How can I plan my Hawaiian wedding?
April 15, 2007 2:22 AM   Subscribe

My fiance and I are planning a wedding in Hawaii for September this year. We're looking for a nice chapel wedding somewhere on Oahu, someplace with a nice view on the beach (but not a beach ceremony). I'm American, she's Japanese, and we live in Tokyo. We've gotten some Hawaiian wedding catalogs from travel agencies here that have all sorts of package deals, but I think they're way overpriced (though the little missus doesn't seem to care), and I'd like to bypass doing it through Japanese travel agencies and contact the various chapels directly. I haven't found many useful chapel homepages, though. Any MeFiers who got married in Hawaii? Any sources on Hawaiian chapels out there?
posted by zardoz to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have a look around Hawaiirama*. If you drop Alex a note, he'd probably be happy to dig up and post some information for you, though a little basic digging will turn up some stuff there already.
"Lovers' Getaway" under the 50th State of Mind sidebar heading also has some wedding-related external links

*Disclosure: I built the site and do still get paid for maint and such, but that's it.
posted by Su at 3:10 AM on April 15, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, Su, but could you check that link again? I'm going in circles!
posted by zardoz at 3:32 AM on April 15, 2007

Response by poster: Nevermind, I got it!
posted by zardoz at 3:59 AM on April 15, 2007

D'oh. Sorry. Dunno what happened. For the sake of conveniece: Hawaiirama
posted by Su at 5:12 AM on April 15, 2007

I got a married at Waimea Falls Park on Oahu 16 years ago. They had a wedding consultant on staff that did everything. All we had to do was show up.
posted by COD at 6:34 AM on April 15, 2007

Oh! I just went to the most gorgeous wedding at Turtle Bay on Oahu. That chapel at the top of the link is where it was held, and it is more gorgeous in person. You would be married overlooking a turquoise ocean. The chapel is all glass, so all your guests will be able to see it as well. It is open air, but the glass ceiling means it's not too hot. Stunning.

I just re-read your question, and I see that this might not work for you and your fiance, because they offer package deals, but I'll include it for any future readers and because it was THAT beautiful.

Also, I would look into the cost of the food, reception hall, etc. The family who put on this wedding found that it was substantially cheaper to pay for an all inclusive package deal than to pay for everything piecemeal.
posted by paddingtonb at 9:16 AM on April 15, 2007

Congratulations! One thing to keep in mind: a lot of places will charge you a "site fee" for getting married on their property. This especially goes for hotels, whose fees can get pretty astronomical. The one hotel at which we planned to stay wanted $2000 just for the site fee. I don't know how it goes with chapels.

The only other advice I can offer is to secure yourself a good wedding coordinator. It's easy to think "Hey, we'll have a small wedding that will be super easy for us to plan!" But there are so many little things your fiance and you will have questions about -- having a physical contact in the location who is a veritable expert on everything is enormously helpful and valuable.

Most wedding coordinators will provide you with a spreadsheet of a la carte items from which you can pick and choose (in addition to their base fee). The nicest coordinator we found was Valerie at Honolulu Wedding Company. (Disclosure: we ultimately decided against getting married in Hawaii altogether, so I cannot speak to the company's full capacity, but we were pleased during the consultation phase.)
posted by Hankins at 9:18 AM on April 15, 2007

My college friend's (Japanese) wife worked for a Japanese wedding co's Maui branch for a while, and she put together a wedding for another college bud at a small, rustic church south of Makena. Quite nice it was.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:15 AM on April 15, 2007

The hubby and I got married on Kauai in September of 2003, and have always been extremely happy with that choice. For us it meant a smaller, more personalized wedding than we would've had in our home town.

We found that Maui and Oahu were largely more expensive than Kauai, and generally geared toward bigger, fancier affairs. If memory serves, the packages were indeed priced better than each detail would have been separately. This is a side effect of the fact that they do so many weddings there. We ultimately chose a la carte options anyway, because some of the packages are downright cheesy.

Another side effect of Hawaii's wedding density is that many of the pros there really think they know what's best for you. For instance, our photographer completely disregarded our request for some black and white photos (we wanted about 20% black and white, 80% color) because "you don't come to hawaii for black and white".

The wedding planner/coordinator is a complete necessity there, as Hankins said. For instance, we heard about a couple who loved a local chef and asked him to cater their wedding, only to learn later that there's nowhere on Kauai to rent plates, forks, knives, etc. because companies that cater weddings typically own that stuff.

The wedding planners we found had vendors they strongly preferred to work with, so choosing the right planner was the most important element. When you interview wedding planners, ask to see their vendors' websites if they have them, and ask for the names of competitors.

We didn't look for chapels, we got married at a private botanical garden (Na 'Aina Kai). It was quite lovely.
posted by nadise at 12:21 PM on April 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

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