October 11, 2018
Congratulations — you’re engaged! After your engagement, you probably got a wonderful week or two of celebrating becoming a fiancee. No longer just partners, you’ve said “yes” to making it official and spending the rest of your days with the love of your life. You get to show off the ring, and tell the story of how it happened over and over, all the while grinning from ear to ear about what’s to come.
Then, shortly thereafter come the questions — from your partner, your parents, your friends, your coworkers, the mailman…
When? Where? How? Attire? Theme? Big? Small? You may only be able to answer half their questions with vague, non-committal responses. However, at least you know the “where.” You know you want to get married in Hawaii. And why shouldn’t you? With breathtaking views, pristine beaches, gorgeous scenery, and a laid-back attitude that will give you nothing but good wedding-day vibes, Hawaii makes a perfect backdrop for saying “I do.”
To prepare for the big day, though, there are a few things you should consider first to make your wedding day the most perfect it can be.
Thinking about getting married in Hawaii?
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people I’ve photographed who left too many things up to chance. I understand that it might be cost- and time-prohibitive to visit the Big Island before your actual wedding day, but if you can, that’s a great way to tour the island and decide for yourself where you want to get married. Locations book up quickly so the more lead time you can give yourself, the better.
You do not need to worry about being a resident of Hawaii or a U.S. citizen to marry there. You do, however, have to both be at least 18 years old, with a state-issued proof of I.D. If you have been previously married, you’ll need to show proof of divorce decree or death certificate within 30 days of applying for a marriage license.
When in Rome…I mean, Hawaii…right? If you’re going to go through all the trouble of getting married on the Big Island, Kauai, Oahu, or any of the other Hawaiian islands, then you should think about incorporating local traditions, flowers, foliage, attire, or entertainment into your wedding as a tribute. Some of my favorite wedding activities include Hula Dancers, Fire Dancers, Lei Makers, Coconut Booths and live local musicans.
I cannot stress how important it is to have a professional photographer at your wedding. Sure, every guest will have a camera-equipped smartphone, but do you really want to look upon your guests and see their adoring faces or their phones? Because that’s all you’re going to see. Plus, the photographer is paid to be there for you and to capture your memories perfectly. Not your memories with photobombs in the background, out-of-focus photos, or the backs of guests’ heads. When it’s all said and done, it’s the photos that you’ll cherish the most. Trust me on this.
Hawaii is known for being “maluhia” or laid back. You probably chose Hawaii for that very reason (well, that and it’s just one of the most gorgeous places on the planet). Let this be your wedding mantra. Flowers not perfect? It’s okay. Waves crashing a little harder than anticipated? No big deal. The sun decided to go behind the clouds for a bit? That’s a-okay. It’s cool to be chill and will serve you well as something (inevitably) goes askew.
Your guests probably came a great distance and spent a lot of money to come to your wedding — show them your appreciation. Have the front desk of the hotel present them with a goody bag upon arrival filled with fun items they’ll need for their stay (sunglasses, sunblock, a lei, a hawaiian shirt, a map, some snacks, or drinks). Give each guest a personalized itinerary with ideas for what to do with their downtime. Anyway you can personalize their trip will be appreciated.
Although you can have a formal or semi-formal wedding, there’s no shame in keeping your attire casual. That way if the bottom of your dress gets a little wet and sandy or your perfectly coiffed locks get windblown by the breeze, it won’t look out of place one bit.
Finding someone to officiate your wedding can be as easy as a google search. However, make sure to do some research into the minister, priest, rabbi, or whoever you want to perform your ceremony first. If you want to bring your own officiant along, check with the venue to make sure that’s okay (some locations will want you to use their priests and ministers).
While the weather is pretty much always beautiful in Hawaii, it does get a little cooler in the winter. However, the off-season time frame can be a little less crowded (mid-April to early June, and again Sept to mid-Dec), and therefore, less expensive.
If you were hiring a planner for a wedding stateside, you’d hire someone in your area, right? Why should that change for a destination wedding? It’ll be in your best interest to have eyes and ears “on the ground” in Hawaii who can plan and manage all the details. It will take a lot of stress off of you, and Hawaiian wedding planners can help you manage traditions and understand cultural norms.
If you’re heading to Hawaii for your wedding, drop me a line — I’d love to discuss how I can help you capture the memories!