Kauai Wedding Guide
Kauai, pronounced, kuh·wai·ee, is the Northernmost of the Hawaiian chain of islands. It’s the greenest of the Hawaiian Islands, giving it the name, Garden Isle. With its stunning natural beauty, including pristine beaches, lush tropical gardens, and majestic waterfalls, Kauai is the perfect location for a destination wedding or elopement.
How to get to Kauai
Flying is the easiest way to get to Kauai. Lihue Airport (LIH) is the island’s primary airport. It is located on the Southeast coast of Kauai. The island does not have a lot of taxi options.
It is important to note that rental cars need to be booked in advance as there’s limited availability on the island. The resort you stay at may have a shuttle service that they offer as well. The takeaway is that it is important to arrange your transportation beforehand.
Weather in Kauai
The weather in Kauai is beautiful. It has stable temperatures year-round, which is why it makes a fantastic location for a wedding year-round. Highs are in the mid-70s during the winter. Whereas in the summer temperatures get into the mid-80s. The humidity is relatively high year-round.
Both the North and East Shores experience more wind and are typically wetter than the rest of the island. The driest areas are in the South near Poipu and the West near Waimea. It does rain almost daily in Kauai, but showers are often brief and the sun quickly returns. Hurricane season is June-November, but they are rare on the island. In general, May through October is considered Kauai’s dry season, while November through April is considered the rainy season.
Best time to get married on Kauai
When choosing the best time of year for your Kauai wedding, some things you may want to consider are the peak months for tourism, weather, and availability of vendors.
In the Spring, waterfalls will be flowing and there is an abundance of tropical flower blossoms. This is a plus when ordering flowers for your wedding.
Summer is the peak time for tourism. With more people visiting the island, beaches and hiking areas will be much more crowded. There is less rain during the summer on the island and temperatures tend to be slightly higher than at other times during the year.
The Fall tends to be the best time to avoid high crowds, so beaches and hikes will be less crowded. Temperatures are cooler and the availability of venues is greater.
Rain in the Winter months can vary, but it tends to be the season for the most rain. Waves tend to be rougher during these months as well. This means that some venues may not be accessible due to the waves. January- February is whale migration and offers a unique opportunity to see the whales when visiting the island.
Where to get married in Kauai
There is no shortage of locations for your Kauai wedding. Some of the most popular areas to get married are on the North Shore, South Shore, and East side of the island. The North Shore of the island is known for its scenic beaches whereas the South Shore is known for its larger resorts and calmer beaches. The South Shore, in particular, the Poipu area, is a popular spot for tourists. Continue reading for a list of top wedding and elopement locations.
Beach Wedding vs Resort Wedding
Kauai offers private gardens, luxury resorts, and beach ceremonies. Deciding between a beach or resort wedding is difficult. You may want to consider that beaches in Kauai are public. What this means for you is that there is no way to guarantee who will be on the beach during your ceremony.
If it is important to you to have a more private event, you may want to consider a resort, private event space, or a more secluded area. There are ways to create a more private beach wedding experience. For example, choosing to have a sunrise or weekday ceremony where the number of people on the beach will be less is an idea. Remember as well, there are restrictions on the number of guests who can attend a beach wedding. For most beach weddings it is around 25-30 guests.
Kauai wedding venues
Kauai has an abundance of locations for all different sizes, budgets, and types of weddings. Below you can find a list of Kauai wedding locations.
Hanalei Bay Wedding
Hanalei Bay is located on the North Shore of the island. This crescent-shaped bay is surrounded by lush, green mountains and offers some of the most stunning views. There is a 25-guest maximum for beach elopements.
For couples with a higher guest count, Hanalei Bay Resorts offers a beautiful, private location overlooking Hanalei Bay. This wedding venue can accommodate guests sizes up to 50 people.
Waimea plantation cottages wedding
Waimea Plantation Cottages wedding venue blends the amenities of a resort with the intimate feel of a homey Airbnb. The venue itself is a classic 5 bedroom, oceanfront, craftsman-style cottage. Most couples choose to have their ceremony under the 100-foot tall banyan tree adjacent to the cottage. What makes Waimea Plantation Cottages a perfect destination wedding venue is that the wedding can take place at the cottages and guests can stay on site as well. This venue is located on the South side of Kauai.
Sheraton Kauai wedding
The Sheraton Kauai Resort is a wedding venue located on the South Shore of Kauai. This Resort is situated on 20 acres along Poipu Beach. It offers panoramic views of the ocean and several stunning oceanfront venues to hold your ceremony. There are several on-site restaurants and activities to entertain your guests.
Shipwrecks Beach Kauai Wedding
Shipwrecks Beach is located on the South Shore of Kauai in Poipu. The beach is located just in front of the Grand Hyatt Resort and does have a fair amount of public parking available. Couples can walk a short hike up to the top of the cliff for their ceremony or hold it on the beach down below. The cliff views are epic and make for stunning couples portraits.
Kalihiwai Falls wedding
This beautifully secluded location is located on the North Shore of Kauai. Kalihiwai Falls is the perfect location for couples seeking an exotic, waterfall wedding. Kalihiwai Falls is a beautiful two-tiered fall that is visible from the Kilauea bridge that overlooks the Kalihiwai River. There is a short drive that leads up to the falls that requires a 4×4 vehicle.
The Beach House Restaurant Kauai Wedding
The Beach House Restaurant is located in Koloa, Kauai. It is a gorgeous wedding venue that sits along the Poipu coastline. The views are spectacular and the cuisine is incredible. The Beach House is a multi-level restaurant that offers several dining areas that can be used for weddings and other events. Be sure to visit their website to plan your destination wedding or elopement.
National Tropical Botanical Garden Kauai Wedding
The National Tropical Botanical Gardens is located on the South Side of Kauai. This venue offers two of the most unique wedding venues in the world. One venue site is The Meadow. This is a 10-acre meadow where you can hear the ocean and celebrate with up to 400 guests.
Equally beautiful is the Mcbryde Gardens, the second venue offered as part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. The McBryde Garden Wedding venue is nestled in the Lawai Valley. With more than 200 acres and 20,000 living plants, the McBryde Garden is a stunning location surrounded by breathtaking mountains. The McBryde Gardens can accommodate up to 400 guests.
Part of the Mcbryde Gardens includes the Waihulili Waterfall. This is a beautiful, secluded waterfall where couples and guests up to 25 people can exchange their vows.
Tunnels Beach Kauai Wedding
Tunnels Beach, also known as Makua beach is located on the North side of Kauai, just around the corner from the famous Na Pali Coast. The lush green mountains frame this crescent-shaped bay. It is no surprise that this is one of the most photographed beaches in Hawaii. Parking is best at Haena Beach Park.
Grand Hyatt Kauai Wedding
The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is located in Koloa on the South side of the island. The Grand Hyatt offers a variety of venues from beach weddings to ballroom affairs. The resort is gorgeous with multiple restaurants and an incredible spa.
What I love about Kauai is that it is an adventure-seeking couple’s paradise. There are so many ceremony locations outside of a beach. Couples can choose a waterfall, a mountaintop at Waimea Canyon, or a secluded rainforest. You can skip the hiking altogether and elope on a boat, a helicopter, a kayak, or a paddle board. The options truly are endless. It is important to remember though that many areas are sacred to Hawaiians and marriage ceremonies cannot be performed there. It is always important to check local laws beforehand and respect the culture.
Hawaii Marriage License and Laws
The process of getting married in Kauai is relatively easy. You must apply for a marriage license from the local county office where you will be getting married. The State of Hawaii’s wedding website has all the information you need to apply for your wedding license online. To better understand the process of getting married in Kauai, feel free to watch this video. Once you arrive on the island you will need to appear together in person before a marriage license agent.
Also, it is important to note, that in order to hold a wedding on any beach in Hawaii, you must obtain a “Right-of-Entry” permit (Beach Permit). Below you can find the rules and guidelines for obtaining this permit. All beach locations can accommodate up to 30 people maximum (including the couple and the guests) per state regulations.
Beach Permit- Link is Here
Wedding Permit- Link is Here
Kauai Wedding Vendors
Depending on your vision for your destination wedding in Kauai, you will need a great team to help bring your vision to life. Currently, you do need a state-approved “performer” to legally marry you on any of the Hawaiian islands. You can search for a local officiant or marriage performer here.
Additionally, if you plan to host a larger wedding, I highly recommend hiring a planner. A local planner can help with obtaining any permits and travel logistics for you and your guests. They are key to keeping things organized and running smoothly.
Another important vendor is your florist. Kauai is known for its abundance of tropical flowers. A local florist can create beautiful leis to exchange at your ceremony, a haku to wear on your head, or a gorgeous bouquet. A florist that I love working with is North Shore Buds and Blooms.
As your wedding photographer, I am happy to share vendor recommendations who will collaborate with you to design and bring to life your wedding day vision.
Kauai Wedding Photographer
If you are looking for a fun and adventurous wedding photographer to capture your destination wedding or elopement to Kauai, please reach out here. I’d love to help you create your dream wedding!
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