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  • Writer's pictureWedding Estates Hawaii

Discover the Best Wedding Venues in Hawaii and Avoid 7 Hidden Budgeting Costs

Planning a wedding in Hawaii feels like a dream come true. The breathtaking beaches, lush landscapes, and enchanting sunsets make it a perfect destination for tying the knot. However, as magical as a Hawaiian wedding sounds, there are hidden costs that can catch you off guard. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best wedding venues in Hawaii and reveal seven hidden budgeting costs you need to watch out for. If you are  planning a destination wedding, this guide will help you plan the perfect celebration without breaking the bank.

Aloha to the Perfect Venue

Choosing the right venue is the first step to crafting an unforgettable wedding. Hawaii offers a plethora of options to suit every couple’s taste. From serene beachfront locations to luxurious resorts, the options are endless. Here are some top picks:

Intimate Beachfront Venues

Imagine exchanging vows with the sound of waves as your background music. Beachfront venues in Hawaii provide a serene and romantic atmosphere. Popular spots include Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute on Oahu and Poipu Beach on Kauai. These venues offer stunning views and create a relaxed yet elegant vibe.

Luxurious Resort Weddings

For couples seeking luxury, Hawaii's top resorts are the ideal choice. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island and the Grand Wailea on Maui are renowned for their impeccable service and breathtaking settings. These resorts often have all-inclusive packages that cover everything from catering to floral arrangements, making planning easier.

Unique Botanical Gardens

If you’re a nature lover, consider a venue surrounded by Hawaii's lush greenery. The Allerton Garden on Kauai and Waimea Valley on Oahu offer picturesque landscapes filled with exotic plants and flowers. These botanical gardens provide a unique and vibrant backdrop for your special day.

Hidden Cost 1: Transportation Fees

Getting to paradise can be costly. Transportation fees are often overlooked when budgeting for a wedding in Hawaii.

Airfare for Guests

Many couples desire to have their friends and family present. However, the cost of airfare for guests can add up quickly. It’s essential to consider whether you will  be contributing to these costs or if guests will need to cover their own travel expenses.

Transportation on the Island

Once in Hawaii, getting around can also be pricey. Renting shuttles or buses to transport guests to and from the venue is an additional expense that many forget to include in their budget. Ensure you account for this to avoid any last-minute surprises.

Shipping Wedding Essentials

If you’re planning to bring items from home, such as decorations or wedding attire, shipping costs can be substantial. It’s wise to get quotes from shipping companies early on to ensure these expenses fit within your budget.

Hidden Cost 2: Vendor Travel Fees

Many vendors charge travel fees, especially if they are not based on the island where you are  getting married.

Photographers and Videographers

Capturing your big day is crucial, but hiring photographers and videographers from different islands or the mainland can lead to additional travel costs. Look for talented local professionals to mitigate these extra charges.


If you have a specific officiant in mind who isn’t local, you might need to cover their travel and accommodation expenses. Consider local officiants who are familiar with Hawaiian traditions.

Other Service Providers

Florists, makeup artists, and musicians may also charge travel fees if they have to commute from afar. Ensure you inquire about these fees when booking their services to avoid unexpected costs.

Hidden Cost 3: Permits and Licensing

Hawaii has specific regulations regarding permits and licenses for weddings.

Beach Permits

If you plan to have your ceremony on a public beach, you’ll need a permit. The cost of beach permits varies depending on the location and the number of guests. Contact the local government offices early to secure the necessary permits.

Marriage License

Obtaining a marriage license in Hawaii is relatively straightforward, but it comes with a fee. Be sure to budget for this, and remember that both parties must be present to obtain the license.

Noise Permits

If your celebration includes amplified music or lasts late into the night, you might need a noise permit. Check with your venue and local authorities to understand what’s required.

Hidden Cost 4: Accommodations for Guests

Hosting a destination wedding means considering where your guests will stay.

Hotel Blocks

Reserving hotel blocks can sometimes involve a financial commitment or deposit. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions before reserving to avoid any financial surprises if rooms remain unbooked.

Vacation Rentals

If guests opt for vacation rentals, they may face additional fees like cleaning charges and security deposits. Communicate with your guests about these potential costs so they can plan accordingly.

Welcome Packages

Creating welcome packages for your guests is a lovely gesture but can be costly. These packages may include local treats, maps, and itineraries. Factoring in these expenses will help you stay within your budget.

Hidden Cost 5: Catering Surprises

Food and drinks are essential elements of any wedding, and costs can quickly escalate.

Local Cuisine

Choosing local dishes is a fantastic way to enhance the Hawaiian experience, but specialty items might be more expensive. Discuss your menu options with the caterer to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Beverage Packages

Open bars can become very costly, especially with the high price of imported alcohol. Consider opting for a limited bar or signature cocktails to manage expenses while still offering a delightful experience for your guests.

Service Charges

Catering contracts often include service charges on top of the per-plate cost, which can be a significant addition to your budget. Always read the fine print and ask for a detailed breakdown of costs to avoid surprises.

Hidden Cost 6: Weather Contingencies

Hawaii’s weather is generally beautiful but can be unpredictable.

Tent Rentals

Outdoor weddings are incredibly popular, but it’s wise to have a backup plan in case of rain. Tent rentals can be expensive, so factor this into your budget to ensure your day isn’t spoiled by unexpected weather.

Cooling Options

If you’re marrying during Hawaii’s warmer months, providing cooling options like fans or air-conditioned tents is crucial for guest comfort. These additional rentals can add to your overall costs.

Weather Insurance

Investing in weather insurance can be a safety net for your wedding day. This coverage can help cover costs associated with rescheduling or relocating due to unforeseen weather conditions.

Hidden Cost 7: Unexpected Decor Expenses 

Decorating a venue in Hawaii can be both enchanting and expensive.

Floral Arrangements

Hawaii’s exotic flowers are beautiful but can be more expensive than traditional blooms. Work with local florists to select in-season flowers to manage costs.


If your wedding extends into the evening, you will  need additional lighting. String lights, lanterns, and candles can add to the ambiance but also to the budget.


Consider the cost of renting items like chairs, tables, and linens. These essentials can add up, especially if your venue doesn’t provide them.

A wedding in Hawaii is nothing short of magical. However, being aware of hidden costs can ensure your dream day remains within budget. By choosing the right venue, planning for transportation, understanding vendor fees, securing permits, arranging accommodations, managing catering, preparing for weather contingencies, and budgeting for decor, you can create a beautiful and memorable celebration without breaking the bank. With careful planning, you’ll be able to focus on what truly matters – saying “I do” surrounded by your loved ones in paradise. So start planning, and aloha to the perfect Hawaiian wedding! 

At Wedding Estates Hawaii, we offer stunning wedding venues throughout the islands that cater to every budget. Contact us today to start planning your dream Hawaiian wedding.

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