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Getting Married on Kauai: The Perfect Destination Wedding

There are countless reasons to get married on Kauai. The island’s world-class tropical beaches and sunsets create a romantic and intimate setting, ideal for this most significant ceremony. No need to use manufactured decorations, the island’s natural beauty provides the most breathtaking backdrop imaginable. Imagine a warm evening, the sun setting over the ocean, the sweet smell of plumerias wafting through the air, you and your fiancé surrounded by those you love most. Your pictures will be stunning, your guests will be ecstatic, and you will leave happy that you chose Kauai as your destination wedding location

Relaxation abounds on the “Garden Island” – something you’ll need while putting the finishing touches on your big day. Still, many are hesitant to plan a destination wedding, as it requires planning from afar. Here, you will find many tips and resources that will give you the confidence to move forward – we promise you’ll be happy you did.

The Paperwork

First of all, it’s important to understand the simple logistics of hosting a wedding ceremony on Kauai. The State of Hawaii requires that the bride and groom must first contact the Marriage License Office. The office is reachable by phone at 808-241-3498 or online at (click on “Marriage and Civil Unions”)

Once you arrive on Kauai, the bride and groom must go together to the marriage-licensing agent to pick up the license.  The license costs $60 and is valid for 30 days.

The Officate

Whether your wedding party is large or small, the officiate is incredibly important and can set the mood for your ceremony. For a local, Hawaiian-style ceremony, you may contact the officiators listed below. Both come highly recommended.

  1. Rev. Koko Kaneali`i: A native Hawaiian with a genuine aloha spirit, Rev. Koko Kaneali’’s ceremonies can be in Hawaiian and English. He can be reached at (808)-635-9028 or via email at
  2. Pastor Harold Kilborn:  Also able to perform in Hawaiian or English, Pastor Kilborn’s warm and personal ceremonies are more Christian in content. He can be reached at (808) 652-1787 or via email at Check our his website:


Beach weddings can be infinitely romantic and memorable. Fortunately, they are also easy to plan. In order to reserve a beach for a ceremony, you will need a “right-of-entry permit” that requires a fee determined by your number of guests. For up to 20 guests, the fee is $50 with an additional $20 for every additional 15 guests. You will need to finalize your guest list before requesting the permit, as the guest count cannot change without requiring a new permit. Most officiate will acquire the permit on your behalf by including a $25 permit fee in your agreement. Inquire with your officiate to see if this is the case. It is important to know that beach ceremonies are standing room only. While you may bring blankets for sitting, no chairs, arches, or decorations are allowed on the beach. For more information or to request an application for a “right-of-entry” permit, call 808-274-3491.

While all Kauaian beaches would provide beautiful venues for a wedding, we have a few recommendations that are sure to please you and your guests.

  1. Shipwreck’s Beach: The lovely white sands are complimented by a slowly rising trail to the cliffs – both setting provide for stunning photos.
  2. Maha`ulepu Beach:  This is beautiful, secluded beach is wonderful for ceremonies. Be sure to schedule your ceremony early in the day, the gates lock at 6:00pm.


You’ll need somewhere for all of your guests to stay, and the general rule is that an intimate style of accommodation helps your guests feel connected to you and to each other during their vacation. Due to its relatively low population, the island’s accommodations are sprawling and spacious – ideal for large groups. The Villas at Poipu Kai features such accommodations without skimping on class and Hawaiian grace. The Villas are large and luxurious suites situated minutes away from a number of beaches and offer an array of services (pool, gym, business center, barbeque etc.). With 2-5 bedrooms per villa, the resort provides an elegant and pragmatic solution for housing family and friends.



What is Kauai without its native flora? The “lei greeting” has come to symbolize the warm, welcoming spirit of aloha; incorporating this tradition for your ceremony or guests will create an experience that will set the tone for the entire event. On an island where most things must be imported, utilizing Kauai’s native flowers is also cost effective. However, if flowers are not your style, the natural backdrop of a beach or garden ceremony will do just the trick. As you can see, Kauai is bursting at the seams with organic beauty that does most of the work for you.

Below, you will find a couple of florists that we highly recommend. They are Kauai-based and will work to make your day beautiful.

  1. Blue Orchid: this floral shop is owned and operated by local Kauaians and their leis/floral arrangements reflect the tropical beauty of this island. Find out more information at or call them directly at (808-742-9094).
  2. Pua Lei Florists: This locally owned floral shop is north of the airport. Their leis/floral arrangements also have an authentic Hawaiian beauty. Find out more information at or call them directly at (808-822-1200).


While not a necessity, music can go a long way to set the right ambience. Traditional music has its place, but on Kauai, there is not a better way to create an aloha atmosphere then through the slack key guitar or ukulele. We recommend a few artists that can provide the dream soundtrack to your big day.

  1. Paul Togioka:  a Grammy nominated slack key guitarist whose kindness equals his musicianship.  Check out his website: or contact him directly at (808) 823-8822
  2. Kirby Keough: also a friend to the Grammys, Kirby is an excellent musician with a heart full of aloha. He offers expertise in the acoustic and electric guitar, ukulele, mandolin, and bass. Check out his website at or contact him directly at (808) 651-4597.
  3. Troy Waialeale: a wonderful guitarist with great personality. Check out his website: or contact him directly at (808) 635-2556.


For a destination wedding on the Garden Island, picking the right photographer to document your big day is a must. Choose an individual whose work you admire and whose personality will enhance your experience. Fortunately, we have great recommendations whose work you can see for yourself online.

  1. Bob Cox: an artist whose goal it so “capture great moments in people’s lives.” Bob specializes in destination weddings and comes highly recommended. Check out his website: or contact him directly at (808)-212-7332.
  2. Ron Kosen: a successful professional photographer for 25 years now, Ron’s calming presence and vast experience leaves guests thrilled at their choice. Check out his website: or contact him directly at (808) 245-7667.

 Rehearsal Dinners

With all of your guests in town, you will want to make sure to schedule formal time together. The rehearsal dinner is a perfect way to thank your guests for their role in your lives and presence on your big day. While eateries are plentiful on Kauai, these two restaurants provide both delicious food and a warm, welcoming atmosphere for your guests.

  1. Plantation Gardens.  Also a venue for wedding receptions, this restaurant knows how to host a wedding party. Plus the food is excellent! You can view this restaurant at
  2. The Beach House Restaurant.  A wonderful, comfortable place to enjoy the sunset among those dearest to you. You can view this restaurant at

We hope these resources have been helpful. Should you need any more advice or direction when planning your wedding day on the Garden Island, please contact the Villas at Poipu Kai at 1-866-407-0249 or see more resources on our wedding page:

Make your planning process easier by building on our network of wedding vendors. We’re here to help!

A Few More Resources

Coconut Coast Weddings & Honeymoons: (808) 828-0999;

A Simple Marriage: (808) 742-6115;

A Vow Exchange: (808) 826-1869;

Island Weddings & Blessings: (1-800) 998-1548 or (808) 828-1548;

Tropical Dream Wedding: (1-888) 615-5656 or (808) 332-5664;


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