The Many Types & Costs of Hawaii Destination Weddings

hawaii destination wedding in waikiki
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > The Many Types & Costs of Hawaii Destination Weddings

Hawaii destination weddings have a unique allure. Couples from all over the world flock here to wed amid our beautiful scenery. Sometimes, they may invite along a few loved ones for a tropical vacation. Other times, it’s just the couple – no distractions or pressure, just romantic serenity. 

But when people think of a Hawaii wedding, they may fear it’s a cookie-cutter experience, an extreme investment, or simply a pipe dream. 

The good news is that there are so many ways to have a Hawaii destination wedding, whether you want to do it as cheaply as possible or have an extraordinary affair. 

We’re excited to talk about Hawaii Destination Weddings in all their different shapes and sizes, from the smallest celebration to the most elaborate events.

Ways to Marry in Hawaii

First, let’s discover the different types and price points of Hawaii destination weddings. We’ll outline them ahead from cheapest to most expensive so that you can pick the plans that are right for you. 

Hawaii Beach Elopement

Guest count: 0-5

Budget: $250 – $2,500+

Location: Public Beach

Hawaii beach elopement

Hawaii Beach Weddings are simple yet beautiful events. And to avoid any pressures from loved ones (or a strain on your pocketbook), you can choose to elope to Hawaii without any guests. 

Many Hawaii wedding coordinators offer elopement packages that include an officiant, photographer, an event permit, and fresh flower lei to exchange during the ceremony. But you don’t have to book a full package if you’re looking for the ultimate simplicity. 

A local certified wedding officiant can marry you on the beach and help secure the permit so you’re not breaking any state laws on the beach. 

Of course, if you came all the way to Hawaii to get married, you probably want some great wedding photography, so we recommend you budget for a skilled local who can capture some images for you. 

Many Hawaii photographers offer one-hour packages to get just the number of photos you need. 

Afterward, you can go out for a nice dinner or simply head back to your hotel for take-out with a view on your balcony. 

Though this is a budget-friendly option for a Hawaii wedding, it will still feel incredibly special, as you’ll enjoy each other’s company without any distractions from guests. 

Beach Wedding Ceremony

Guest Count: 5-25

Budget: $500 – $4,500 for the ceremony

Location: Public Beach

Many Hawaii destination weddings will have a guest count of 5-25 people. This is a good number because you can still get married on the public beach, and it’s a nice size to really enjoy your time in the islands as a group. 

Some simple beach wedding packages will include an officiant and a coordinator for well under a thousand dollars. But a higher budget will allow you to have photography, hair and makeup, a bouquet, and other details to make it feel more like a traditional wedding. 

In addition to planning for the ceremony, many couples will book a group activity one day and then treat everyone to dinner at a restaurant after the wedding. 

The guests can make their own travel arrangements and hotel bookings based on the couples’ plans. 

Who Pays for Hawaii Destination Weddings?

Many couples wonder if they need to pay for everything when they have a Hawaii Destination Wedding. Most of the time, guests will make their own travel arrangements but just need guidance from the couple to ensure they’re staying in the right area and are there during the right timeframe. 

Luau or Small Venue Ceremony

Guest Count: 15 – 50

Budget: $3,000 – 10,000+ for the ceremony

Location: Hotel, golf club, luau grounds, or estate

Beach weddings in Hawaii aren’t private at all, and you can only have up to 25 guests present. For this reason, many couples opt for a small ceremony at a luau or dedicated wedding venue. Packages at these locations can range from a couple thousand dollars to nearly ten thousand dollars (if your ceremony is at a place like the Four Seasons). 

Paradise Cove Luau offers ceremonies on its grounds, and afterward you can book seats at the luau for your guests. 

Hotels and golf clubs also offer ceremony-only bookings where you don’t have to pay for a full event. Instead, you can pay a site fee to marry on their grounds and then make your own plans for a reception. A private room at a restaurant or a couple tables at a luau will be cheaper than planning a fully private reception at a hotel or venue. 

Hawaii Destination Weddings with a Full Ceremony & Reception

Guest Count: 30 – 150+

Budget: $20,000 – $75,000 for the ceremony and reception

Location: Hotel, estate, ranch, or golf club

If you have over 50 guests or just want to go all-out, you can opt for a full event at a dedicated wedding venue. Estates, hotels, ranches, and golf clubs offer full-day rentals that allow you to have both a ceremony and a private reception on their grounds. 

Planners here are experienced with Hawaii Destination Weddings, and they’ll be able to help put together a one-of-a-kind event, complete with table rentals, floral designs, custom catering, live music, and hours of photography. 

This is a premium experience, but many couples find they still spend less money than they would at a mainland wedding, since there may be fewer people joining them. Also, since you likely need to hire a planner, you can stress less knowing that someone here on island is taking care of all the details for you. 

Typical Budget for Hawaii Destination Weddings

We tried to give the typical budget range for the types of Hawaii weddings. There’s so much that could influence your cost, but we hope it gives you an idea of what’s possible for your vision and price point. 

As you can see, some of the Hawaii wedding options are far cheaper than mainland weddings. Beach weddings here don’t require a site fee or an expensive planner. You will also invite fewer guests when you marry in Hawaii, which can help cut the cost a lot. 

Of course, things like photography, videography, floral, food, alcohol, and decor will greatly influence your costs. That’s why it’s best to budget for your wedding early and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll soon be caught up in a spiral of upgrades and amenities that aren’t worth going into debt for. 

But budgeting for Hawaii destination weddings goes beyond the ceremony. Here are some of the most important things to plan for as you prepare for your costs:

  • Airfare
  • Hotels
  • Rental Car
  • Activities
  • Meals
  • Gratuities
  • Souvenirs 

You’ll also want to decide what you want to provide for your guests. It’s good to feed them after the ceremony, whether you set up a picnic for them or take them to a fine dining restaurant. You also may want to gather everyone for a group activity the day before or after the wedding. 

Also, consider if any guests need help funding their trip to Hawaii. If they can’t afford the vacation but you need them here, you may end up paying for part or all of their vacation.

Perks of Marrying in Hawaii

You may be saving tons of money by marrying in Hawaii. Or, you could be dishing out a lot of extra money to pull off your dream wedding here. 

So, you may be wondering if marrying in Hawaii is truly worth it. Of course, only you can answer that question, but here are a few reasons why we think Hawaii is one of the best places to plan a wedding.

Hawaii beach wedding sunset scenery

Beautiful Scenery

Whether you spend tens of thousands of dollars on your Hawaii wedding or just a few hundred bucks, one thing will be true: you’ll marry amid some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. Glistening oceans, lush tropical greenery, powdery sand. And, perhaps, a colorful sunset. 

It almost makes it feel silly to spend a bunch of money on decor when Mother Nature is providing the best decoration you can find anywhere. 

Gay-Friendly Hawaii Destination Weddings

Overall, the Hawaii wedding industry is very welcoming to same-sex couples. Before gay marriage was legal across the country, many same-sex couples would travel to Hawaii to marry legally with our welcoming vendors. 

Today, many still come to Hawaii to enjoy our accepting atmosphere. 

A Vacation & Honeymoon in One

If you know you want to come to Hawaii for your honeymoon, it may become tempting to have your wedding here too. After all, once you’re here, the wedding will likely be cheaper than one in your hometown. And you can’t beat our scenery. 

Plus, if you’re taking separate time off of work for your wedding and your honeymoon, marrying in your honeymoon destination will allow you to get the most out of your vacation time. 

A Simple Experience

Hawaii destination weddings are often very simple. Much of this is because you’ll need to work with some kind of local expert (typically a planner) to navigate the rules and vendors who are here. 

Since you’re forced to work with a planner, you’ll be far less stressed than trying to plan a hometown wedding. And with fewer details and guests, you’ll find a lot less to manage. Instead, you can look forward to a great time in Hawaii with the one you love. 

Are Hawaii Destination Weddings Right for Everyone?

Probably not. Some couples prefer a big hometown event with lots of guests. Or they want to plan their wedding with a lot of DIY details and hands-on management. 

But Hawaii weddings definitely work well for the thousands of couples who choose to wed in Hawaii each month. 

If you can’t seem to get excited for a wedding at home, maybe it’s time to broaden your horizons. Look west, toward the glistening waters of the Pacific Ocean, and perhaps you’ll soon find that your dream wedding is a Hawaii destination wedding. 

Need help getting started? Hawaii Aloha Travel can help you plan a group trip to Hawaii and connect you with some of the island’s best wedding vendors.