Honeymoon in Paradise: Your Guide to a Dream Hawaiian Wedding

Say Aloha to a Dream Hawaiian Wedding
From: Winter 2016-2017 edition
Four Seasons Resort Maui’s Oceanfront Lawn overlooks Wailea Beach

A little more than five hours by jet from Los Angeles and worlds away from the fast-paced mainland life, Hawaii is the perfect tropical location for a domestic “I do,” with no passport required. Composed of eight major islands, five of which have become synonymous with romance travel and honeymooning, Hawaii is known for its lush rain forests, secluded hikes, jaw-dropping waterfalls, and of course, beautiful beaches with some of the best surfing in the world.

With multiple airlines flying direct from California airports, touching down in paradise has never been such a (trade wind) breeze. Hawaiian Airlines’ Wedding Wings program makes it easy for you and your guests to get there with perks such as airfare discounts and airline upgrades, and no matter who you are, everyone (older than 21) onboard gets a complimentary Hawaiian cocktail during the flight. Virgin America is also adding more ways to get to the islands with new, direct routes from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Honolulu, and Los Angeles to Maui.

And with plenty of new and newly improved properties to choose from, there’s no shortage of spectacular spots to tie the knot after arriving. From cliffs high above the sea to beachside gardens under plumeria trees, we’ve handpicked some of the most photogenic Hawaiian hotel hot spots.

MAUI

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

Arriving at the Andaz Maui is nothing short of nirvana: The entrance is a serene breezeway flanked by reflecting pools leading to the lobby’s 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean. As trade winds and sunshine beckon, you’ll find yourself in a hurry to change into a swimsuit and relax next to one of three infinity pools, each cascading down the hillside to a vast lagoon pool overlooking the Pacific.

Kick off the celebration with your bridal party at the ‘Awili Spa and Salon (also ideal for pre-wedding beautifying) with an apothecary blending experience.  

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Serene vistas beckon at the Andaz Maui; Photo courtesy of Andaz Maui

The breezy, outdoor ambiance continues to the resort’s venues, with three outdoor options: the verdant Laule‘a Lawn just steps from Mokapu Beach, which easily works for both vows and reception; and the Nohea Lawn and nearby Nohea Terrace, both of which overlook the luxe infinity pools and provide endless ocean vistas. If an indoor venue is called for, the Main Studio, with its sleek, residential-style setting, is an option.

Treat your guests to a divine farm-to-table menu with a meal catered by the chef team at the resort’s highly rated Ka‘ana Kitchen, featuring innovative takes on traditional Hawaiian cuisine (don’t miss the buttermilk fried chicken). The restaurant also serves an incredible brunch buffet that is a perfect morning-after send-off for guests.

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Part of the iconic Wailea resort community, the Four Seasons Resort Maui is anything but ordinary. With a limit of one wedding a day, new wedding venues that include the Wailea Point and Beachfront Lawn and newly designed guest rooms cater ing to the tech-savvy traveler, this slow-paced luxury resort makes a splendid setting for your celebration.

For an iconic Hawaiian destination experience with parties of as many as 200, opt for the Oceanfront Lawn overlooking Wailea Beach. For smaller groups (50 or fewer), you’ll fall in love with Plumeria Gardens, which lends itself perfectly to intimate ceremonies, with a natural canopy created out of two plumeria trees. If time permits, book the Serenity Pool After-Hours experience for a romantic night under the stars.

The Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Situated north of Ka‘anapali along the sandy North Beach with views of the Pailolo Channel and the islands of Moloka‘i and Lanai, The Westin’s Ocean Resort Villas is a great option for family-focused couples.

On the lush North Ocean Lawn, larger parties (as many as 120) can look on as couples say their vows against a backdrop of sweeping ocean vistas and the sunset.

Move the party to the resort’s award-wining Pulehu Italian Grill, which can be transformed into a dream reception, complete with a dance floor overlooking the koi pond. The Boardwalk Lawn offers a bit more privacy with a prime oceanfront location that is ideal for ceremonies as large as 100 or receptions with fewer than 40 guests. If an intimate ceremony of 30 or fewer is the plan, the ultra-private Kai Lani Lawn (which translates to “heavenly ocean”), enclosed by a hedge, offers a beachside location where the only sound is the sound of the ocean.

The Westin Maui Resort and Spa

Tropical sights and sounds—waterfalls, tropical birds and flamingos—greet guests as they enter The Westin Maui, a luxury resort on famed Ka‘anapali Beach. Sun worshippers will dig the grounds, which boast 87,000 acres of water-based fun, including five pools, a swim-through grotto, waterslides and a hidden whirlpool, while couples have five beautiful venues to choose from.

Nestled in a private garden, the Hale Aloha Gazebo (30 guests) is a perfect spot for making vows while the sun drops into the horizon. If waves crashing close by is a must, the expansive Ocean Front Lawn (50 guests) delivers prime, unobstructed beach views and can be used for both ceremonies and receptions. Lokahi Point (15 guests maximum) is ideal for intimate elopements with its panoramic ocean views, while larger parties of 40 and more can opt for the Aloha Pavilion, set against a rocky backdrop complete with a waterfall that adds instant tropical ambiance.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

A longtime Maui favorite, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, nestled into the hillside of a quiet resort community, has just put the finishing touches on a few new treats for guests. From newly renovated residential suites to the opening of The Burger Shack beachfront restaurant (with its beach-friendly to-go kits) there’s even more to do (and dine on) at this posh resort. A newly enhanced lobby lanai welcomes guests, complete with fire pits, abundant lounge seating and a brand-new canoe-paddle-clad bar designed in the rich tones of the Hawaiian landscape.

Perfect for groups that enjoy golf and getting around (be sure to walk to the quaint, one road town tucked into the resort’s edge), the grand hotel has everything you need to wed, with beautiful event spaces both indoor and out, including the luxurious Plantation Ballroom (complete with Bohemian crystal chandeliers), the elegant open-air Anuenue Room overlooking the sweet Honolua Chapel, and for 500 of your closest friends, the expansive Beach House Lawn next to the water.

Montage Kapalua Bay

Set gracefully on a promontory on the northwest shore of Maui, the Montage Kapalua Bay welcomes you to paradise the moment you check in to your room—or in this case, a residence. Boasting a space large enough to live in year around, complete with a full kitchen, living room and outdoor entertaining space, it’s a sure thing you’ll never want to depart.

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Montage Kapalua Bay offers breathtaking cliffside views; Photography by Brandon Kidd Photography

The resort’s Cliff House, a plantation-inspired home nestled just feet above Pacific waters, offers an intimate setting for 40 with views of Lana‘i and whales frolicking during the season, a private and unparalleled setting for your nuptials. Its open-air walls allow for an indoor-outdoor dining experience protected from the elements and any onlookers.

Of course, the resort can accommodate larger guest counts, too, with 24 acres of beachfront gardens on which to wed. And for honeymooners, a spa experience for two is a must—especially the Maui Romance Couples Package, complete with a coconut milk bath drawn in a stone-carved outdoor tub and fresh local fruits served up for a full sensory delight.

KAUA‘I

The St. Regis Princeville Resort

Located on the north end of Kaua‘i, The St. Regis Princeville is the place for couples seeking never-ending romance. The island is also home to the swanky St. Regis Princeville Resort, a picture-perfect place to wed.  

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Panoramic views from St. Regis’ main dining room, Makana Terrace; Photo courtesy of the St. Regis

Sitting high above the water with a spectacular view of Hanalei Bay, you’ll watch waterfalls pour into the ocean from the ninth-floor lobby of this Hawaiian hideout. Despite its tucked-away location, don’t be fooled, you’ll be very well connected, with electronic butler (and traditional) services. For the wedding day, opt for their exclusive collection of floral crowns inspired by the flora of Kaua‘i to adorn your bridal party. Then, walk down the aisle at the Kamani Cove beach lawn for waterfront views for as many as 300 guests, an ideal and unforgettable ceremony site. For smaller parties, the Hanalei Suite is perfectly suited for 50. With gorgeous scenery of Makana Mountain, made famous in the movie South Pacific, you’ll have your very own backdrop on which to write your love story.

LANA‘I

Four Seasons Resort Lanai

The recently reopened Four Seasons Resort Lanai sits on a bay and feels like a private island, with no resorts or hotels in the vicinity. Located just a short ferry ride from Maui, even getting to the tiny island of Lana‘i is part of the adventure. The resort’s new look is a sleek, contemporary Hawaiian vibe, complete with high-tech amenities (such as wrist bands that act as guest room keys and heated toilets for the traveler who has seen everything). For the ceremony and reception, several jaw-dropping spots are available. The most popular for large parties (as many as 450) are the Lu‘au Gardens, a sprawling outdoor event space perched above the beach. For smaller guest counts (30-40 people), Cascades and the nearby outdoor garden space Botanica, both offer lounge and dinner seating and are completely enclosed by gardens and koi ponds nearby. But perhaps the best part about this destination wedding haven is the great outdoors, the spinner dolphin pods frolicking in the bay, horseback riding, utility task vehicle (UTV) tours and golf at the famous Manele Golf Course, exclusive to Four Seasons guests.

THE BIG ISLAND

Puakea Ranch

For a private boutique hotel experience combined with local charm, look no further than Puakea Ranch, on the northwest Kohala coast of the Big Island. This 30-acre guest ranch is remote, yet just 15 minutes from larger resorts, so your guests have options for accommodations. The ranch sleeps 20, and hosts weddings for 100 or more. The property is famous for an old monkeypod tree, which is the perfect spot under which to say “I do,” before moving to the open-air pavilion for a Hawaiian plantation–style dinner or enjoying a number of outdoor sites under the trees and stars.

OAHU

Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina

One of the newest properties in Hawaii, the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina has already made its mark with wedding guests and foodies alike. A secluded destination, you’ll be treated to all the modern amenities with homages to the Hawaiian culture throughout. And with its exceptional event spaces for wedding parties from two to 1,000, you’re sure to find a spot (with a spectacular view) you’ll love here. Try the authentically Hawaiian chapel overlooking the ocean, with or without pew seating, and watch the best sunsets from the west in an intimate ceremony for 50. Or for two to 10 in your party, select The Point, a spot surrounded by water on three sides. Then, enjoy sustainable, farm-fresh ingredients in the restaurants and the pink Himalayan salt chamber in the Naupaka Spa and Wellness Center for the ultimate in relaxation.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa

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Aulani’s magical setting for small weddings: the hydrotherapy garden; Photo courtesy of Aulani

Tucked into the quiet side of Oahu next to the Four Seasons Resort, Aulani is ideal for weddings with kids or just the kid in all of us. You’ll find subtle nods to our favorite characters throughout, but the real magic is in the stunning setting and overall design that embraces the local culture, history, and storytelling. The kids’ club keeps the younger guests mesmerized, while beaches, watersports and the recently expanded pool keep grownups entertained. For your ceremony, opt for the private Halawai Lawn, tucked in by trees for as many as 300 guests, or a more private spot, the largest outdoor hydrotherapy garden on the island dressed with twinkle lights for intimate ceremonies.