Tips + Planning

Expert Tips on Planning an Unforgettable Hawaii Beach Wedding

planning a hawaii wedding

You may already have the picture in your head: you and your significant other exchanging vows on a Hawaiian beach, with a stunning backdrop of white sand and blue waves. The sun is shining, the waves are lapping at the shore, and the bride’s veil is floating delicately in the wind. What your vision may not include, however, is guests stumbling around in the sand because they forgot to bring appropriate footwear, or the décor blowing away because it wasn’t weighed down. The good news? With a bit of planning ahead, you can achieve

hawaii wedding

One of the most important things is pretty simple: you should know what you want. Are you going for a luxurious Big Island wedding at a top-tier resort, or would you prefer a less formal beachfront ceremony with minimal fuss? Having a specific vision in mind can be instrumental in guiding all of your decisions down the line. Speaking of which, here are some expert tips to help you assemble the perfect Hawaii beach wedding.

hawaii wedding ceremony

Have a backup plan

Let’s say you’ve thought everything through, and each detail has been planned in advance. Then the big day arrives – and it starts raining. Even during Hawaii’s sunny season, there’s a small risk of chance showers. For this reason, it’s smart to have a backup plan in place. If you want to make sure the outdoor ceremony still happens, you can rent a tent that can be quickly assembled. If your focus is on keeping you and your guests dry, but there are too many people to fit under a tent, you might want to book a reception venue that could double as the location of the ceremony. It might not be exactly what you’d planned, but it’ll still be
much better than getting stuck in the rain with no Plan B.

wedding in hawaii

Have your guests’ comfort in mind

This is another aspect of a Hawaii beach wedding in which expectations can be far from reality. It’s easy to envision a fantastic reception on the beach: every guest has a refreshing beverage in their hand, and the kids are having a blast building sand castles. However, you have to consider that spending multiple hours in the sun isn’t enjoyable for most people, especially the young and the elderly. You should also recommend that your guests wear beach-friendly clothes and footwear or provide a “footwear valet” who holds onto people’s shoes and passes out flip-flops. Unless you’ll be moving to a shaded venue for the reception, some shade on the beach is a must; you may also want to recommend that people bring hats or hand-held fans for greater comfort.

Give the bride a beach-friendly look.

This isn’t referring to aesthetics but rather to functionality. Hawaiian beaches tend to be windy and warm, which is important to consider when putting together the bride’s look. Regardless of the hairstyle she chooses, it should be something that will still look good once it’s been tossed around by stiff breezes. Lip gloss should be an absolute no-go, as it will collect sand, hair, the veil, and anything else that dares to come close. High heels may be the shoe of choice for most brides, but in this case, a pair of sandals (or even bare feet) would work better. Lastly, the dress should be breathable and easy to wear in a sandy environment; it’s strongly advised to avoid anything with a train.

hawaii wedding

Make sure the groom is comfortable too

The groom probably won’t have to worry about lip gloss or high heels, but there are a few styling tips that he should follow for the best experience during his beach wedding. The main concern is regulating temperature, since the standard suit-and-tie look can be stifling under the Hawaiian sun. The good news is that suits can be made in lightweight, breathable fabrics such as linen; he won’t have to sacrifice a formal look just to stay cool. If he’s going for something less formal, there are all kinds of options; a popular combination is a pair of well-fitted pants, with a loose, comfortable shirt made from materials such as linen, cambric, silk, or satin.

Don’t forget the permit.

If your wedding will be taking place at a seaside resort, they should be happy to help you out with the appropriate paperwork. If you’re taking care of this yourself, though, make sure you research the legal requirements for a beach wedding in Hawaii. Give yourself plenty of time to get this done beforehand; you don’t want to be stressing about a permit in the days leading up to the wedding!

Use the right décor

Many beach weddings use similarly themed décor, such as shells, driftwood, pearl accents, and so on. However, you might also want to include things like confetti, paper place cards, or other lightweight decorations. These might look great in your head, but they won’t look nearly as good as they’re being carried away by a sudden gust of wind. Whatever decorations or accessories you choose, make sure they’re either heavy enough to stay in place, or able to be fixed with adhesive or weights.

Find a catering company experienced in beach weddings.

Any catering company that’s worth its salt will know how outdoor catering works, but what about catering a beach wedding? If you’re planning on having the reception at the beach as well as the ceremony, you should make sure to book a catering company with experience in beach weddings. They need to prepare for various details, such as having weights for the tablecloths and stacks of napkins or lids on serving dishes that won’t blow away in the wind.

The takeaway

Having a Hawaii beach wedding should be an unforgettable experience, but only for the right reasons! As long as you know what to do and what to look out for, you’re sure to have the wedding of your dreams.