How to Have the Perfect Hawaii Wedding, According to the Locals

, Weddings

The biggest day of your life just found a suitable home: a destination wedding in Hawaii—for many a dream come true. Couples pinpoint Hawaii for its cultural immersion, year-round perfect weather, and indigenous backdrops. And whether it’s the allure of tropical paradise or the enthralling fusion of adventure and romance, Hawaii is rated a top destination wedding location annually. Looking at the throngs of people flocking to the Hawaiian islands each year to get married, it sure does seem to be all the rage. However, no couple wants a cookie-cutter experience, especially for an occasion as outstanding, memorable, and exclusive as your wedding.

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With engagement season rapidly approaching, we’ve tapped three local experts for must-dos, advice, and what to take advantage of—in order to ensure your experience is as rare and distinctive as the two of you. As Hawaiian locals who interact with brides and grooms each day, here are their most important key notes to make the most of your special day.

Tips from Hawaiian Airlines crew members, Kaipo Kauka and Levon Gardner:

“Take advantage of us: Flight attendants are a great resource! We can recommend the best spots to propose, newest restaurants to try, and overall can’t-miss experiences.”

Now that you’ve settled the location, it’s time to get there! Currently in its 87th year of continuous service, Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets in America. For lovebirds getting married in paradise, Hawaiian Airlines’ Wedding Wings program makes it easy for wedding and civil union couples and their guests to coordinate travel for the big day. Couples are eligible for a 10 percent discount plus all guests will receive a 5 percent discount. After 25 guests book, couples will receive a complimentary one way upgrade via the coveted first class. As an added bonus, Hawaiian Airlines recently unveiled its new premium cabin concept with lie-flat seating. The layout of the cabin is flexible, with seats that can strategically angle one another for traveling couples. The seductive curves of the seat and translucent materials create an open, airy feel meant to evoke gentle ocean waves.

“Schedule your sunset: The summer months offer longer days and later sunsets, which are important to keep in mind while planning your photoshoot timeline.”

Nothing beats the perfect beach pic; beaches provide a plethora of wonderful opportunities as sites of natural beauty, color, and lighting. And the best part of getting married in Hawaii? No decorating required. Seriously, with the backdrop of white sand and the pristine Pacific in multi-hued blues, there’s no more aesthetic place to tie the knot. The light during evening (aka golden hour) can be relatively bright but gorgeously directional. Engagement and wedding photos are ravishing at this time, facilitating perfect rim light on a bride’s veil or the wedding party. It’s also the perfect time of day to capture some romantic lens flair.

“Don’t forget to moisturize! Traveling can dry out the skin. Forgot lotion? Our amenity kit has you covered.”

You’re engaged—that means it’s time to step up your daily beauty routine. Every bride wants to have that magical wedding glow on the big day, but beautiful skin should start long before you say “I do.” Beginning December 1, 2016, Hawaiian Airlines will launch new amenity kits featuring an exclusive design from popular local Hawaiian-based designer Sig Zane Lehua. Within the kits is a hydrating mist, hand, and body balm by Loli’i featuring a signature scent created specifically for Hawaiian Airlines and designed to soothe and relieve dryness. The kits are designed to have an earthy, natural look and feel to get you pampered to perfection.

Tips from the wedding team at Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island:

“Take advantage of indigenous flora: From trend-forward flower crowns with orchids and hibiscus to wrapping our resort’s towering arches overlooking the ocean.”

Of all the many types of flowers in the world, the diversity that grows in Hawaii is a massive collection sure to impress even the most educated botanist. The indigenous flora on the islands are well-known amongst locals and those on the mainland, but often overlooked by visiting tourists. With flower crowns trending right now, Hilton Waikoloa Village can work with you to create crowns of orchids and hibiscus from the island. The local flora is also a great décor for the venue itself. Arrange for hibiscus petals to cover your wedding aisle, as well as a traditional lei for each guest rested over their chair.

“Unique aisles: Walk down the aisle amid nontraditional venues native to Hawaii, such as our Buddha Point where waves break on the volcanic coastline behind you.”

With breathtaking mountainous backdrops, stunning beaches, and gorgeous tropical gardens, Hawaii’s natural beauty will help enhance your ceremony. It’s hard to trump getting married on the beach under a breathtaking pink-and-purple sunset. Sitting on a volcanic coastline and nestled amid swaying palms, Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s Big Island offers wedding parties and adventurous experiences including snorkeling at Keauhou Bay, horseback riding down Waipio Valley, volcano tours, and whale watching. Celebrate with a romantic venue at the resorts Buddha Point, set beneath the stars amongst tiki torches and breaking waves.

“Use the spa: From a make-your-own mineral mud party to a spa slumber party.”

Whether you’ve got crazy plans (adding six inches to your locks and getting laser skin treatments) or you just want to get your nails and hair on fleek, it can all be done here—even while juggling all your other wedding to-dos. Have a blast at the Kohala Spa at Hilton Waikoloa Village with bridal party offerings upon request, including a spin on wine and art—wine and ‘mix your own’ salt scrubs, creams, or mineral muds. Use local ingredients for a product that you can take home with you and remember the wedding for weeks to come! For 6-9 people, the spa can create an afterhours slumber party with a curated menu of spa treatments of your choosing.

Tips from the wedding team at Waikiki’s Hilton Hawaiian Village:

“Save time for adventure: From hiking the Diamond Head volcano to diving, surfing, and rock-climbing, schedule an adventure around the big day.”

There’s a reason why these islands make such an irresistible destination: a Hawaii wedding will be readily soaked in natural beauty, from its crystalline ocean waters and fiery lava flows to towering mountain peaks and crashing waterfalls. But aside from its breathtaking scenic beauty, the Aloha State is home to some of the most exciting exploits in the world. Waikiki has so much to offer travelers, and Hilton Hawaiian Village can help you experience the adventure of the island. From surfing lessons on the resort’s beach to submarine rides and helicopter tours, the resort can coordinate everything.

“Learn something new: You and your bridal party will never forget a ukulele or hula lesson.”

Beyond tiki torches, hula girls, and Shangri-La, Hawaii boasts of culture and experiences beyond compare. Hilton Hawaiian Village offers local instructors to teach traditional Hawaiian practices, including ukulele and hula lessons upon request. Hilton Hawaiian Village also hosts Waikiki’s only outdoor Luau, Waikiki Starlight Luau: featuring exotic dance, music, and traditional entertainment of the Islands. Groups will watch the stage come alive with hula dancers and fire performers whilst indulging in a lavish Hawaiian buffet of Polynesian delicacies such as kalua pig.

“Chapel vs. beach: Don’t overlook the chapel! Our renovated Akala Chapel, bordered by a waterfall and garden, boasts floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pacific.”

It’s an iconic image: the white veil, the church bells, and the vows repeated by an enthusiastic, fresh-faced couple. Many elements of the archetypical American wedding echo the formality and traditions of the country’s largest marriage tradition—and for good reason. Sometimes, you just have to stick with the classics. In early 2016, Hilton Hawaiian Village, romantically positioned on the longest stretch of beach in Waikiki, unveiled the renovated Akala Chapel bordered by a lava rock waterfall, garden pool, and indigenous greenery. The floor-to-ceiling windows of this elegant and airy venue overlook the vast resort grounds and Pacific Ocean. Wedding parties can immerse themselves in the Hawaiian culture through resort happenings from lei-making and hula lessons to a Hawaiian luau.

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