they looked freakin’ amazing by the way, think about skipping the heels. You’re most likely going to exchange vows on the grass or in the sand so think about wedges or going barefoot all together so you aren’t constantly fighting the sinking heels. Etsy has some super cute barefoot sandals, too!
Consider the weather
Hawaii’s rainy season is November to March, and the dry season is April to October. Inside of the dry season is what I like to call the “HAF” season, or Hot AF season, during June-August. Plan accordingly! Opt for a tented reception and have a backup plan for your ceremony (or just embrace the rain!) during the winter. And remember, rain on your wedding day in Hawaii is a blessing and often provides those Hawaiian rainbows that we love so much! Wind can be a big factor in Hawaii so make sure you talk to your hair stylist about the best options for windy locations.
Give your guests an unforgettable experience
I love seeing local traditions at destination weddings in Hawaii! Shave Ice, pupus (Hawaiian appetizers), and ukulele players during cocktail hour is always a hit. You can also get your own private hula and fireknife show for your reception with Ring of Fire!
I hope these tips for planning your destination wedding in Hawaii gave you some great ideas! A destination wedding should be fun and laid-back, and it will be with some advanced planning. Each of my wedding collections comes with a 15 page wedding welcome guide packed with tips and recommendations for your wedding day – so I can’t wait to help you plan more! Say hello today to start planning your wedding photography, and your best day ever!