At Sky and Reef Photography, we focus on getting a mix of both candids and posed. We are about having fun and getting those once-in-a-lifetime shots that last a lifetime. Our photos are bright, vivid, true to life color, which showcases Hawaii's natural beauty. Ultimately, I am here to make you look Damn good in your photographs. 


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advice, Beach Wedding, Big island, destination, Wedding

October 31, 2018

How to Plan a Destination Wedding 

How to Plan a Destination Wedding 

wedding ring in native hawaiian plants

When you’ve been capturing memories for newlyweds as long as I have, you learn a thing or two. Especially since my specialty is wedding photography on and around the Big Island, Kauai, and Oahu, my expertise lies in capturing your destination wedding as perfectly as possible.

Kona ranks among one of the most beautiful places to get married, which happens to be located right within one of the most beautiful islands to get married. I say you’d be hard-pressed to go wrong no matter where you get married on Hawaii, but if you’ve chosen Kona, you will not be disappointed.

While Kona is a district on the Big Island, it’s also divided into a north and south district as well. The weather on the Kona side of the island is almost always perfectly dry and sunny, and the beaches are white and pristine and full of sunbathers, snorkelers, and other island life revelers. To say it’s the main hotspot for tourist activity (beaches, resorts, and golf courses galore) and other outdoor activities would be to put it mildly.

Since Kona is so darn perfect, it also plays host to many weddings a year. If you’re plans are to be counted among those lucky enough to pull off a destination wedding on one of the best places on Earth, there are a few things you should consider.

hawaii portrait women sitting in tree overlooking ocean water


Visit beforehand.

I realize this isn’t always possible due to time constraints and budgets, but if you are able to, visit Kona. Sure, Google will show you a lot but there’s nothing like taking in the sites for yourself. Plus, while you’re there, you can pick your venue, your photographer, your caterer, and find a hotel and other amenities for your guests. Nothing beats “in person” — especially when you’re planning for one of the most momentous occasions of your life.

Stick to a budget.

You might think that by deciding to get married in Hawaii automatically means you can kiss your life savings “goodbye.” While it’s true, it is a more costly wedding option, you can stick to a budget if you consider how much you want to allocate to your location, photographer, coordinator, guests, catering options, hotels, and other factors ahead of time. It’ll be easy to get off track once you see and hear about all the ways you can embellish your wedding, but if you and your partner stick to your budget, you’ll be less likely to start your marriage with undue stress.

Find someone to help you in Kona.

Although this could take up some of your budget, it’s worth it. You’ll love having eyes and ears “on the ground” keeping you posted on all the preparations while you go about your life. You’re busy enough trying to handle everything on the mainland. Let a professional handle the details of your island wedding. You’ll enjoy your day much more as well as your time leading up to it if you have someone to help you. Your venue might even offer coordinators as part of the venue fee. Bonus!

Get your paperwork in order.

Make sure you have all your legal fees covered, your marriage certificate in the works, an officiant hired, and any permits filled out for beaches or other venues you’d like to use. Don’t assume just because all of the beaches are public that you’ll be able to just choose one and get hitched without a hitch. Some beaches require wedding permits so be sure to do your due diligence.

Check your timing.

Kona is a very touristy (but lovely) place. As I said before, the beaches are public, so you might not have one all to yourself for your wedding — which may or may not be an issue for you. It’s also host to the IRONMAN triathlon every October and a slew of other events — golf tournaments; film, music, chocolate, coffee, and beer festivals; and even a rodeo. Investigate the goings-on in your little part of the island to make sure it can accommodate the wedding you’ve always wanted.

Be prepared for the weather.

Although Kona weather is mostly perfect, you could be hit with a pop-up rain shower now and then. Make sure you check the weather and bring along an umbrella, a rain jacket, or even a change of clothes just in case. Have a backup plan if necessary.

Hire someone to document your day.

Well, this one is a no-brainer.

You want to be able to count on a photographer, videographer, or a combination of both to capture your memories, especially one familiar with Hawaiian weddings. Kona weddings are truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. You’ll regret it if you don’t hire a professional to capture lasting memories you’ll cherish forever.


If you have any other questions about getting married in Kona or if you need someone to document your big day, contact me — I’d love to help!

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