How to pick your Wedding Venue in Hawaii from far away - Oahu Photographer

You are one of the most amazing journeys of your life! Wedding planning is truly such a magical time, and getting married in paradise is just the icing on the cake! As a Wedding Photographer in Oahu, Hawaii I want to help you make wedding planning from afar a little bit easier! Here are my 5 Tips on how to book a Wedding Venue from far away!

Pick a Theme

Yes, you want to get married in Hawaii, but these beautiful Islands have so many different facets to choose from. Would you like to get married on the beach with your toes in the sand? Within Historic Ruins that join old-world Europe with the tropics of the Islands? In the lush green landscapes that have been home to major Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic Park? Or do you want to take advantage of one of the many amazing resorts Hawaii has to offer? The options are endless!

Take a second and close your eyes, and take a deep breath. What do you feel when you think about your wedding day? Where do you see yourself in that beautiful white dress? What are you vibing with?

Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer - Johanna Dye Photography

Your Budget

When looking at venues, do not just look at the price but rather, what is included in the price. Is all you get the space, and that's it? Are linens, flatware, tables, and chairs included or will you have to rent them separately? Besides, the linens and flatware that are provided are often times more basic than what you might have envisioned, so make sure you get a quote from a rental company as well. Another important factor to consider is if they have in house catering, only allow certain caterers or if you can bring on one of your choices. This might make a significant difference on your bottom line and can also highly restrict your food options.

Pro Tip: Pick out your favorite Venues and make a spreadsheet for them. What is included? How much would rentals be? How much would this impact your overall budget? Don't just book a venue just to realize down the road you don't have enough left over in your budget for accessories, gifts or even that Photographer you really wanted!

Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer - Johanna Dye Photography

Write down your Guestlist, in Detail

(and go over it with a close family member)

You are planning a destination wedding, so there is a good chance that not everyone can make it. But don't be fooled - it's been shown that most couples underestimate their guest list count! When I first started wedding planning, we thought we were going to have a super small wedding, 30 people tops. 2 months into planning, we realized that there were a lot of people we a) should be inviting or b) wanted to invite but totally forgot about in our first rundown. Additionally, even though we also had a destination wedding were most everyone had to fly in to, 90% of people showed up (completely crushing my nightmare of no one coming to my wedding). Set a Guest Count and stick to it and then look for a venue that can accommodate it. You don't want more guests to show up than the venue can hold, and if fewer people show up you have more room to party!

In addition to that, don't let others guilt you into inviting them, whether it's your family or friends. This is YOUR day.

Pro Tip: For Destination Weddings, in particular, make sure to send out your save the dates well in advance. This way you can gauge how many people can really come. Don't worry - you usually don't have to give the final head count to catering until about a week away from the event!



Check with your venue if they require you to use the vendors they are endorsing or if you can bring in vendors of your own choice. While it might seem convenient to get an all-inclusive package, it significantly impacts your creative control and might make your wedding look like every other one. In addition to that, by choosing your own vendors, you can choose what you want to concentrate your budget on. Do you want to splurge on a fantastic photographer you clicked with or have an extravagant floral display? Do you want a pizza bar or a swing band?

Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer - Johanna Dye Photography
Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer - Johanna Dye Photography


I say this all the time, but I will repeat it - especially when it comes to a destination wedding where you are planning the majority of your big day remotely, proper communication is SO important. How is communication with the venue? Are they responsive or do you have to wait forever for an answer? Do they provide you with valuable information, hear you out and give you a great experience from the first contact? If the communication is lacking in the beginning, it will not get better later down the road, and you are too far away to drop in. Make sure your wedding venue is not only aesthetically fantastic but is also providing excellent customer service!

Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer - Johanna Dye Photography
Oahu Hawaii Wedding Photographer - Johanna Dye Photography


I’m Johanna,
a Wedding & Portrait Photographer based in Oahu, Hawaii and I love to help couples plan their PERFECT Island Adventure!

Wanna know more about me?