How to start planning your Hawaii Wedding - Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Congratulations, your engaged + you have your heart set on a Wedding in Hawaii! This is such a magical and exciting time in your life and I could not be happier for you! But, there is also a ton of work ahead of you, and you probably don’t even know where to start. Don’t worry - I GOT YOU!

But, why should you listen to me?

I have been working in the Wedding Industry for over 5 years!
I am all about being hands on and love helping my brides with their weddings beyond photography.
I have shot and often, helped plan, over 100 Weddings
I just got married myself!

….so it’s safe to say, I know a thing or two about wedding planning. Here are my top 5 tips to start your wedding planning process right - and make your big day a huge success!


This might seem a bit frivolous but it’s what everything else is built up upon. Now a theme, doesn’t have to mean you have to pull off a full on themed Star Wars Wedding (even tho if you would, I would love to be a part of it!) Think about the mood you want to set. Do you want to take advantage of one of the amazing beaches of Hawaii with your feet in the sand, get married in the lush green landscapes of Hawaii, a Ballroom at a Beautiful Resort, a Volcano or a Cliff? Do you want to Elope with just the two of you and maybe a couple of close loved ones or have a big bash? Do you want dark and moody tones or light and airy, bold colors? Hawaii has so many different backdrops and vibes, you are bound to find the right one for you!

Pro Tip: The best way to figure out what kind of flair you are going for for your wedding is to make a pintrest board. Pin away anything and everything you feel drawn to. Than, after you feel like satisfied, go to your board and see what you felt most drawn to! 
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Don’t set anything in stone before you know what you are working with. Nobody likes talking about money, I know, but it’s super important to know what you are working with in the beginning of your wedding planning process. Sit down with your significant other, your parents or anyone else who might contribute something and see what your total budget will be. Than start planning!

Pro tip: If you are working with a tighter budget pick 2-3 things that are the most important to you and concentrate on that. Are amazing portraits and fresh flowers a must have for you? Try to save on the decorations and cake. Do you want that amazing gown and a multi course feast? Consider cutting down the hours of a quality photographer, vs going with a cheap option. This way you still get amazing images of the most important parts of your wedding without compromising quality! 

Pick your Season

When do you want to get married? In the Spring or the Summer? The Fall or the Winter? Some of it might have to do with when you have gotten engaged. Do you want a long or short engagement? Or better yet, do you want to plan your wedding in a relatively short amount of time or take your time?

You are in luck! Hawaii doesn’t really have a wedding season and it’s gorgeous all year round. Plus it basically only has two seasons: winter and summer. And the difference is not that crazy! It’s a tropical Island so the winters are only a couple degrees cooler and shows a bit more rain.  A beach wedding in the winter? No problem!

The temperatures are bottoming out in the low 70s and with a max of the high 80s, you have comfortable weather all year round!

If you are concerned with the best, or least crowded and more affordable time to get married, just orient yourself on the tourist patterns. There are a lot of snowbirds from the mainland trying to combat the winter in the tropical temperatures, so I would avoid December to April. Major Holidays are also likely to skyrocket costs.

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Pick your venue

You have your vibe, your budget and your season figured out. Now it’s time to make moves! Do you want to get married at Kualoa Ranch with the beautiful lush landscapes where movies like Jurassic Park where filmed? A beautiful luxury Resort like the Royal Hawaiian at Waikiki Beach? Elope on a cliff overlooking the ocean? Celebrate at the Historic and gorgeous Haiku Mill? There are so many venues and places to choose from in Hawaii!

But not only the aesthetics are important. For example, how many people can it accommodate? Since you are planning a destination wedding, it’s important what the venue includes as it will be harder to provide yourself. Are linens, chairs and tables included? Is there a bridal and grooms suite to get ready in? How far is the venue from Hotels for your guests to stay in? These are just a couple of things to consider!

Outdoor Wedding Venue - Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer

Research Vendors!

Once you have your venue, it’s time to hire your vendors! Make sure you do your research when hiring them so you avoid a wedding disaster! Since you are planning a destination wedding, there is a good chance you won’t be able to meet in person with all of the vendors. So, check their reviews and look at their past work and when you find vendors you like, connect with them. E-Mail the ones you like with any questions you may have and than schedule Facetime or phone calls with them ones you vibe most with!

Communication is SO important, especially when it comes to your wedding day. Pay attention to who replies back to you in an adequate amount of time. Look at who actually seems interested and eager to work with and get to know you vs someone someone who sends generic emails, doesn’t really give you the time of day and makes you seem like just another paycheck.

A wedding is such a personal event and a lot of your vendors will be with you all day long, so it’s important that you pick people you actually enjoy being around!

Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer

That’s it! These are my 5 Tips to get you started on your wedding planning journey!
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