Read an Excerpt
The Best of Hawai'i Wedding Book
A guide to Maui, Lana'i, and Kaua'i Top Locations, Services, and Resources for your Destination Wedding
By Tammy Ash Perkins
Inner Ocean PublishingCopyright © 2006 Tammy Perkins
All rights reserved.
Choosing a Destination Wedding in Hawai'i
Destination weddings are one of the most popular ways for the modern bride to get married. Choosing to marry in a faraway location allows you to create an unforgettable ceremony for you and your guests, as well as an opportunity to show off your adventurous spirit. It's a surprise to many brides that destination weddings can cost less than a regular wedding, but traveling to a destination location does minimize the guest list and combines the honeymoon and wedding all in one trip.
Hawai'ian-themed weddings offer a flair all their own. One of my most memorable weddings was held at Po'olenalena Beach, where the seated guests were captivated by the beauty of the coastline as they were serenaded by the sounds of the waves and calmed by the ocean breeze. In the company of a royal Polynesian court, a resident musician beat a deep native rhythm on Tongan drums to kick off the processional. Colorful kahili bearers dressed in tropically patterned sarongs marched down the aisle and positioned themselves on each side of the outdoor altar. You could hear the sounds of a conch shell resonate across the beach as the blower approached and then made his way down the aisle. Immediately following him marched a Hawaiian chanter reciting the traditional blessings, with two maidens carrying beautifully lit torches following close behind. The air was filled with fragrant plumeria blossoms as the majestic vision of the bride coming down the aisle took the guests' breath away. Immediately following the ceremony, the processional released a loud song in the form of a fast Tahitian-style celebration dance. The dance served as a consummation of the ceremony and blessing for the couple as they shared their first married moments together.
But getting married in Hawai'i doesn't mean you have to incorporate local culture into your ceremony. The setting of sand, sun, and gorgeous flowers can make any wedding brilliant. There is something about the traditional attire in a tropical setting that will make your wedding stand apart from all others. So even if you choose to go the traditional route, the beauty of Hawai'i naturally sets the mood and makes a perfect venue for your special day.
Hawai'i is exceptionally beautiful, and there is no better way to say "I do" than in one of the most romantic, and remote places on earth. From the relaxed lifestyle to the spirit of aloha, Hawai'i welcomes complete strangers with open arms, making you feel right at home. Also, Hawai'i is a world-class destination, so the islands are accustomed to delivering remarkable hospitality. It's simply paradise.
The climate in Hawai'i has consistently comfortable temperatures, so choosing an indoor or outdoor setting for your wedding makes it possible any month of the year. The cool tropical breezes and the fresh air delight your senses from the moment you step off the plane.
Stories of old Hawai'i, its kings and queens, princesses, and warriors are carried on in the community today through its music, dance, and ancient traditions, making this place unlike any other place on the planet. The Islands' way of life simply melts all your concerns away as you discover new colors in the rainbow, taste the exotic flavors of local cuisine, enjoy the fragrant scents of a tuberose blossom, swim with a rare sea turtle, or learn how to completely chill while listening to the sounds of the Pacific Ocean. Hawai'i's culture offers you an unlimited number of new experiences, just waiting for you to explore.
A wedding in Hawai'i can be a complete expression of who you are, and you have many resources available to you. If you're artistic, then a basket weaver, lei maker, or wood carver can be added to the occasion. If you're adventurous, then select from a variety of remote locations that express your inner explorer. And if you're just looking for that Island flair, then there's nothing like a having a Hawaiian-themed wedding. Suggestions can be found in the Destination Planner. The options are limitless.
ABOUT MAUI, KAUA'I, AND LANA'I
The island of Maui first emerged from the sea millions of years ago, when volcanic eruptions formed two islands that were later joined by an enormous lava flow that filled the gap between them. As the eruptions ceased and the volcanoes known as the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala (House of the Sun) went dormant, Maui was left with rich red soil. Ideal for growing sugarcane and pineapple, Maui's landscape varies widely, from palm-fringed beaches with gorgeous waterfalls and rugged sea cliffs to the vast reaches of Haleakala's moonlike crater and mist-enveloped forests. The legacy of the volcanoes is matched only by the bottomless mysteries of the Pacific. Its reefs teem with tropical fish, dolphins, sea turtles, and whales, and temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
With its endless natural beauty and friendly people overflowing with the aloha spirit, Maui sets itself apart from the other islands by the variety of excursions it offers everyone — shopping, kite surfing, kayaking, hiking, or just lounging on the beach. You can take a scenic drive around the island along the road to Hana, attend a luau, snorkel or scuba dive with turtles and tropical fish, enjoy a sailing tour, or, if you're feeling adventurous, go up in a helicopter to get a glimpse of some of the most amazing waterfalls imaginable. Nothing embodies the spirit of the islands like the magic of Maui.
Kaua'i is the northernmost island in the Hawai'i chain. Here you can explore the famous Waimea Canyon, Fern Grotto, and the breathtaking Na Pali Coast. On a clear day you can see the valleys cut through the cliffs all the way down to the sea. This island is somewhat removed from civilization, so be prepared to slow down when you get here. For more information visit the Kaua'i Visitors Bureau Web site at www.kauaidiscovery.com.
The most difficult thing about visiting Kaua'i, besides getting on the plane to return home, is knowing where to start. The quiet majesty of this island's lush tropical setting and extraordinary natural heritage give you the chance to experience a taste of old Hawai'i. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you'll have every opportunity in the world to spend your days enjoying the sun, sand, and surf with the love of your life. With temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s and the mountains collecting the second-greatest amount of rainfall in the world, the Garden Isle provides a perfect venue for couples in search of a thriving tropical environment.
With fewer than three thousand inhabitants, the island of Lana'i creates a sense of utmost seclusion. Hidden along its coastline are untouched beaches, rarely disturbed by foot traffic. While watching the royal blue waves rolling up onto the powdery white sand, the only noise that surrounds you is the whisper of the trade winds. With the grace and dignity of old Hawai'i, two luxurious resorts await you with award-winning cuisine, outstanding spa treatments, world-class golfing, and impeccable service.
Lana'i City, built in 1924, remains true to its quaint and rustic origins. Roosters still crow with the dawning of the day atop brightly painted roofs in gardens shaded by banana and papaya trees. One of the best-kept secrets in Hawai'i; Lana'i is a place that you can escape to, a world that you have only dreamed of yet never knew existed. An island all its own, a place where deer roam free and forests are filled with rare plants and flowers, Lana'i beckons to the hopeless romantic.
For more information on the Islands in general, as well as activities, shopping, local event calendars, and much more, the Hawai'i Visitors Bureau's Web site (www.gohawaii.com) is a great source of information.CHAPTER 2
Time and Weather Considerations
Believe it or not, Hawai'i has a wedding season. In general, weddings occur during the months of May through October (May and June being the busiest). When you're traveling to Hawai'i, every day is a holiday, so getting married during the week is a great option. The weekends are always busier with local crowds enjoying the best beaches and most popular locations themselves. Because we never know what nature has in store for us, there is never any guarantee it won't rain, especially during the months of December through May, with March and April being the rainiest.
Regardless of the time of year you plan on getting married, Hawai'i hosts desirable weather all year long. Summer days on most parts of Maui, Lana'i, and Kaua'i consistently bless us with temperatures in the upper 80s, while the winter months feature temperatures in the mid-70s, with some rain always falling in the most tropical areas of each island. Come rain, sun, wind, a waterfall, tropical garden, private oceanfront lawn, or the lush grounds of a resort makes for one of the most memorable wedding locations in the world.CHAPTER 3
Hawai'i's Marriage Requirements
The state of Hawai'i makes it very easy for couples to get married. Agents are strategically placed on each island, so you can choose one close to where you might be staying. Marriage licenses are issued no earlier than thirty days prior to your wedding date, brides are not required to take a rubella test, and no documents need to be obtained if you are coming from another country. The bride and groom must both be present, and your marriage license is valid anywhere in the world. A license appointment takes about fifteen minutes, and you will be asked to fill out a form (available to you prior to your arrival). The future bride and groom will then be required to present a valid photo identification such as a driver's license, along with a fee of $60 in cash (scheduled to increase in 2006). Divorce papers also must be presented if the divorce was finalized within thirty days of your wedding date. You must take your marriage license with you to the ceremony so that your minister can sign it (witnesses are optional).
After the ceremony your minister will send in your signed and completed license application to the department of health, which will take four to five months to issue you an official copy of your license. It is illegal for your minister to make a copy of the application to give to you. When you apply for your license, your agent will provide a form that you may send in with a fee if you would like to expedite this process. To obtain more information, to receive an application, or to check up on your application afterward, you can visit the Department of Health's Web site at www.hawaii.gov/doh.
For a smooth experience with a marriage license agent, it is important to respect and follow the selected licenser's guidelines, including appointment times. Most licensers have offices in their homes, and all of them are open by appointment only from Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You must schedule your appointment in advance, be on time, bring your photo ID, and be able to pay the licensing fee in cash. Once your appointment has been scheduled, a map to the agent's office can be forwarded to you upon your request.
45 Poniu Circle
Wailuku, HI 96793
277 Wili Ko Place, Number 232
Lahaina, HI 96761
181 Lahainaluna Road, Suite K
Lahaina, HI 96761
2561 Omiko Place
Kihei, HI 96753
Kenneth or Lynn Kubota
4-1300 Kuhio Highway
Kapaa, Kauai, HI 96746
808-822-7354 or 808-822-4581
Kamika Smith, Walter Smith,
and Grace Apana
174 Wailua Road
Kapaa, HI 96746
3920 Hunakai Street
Lihue, HI 96766
Tim Mira and Dera Caberto
Office of the Governor
3060 Eiwa Street
Lihue, HI 96766
Dayna Santos and Jamie DeVorre
5-5161 Kuhio Highway, Suite 210
Hanalei, HI 96714
Sandra or Alan R. Matsumoto
P.O. Box 805
Kalaheo, HI 96741
P.O. Box 630806
Lanai City, HI 96763
Makena Beach: North
Makena Beach: South
Kapalua Bay Beach
With all the beauty a beach setting provides, you have endless opportunities to be creative. I have hosted some of the most romantic beach weddings in Hawai'i, from small parties to more than a hundred people, resplendent with arches, canoe arrivals, Hawai'ian blessings, wedding-party swims, and more. Public beaches are available on a first-come, first-served basis. They are the busiest at sunset and on holidays. Weekday-morning weddings ensure smaller crowds and cooler weather. There are no permit requirements for beach weddings in Hawai'i, so using the beach as your wedding location is free — but it can be tricky. Since all beaches are public, be prepared for some uninvited guests to be in attendance, even another wedding party.
As with any outdoor wedding, be prepared for the elements — the heat and glare of the sun, gusty winds, and sand should be taken into account in all your preparations. Creating your ceremony area can be challenging since nothing can be legally blocked off. Small tents, tables, and chairs can be set up for short periods as long as you're respectful and willing to share your event space with the general public. Battery-operated amplified music is also appropriate as long as you're considerate of others nearby. Absolutely no confetti, rice, or bird seed is allowed on any of the beaches, and the state of Hawai'i asks that all cigarette butts be disposed of properly. Keep in mind that alcohol is prohibited on beaches. On the following pages I have detailed the best beach locations on Maui, Kauai, and Lanai, so if you decide it's your style, then Hawaii won't disappoint you.
South Maui, ten-minute drive south from Wailea
* * *
Tucked behind a lava-rock wall on the far south side of the island, Makena Cove has the feel of an undiscovered oasis, thus giving it the nickname "secret beach." The friendly company of local fishermen and their families frequent this small piece of paradise. Couples have the choice between being married with the ocean at their feet or standing on a lava-rock bluff roughly ten feet above the water. However, the name secret beach tends to be rather deceiving. This once best-kept secret has become popular and has made its way around the island. Arriving early allows you a better chance for privacy, but be prepared to share the beach with other couples saying "I do." If you can imagine being wed cuddled up against the Makena Coast on one of its most popular beaches, then Makena Cove is the perfect for site you.
LOCATION DETAILS: This quaint little cove can comfortably accommodate up to twenty-five seated guests. There is limited parking and no restrooms. Receptions are not recommended, but this is a perfect spot if you choose to have a dinner for two directly on the beach. The closest reputable dining options are the Prince Court at the Maui Prince Hotel and the Seawatch Restaurant in Wailea.
Excerpted from The Best of Hawai'i Wedding Book by Tammy Ash Perkins. Copyright © 2006 Tammy Perkins. Excerpted by permission of Inner Ocean Publishing.
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