Secrets To Planning The Perfect Oahu Destination Wedding in Hawaii

June 13, 2022


Last Updated on April 25, 2024 by Karma Hill

You’ve dreamt of your Oahu destination wedding for as long as you can remember, and now it’s finally here! All you should be worried about is celebrating with your loved ones and saying ‘I do’ with your toes in the sand. However, we understand getting to this point can be a daunting task. To ensure you can savor every minute of this occasion, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about planning a long-distance event. We asked the lead coordinator at Simple Oahu Wedding, Aysha, to spill the secrets on how to make your dream destination wedding in Hawaii a reality. Bon voyage!

Oahu destination wedding

Where Should Your Oahu Wedding Planning Start?

You’ve just decided you want to have a destination wedding in Oahu, Hawaii! Now, what are the first steps you need to take?

Start With Guest Count

Aysha said the first and most important step is to determine how many guests you expect to attend your wedding. This number will help you decide between a venue or a beach wedding — especially since there are guest limits for beach weddings.

Select Your Perfect Venue Location

Next, you need to choose the location for your special day: do you want a public beach ceremony or a private venue event? Beach ceremonies are relaxed, no chairs or arches are allowed and they have a twenty-five guest limit due to state permitting restrictions. Therefore, you should consider the number of people you expect to come and if you want more flexibility with arches and seating. If you have more than 25 guests, but still want a beach wedding, we are lucky on Oahu to have several private beach ceremony options so you can have the best of both worlds. The Paradise Cove Luau venue, pictured in this post, and the Kualoa Secret Island Package are examples of private beach ceremonies. When we say private, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see another human as water and beaches are publicly accessible, we mean the portion of the beach you are getting married on is private and therefore does not have to comply with the public beach wedding permit rules. You also have exclusive use of the area your ceremony will be in, but you may see other people on the beach further down.

Your guest count will help you determine if you are eligible for a beach wedding venue. A question you must ask yourself when deciding on a beach or venue wedding is what is the feel you want for your ceremony. A beach wedding needs a “go with the flow” attitude as there are many things beyond our control. Beach conditions, weather, other weddings happening on the same beach, crowded beaches, and music from other beachgoers can and will happen. With a beach wedding, you have no reserved spot, ceremony locations on the beach are on a first-come basis. Our team does its best to find the perfect spot for you away from other people or weddings but we have to work with what the conditions are on the beach that day. The pros of a beach wedding are affordability and being able to have your toes in the sand as you say, “I do” surrounded by beautiful nature. A venue wedding is more costly but offers more control over the variables. Many of our venues offer a rain backup location and you are guaranteed a specific area for your group. You can also add more customizations and have more facilities for your guests such as parking, shade, and restrooms. So whether it will be just the two of you or a wedding with guests, keep in mind the feel you want for your wedding and how much you want to share your wedding space!

Once you have decided on a beach or venue wedding, you can move to the next step in the process, booking your amazing wedding day!

designs by hemmingway florals
florals at oahu hawaii weddings

What’s The Easiest Way To Plan a Destination Wedding in Hawaii?

We believe the least stressful way to plan a destination wedding is to work with a local coordinating company! They will be able to get the permits for a beach wedding or book the top venue for you and your guests. In addition, they’re also in contact with the best vendors, and their knowledge of the area is priceless! We understand how complicated it can be to remotely plan an event in Hawaii when you’re unfamiliar with the island. As a result, our Simple Oahu Wedding team is passionate about taking care of every big and small detail for your special day!

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paradise cove luau venue wedding

How To Choose The Perfect Location

When it comes to your ceremony location, there are endless options! Thankfully, Aysha has excellent advice for couples struggling to pick the perfect place. First things first, think about how you want your wedding to look! After this, find spaces that best match this vision and go from there. Second, keep your budget and guest count in mind.

In this post, we have featured the Paradise Cove Luau venue because it’s a beautiful ocean-front venue. We adore planning weddings here because it’s full of breathtaking scenery! Most importantly, we wanted to show off this site and all the exquisite options this spot has to offer. At this venue, you get the lovely benefits of a beach wedding but still can have chairs and decorations.

Not to mention, Paradise Cove Luau has sweeping ocean views and more privacy — making it perfect for intimate ceremonies! Lastly, it has the best luau on Oahu. This event is an impeccable option for your reception since it has food, drinks, and entertainment in one place!

styled wedding shoot in oahu
venue wedding in oahu hawaii

It’s All About The Right Timing

Choosing the perfect day is one of the many hurdles couples will face when planning their destination wedding. Luckily, if you get married in Hawaii, you can never go wrong! In Aysha’s professional opinion, she says any time of the year is the best time to tie the knot in this tropical paradise. Whether you choose Oahu or another island — every location has beautiful weather year-round! On the other hand, if you want to research the perfect date, look at you and your guests’ schedules.

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Working With People You Can Count On

One of the most important parts of planning a destination wedding is finding vendors and a coordinator you can trust! When researching coordinators and vendors, Aysha says to ensure they are within your budget and offer services that fit your wants and needs.

For example, our team worked with Designs by Hemmingway for florals at this styled shoot. She is one of the best on the island because she makes any flower inspiration a reality! We love her dreamy, unique, and outside-of-the-box designs. For this reason, she is a bit pricier than other florists on Oahu. Yet, we used the arch provided by Paradise Cove Luau instead of renting one, so we could use our extra budget to get Debbie Hemmingway’s floral magic!

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oahu photographers

Keeping Your Destination Wedding In Hawaii Budget Friendly

Luckily, this isn’t the only way to save money when having a destination wedding! There are a few things Aysha says you can do to keep your celebration cost-efficient. First, you could contact a room block specialist and get hotel rooms at a discounted rate. Instead of a big reception, you could have dinner at a nearby restaurant after your ceremony with us. 

Above all, the main advice Aysha would give to couples trying to stay within a budget is to prioritize! Figure out the most important details you want at your wedding. For example, if flowers are most important, then you might opt out of having a musician or get a family member to perform.

paradise cove wedding styled shoot
looks for venue wedding in hawaii
oahu wedding venues

Making Your Day More “You”

The day you tie the knot should reflect you, your significant other, and your relationship beautifully. Whether you have a beach or venue wedding, styling is an essential aspect of it! Aysha says the secret to having a creative and cohesive design is sticking with a color scheme. Do you want something soft with pastel tones or bright and tropical? Once you determine a palette, choosing an arch and florals will be a breeze! Although the great thing about Hawaii is the breathtaking backdrop — any decoration you choose will enhance the natural beauty!

If you need a little inspiration, use this styled shoot and our past weddings on our blog! Aysha loves the “Old Hawaii” look of Paradise Cove and the feel of the luau. For this session, she wanted to stay true to this aesthetic! The flowers chosen are local Hawaiian blooms; the florists even cut the bougainvillea the same day. Then Aysha wanted bright shades to contrast with the ivory sand and late morning lighting. This styling is modern and tropical — it effortlessly shows off this stunning venue!

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If you’re still not sure whether you want to plan an Oahu destination wedding or not — this is your sign to do it! There are endless possibilities when it comes to having weddings in paradise. Most importantly, our team at Simple Oahu Wedding will make sure your day is flawless from start to finish. Not only will you be able to savor a new experience, but you can also enjoy your time with your loved ones. Lastly, we hope you found these tips helpful; remember planning your special day should be fun!

Oahu Destination Wedding Styled-Shoot – Session Details

Time of Day: Midday

Oahu Wedding Photographer: Megan from Karma Hill Photography

Oahu Venue Wedding Packages: Simple Oahu Wedding

Onsite Coordinator: Oli from Simple Oahu Wedding

Wedding Florals: Designs by Hemmingway

Arch & Chairs: Provided By Venue

Check out another wedding at Paradise Cove Luau here! Looking for family portraits in Hawaii, click the link to find Big Island family photographers for your special time in Kona, Hawaii.

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Karma Hill is the owner of Karma Hill Photography, Simple Maui Wedding, Simple Oahu Wedding, and Simple Hawaii Wedding, marking a significant presence in the Hawaii wedding community since 2007. With a wealth of experience and a vast collection of informative posts on weddings and photography in Hawaii, Karma Hill offers unparalleled expertise. Explore the world of photography and wedding planning across Hawaii by visiting Karma's websites.

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