I get many brides and a few grooms who call and email me asking questions. I usually give them a few tips to point them in the right direction when starting to plan their destination Hawaii wedding on Oahu or Kauai.

Here are  a few important things to keep in mind when planning your wedding on the islands:

Do Your Research

To start planning your wedding in Hawaii the best place to start is on the web. Do a general search to see what companies are out there. Look carefully at the website to see what they offer and if you see what you like do a review search on them.

Then start sending out emails and see what responses you get. I get a lot of clients that never get a response to their emails. Sometimes emails do not make it for what ever reason, so make a phone call, leave a message and see if you get response in a timely manner.

Ask Questions

If a wedding provider does not want to answer all of your questions and just goes straight for the sale that usually turns off many brides. They should take the time to get to know what you want and answer any general questions or make time for a phone consultation. This shows that they care and want to help you make your day a success.

Decide on a Budget

Break down your budget for your trip in these categories to start:

Hotel and flight:

If this is your first trip to the islands, staying in Waikiki will be your safest bet. Waikiki’s urban setting  is very familiar to most tourists and everything is very accessible. Expect to pay at least $80.00 and up plus taxes per night for any Waikiki hotel. One rule of thumb to remember: the closer the hotel is to Waikiki Beach, the more expensive it usually is.

Most airlines are always giving out deals on air fare particularly at certain times of the year. This is particularly true of Hawaiian Airlines. If you live on the West Coast, chances are good that Hawaiian Airlines flies from your city to Honolulu, Maui or even Hilo. Sign up for their newsletter to keep abreast of any fare promos.

Other sites such as Kayak, Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz can make your hotel and flight pricing comparisons a simple and convenient process.

Wedding:

Includes flowers, minister, photos, transportation and location. Beach locations only require a small fee for a beach permit. Private locations are possible for a fee.

Reception:

Includes location, food per head, wedding cake, flowers and photos. For smaller weddings a good alternative to a private location is to make reservations at a nice restaurant or luau. Private locations require a higher budget.

Extras:

Video, Music, Butterflies or Dove releasesIf you have some budget left over these services add nice extra touches, or you may want to include them and cut back on something else.

Activities:

There’s so much to do in Hawaii after your wedding aside from resting and relaxing on the beach! While on Oahu, consider taking a tour around the island with a reputable tour company such as E Noa Tours. Or go on your own by renting a car and grabbing a free guide book from your hotel’s concierge or activity desk agent. Fun water activities such as snorkeling at Hanauma Bay or Waikiki Beach are are also easy to plan.

Don’t forget to add a luau activity in the evening! Luaus are a great way to end a day filled with activities, or to start off the evening.

Pick a date and Island

When planning for a wedding and reception combined, try to plan at least a year or more in advance.

Good locations and dates book up fast! Summer is busier but lower seasons can be less expensive to hire certain vendors and even some locations.

For choice of island do a little research for photos online. See what appeals and then ask your questions. Some islands are a little more remote then others and require extra fees to travel to.

Weather can be a factor as well and some islands are rainier than others.

Hire a good Hawaii Wedding Coordinator

Hire a wedding coordinator to take care of all the planning especially when trying to plan for private locations and a reception combination. Their service is invaluable especially when planning a wedding from thousands of miles away even if it is just for a smaller guest count. There are many levels of coordination and you may only need partial coordination services. Even the do it yourself bride can benefit from a good coordinator on Oahu or Kauai.

 

Happy planning!
Kalona