In every issue, we scout a spot that’s perfect for tying the knot away from home.By: Donna Heiderstadt
How much do we love Hawaii as a destination-wedding locale? Let us count the ways: It’s a four-hour flight from a half dozen West Coast cities, no passports are required, it’s pretty much summer all the time (but with gentle trade winds that keep things comfortable), fresh fish and delectable produce abound and there are five very distinct islands to choose from (wed on one, honeymoon on another). And let’s not forget the surreal sunsets, postcard-perfect beaches, mesmerizing hula performances, slack-key guitar serenades and abundance of brilliant tropical blossoms plucked fresh for wedding bouquets and ceremonial leis.
You can opt for the natural drama of the Big Island, the chic allure of Maui or the intimate grandeur of Kauai. Here are three resorts where Hawaiian wedding dreams come true.
Photo courtesy of Sheraton Kauai Resort
Sheraton Kauai Resort & Spa
At this sprawling resort, the sun sets in the perfect spot, out beyond towering palms silhouetted against the shimmer of the deep-blue Pacific, as you exchange vows beneath a billowing canopy in front of friends and family. The Ocean Lawn is one of five dramatic ceremony locations (others include the more intimate Ocean Point and the peaceful Garden Pavilion) at this 394-room property located in Poipu on Kauai’s sunny south shore. Pose for portraits as gentle waves crash against the craggy black lava shoreline and celebrate into the night with a festive beachfront reception on the Luau Lawn (for larger gatherings). If you seek something a bit more traditional, consider hosting the event in one of three ballrooms or in the panoramic RumFire restaurant, which can host up to 24 guests (wedding packages start at $2,000 and include site ceremony site-location fee and a wedding coordinator; sheraton-kauai.com).
Photo courtesy of Sheraton Kauai Resort
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
One of the Aloha State’s most luxurious resorts, this 243-room property on Hawaii, a.k.a. The Big Island, is a truly memorable place to marry. Here, tradition meets today — there are six pools and the picturesque King’s Pond that’s home to 3,000 tropical fish, and among its half-dozen ceremony venues is the secluded Kumukea Beach (part of the resort’s 2,600-foot shoreline), a lush Palm Grove and the symbolic oceanfront Wedding Tree. After swapping vows, host a reception set around the Shell Pool, on one of two expansive lawns, in a Hawaiian-style amphitheater or in the banquet rooms, some with pretty lanais. The resort offers elopement packages for couples seeking a more intimate celebration (wedding packages start at $7,000 and include a wedding consultant, an officiant, bridal bouquet and boutonniere, a wedding cake, a photography package and more. Room rates start at $425 a night. There’s a minimum of 10-rooms for three nights; fourseasons.com).
Photo Credits: Don Riddle/Four Seasons
The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
An upscale Maui setting— on beautiful Wailea Beach — paired with dramatic white Moorish-style architecture and impeccably manicured grounds make The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui an utterly romantic oasis. Set on 22 pristine acres, the resort has ample space for a secluded ceremony. Choose from several locations, including the palm tree- and tiki-torch-lined oceanfront Pacific Terrace or the fountain-lined garden Tropical Gazebo. Reception options include a ballroom celebration or a poolside party under the stars. The Kea Lani offers sumptuous accommodations across 413 one-bedroom suites (each measuring a whopping 860 square feet with a breezy lanai) and 37 very spacious two- and three-bedroom villas, which sit facing the sparkling ocean and have been recently renovated (wedding packages start at $7,200 and include a wedding consultant, an officiant, bridal bouquet and boutonniere, a wedding cake, a photography package, some music and more. Room rates start at $299 a night. There’s a minimum of 10-rooms for two nights; fairmont.com).
Photo courtesy of The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
Saying “I do” in Hawaii is a breeze. Most resorts help with the paperwork and some include transportation to the Health Department (that is where marriage licenses are issued) in the wedding package. The couple must both be present to apply. Each must furnish, along with the application, a certified birth certificate or other valid ID, such as a driver’s license, and if applicable, an original divorce decree or death certificate, as well as the $60 fee in cash. There is no waiting period and the license is valid for 30 days.