The 12 Best Places for a Destination Wedding in Hawaii
When it comes to planning a destination wedding, few places are more perfectly suitable than the fair-weather islands of Hawaii. Isolated in the central Pacific Ocean, the forested isles that make up America’s newest state—among them Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Kauai, the Big Island—are home to some of the country’s, if not the world’s, most romantic hotels, resorts, and beaches. Couples who wed here often have a similar vision for their day: sunshine, palm trees, the din of crashing waves, and the exchange of leis, an island tradition that symbolizes love and respect. But the similarities most likely end there.
It’s hard to escape the allure of an outdoor wedding in any tropical destination. The beach is an obvious choice for casual couples looking to dip their toes in the sand. Meanwhile, inland, much of Hawaii’s lowlands are riddled with rolling pastures and working ranches, ideal for couples who want a rustic, barn-chic affair. For those seeking a picture-perfect location without much fuss, botanical gardens are both showcases for the region’s natural flora as well as dreamy backdrops for any event.
Beyond their sheer beauty, the islands of Hawaii are rich in culture and history, where remnants of Polynesian and colonial influence still remain. Couples hoping to embrace a sense of the past might want to host their soirée in an old plantation house by the sea, or even in a repurposed sugar mill—one of the great exports of the islands in the late 1800s.
However, if it’s true solitude you seek, there are still undiscovered corners to be found where you can wed in peace. An adults-only hotel hidden in the hills of Maui combines romance and seclusion—a dream for Hawaii destination wedding planners—while a new development on the lesser-known island of Lanai is sure to surprise even seasoned Hawaii travelers.
Whatever your fantasy, be it a traditional chapel ceremony or a garden soirée, Hawaii delivers it all in a spectacular setting. Get planning!
For Couples That Want… An Over-the-Top Romantic Wedding—and the Best Sunset Ever
Perched over the crescent-shaped Hanalei Bay, the St. Regis Princeville has become an instant go-to destination wedding, and one look is enough to see why, Ceremonies take place on the Kamani Cove beach lawn, which looks out across Hanalei Bay to the distant Makana Mountain, dramatically silhouetted by the sun at sundown. The hotel’s events team goes to great lengths to ensure a seamless event that exudes beauty, romance, and class. Guests can stay on property, or head to the studios and multi-bedroom condos at the Westin Princeville nearby.
For Couples That Want… An Event for the History Books
One of Maui’s first sugarcane mills—in operation from 1861 to 1879 and on the National Register of Historic Places—is now a fairytale-like garden and one of the island’s most beautiful venues. That it hosts no more than 52 weddings a year speaks to its exclusivity. The stone mill stood abandoned for years before being repurposed as an events space, and still shows signs of being reclaimed by the island: banyan tree branches wind their way through cracks and crannies, while the rest drips with ivy and moss. A stone staircase—where many newlyweds make their show-stopping grand entrance—leads down to a brick-floored courtyard below, where up to 160 seats can be arranged for both the ceremony and the reception. The open-air ceiling with glass partition above allows for simple but statement customization: hanging ornate chandeliers, perhaps, or dangling strings of crystals.
For Couples That Want… Their Own Secret Garden
Hiring a florist almost seems unnecessary at this formal garden and sculpture park, a favorite North Shore destination for couples seeking to surround themselves with Hawaii’s native flora. Exchange rings beneath the shade of tropical trees—teak, zebrawood, mahogany—in the hardwood forest, in a gazebo on a garden hill overlooking the Poinciana Maze, at the lagoon (home to koi and water lilies), or even on the sandy beach, which can accommodate up to 200 guests. The aromas and colors are sure to astound and impress guests—and make for one great photo album.
For Couples That Want… A Farmland Fantasy
This 8,500-acre, family-owned working ranch at the base of the Big Island’s Kohala Mountains is dominated by rolling green meadows, rising clouds, and jaw-dropping views in every direction, including sunsets over the Pacific—all thanks to its perch 3,000 feet above sea level. The space is a blank canvas for couples looking to customize their day, be it on a covered deck overlooking pastures dotted with grazing horses, the lawn—where many couples chose to exchange vows beneath the old tree—or at the quaint green chapel onsite.
For Couples That Want… To Chase Waterfalls
Consider this private three-bedroom vacation rental, tucked into the rain forest one mile from the Big Island’s Hilo Bay, the ultimate escape. You’ll have the lodge-like house all to yourself, including soaking tubs and a manicured lawn that overlooks a swoon-worthy waterfall, where many couples have staged their ceremony to the sound of the rushing Wailuku River. But don’t wait: best for intimate gatherings, this jungle retreat books up to a year in advance.
For Couples That Want… Mountains for Miles
The 4,000 acres that comprise Kualoa Ranch, on Oahu’s eastern coast, make for a spectacular setting, and not just for weddings—scenes from Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Lost, and Mighty Joe Young have all taken place here. The sheer size of this working cattle ranch and nature preserve allows for great versatility when it comes to planning the perfect day: frolic with horses out by the Ka’a’awa Valley ranch before exchanging vows in the tiered Moli’i Gardens, or time your nuptials during sunset on the private beach on Secret Island. Your ultimate wedding fantasy is their expertise—Hawaiian ukulele player included.
For Couples That Want… A Waterfront Estate
One of Maui’s most popular event spaces, Olowalu Plantation House has been drawing destination wedding couples and locals alike to its charming plantation house on the ocean, complete with a bridal suite, wraparound porch, and a sweeping front lawn with views of the distant islands of Lanai and Molokai. (Psst: Olowalu was even featured on a season of The Bachelorette.) Less romantic, but no less useful, perks: an on-site kitchen for your caterer and plenty of parking for up to 200 guests.
For Couples That Want… A Church and a Steeple
The resort community of Wailea, on the south shore of Maui, is known for its expansive golf courses, pristine beaches, and some of the island’s most exclusive resorts, including the Four Seasons, the Andaz, and the sprawling Grand Wailea. Facing Wailea Beach, it is a destination-wedding planner’s dream, with perfectly manicured grounds and a small stained-glass Seaside Chapel in the center of it all. Those who don’t wish to tie the knot on the beach can exchange vows here, followed by champagne in the garden gazebo and a reception to match the affair—be it on the Chapel Lawn fronting the beach or, for groups of 120 or less, an outdoor lanai.
For Couples That Want… Their Choice of Chapels
On Oahu’s leeward coast, 40 blissful minutes away from the buzz of Honolulu, the residential community of Ko Olina boasts not one but three chapels, all with expansive windows overlooking the ocean, gardens, or a lagoon. Once the playground of Hawaiian royalty, Ko Olina has long been a favorite for weddings, thanks to its tranquil lagoons and white-sand beaches including Ko Olina Beach—one of the island’s best. The place to stay: the new Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina, the island’s first luxury hotel in years.
For Couples That Want… The Scene Without the Crowds
Kauai might be Hawaii’s most rugged isle, but Lanai is its quietest—an isolated getaway with just a single airport runway. The newly launched, 217-room Four Seasons overlooking the crescent-shaped Hulupoe Beach is its wedding destination du jour, with multiple ballrooms and open terraces and wedding specialists onsite to help with everything from invitation design to the floral arrangements. The event will go by in a flash, so make sure attendees have enough time to take a spin at the guests-only golf course, soak in the suites’ wooden bathtubs, dine at Nobu, and take a dip in the pool overlooking the bay, where whales are known to breach offshore.
For Couples That Want… A Package Deal
Hidden in the hills, just far enough away from Wailea’s buzzing beach scene, Hotel Wailea occupies a quiet corner of Maui’s south shore—a no-brainer for couples seeking Hawaiian romance without the sand. The adults-only all-suite property is an oasis of Zen: vibrant flowerbeds, mango trees, koi ponds, and footbridges, complete with an award-winning restaurant looking out toward the sea. Weddings of all sizes can be hosted here—from a traditional 150-guest ceremony and reception on the lawn to a more intimate 42-person affair in the restaurant garden, with a waterfall trickling in the background. The best perk? An in-house honeymoon registry, so guests can gift the newlyweds experiences like dinner at Capische, treatments at the spa, seats at a local luau, and more.
For Couples That Want… Traditional Luxury at its Finest
Waikiki Beach is world famous for its surf-worthy waves and golden sands, lined by some of the island’s most luxurious hotels. Couples seeking a scene without compromising on comfort will not lack for options at Halekulani, spread across five buildings right on the beach. This is classic Hawaiian romance at its best: five-star service, a local legacy, and options for keeping the celebration as lavish or exclusive as you wish. Host an intimate gathering on Kawehewehe Lawn, with Diamond Head as your backdrop, or exchange vows overlooking the surf on a lanai that seats 120.