Destination wedding hawaii

Plan Your Wedding in Heavenly Hawaiʻi

In Beach Weddings, Hawaiian Wedding Guide, Uncategorized, Wedding Guides by tanya.joslinLeave a Comment

Everything You Need to Know About Getting Married in Hawaii

Words: Tanya Joslin

The team at  Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa will make your dreams of a Hawaiian destination wedding a reality (image supplied by resort).

Picture it: you and your love on a beautiful beach with the soft strum of a ukulele and the wash of Pacific Ocean waves as your soundtrack. Your nearest and dearest (all in holiday mode) gathered around to wish you well and bask in a sultry island sunset. Welcome to your heavenly Hawaiian wedding!

From the Garden Isle of Kauai to the sophisticated beaches of Maui, where leis, rainbows and surfing are part of everyday life, there’s no shortage of dreamy wedding locations on the islands of Hawaiʻi. 

Dreaming of a tropical garden soirée? You’ll adore the range of luxurious resorts and secluded boutique hideaways. Perhaps a unique event, deep in the jungle? Look beyond the beaches you’ll find the lush mountainous heart of Hawaiʻi. 

These Pacific jewels are also perfect for honeymoons. You can combine it all in one for an unforgettable destination wedding and then stay and enjoy an island-hopping honeymoon adventure.

The best time to marry in Hawaiʻi

Napali Honopu. Image courtesy of Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa.

Thanks to the glorious weather, you can get married in Hawaiʻi year-round, with each island offering their own delights. Just remember, although Hawaiʻi is known for its warm, moderate climate, weather patterns can vary from island to island and even differ from coast to coast on any given island. 

When planning your Hawaiian destination wedding, your chosen venue or resort will be able to offer a Plan B if the weather demands. Many hotels have unique event rooms that can be turned into breathtaking wedding settings, even at short notice. 

How to make a wedding in Hawaiʻi legal

It’s easy. You both must be 18 years of age or older. Bring your driver’s licence or passport – you’ll need a photo ID. You must also appear together before a licensed agent in Hawaiʻi to fill out and complete an application.

These licensing offices can be found all throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and the appointments generally take about 15 minutes, so you can quickly get back to enjoying your chosen holiday isle. 

There’s no waiting period, nor are there any citizenship or residency requirements. You’ll need to pay a fee of US$60 for the marriage licence plus US$5 for the administration fee (please check up-to-date info and pricing with health.hawaii.gov) From that point, it will be valid for 30 days, allowing you to tie the knot officially!

Leave it to the pros

Wailea Shoreline
Wailea area shoreline. Image courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

While Hawaii’s beaches are open to the public, that doesn’t mean you can show up and say ‘we do’. You’ll need a Wiki permit to have a beach wedding, so choosing one of the resort venues below (who can help with paperwork) is a good option if you want a fuss-free experience. 

Hawaiʻi and holiday weddings go hand in hand. So, when you decide to marry at a resort or venue here, you’ll likely be working with wedding professionals who have dedicated their careers to making destination wedding dreams come true. Meaning you can relax and enjoy the experience and the warm and welcoming island hospitality!

Weddings on Kauaʻi

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Aerial view of Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (image supplied by resort).

The island of Kauaʻi offers the perfect blend of things to see and do in an exotic and stunning natural paradise. Kauai is Hawaii’s oldest inhabited island with myriad natural wonders, from deep canyons and cliffs plunging into turquoise waters to gigantic waterfalls, beautiful long beaches, and lush mountain ranges.  

Kauaʻi radiates a sense of romance escape, and there’s an almost palpable energy that comes from the incredible natural beauty and the locals who honour and protect their rich cultural history. 

Hawaiʻi Islands Wedding Venue Guide

By now, it’s probably rather obvious that it is hard to beat the islands of Hawaiʻi when it comes to romance. And what could be more romantic than a wedding in Hawaii? Read on to see some of the best places to host your Hawaiʻi destination wedding!

Kauaʻi Wedding Venues:


Grand Hyatt Kaua
i Resort & Spa

Weddings Grand Hyatt Kauai
Beach Wedding, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa (image supplied by resort).

On the sunny south shore of Kauaʻi, the white sands of Poipu welcome you to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. This luxurious beachside oasis, surrounded by lush tropical gardens and elegant touches, is perfect for weddings. Their dedicated wedding planners will work with you from the time you enquire until the big day, so you’ll be well taken care of for your entire destination wedding experience.

The hotel features large, well-appointed guestrooms with private balconies, so your guests will treasure their Hawaiian holiday too. And, as the name suggests, the amenities are grand, with a decadent spa, award-winning dining, and acres of pools. 

Our tip? Host a memorable welcome dinner at the resort’s Tidepools restaurant so you and your guests can reconnect before the excitement of the big day. Serving modern Hawaiian cuisine in a traditional open-air hale pili (thatched bungalow) setting, the restaurant is set at the base of a waterfall and surrounded by a koi-filled lagoon. Chefs draw on rich local traditions to create a tempting menu boasting the freshest of fish, seafood, and steak, along with gourmet salads made with fresh greens straight from the onsite hydroponic garden.

Tidepools is rated one of the best restaurants on all of Kauaʻi, and is popular with locals and tourists alike, so you’ll want to chat with your wedding coordinator about securing your booking early.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa offers 65,000 square feet of elegant event space so you can choose a beachside wedding, a garden rooftop soirée, or a ceremony surrounded by lush tropical gardens in the resort’s expansive grounds. Any sized event is welcome as the wedding team at Grand Hyatt work with you to customise your inclusions, drawing on all the best contacts and vendors to make your day unforgettable.

To make your event even more special, you can earn free nights on your honeymoon by celebrating your wedding here. It’s the best of everything – magical venue, delicious food, wedding planning, a gorgeous honeymoon spot, and no stress. 

National Tropical Botanical Garden

Wedding McBryde Gardens Botanic Gardens Kauai
Wedding at McBryde Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden (image supplied by NTBG).

Home to nearly 20,000 living plants and boasting the most extensive collection of native Hawaiian flora in the Pacific, McBryde Garden at Kauai’s National Tropical Botanical Garden offers a lush, tropical paradise as the backdrop for your Kauai destination wedding. 

Nestled in the historic Lawa’i Valley and surrounded by majestic cliffs, the National Tropical Botanical Garden can assist with your wedding planning, or you can point you in the right direction with some of Kauai’s best wedding vendors. Parking and shuttles are also provided.

Maui Wedding Venue Guide

Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui sunset wedding (image supplied by the resort).

Hawaiian locals say “Maui No Ka Oi,” which translates to “Maui is the best”. And while we could never choose between Kauai and Maui, and love them equally, we agree that Maui is spellbinding. This spectacular Hawaiian island has something for everyone, from adventurers to foodies and, of course, romantics. We’re talking golden-sand beaches, sparkling turquoise waters, picturesque coastlines, and breathtaking sunsets. It’s easy to see why so many couples say ‘I do’ to this Hawaiian island and why Maui is one of Hawaii’s most popular wedding and honeymoon destinations.  


Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui

Wedding of Helena and David at Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui. Photography Scott Clark Photo.

Situated in a prime seaside location in Wailea’s luxurious resort community in south Maui, this stunning resort occupies 22 tropical acres and is cradled by two beaches. At the Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui, couples will have the quintessential backdrop for their destination wedding photos, with sweeping ocean views and tropical gardens at every turn. 

Related: Read Helena and David’s Real Wedding story in Great Destination Weddings magazine here!

The resort’s team of wedding professionals can help you plan an intimate gathering or assist with designing a larger-scale celebration. One of the benefits of this side of the island is that it’s much drier (remember we mentioned the different weather patterns? This plays out on Maui, with one side desert-like and the other cooler and greener). However, the elegant ballrooms and private lanais offer additional wedding venue options if you’d prefer to stay indoors.

A highlight experience at this stunning resort is the private dinner for two in a floating cabana or on the lawn by the ocean. A chef-crafted five-course meal by candlelight will make you feel like you have the world all to yourselves and will be something to treasure on the first night of your honeymoon.

The property also boasts an excellent adults-only infinity edge pool. But rest assured, if you have kids joining the celebration, there are other pools, including the two-acre Nalu Adventure Pool with four slides, one of which is 325 feet long! 

What to wear at your Hawai’i Wedding

Wear light clothes at your Hawaii wedding
Casual elegance is the aim with your Hawaiian wedding. Image courtesy of Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa.

Casual elegance is really all that’s required for beachside weddings in Hawai’i. As the bride, you can keep it classic with a designer gown or loosen up the dress code with a floaty boho beach dress. Just consider your footwear. High heels in sand? Not a good time! For your groom, a lightweight suit for a semi-casual wedding or a fun Hawaiian-styled shirt for a casual wedding is perfect.

If you’ve chosen a tropical garden or jungle location, you might want to go a little more formal, depending on your personal style. The weather in Hawai’i is warm all year, making lighter, breathable fabrics a smart option. Be sure to communicate this to your guests in advance. 

Add a local Hawaiian touch

Local Hawaiian Minister at Hawaiian destination wedding
Image courtesy of Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui.

You don’t have to include Hawaiian wedding traditions in your ceremony, but it’s a lovely way to bring a local touch and a sense of connection to your celebration. Just remember, if you do so, be thoughtful about respecting the local culture and enquire about having a Hawaiian Wedding Officiate. They will have the knowledge, passed down from generation to generation, to bring an authentic Hawaiian element into your wedding, honouring the Aloha spirit of love and life. 

Here are a few options: 

  • Arrival One of the most popular wedding traditions is the blowing of the pū, a conch shell horn. This is done to call attention to an event of significance. Often, it’s done at the very beginning of the ceremony, signalling to guests that the wedding is about to begin.
  • Blessings You can also have your officiant bless your wedding rings using Koa wood, Ti leaf, and water. The Koa bring integrity and strength, while the leaf is for good health and prosperity. The water brings it all together, symbolising the new beginning for you as a couple.

    Leis (or garlands, often floral) are another heartfelt and meaningful gesture in Hawai’i and are often given after you present the rings. You can also pour sand into a small bag together, known as the sand ceremony. It has a similar meaning to a wedding candle-lighting ceremony and makes a beautiful souvenir. 
  • Music & dance The sweet sound of a ukulele is synonymous with these Pacific isles. And if hula dancing spells Hawaii to you, consider including this ancient local tradition. For Hawaiians, the bride dances the hula for her groom, but resorts can also help you book a troupe of dancers to perform at your reception.
  • Food & drink If you’re marrying at a resort, the wedding team will be able to suggest a range of delicious traditional dishes and locally sourced menu items. Think sesame-crusted ahi tuna, macadamia-crusted mahi-mahi, healthy poké bowls, and delicious tropical fruits. You can also choose to have a traditional luau with a kalua pig and all the trimmings. The unique Polynesian flavours will no doubt be a hit with your guests!

    Serving cocktails? You can’t go past traditional pina coladas, festive mai tais, and cool Blue Hawaiians with a wedge of juicy pineapple or mango for your menu. Kona coffee is another local favourite, perfect for the morning-after. 
  • Guest gifts Don’t forget a parting gift for your loved ones. In Hawai’i, this is also a custom they celebrate. Look for Hawaiian-made options including macadamia nuts, local coffee, or even special customised cookies from one of the well-known Hawaiian bakeries. Though honestly, the chance to experience a destination wedding in Hawai’i is what will have your guests rushing to RSVP.

Aloha, Hawaii honeymoon

Now that you’ve landed in paradise, why not stay and enjoy more of this glorious region? This is a place where luxuriant jungle vistas meet resort-lined beachfronts, meaning it’s perfect for nature-loving adventurers and those seeking more of a fly-and-flop style getaway. 

From chasing waterfalls on Kauai to ticking Oahu’s iconic Waikiki Beach off your bucket-list, newlyweds will find plenty of romantic inspiration. Drive Maui’s scenic coastline, take a thrilling helicopter ride over the Big Island (home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes), hike the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ Waimea Canyon, and be back on the beach in time for a sultry Hawaiian sunset. 

With so much holiday goodness at your fingertips, island-hopping is highly recommended. And wherever you roam, you’ll be welcomed with the signature Aloha spirit — just another reason to put the islands of Hawaii on your destination wedding and honeymoon radar.

Need to know:

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa offer a range of beautiful wedding venues on the magical island of Kauai, along with experienced staff, incredible cuisine, and impeccable attention to detail. Discover more here.

National Tropical Botanical Garden offers a range of various sites. It can accommodate many different styles and sizes of weddings, from an intimate wedding ceremony in the mist of a secret waterfall to a grand gathering in Big Valley. The expert coordination team offers wedding packages across various budgets and styles and is flexible about outside vendors, allowing you to select your preferred businesses for your special day. Discover more about this unique Hawaii wedding venue in beautiful Kauai here.

Wailea Beach Resort – Mariott, Maui have a wedding team on hand to help you create your perfect Hawaiian destination wedding on the island of Maui. Visit the resort’s website for more information.

Hawai’i Tourism Oceania is the official tourism board responsible for promoting the Hawaiian Islands in Australia and New Zealand. Hawai’i offers six beautiful islands to visit. From north to south: Kaua’i, O’ahu, Moloka’i, Maui, Lãna’i and the Island of Hawai’i/Big Island. No matter which you visit, you’ll be overwhelmed by its beauty, diversity, and the warmth of its people. Visit  gohawaii.com/au to plan your dream Hawaii Wedding and/or Honeymoon
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The writer flew with Hawaiian Airlines, the hometown carrier of Hawai’i, for over 93 years. Flying five times a week from Sydney to Honolulu, with 130 connections daily to neighbouring islands, guests can experience the generous hospitality of the Hawaiian Islands with award-winning service, complimentary meals, beers and cocktails. Flights depart Sydney in the evening, arriving mid-morning in Honolulu. The Airbus A330 flying Sydney-Honolulu offers lie-flat Business Class, Main Cabin and Hawaiian Airlines’ popular Extra Comfort seating with more legroom, priority services and additional amenities. Visit hawaiianairlines.com.au to book.

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