A Fun Oahu Destination Wedding


February 16, 2022
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Esther Sun

Valerie and James knew a local wedding in D.C. wasn’t their cup of tea, so a destination wedding was an easy decision. After factoring in their guest list, Hawaii was the perfect place for a fun Oahu destination wedding. “Hawaii was a convenient location for most family members, as we had family in the Philippines, Korea and throughout the U.S.,” says the bride. “Additionally, we wanted our guests to enjoy the perks of a destination wedding in Hawaii – especially with our East Coast winters!”

Interestingly enough, another reason why the couple chose Hawaii was because they had never been there before! Unlike some couples who choose to say “I do” in childhood favorites or regular vacation spots, Valerie and James wanted somewhere new and exciting. Their guests were equally excited about a long wedding weekend in Hawaii and the couple was surprised by how many loved ones attended. “We had over 100 guests, which far exceeded our expectations,” says Valerie. “There were no negative reactions that we know of.”

Outside of the time difference between D.C. and Oahu, the couple didn’t have much trouble planning their wedding away – thanks in large part to their wedding planner. “Honestly, we didn’t think [planning] was too difficult,” says the bride. “Lucky for us, we live in an era where we are able to access [online] reviews. I also have family members and friends who live in Hawaii who were able to give an insider scoop on some vendors.”

Modern technology also streamlined the couple’s correspondence with their vendors. “Most of our communication with our vendors was via email, but certain vendors require an in-phone consultation to get to know us,” recalls Valerie. “I found that to be very helpful.” The couple also appreciated the fact that their wedding venue doubled as accommodations for up to 30 of their guests. The remaining guests were given information about renting or booking accommodations via the couple’s wedding website.

In addition to their wedding planner being essential the day-of, she also advised the couple on where to splurge and where to save within their budget. All-in-all, the couple feels they actually saved money by hosting a destination wedding and honeymoon vs. a “very expensive” D.C. area wedding.

We asked the couple what advice they would share with readers considering or planning their own destination wedding – here’s what they had to say:

  • “Do your research with vendors and read reviews from multiple outlets. Hearing the experience from other couples is very important because they have been there. Also, make sure you are reading both the positive and negative reviews!”
  • “Ask your venue what items you can use/borrow. Our wedding venue has become popular over the years for destination weddings and many couples donate wedding décor that can be borrowed. Our venue also had the option for renting tables and chairs at a fraction of the cost.”

Vendors: Photographer: Esther Sun, Wedding Planner & Florist: Sarah Park Events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Hale Koa Estate, Stationery: Rachel Marvin Creative, Cake: A Cake Life, Hair & Makeup: Whik’d Hair & Makeup, Gown Designer: Blush by Hayley Paige, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Suit Supply, Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu, Photo Booth: The Photo Bus Oahu, Catering: Keneke’s Catering, Bartenders: We Are the Bartenders!, DJ: DJ Roman Candles, Rentals: Production Hawaii Rentals & Officiant: Julie Wirtz

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