Best Hawaiian Destination Wedding Spots

Year-round gorgeous weather, world-class beaches, and some of the most dramatic sunsets on the planet make it hard to beat the fiftieth state for romance. Here's our guide for where to get hitched on any of the five Hawaiian islands.
  1. Oahu

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    Why: The liveliest of the Hawaiian islands, Oahu is more densely populated than the others -- and is the one most widely visited by tourists. Honolulu, the island's most famous city, is located here, as is Waikiki, home of the island's main entertainment district and a hopping nightlife scene. But Oahu is still packed with lots of natural beauty and native culture, and is the most convenient island for a destination wedding because it has the biggest airport and the most frequent direct flights from the mainland.

    Guest Activities: Anyone who's ever dreamed of learning to surf should take a lesson, since Oahu's North Shore is home to the world's most storied waves -- at Sunset Beach, Banzai Beach, the Pipeline, and Waimea Bay.

    Best Spots for Weddings:

    Turtle Bay Resort ( 45 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu is Turtle Bay, a large lush resort encompassing over five miles of beach. Each room and cottage has views of the ocean, and two championship golf courses ensure that your link-loving guests will be well entertained.

    Halekulani ( your wedding at one of the biggest and best on Oahu, and where the A-listers stay. Spend your wedding night (or longer) in the Vera Wang Suite, created by the eponymous bridal designer, complete with a selection of signature beauty products, favorite movies, and butler service.

  2. Hawaii, the Big Island

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    Why: The island of Hawaii is called the Big Island to avoid confusion. It is (you may have guessed) the largest in the chain and offers incredibly diverse topography. In fact, 11 of the world's 13 climatic zones can be found on the island (there's even snow on top of the highest mountains!). The landscape varies dramatically as you travel around the perimeter. The Kona coast to the west has a lunar-like landscape, while the north and east coasts are wet and super-lush.

    Guest Activities: Check out the lava oozing from the Kilauea volcano on a hiking tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park -- or, for a better view, take a helicopter tour. Additionally, explore the rain forest region of the island, go horseback riding, strap on snorkel gear and get to know the reefs, or just laze on the beach sipping tropical drinks.

    Best Spots for Weddings:

    Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel ( golfers and beach lovers alike will appreciate the Hapuna's location -- surrounded by an Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole golf course and asserting a prominent presence over one of the nicest beaches on the Big Island. Choose from poolside venues, perfect for cocktail hours, to rugged grassy lava bluffs overlooking the Pacific.

    Kona Village Resort ( no-TV, no-telephone property prides itself on giving guests an authentic yet luxurious, old-Hawaiian experience. Couples stay in individual hales, or thatched roof cottages, interconnected by walkways.

  3. Maui

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    Why: Many visitors think of Maui as the most romantic Hawaiian island, perhaps because it's filled with waterfalls and rainbows. Its beaches are considered to be among the best in the world.

    Guest Activities: Active visitors will want to head for the west coast, known fondly to some as the "Golf Coast," and surfers (or aspiring ones) will find some of the world's most famous waves here. Drive along the amazing Road to Hana, a jaw-dropping route hugging cliffs that overlook beaches and lush jungle. Of course, snorkeling, kayaking, whale-watching, and all the activities you'd expect from a tropical paradise should be on the agenda too.

    Best Spots for Weddings:

    The Fairmont Kea Lani ( few of Kea Lani's many lures: a privileged position on Maui's Polo Beach, where you can snorkel, sail, and windsurf; a swank group of signature suites with dreamy views of the shoreline; and the Honi Honi Romance package (highlights include a private dinner and a sunset cruise).

    Ho'oilo House ( beautiful Balinese-inspired bed-and-breakfast with a total of five rooms, this is a great option for couples wishing to take over an entire property. This intimate, secluded location offers sweeping views of the ocean.

  4. Kauai

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    Why: Kauai is known as the "Garden Island" for its incredibly lush tropical landscape. It remains the least developed of the four main islands, and life here tends to move at a slower pace. Although Kauai's Mount Waialeale is considered the wettest spot on earth (it receives an average of more than four hundred inches of rainfall per year), the island's southern coast is perpetually sunny.

    Guest Activities: Take a surf lesson, get an aerial view of the island's beauty during a helicopter tour, and hike the Kalalau Trail, a rigorous trek through some of the island's most breathtaking terrain. For a bit of history, tour the Gay and Robinson sugar plantation, one of Hawaii's few remaining operating sugar mills.

    Best Spots for Weddings:

    Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa ( gardens, gorgeous ocean views, a Robert Trent Jones-designed golf course, and amazing ANARA Spa treatments are a few of the draws of this Kauai resort. Exchange vows on the Regency Club lawn in the beautiful white wedding gazebo, where your ceremony will be framed by the placid ocean beyond.

    Hanalei Bay Resort ( the same view as some of the ritzier resorts up the beach, the Hanalei Bay Resort on the north shore is a perfect choice for couples seeking luxury on a budget. Host your reception at the Bali Hai Restaurant at sunset -- you won't believe your eyes.

  5. Lanai

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    Why: What other island can lay claim to being home to both a "Garden of the Gods" and a croquet lawn? As one of the smallest of Hawaii's islands, Lanai is a quiet tropical paradise that has retained much of its native culture but doesn't shortchange visitors in search of luxe. Thanks to the Dole company setting up shop here at the turn of the last century, Lanai is nicknamed "Pineapple Island." High-end resorts and local hotels coexist alongside the central highlands that tumble into the blue Pacific.

    Guest Activities: There's a lot of activity packed into a tiny space. Duffers should hit the links on one of the two challenging courses. Water bugs can check out sea life on a snorkeling trip -- look out for the Rectangular Trigger, Hawaii's state fish. And active landlubbers can go off-roading on guided 4x4 tours. There are plenty of scenic spots and serene lanais for lounging and simply soaking up the sun.

    Best Spots for Weddings:

    Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay ( Four Seasons' legendary service lives on at the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay and at the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele. The lodge offers the charm of a country manor while couples at Manele Bay can exchange vows Cliffside, in gardens, or on Hulopoe Beach.

    Hotel Lanai ( located in the central highlands, the oldest hotel on the island, Hotel Lanai retains the laid-back spirit it has had since its inception as a retreat for executives of the Dole (as in Dole pineapples) Company. Its small scale -- 10 rooms and a cottage -- allows your guests to get to know each other well.

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