If your Hawaii wedding plans are just the two of you, plus an officiant and a few witnesses, here's a selection of options on Hawaii's main islands - the Big Island, Kauai, Lana'i, Maui, and Oahu - offering privacy and seclusion.
With lava-strewn coasts and Hawaii's only active volcano, adventurous couples can have nature as their witnesses at locations such as:
- The Mahinui Wedding Pavilion, located near the entrance gate to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is a covered wooden platform secluded in the rainforest; wedding packages here include a night in the property's Mahinui Ma Lani eco-friendly tree-house with a queen-sized bed, outdoor shower, and lanai Jacuzzi for two.
- The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, located near Hilo, has a wedding site overlooking scenic Onomea Bay.
This lush and less-developed island offers up dramatic backdrops galore, including:
- The Na 'Aina Kai Botanical Garden, located on the island's North Shore, offers a variety of outdoor wedding sites, including the Ka'ula Lagoon, featuring a picturesque waterfall, and a striking Wild Forest lined with rows of hardwood trees.
- Kauai has a variety of waterfalls-from Manawaiopuna Falls (seen in "Jurassic Park") to Wailua Falls (seen in the opening credits of "Fantasy Island")-and several can be wedding backdrops, often reachable via helicopter.
This small but scenic island is full of old-school Hawaiian charm and quiet spots to exchange "I do's," such as:
- The beach overlooking Puu Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock, a legendary landmark on Hulopoe Bay, can be accessed via 4-wheel-drive Jeep and is a photogenic spot, especially just before sunset.
- Garden of the Gods, also known as Keahiakawelo, a surreal red-rock landscape, also accessed via 4-wheel-drive Jeep, is a unique backdrop for a wedding ceremony.
This popular island still retains some rustic charm, with under-the-radar wedding locales that include:
- Kula Botanical Gardens, located in Upcountry on the slopes of Haleakala, has several ceremony locales, including a koi pond and two gazebos.
- Via a chartered helicopter with Sunshine Helicopters, you can be whisked to a private beach or cliff-top overlook for a ceremony that's as scenic as it is secluded.
There's a lot more to Hawaii's most populous island than bustling Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, as more remote options include:
- Waimanalo Beach, one of Oahu's most photogenic white-sand strands, is located just a short drive from Honolulu but seems world's away.
- Waimea Falls, located in a lush, tropical park on Oahu's North Shore across from a beach at Waimea Bay, offers a variety of dramatic backdrops.
PS: If you are early morning types, inquire about a sunrise ceremony. Many resorts will accommodate you-and the beach is practically guaranteed to be all yours as the justice or minister pronounces you husband and wife just as dawn breaks on your wedding day.