A Hawaii Destination Wedding - How Much Does It Cost?

Posted by Rachel H. on Nov 30, 2017 11:51:53 PM

 

What does it cost to get married in Hawaii?

 

We get asked this question a lot, and it’s a tough one to answer because it all depends on you! The good news? It's cheaper than most traditional weddings by far. 

Before writing this article, we Googled it and came to an article by The Knot. While The Knot is a good website (we check it out ourselves), its cost breakdown is misleading.

 

Hawaii Wedding Cost Chart*Fights and hotel are not included in our packages. Hawaii wedding costs are examples based on our packages and research.  

Is the Knot's Cost Estimate Accurate?

 

Before you look at these numbers, please know their estimates look astronomically high to us. This is not to say they’re wrong, but these estimates must be for traditional weddings with high guest counts.

In comparison, most of our weddings are beach, private waterfall, or park weddings with guest counts from 0-50. Very different. You can see on our wedding packages page that we have seven packages running from $249 to $8,275, with our most popular package at $1,297 (we'll look more at that later). 

Let’s take a look at their cost estimates and then compare them to ours. As a spoiler, we estimate most our couples spend between $4,500 and $7,000 on their wedding package, flight, and hotel. We'll have our breakdown below.

The Knot's Estimated Costs for a Hawaii Destination Wedding:

  • Venue: $12,346
  • Event Planner: $2,785
  • Photographer: $2,604
  • Flowers & Decor: $2191
  • Wedding Cake: $452
  • Wedding Gown: $1,101
  • Music: $1,101
  • Average Cost Per Guest: $85

Yikes! That’s a total of $22,580 -- and they’re not even factoring in travel costs. That’s nowhere close to what our couples spend.

$12,346 for the venue?

Well, yes, if you’re looking for a hotel wedding or large wedding venue, I guess that makes sense.

For a beach wedding, on the other hand, there’s a permit fee of $50. Yes, just $50! If you want to add a wedding setup or a private venue, those start at an additional $495 and our most expensive option is only $2,550. 

Even for our couples with large groups, wedding setups are usually under $1000, and that’s on the high end. The vast majority of our couples spend either $50 for a beach wedding or between $495-$895 for a wedding setup.

 

Hawaii Wedding Setups for $495

 Arch and runway ($495), classic leis, and a beautiful bridal bouquet for this handsome couple.

 

$2,785 for an event planner?

Nope. That seems high to us, but then again, a destination wedding is different than a traditional wedding. At Weddings of Hawaii, our team can manage groups up to 30 without an additional charge. For larger groups, we charge $249 per hour for an on-site wedding coordinator. 

In fact, all but two of our wedding packages are cheaper than that. Our Royal Ilima package is $2,550, which includes:

  • Marriage ceremony
  • Professional photographer
  • 150 high-resolution digital images with print release
  • Professional ceremony and highlight video
  • Three hours of limo service
  • Two custom leis
  • Choice of in-room hair and makeup, unity dove release, or live Hawaiian musician
  • Choice of classic bridal bouquet, Hawaiian bridal haku lei, or floral hair clip

All for less than their estimate for an event planner, and we have other affordable wedding packages ranging from $249 - $1,297.

$2,604 for a photographer?

Photography can be expensive, and it's also very important, so that price does make sense for an all-day wedding.

Most of our weddings are one or two hours, and all except our most basic wedding package already includes a certified professional photographer. Our photographers have been with Weddings of Hawaii for years, so if you like the images you see on our website and Facebook page, you’ll love yours as well.

We want to be as transparent as possible, so we should point out one expense couples often forget about is purchasing your digital images ($275). While the photographer is included for the ceremony in most packages, digital images are only included in the Royal Ilima package and up.

$2191 for flowers and decor?

Yes, you could spend that with us on flowers, and it’d probably be one of the most beautiful weddings we’ve done! Flowers are not cheap, but this is Hawaii, and what’s a Hawaiian wedding without some amazing leis, colorful bouquets, and maybe even a bridal haku?

 

Hawaii wedding bouquets

 A classic bridal bouquet.

 

That said, most our couples spend around $200-$300 on flowers. We make that a little easier by including flower options in most of our packages, but most couples like to add more. After all, flowers are part of the wedding attire, and they sure help the pictures look even more amazing.

 

Hawaii wedding leis

Fresh orchid leis are included in several of our packages. 

 

$452 for a wedding cake?

This is another expense that depends on what type of wedding you have. With most of our couples choosing a beach wedding, wedding cakes aren’t a priority. That money would be better spent on extra photo time, flowers, video, or anything to add to your Hawaii wedding experience.

Since Hawaii elopements are popular, not all our couples have guests. We include a personal Hawaiian wedding cake for our couple's to enjoy with the Royal Ilima package and up. This $75 wedding cake is sometimes included as a monthly special when booking some of our smaller packages too!

$1,101 for a wedding gown?

Yes, that’s possible. If you’ve seen our photos, you know our couples get married in all sorts of attire. What you wear on your wedding day is entirely up to you, just know in Hawaii anything goes. It’s your day, and as our motto goes, “No stress...just get dressed, and we’ll do the rest.”

$1,101 for music?

One of the special touches we think adds so much to the day is a live Hawaiian musician. For $255, you can have one of our local musicians strumming away at his ukulele as you enjoy your beach ceremony. While definitely not necessary, it’s a nice addition.

 

Live Hawaiian musician at a wedding ceremony

 Don't worry -- this was staged lol!

 

$85 per guest?

This one is tough to calculate. There are three expenses for guest that often come up: guest leis, wedding setups, and transportation. At $22 each, guest leis are a nice gesture. Wedding setups, as mentioned earlier, are not required but are nice if you have more than a few guests. And finally, if you’d like to have your group travel to the ceremony together, you could add a party bus. All these are optional, of course.

What did The Knot’s article leave out?

  1. Wedding reception - we have relationships with some of Hawaii's top-rated restaurant venues. Our team is happy to make dinner reservations for you to celebrate after the event. For larger parties, we are currently building packages at private venues to celebrate the big day. Large or small, we will assist you with all details pertaining to the post-wedding celebration. 
  2. Travel expenses - we can help our couples plan their travel. We have a partnership with the Outrigger Waikiki Beach and Outrigger Reef hotels and send our couples a promo code for a discount rate. We can also recommend hotels to help meet your tastes and budget. For flights, it’s easy to get an idea of costs from travel sites, such as expedia.com. West Coast flights are usually from $400-$600, and flights from the East Coast usually run around $1000, give or take.
  3. How much will you spend while you’re in Hawaii? That’s up to you, of course, but one nice thing to remember is that the beaches are free :) So is the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and many other activities. Shopping and eating out can add up, but there are plenty of affordable options. Rental cars are usually around $220 per week. There are other little costs, but knowing how much the ceremony and travel costs are is the big expense.

So, what’s the answer? How much does it really cost for a dream wedding in Hawaii?

The good news? Weddings of Hawaii is nowhere near The Knot’s estimate.

Let’s add it up using our most popular wedding package as an example, the Lehua. The Lehua includes the following:

  • Consultation and location assistance
  • Officiant and ceremony
  • Certified professional photographer
  • Professional high-definition ceremony and highlight video
  • Roundtrip limousine service for up to eight (two hours)
  • Choice of bridal bouquet or fresh orchid leis
  • Keepsake certificate
  • Keepsake wedding shell leis
  • Marriage license processing
  • Assistance with plans after your ceremony

Estimated prices: 

  • Lehua Package price: $1,297
  • Beach Permit: $50
  • Round-trip flight for two from the US mainland: $1500 (estimated average)
  • One week for two at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach with our promo code: $1800 (estimated average - city view)

*Estimated Total (+4.712% tax): $4,583.51

(Note: We do not bundle wedding packages with flight and hotel costs. This is an just an estimated cost breakdown to help you budget.)

Our wedding package prices are based on our 2018 rates, and travel expenses can vary (especially flights), but I think this is a fair estimate.

Add some flowers and an ocean view room, and you could be looking at closer to $5,000-$6000.

Take out the video and limousine, and you could save money with our Gardenia at $435. Throw the limo back in and our Maile package at $640 is a steal. You could also go all out and try either our Monarch Elite ($4,550) or Kalani Ilima ($7,525) package and have everything you could possibly imagine.

Some couples spend less, and many couples spend more, but as you can see, you have options ;)

 

Limousine for a Hawaii wedding

 Door-to-door and ride in style...limousine service is nice to have.

 

We do our best to provide you with an unforgettable experience, regardless of which package you choose. Just being in Hawaii with the one you love in a place of such natural beauty is the important part. Let us know what you want for your day, and we’ll work with you to make it happen.

Have questions or want to know more? You can schedule a time below, and we’ll give you a call, or you can send us a message. We’re always happy to help!

 

 

Topics: Getting Married in Hawaii

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