Wedding Planner Getting Married in Hawaii on a Budget
February 20, 2014 8:22 PM   Subscribe

I am getting married in Hawaii - that much is certain. It is going to be a small wedding (because of travel requirements). When I say small, I mean probably 10 and 20 would be the absolute most.

A couple other requirements:
want it to be on the big island (Hawaii)
want an outdoor ceremony
quiet setting
some flowers
maybe a photographer
maybe a translator (since her family is Japanese, mine is American)

Those are actually her requirements. I'm just along for the ride. :)

Now, how do we keep those costs down? We are thinking around $3,000. We'd like to hire a wedding planner to coordinate this. Is that unreasonable or should we just suck it up and do it ourselves. Since neither of us lives there, it seems like a good idea.

I'm an open book. Any useful, constructive suggestions appreciated.
posted by locussst to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
Do you want that budget to include a meal? Drinks? Music?

Or is it just for the ceremony?
posted by aviatrix at 8:26 PM on February 20, 2014

I think whether you need a wedding planner or not depends on how fancy you want these things to be. I'm not a formal party sort of person, and I feel like I could throw together what you want for your wedding for 10 or 20 guests with only a few hours of work remotely. But I am also easily pleased and would just be chuffed to be getting married to someone I love in a beautiful place. I found my wedding venue, officiant, caterer, band, and photographer with a few hours of Googling and Craiglisting and it involved minimal stress (and cost). But this was like, using a fairly amateur photographer whose portfolio looked promising and was willing to give me a discount rate, and getting my flower arrangements from Stop & Shop and buying potted flowers for decorations from the garden store, making our own table name cards, getting my cake from the local ice cream shop and using my favorite ethnic food restaurant for catering, and so forth. It was awesome, turned out fabulous.

For those whose tastes run more discerning or elegant, I think they'd probably be better off getting a wedding planner so they won't have to stress about the details not being perfect or what they expected on their special day. I'm not sure it's reasonable though to have a cost of $3K if you include a wedding planner, but seems like it would strongly depend on your venue. Based on my experiences in Hawaii, everything costs a lot more there than you'd think.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:39 PM on February 20, 2014

P.S. I base my estimation of 'reasonable' in part on the fact that getting an actual professional photographer alone could run you $1500-$2K in my neck of the woods.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:41 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

For that budget, do NOT get a wedding planner, go to hotels and see what kind of wedding packages they give you. Usually they give you a good package deal assuming your guests will be staying there as well.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:28 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

A wedding planner seems like overkill for this small of a wedding. I agree with the suggestion to talk to hotels to see what kind of wedding packages they have. They will likely be able to plan everything for you as long as you are ok with not having tons of options.

For price reference, I paid for a "month-of" wedding coordinator (I booked everything, she just did the logistics leading up to and including the whole wedding day) and she was cheap at $1000.
posted by wsquared at 9:50 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is this ceremony also going to be the source of your marriage certificate? You'll have to get some paperwork done beforehand and select a licensed marriage performer (details here).

Most people get married on the Kona side of the Big Island. Here's one guy who offers some inexpensive packages - basically getting the beach permit and a licensed marriage performer for you, photo/flowers are additional. At the other end of the spectrum, a resort wedding price list. I was a bridesmaid for a wedding here and the grounds are gorgeous and the prices are steep.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:19 PM on February 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think picking a location might be the hardest decision. Here's the Hawaii County Parks map/facilities list.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:33 PM on February 20, 2014

Having previously done almost exactly what you need to do, in very similar circumstances, I would advise against a wedding planner. We organised everything ourselves through the internet beforehand, arrived in Hawaii the morning before the wedding to action those plans (pick up rental car, buy flowers, appear for the licence, etc.), spent the evening at a nearby hotel, and got married the next morning on the beach (with photos and a nice lunch afterwards).

Whether you meet that with your $3000 budget will depend on how much you want to spend on the hotel, the lunch, and the photographer. But it is certainly achievable.

In retrospect, I would probably have paid a small amount for a deal like that identified by spamandkimchi just to have someone local on the ground organise a few things like the licence and permit.
posted by kithrater at 1:40 AM on February 21, 2014

nthing Hotels. You can get your license in your home state and bring it with you for the officient to sign, so that's something you can arrange.

Most hotels have wedding packages, and frankly, it's so straight-forward that you can't mess it up.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:14 AM on February 21, 2014

I got married in HI in 1991. It was a wedding party of two - just the two of us. We had a wedding planner that worked for the park where we got married, Waimea Falls Park. She did everything - cake, photographer, transportation from the hotel, lined up my tux rental, and arranged for witnesses and a minister. It was so stress free. We literally just had to show up and get married.

She didn't cost us anything, she worked for the park and arranging weddings there was her full time job. Many of the hotels and resorts will have a similar set up. The park is now owned by the Audubon Society. I don't know if they still do weddings or not, but you shouldn't need to hire a private wedding planner as you ought to get as part of the deal wherever you choose to get married.
posted by COD at 5:26 AM on February 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

We did a lot of interwebs scouting and finally used We just used the officiant but they have packages for all price ranges. They may have a planning service too. However I'm not sure if they have stuff on islands other than Oahu. Also do check out where Spamandkimchi had the link to Hawaii's Vital records site. That will help you do things ahead of time with your registration/licence.
posted by PJMoore at 7:57 AM on February 21, 2014

Check your mefi mail.
posted by lex mercatoria at 6:54 PM on February 21, 2014

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