Whether you elope in style or invite 300 of your nearest and dearest, the Hawaiian islands offer welcoming warmth and breathtaking backdrops for all types of ceremonies.
And talk about convenience! If you’re wed in Hawai‘i, the honeymoon starts on your doorstep — or, in this case, breezy lanai. Aloha, lovers, and welcome to paradise. Hawai‘i’s reputation for romance is world-renowned. The entire Aloha State, a chain of eight major islands in the Pacific Ocean, is known for its amiable atmosphere, but when it comes to marriages and honeymoons, two islands in particular take the (wedding) cake. Kaua‘i and Maui are Together Journal’s favourite places to embrace the island essence and fall in love with travel all over again.
Considering a destination wedding? Just eight hours from Auckland and 10 hours from Sydney, Hawai‘i is relatively close, yet feels worlds away. Whether you elope in style or invite 300 of your nearest and dearest, the Hawaiian islands offer welcoming warmth and breathtaking backdrops for all types of ceremonies. And talk about convenience! If you’re wed in Hawai‘i, the honeymoon starts on your doorstep — or, in this case, breezy lanai.
Together Journal travel guide
Discover the top Hawai‘i highlights from our Together Journal travel editors.
While most international flights alight in Honolulu, O’ahu, we recommend spending most of your sun-soaked holiday on smaller, less trafficked islands. Half the fun of Hawai‘i is island hopping, so embrace your intrepid spirit and sample the different flavours each island has to offer.
Hawai‘i’s perennial warmth makes travel planning simple, but the sunniest pocket falls between March and September during the spring and summer months.
Getting there: Offering nonstop service from New Zealand and Australia, Hawaiian Airlines is our preferred carrier for comfortable and convenient travel from Oceania. With 93 years of hometown-style service, Hawaiian Airlines is perfect for both international arrivals and inter-island travel once you’ve touched down in paradise.
Looking for an extra dose of luxury? Savvy travellers take note: Extra Comfort seating is well worth the upgrade. Breeze through security, enjoy early boarding, relax and recharge with deluxe leg room and in-flight amenities.
With its warm Pacific winds and tranquil presence, the island of Kaua‘i presents relaxation as a way of life. Off the beaten path for many visitors, the lavish green “Garden Island” offers a chance to reconnect with the environment, embrace your spiritual side, and learn from indigenous tradition. Take the time to appreciate Hawaiian culture, and you will forever treasure the experience.
Where to stay
Kick off your Birkenstocks…it’s all about barefoot luxury at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa. The gold standard in romance travel, this five-star resort exudes casual elegance with oceanfront suites, lush gardens, and the holistic Anara Spa. Timbers Kaua‘i is another island delight. Accompanied by resort-style amenities like concierge service and spa and fitness facilities, their spacious two- and four-bedroom apartments redefine luxury vacation rentals, and offer ideal lodging for wedding guests and honeymoons.
Sip & savour
Taste nature’s bounty at Hualani’s Restaurant by Timbers, in partnership with The Farm at Hōkūala. The farm-to-table menu is hyper-local, highlighting the best ingredients––including tasty surprises like the ice-cream bean––sourced from mauka (land) and makai (sea). Weekly specials might include toro tartare with local radish sprouts or macadamia nut-crusted swordfish. Serving everything from fresh poke to filet mignon with finesse, Plantation House by Gaylords is a standout for island-influenced cuisine. Don’t skip the signature mai tai cocktail, made with Koloa rum and fresh-pressed sugar cane.
Play & discover
The view is almost always better from the top, as is the case with Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tours. Cruising above the mountain mist, you’ll spot cascading waterfalls, emerald valleys and the prehistoric Manawaiopuna Falls, commonly called “Jurassic Park” Falls.
If high-flying choppers aren’t your scene, consider a Nāpali Sunset Cruise, which gives another unique perspective on Hawai‘i. You might even be lucky enough to see dolphins and turtles, like we were. For those more fond of land, explore the landscape by foot on a guided walk through McBryde Garden. After your botanical wander, join a lei-making workshop led by the loveliest guide, Jayna (Leina’ala Pavao-Jardin Kumu Hula student), to learn about traditional Hawaiian craft and hula history.
Next, make a quick detour to the charming Kaua‘i Museum, which paints a picture of the island’s rich history, people, and traditions. If you’re lucky enough to meet Uncle Chucky (a national treasure), give him our best!
Ready for a farm-to-glass cocktail? The Kaua‘i Rum Safari will have you rocking and rolling through the tropical rainforest of the Kilohana Plantation. Free-flowing mai tais, tropical fruits, and gentle farm animals make for an exciting afternoon.
Maui is an island of contrasts. Recline by the pool, traipse through the island’s green interior, or indulge in sophisticated shopping, dining and nightlife. To explore the striking variety Maui has to offer, you’ll need wheels––either a hired car or a private driver. Here, pristine beaches border both lush rainforests and barren deserts. This isn’t your postcard Hawai‘i; it’s a unique landscape you have to see to believe.
Where to stay
Check in and sign off at Wailea Beach Resort. This fabulous hotel has everything holiday dreams are made of… glittering infinity pools, gorgeous gardens, strawberry sorbet sunsets, and an equally sparkling staff. Plus wedding facilities to cater for all types of celebrations.
Casual honeymooners or wedding guests will enjoy the nature-immersed Kula Lodge. Five rustic vacation cottages provide a home away from home near Haleakalā National Park, local wineries, and the iconic Road to Hana. Overlooking an endless horizon, a meal at the Kula Lodge restaurant is worth the trip alone.
If you’re scouting out a wedding venue, don’t overlook the many wonderful off-resort options Maui has to offer. We recommend Olowalu Plantation House for its cinematic views and historic backdrop, but be sure to plan early. The estate is often booked a year in advance.
Sip & savour
Sip and sample locally-made spirits at Ocean Organic Vodka Cafe, a new open-air eatery serving fresh fare perfectly paired with the distillery’s signature cocktails.
Peppered with some of Maui’s best eats, the town of Paia is certainly worth the drive. Lunchtime standards include the vegan Choice Health Bar and organic grocer Mana Foods. Slightly further afield, Mama’s Fish House is legendary for upscale seafood and throwback decor, while roadside Aloha ‘Aina BBQ serves chargrilled plate lunches––an absolute must-eat dish on any Hawaiian adventure.
The incredible Oceanfront dinner at Wailea Beach Resort is a culinary highlight. This signature experience would be a tremendous choice for any Maui wedding, big or small. Order the fish––our advice at every Hawaiian eatery––and expect the freshest, most melt-in-your-mouth sashimi you’ve ever tasted. Also notable is Humble Market Kitchen, the resort’s casual-chic restaurant. Settle in for happy hour or a relaxed dinner created by chef Roy Yamaguchi.
Play & Discover
There’s no shortage of luxurious resorts to enjoy, but the area known as Upcountry Maui deserves at least one day of discovery. In Makawao you’ll find local boutiques, surf shops, and traditional craftspeople like Hake Maui, a specialist lei maker offering a rainbow of tropical blooms. Hunt around for authentic Hawaiian-made products, like hang-ten shirts from the Tori Richard brand, a favourite in local fashion. Searching for souvenirs? Kula Marketplace is always a safe bet, selling Maui-made products from over 200 makers.
If the stars align and astronomy is your thing, join Maui Stargazing for an evening of wonder at Haleakalā National Park. Travellers who prefer more flexible constellation contemplation can drive to the Haleakalā summit for a fiery sunset over the volcanic mauna. Be sure to bundle up––the peak can be shockingly cold at nightfall.
Hawai‘i has it all: spiritual serenity, intrepid adventure, captivating culture, and endless hospitality. Wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or milestone celebration of any sort––don’t hesitate, just follow your heart to Hawai‘i. Mahalo, many times over.
CREDITS: WORDS Rebecca Dangler / PHOTOGRAPHY Greta Kenyon
FIND ONLINE: Hawaiian Airlines, @hawaiianairlines / Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort, @grandhyattkauai / Timbers Kaua‘i, @timberskauai / Plantation House, @kilohanakauai / Blue Dolphin Kauai, @bluedolphincharters / Blue Hawaiian Helicopter, @bluehawaiianhelicopters / Nāpali Sunset Cruise, @holoholocharters / McBryde Gardens, @ntbg / Kaua‘i Museum, @kauaimuseum / The Kaua‘i Rum Safari, @kauairumsafaris / Wailea Beach Resort, @waileabeachresort / Kulalodge, @kulalodgerestaurant / Olowaluplantationhouse, @olowaluplantationhouse / Ocean Vodka, @oceanvodka / Choice Health Bar, @choicehealthbar / Mana Foods Maui, @manafoods / Mamas Fish House, @MamasFishHouse / Aloha ‘aina bbq and Catering, @aloha_aina_bbq / Tori Richard Hawaiian shirts, @toririchard / Kula Marketplace / Maui Stargazing, @maui_stargazing