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Hawaii destination wedding - how much does it cost and how far in advance do you have to plan?

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Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:35 AM
  #1
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Hawaii destination wedding - how much does it cost and how far in advance do you have to plan?

I'm sure the answer will vary greatly, but I just want to get an idea to see if it's even worth considering. We're thinking about a small wedding with family and a few good friends and want to have a wedding in the next few months.
Thanks!
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 10:31 AM
  #2
 
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Hawaii would make a great wedding destination spot but you should be asking your friends and family the same question, not Fodors.

What I would reccomend is checking a travel web site (expedia or orbitz) to get an estimated costs of air and hotel. Are you paying for your guests to travel or are you expecting them to pay the tab? Lots of people can't aford the trip or don't have the time to take off from work, or even can't travel (grandparents, young kids, etc)- all need to be considered when making your decision.

I looked at hawaii when I got married but ended up choosing the Bahamas. Hawaii was just too far and about 50% more expensive.

I
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 11:10 AM
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I was wondering where you all are coming from. If it's west coast U.S. or Canada is one thing. If it's back East that's another. Just in terms of cost and flight time and time change etc. for getting to Hawaii in the first place.

Lots of people get married in Hawaii. Are you looking to do-it-yourself? Or do you want to hire a wedding planner? Many hotels offer wedding packages (I know this only from reading posts here on Fodors). In a church, on a beach, etc.

You could get a basic idea simply by pricing a trip, wedding or no (i.e., airfare, hotel rooms, car rental, and meals for 12 people or whatever) would give you a ballpark of the budget you're looking at.

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Apr 2nd, 2005, 11:16 AM
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Sorry to soapbox, and I don't know what YOUR plans are, but these destination weddings where good friends and relatives are expected to shell out huge bucks to attend your wedding are the worst idea ever in my opinion. I have friends whose long term friendships have been ended because they wouldn't go in debt and cancel business and personal plans to attend a wedding in some remote part of the earth.

I agree with weimer. If anyone is expected to pay their own way there, I think you need to discuss this closely with all of them before trying to obligate them to go wherever you want.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:26 PM
  #5
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Wow, I didn't know that some people are so against destination weddings. I personally think they are great. If my friend decides to have a destination wedding, I'll be thrilled since it's an excuse for me to travel and have fun at an exotic destination. If I can't travel due to budget or time, I'll give my best wishes. Besides, it's their wedding, so they should have it the way they want, not the way I want.

Anyway, I am planning to pay for the family and just wanted to see if I can afford it.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 11:09 PM
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Mami, as a ballpark I'd suggest about $4000 per couple for a week including airfare, lodging, and meals. Also don't know which coast you're coming from, I factored in a 450pp airfare from LAX.
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Apr 2nd, 2005, 11:15 PM
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BTW, Oahu would be the cheapest island lodging wise as you could Priceline hotels on the beach for about $80-150/nt.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 03:12 AM
  #8
 
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I have been invited to several destination weddings over the years - and have never chosen to go. So I would not count myself as "against" them - people can do whatever they wish with their own wedding. I love to travel, but since time and money are both precious, I prefer to chose when and where I wish to travel. I also think family and friends are precious, but I do not need to travel with them or attend their destination weddings to maintain that.

Hawaii is one destination very difficult to do economically - so if you go ahead with your plans, please don't be offended if anyone, even someone very close to you, can not or does not attend. And when they give their regrets, please politely accept them - you may never know the real reason they can't go.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 07:44 AM
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Well, I wasn't going to chime in here, but after reading the replies, I will. With all respect to Travellin Wifey, $4000 per couple per week is at the high end---you can certainly do it for much less. And it won't necessarily cost more than the Caribbean. I have priced Caribbean thinking it would be less expensive than Hawai'i and ended up going to Hawai'i because it did not cost any more. Really depends on a lot of factors---where you are flying from, high vs. low season, type of accomodation you decide is your minimum acceptable.

Having said that, the next few months are not "low" season in Hawai'i....if you wait til mid-Sept. costs usually go down.

I would suggest you check out VRBO web site and similar vacation rentals for a large house you can rent to accomodate your group; that is likely to be less expensive than hotel rooms for all. As others suggested you can easily check airfares online. Also, for a group I would contact a good travel agent and see what they can do.

Congratulations on your marriage and good luck with your planning.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 09:47 AM
  #10
 
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Just because one Fodors poster chooses to soapbox, does not mean all kinds of people are against destination weddings!

Only you know best what you &/or your family and friends can afford and might be interested in.

I also think $4000 is a high-ish per couple estimate. I flew to Oahu last month for $329 (RT Seattle), gave $100/night for a very sweet smaller hotel in Waikiki, and had food costs per person at $25-50/day.

As I and others have suggested, simply pencil this out like any vacation, then add $xxx for the wedding ceremony and reception you have in mind.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 10:00 AM
  #11
 
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First, for more research, I suggest looking at the hawaii message boards at theknot.com. Also, you can get an idea of prices by looking at websites for hawaii wedding planners (i used alohabridalgallery.com ). We planned ours on Oahu 7mos in advance. We had 12 guests. Ceremony site,officiant, photography package,bouquet,leis, limo,wedding planner cost about $1600,and then we spent another approx $1000 for everyone to attend luau in vip royal box (food, unlimited drinks included) for our "reception". It was a simple wedding, but very stress free. Its your wedding and your memories, so you only you can decide if desitination wedding is your ulitmate choice, the trade off being having your wedding in a dream location vs having most everyone you know being able to attend your wedding.
Of course the above prices do not include air/hotel in Hawaii, and as others have mentioned, Hawaii can be as expensive(or not) as you want it to be depending on time of year, island, accomodation type, etc.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 10:40 AM
  #12
 
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My wife and I have been to one destination wedding, and most likely it will be our last.

She was the bridesmaid (bride was a sorority sister years ago) and between the shower (my wife had to travel, although to a relatively attainable location), bachelorette party (destination party) and wedding (destination wedding) we spent well over $3,000 and my wife gave up 3 weekends as well as taking 3 days off from work.

The wedding was nice, and definitely smaller as many people didn't come, but I think if the happy couple had to do it over again they would have had their wedding in their hometown (large midwestern city, easily travelable) and had more guests, like my wife and I did.

If its your dream wedding...go for it. Just remember you're more or less choosing how others spend their vacation time and money if they choose to attend, and because of this many people probably will not go.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 10:51 AM
  #13
 
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I think we may be talking about two different things here. If you are having a wedding for a few family and friends and YOU are paying for it, that's great.

What I was talking about was people who invite (or practically demand) a number of friends to attend and if they decide to go it costs them thousands of dollars, their limited vacation time which they may prefer to spend other ways, and lots of complications (like NYJets experience). As I mentioned I have friends whose former best friends never spoke to them again because "you don't care enough about us to share our wedding with us". How unfair!
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 11:48 AM
  #14
 
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Yes, I know $4000 a little high end, I was thinking that Mami would want 4* accomodations The <average> price one pays from LAX to HNL is $400-$450 Sat to Sat, if you want to go to the other islands add $100 per ticket to that, if you want to fly peak season (summer and holidays) add a few hundred per ticket.

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Apr 3rd, 2005, 06:46 PM
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Hi, Travellin Wifey. I also have noticed that people who are planning weddings/honeymoons usually want the very high-end accomodations. In fact, I assumed that would be the content so I almost didn't even open up this thread, since I don't know anything about those kind of hotels. I hope Mami will come back and let us know what she finds that fits her budget and time frame.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 06:55 PM
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Yes, this posting has been a little stange Hope to hear from Mami but she may have given up. Aloohaaa
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 08:00 PM
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I got married in Maui almost 7 years ago. There were 12 of us and it was perfect. There were people who couldnt come, but it was my wedding and I still enjoyed the day. We were married at the Westin Maui and hired a photographer on our own. Then we had our dinner at the Hyatt's Swan Court. Our wedding costs were less than $2000 for the above. That also includes the cake and flowers.

We got a deal on our rooms at the Hyatt. That saved our guests money. Usually if you guarantee 10 rooms, you can get a discount. Even though we did not end up needing 10 rooms, they still honored the rate, but took away our complimentary suite upgrade.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 08:03 PM
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I forgot, we only had 3 months to plan for the wedding.

Our friends got married a few years ago in Kauai at the Princeville. That was an expensive wedding. It was very blahhh. To snooty for me.
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 10:19 PM
  #19
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Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I'll check out the couple of web sites suggested here. I really want to pay for my guests since they are giving up their precious time to attend my wedding, but I'm learning that an affordable Hawaiian wedding is an oxymoron unless maybe you live in Hawaii. We just started planning a couple of days ago, so I really have no idea where we'll end up getting married. If Hawaii doesn't pan out, I would still be happy having a warm beach wedding some place else.

Thanks again, everyone!
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Apr 3rd, 2005, 10:48 PM
  #20
 
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Awww...I'm glad you came back. My SIL got married on Maui and another friend on the Big Island, if you have any questions I'll try to help. If you give us an idea of your budget I'm sure many can offer suggestions. You can also contact me through my email.

Meals will aslo be a big expense, especially if you're looking at the more exotic islands such as the BI or Kauai.
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