In the past few years, Hawaii has become one of Americans' most beloved locations for beachy, sun-filled destination weddings. Last year alone, about 300,000 couples tied the knot in this Pacific paradise. And it's easy to see why Hawaii is so popular. Beyond the famous palm trees and gorgeous beaches, you'll find numerous wedding locations on each island, as well as first-rate service. Here, some of our favorite choices, where you can have your wedding and your honeymoon, all in one place.
The most cosmopolitan of the Hawaiian islands, Oahu is a good choice for weddings because it offers plenty of direct flights from the mainland, as well as many interesting sites for your guests to visit, including the Bishop Museum and the Pearl Harbor memorial. Honolulu 's famous Waikiki Beach is an ideal site for ceremonies and receptions since it offers the best of both city and shore. There's a bustling, festive vibe along the main drag, Kalakaua Avenue , where there are plenty of cafés, restaurants, art galleries and shops, as well as many romantic wedding venues.
One of the most elegant spots to tie the knot here is the venerable 528-room Royal Hawaiian, a pink stucco hotel also known as "The Pink Palace of the Pacific." Unlike neighboring high-rises, this gem, which opened in 1927, evokes a bygone era with its sweeping archways, broad terraces and dramatic, high-ceilinged lobby. Couples who wed here can exchange their vows on the oceanfront lawn in front of majestic Diamond Head Mountain or in the hotel's more secluded Coconut Grove, where coconut, monkeypod and banyan trees tower over a garden of red and yellow hibiscus, flame-colored bird-of-paradise and pink bougainvillea. After the ceremony, guests can move to the Regency Ballroom, which holds up to 400 people, or to the more intimate Lurline Room, where 30 guests can view Waikiki 's sandy shores as they dine. Another popular beachfront spot for receptions of 30 or fewer is the Surf Room Restaurant's balcony, where breaking waves can be heard. Those marrying on a Monday evening should reserve space for their wedding celebration at The Royal Hawaiian's weekly luau. As hula dancers perform, you'll sway to Hawaiian melodies and feast on traditional dishes, including lau lau (steamed spinach with pork and fish) and roasted kalua pork, fresh from a barbecue pit (2259 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu. For more information visit royal-hawaiian.com.
In the midst of Waikiki 's tropical splendor stands the Victorian-style 793-room Sheraton Moana Surfrider, with a quaint front porte cochere and a grand staircase covered in tapestry carpet. The hotel is most famous for its massive, oceanfront banyan tree, around which the hotel was originally built. Couples who want a bird's-eye view of this impressive tree can be wed on the second-floor lanai, which looks onto it. There are also five indoor areas and two other outdoor locations for weddings, including the oceanfront Grand Salon Terrace and the Diamond Lawn, an expanse of grass that leads to the beach.
Receptions can be held in any of six venues, including the Grand Salon, which has wraparound windows and ocean views and seats up to 260 guests. The Banyan Veranda is ideal for groups of up to 40 and has dramatic sunset views. You can opt for island fare, such as seared tofu topped with sesame-ginger sauce, fresh mahimahi and Okinawa sweet potatoes. For more information visit moana-surfrider.com. — Diane Forden
It's not easy to find good budget options in Waikiki , but the 125-room New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel offers a beach with a view of Diamond Head at a fraction of the price of more famous resorts. The open-air Imperial Lanai can host up to 20 guests for a beachfront ceremony; larger parties can opt for the Sans Souci Room (which can seat 40) or the Japanese-style Imperial Ballroom (which can seat 130). Receptions include an impressive—and impressively reasonable—buffet of traditional Hawaiian dishes, such as kalua pork and a coconut pudding called haupia. No matter where you get hitched, you'll be just steps away from the sand for post-wedding photos or even a swim. For more information visit kaimana.com. —Joe Yogerst
Hawaii 's most luxurious island, Maui , is the place to go if you want decadent resorts, fantastic spas and succulent cuisine. As such, it's a spectacular place to celebrate your nuptials. No hotel on Maui is more picturesque than the 548-room Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. Located among towering Norfolk pines and ironwood trees on the island's lush northwest coast, it has views of both Molokai and the Pacific Ocean.