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Your Guide: How to Plan a Destination Wedding in Kauai!

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A Guide to Planning a Destination Wedding in Kauai by Bellenza.

Dreaming of a romantic destination wedding in a fabulous tropical island location? Then, you must consider the gorgeous “Garden Isle” of Kauai in the Central Pacific! It offers breathtaking natural vistas, balmy weather, exotic cultural elements, and exciting ocean and wildlife adventures. Certain to make your wedding memorable not just for you but for your guests too!

But as with all destination weddings, there are dozens of details to research on and compare. So planning a year or more ahead is a must. Get started with our Kauai wedding planning guide!

Selecting a date

Deciding when to get married in Kauai is actually more of a “what” than a “when.” And that “what” is your wedding budget. Choosing a date during peak season (meaning in the summer months of June to August, including parts of fall) will be pricier than an off-season wedding during winter and spring. There are also factors such as availability of your bridal party members and guests to take time off to travel, and the months when Kauai weather will be best for an outdoor wedding.

Determining the venue

Although the cozy island of Kauai is only about 33 miles long, you still have several venue choices from hotels to plantations.

Hotels – Here is a sampling of some popular hotels in the area:

Sheraton Kauai Wedding Packages
(above: an intimate beachfront ceremony setup at the Kauai Marriot Resort)

  1. St. Regis Princeville Resort
  2. Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
  3. Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa
  4. Kauai Beach Marriot Resort
  5. Koa Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach
  6. Waipouli Beach Resort by Outrigger
  7. Hilton Garden Inn Kauai
  8. Sheraton Kauai Resort
  9. Hale Koa Hotel
  10. Hanalei Bay Resortfor intimate weddings for up to 50 people

Important reminder: Be sure to check if the venue has a backup location should inclement weather occur on the day of the wedding!

Plantations and Restaurants – There are also several plantations and restaurants on the island that offer wedding venues and sometimes lodging as well, or simply restaurants that would be possible locations for rehearsal dinners.

Kilohana Plantation Weddings
(above: breathtaking venues at the Kilohana Plantation)

  1. Plantation Gardens Restaurant & Bar, Kiahuna Plantation Resort Kauai by Outrigger
  2. Waimea Plantation Cottages
  3. Gaylord’s Restaurant, Kilohana Plantation
  4. The Beach House Restaurant

Chapels and Churches – If you wish to hold your ceremony in a chapel or church, here are a few you may look into:

  1. Calvary Chapel, North Shore, Kauai
  2. Calvary Chapel Lihue
  3. Crossroads Christian Fellowship, Kauai

You can also visit TripAdvisor for a whole range of Kauai wedding venues with reviews and ratings.

Choosing a planner

Many wedding venues offer a professional wedding planner and/or coordinator. Be sure to ask your venue if they have such a service to facilitate the details for the wedding.

Photos via Ali'i Kauai Weddings
Tropical bouquets are among the services offered through Ali’i Kauai Weddings

“Day of” Coordinator – The venue may offer a coordinator who won’t necessarily help you plan the wedding, but rather serves as a day-of-the-wedding coordinator who will be there to handle the details of the day itself. In this type of arrangement, the hotel coordinator may have a list of recommended or preferred wedding vendors for you to contact.

Wedding Planner – Due to the logistical challenges of a destination wedding, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner. Some are individuals, others are full-service boutiques, while others may be wedding photographers who also have a planning service.

Here are a few you may consider:

  1. Ali’i Kauai Weddings
  2. Kauai Island Weddings
  3. Aloha Ever After
  4. Mira Mira Events
  5. Weddings Kauai

When looking for a wedding planner, be sure to consider the following factors when inquiring about their services:

  • Cost of their services
  • Range of services offered
  • Communication and facilitation (Will they coordinate all emails and phone calls with your chosen venue and wedding vendors?)
  • Vendor selection (Are they going to be responsible for providing and coordinating with all vendors?)
  • Liability and other related matters when something goes wrong
  • Reviews and ratings from real weddings through forums and sites like Weddingwire, Yelp, and The Knot.

Considering wedding packages

Many venues will offer special wedding packages. In the case of hotels, do note that some offer special packages that already bundle your honeymoon into the hotel cost. Some even offer free honeymoons, too.

Here is a sampling of wedding packages you can book through hotels:

  1. Grand Hyatt Kauai Wedding Package
  2. Sheraton Kauai Resort
  3. St. Regis Princeville Resort
  4. Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

Important reminder: Be sure to read the fine print when it comes to the terms and conditions of these wedding packages. Pay special attention to contingencies such as cancellations and delays. Also, compare packages to see which one offers you the most options at the best value.

Applying for a marriage license

We found this basic information on the license application process via Kauai Island Weddings.com.

Step 1: Apply for your wedding license online via this link:
https://emrs.ehawaii.gov/emrs/public/home.html
Once online, click on the “Applicants” tab and select “Apply License.” Fill in the form for either a Marriage or a Civil Union. Pay the fee and write down the code number generated by the website. This will be used by the Kauai Wedding License Agent to locate your file.

Step 2: Upon arrival in Kauai and with enough time allowance before your wedding date, appear together in person (proxies are not allowed) before one of the Kauai Wedding License Agents listed in the link above. The license agent will verify your identity and will issue your legal wedding license on paper. You will need to bring the license with you to the actual ceremony.

Getting around the island

Traveling within Kauai island is easy because of its small size. You can rent cars through Lihue Airport, through your hotel, or through car rental companies directly. The hotels may also provide shuttle and car rental services.

Enjoying yourselves on the island

There are so many fabulous choices for activities during your stay on Kauai. We found an amazing array via http://www.kauai.com/, from which we chose a sampling for the more laid-back wedding guests:

And for the active and adventurous:

We are sure you’re now all excited to explore a Kauai Island Wedding. Just wait until you see the upcoming posts in our series on this breathtaking tropical wedding locale!

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