Best Spots for Weddings in Hawaii: Oahu

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Photo Credits:
Wedding -- Starwood Hotels and Resorts
Tropical Sunset -- Ron Dalhquist
Beach Run -- Julie Dreelin
Italian Bride and Groom -- Wolfgang Freithoff
Bride and Bridesmaids -- Amity Mason

Best Spots for Weddings in Hawaii: Oahu

Many recommend having your ceremony and reception on Oahu, where famous Honolulu and buzzing Waikiki make their home, followed by a private honeymoon on one of the outer islands, because the prices for weddings are generally lower on Oahu, there are a ton of spots to choose from, and it's easier to obtain a marriage license in Honolulu. If you choose to take this advice, there are a plethora of great locations in which to exchange vows, many of them free, as public beaches and parks in Hawaii are free to marry at. With the options of city and surf, nearly any type of wedding is possible on Oahu, so whether you want a more traditional church ceremony and hotel reception, or want to say your vows at the foot of a waterfall, you can make it happen in style on Oahu. Below, read up on some extraordinary outdoor locations.

BEACHES + PARKS

Diamond Head Park
One of Hawaii's most famous landmarks, Diamond Head is just ten minutes from Waikiki and features postcard-worthy palm trees and ocean waves, plus stunning sunsets. There is a beautiful small, green park at the base of Diamond Head crater with a coconut tree grove, a lani, and an open lawn along the oceanfront. It is free to marry at Diamond Head, but there are no facilities and parking can be a challenge, as Diamond Head Road is a crowded, two-lane, winding street.  Since it is illegal to park, or even load and unload at the park’s entrance, it's best to take a taxi (or limo!), and may be better suited to smaller weddings. Park gates are open from 6AM-6PM.
Location: Off Diamond Head Road Between Makapuu Avenue and 18th Avenue, Honolulu
Contact: 808-923-1811 or visit HawaiiStateParks.org

Kailua Beach Park
One of Oahu's prettiest beaches, sunny Kailua is home to gentle surf, fine, white-sand beaches, and world-class windsurfing. Several offshore islands can be spotted in the background, and there are picnic areas with pavilions and restrooms.
Location: 450 Kawailoa Road, East Oahu
Contact: Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-692-5585 or visit http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/ and HawaiiStateParks.org

Kakaako Waterfront Park
One of Honolulu's best-kept secrets, Kakaako Waterfront Park is a spacious, well-groomed park, featuring rolling green lawns right on the ocean, vine-covered trellised pavilions, a small garden area (super for photos!), park facilities, and plenty of free parking. With ocean and mountain views, you can see everything from Diamond Head to Honolulu Harbor from this downtown haven. There is no sandy beach to be had, but not many tourists know of this spot, so you'll have a greater chance for a private ceremony.
Location: End of Ahi or Ohe Streets, off Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu
Contact: Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-692-5585 or visit http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/ and HawaiiStateParks.org

Magic Island
Just ten minutes from Waikiki on Oahu's South Shore, you'll find Magic Island, which overlooks famous Diamond Head and Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. Here you can exchange vows on a crescent-shaped beach with magnificent Diamond Head as your backdrop. Part of the ten-acre Ala Moana Park, which boasts green lawns, coconut trees, and an ocean lagoon, Magic Island is a hot spot for couples looking for a barefoot-in-the-sand, romantic ceremony. Like all of Hawaii's public parks and beaches, weddings here are free, and there is also free parking (plentiful during the week but not always so on weekends). Magic Island tends to be crowded during the day, but by late afternoon the beach is relatively empty and the sunsets can be spectacular.  Best and least crowded times for weddings are mornings, late afternoons, and weekdays.
Location: 1201 Ala Moana Boulevard
Contact: Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-692-5585 or visit http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/ and HawaiiStateParks.org

Makapuu Beach
A popular destination for surfers and body-boarders, picturesque Makapuu Beach overlooks infinite blue waters, rocky coastline, and Rabbit Island. Makapuu also has BBQ grills and restroom facilities.
Location: 41-095 Kalanianaole Highway
Contact: Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-692-5585 or visit http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/ and HawaiiStateParks.org

North Shore Beaches
Way less dramatic than the TV show would imply, but just as spectacular, the charming North Shore beaches of Oahu, including Papaola, Puena, Lanikea, Sunset Beach Park, Ehukai Beach Park, KeWa'ena Beach, Waimea Bay Beach Park, Three Tables, and Ali'I Beach Park, are great for couples looking for pristine white sand, panoramic views and the quieter side of the island.
Location:  59-337 Kamehameha Highway; 66-167 Hale'iwa Road
Contact: Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-692-5585 or visit http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/ and HawaiiStateParks.org

Wai'alae Beach Park
Located in one of Honolulu's most prestigious neighborhoods, just five miles from Waikiki and near the Kahala Mandarin Hotel, Wai'alae Beach is a free public beach with pavilions, restrooms, and easy parking. And, you have breathtaking Koolau Mountains in the distance. There's a grassy lawn area with palm trees and a sandy beach with a bridge crossing a canal. Just down the beach is a small peninsula that leads out to a small tropical island with oodles of greenery and some palm trees. While sunset is a little more toward the Waikiki side, you still get a beautiful sky and more privacy than many of the other outdoor locations. This is a great spot for sunrise weddings and fabulous for photos.
Location: Five miles from Waikiki, near the Kahala Mandarin Hotel
Contact: Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-692-5585 or visit http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/ and HawaiiStateParks.org

Waimanalo Beach Park
This long stretch of white-sand beach stands in the shadow of the magnificent Koolau Range, and is one of the calmer shores. There are restroom facilities and shaded areas. Free.
Location: Off Aloiloi Street in Waimanalo (Southeast Oahu)
Contact: Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-692-5585 or visit http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/ and HawaiiStateParks.org

Waimea Falls Park
On the north shore of Oahu, set slightly inland amidst tropical forest, is Waimea Valley and Waterfall. The area has been set aside as a natural adventure and cultural park and there's a ton to do, including kayaking, hiking, spear throwing, lawn bowling, and mountain biking. Unlike the above beaches and parks, Waimea Falls is not free.
Location: 59-864 Kamehameha Highway
Contact: Department of Parks and Recreation at 808-692-5585 or visit http://www.co.honolulu.hi.us/parks/ and HawaiiStateParks.org

GARDEN VARIETIES

Foster Botanical Gardens
Situated in downtown Honolulu, this 14-acre leafy oasis is home to unique tropical plants and trees dating from the 1850s, including stunning orchids and palms, and is a popular wedding spot. Permit required.
Location: 50 N. Vineyard Blvd. At Nuuanu Ave.
Contact: 808-522-7066

Haiku Gardens
Long a local favorite, this lush and tropical spot offers weddings in a private botanical garden, open-air chapel, or elegant gazebo set over a tranquil pond. Site fee.
Location: 46-336 Haiku Road, Kaneohe, HI 96744
Contact: 808-946-2533 or www.haikugardens.com

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden
Meaning "A Peaceful Refuge," this 400-acre expanse of tropical plants also features a 32-acre lake, picnic areas, and an on-site campground. Permit required.
Location: 45-680 Luluku Road, Kane'ohe
Contact: 808-233-7323

Liliuokalani Botanical Garden
Just north of Foster Garden, this 7.5-acre garden once belonged to Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii's last reigning monarch. The garden has beautiful picnic areas, and the lovely Nuuanu Stream and Waikahalulu Waterfall running through the grounds Permit required.
Location: North Kuakini Street, Honolulu
Contact: 808-522-7060

Olomana Gardens
Winding paths, natural streams, terraced gardens, a gazebo overlooking a lily and lotus pond, koi ponds, and stunning views of the Koolau Mountains and Mount Olomana, make these gardens a primo spot for a picturesque wedding. Site fee.
Location: Less than 30 minutes from Honolulu on the windward side of the island
Contact: 866-259-0162 or olomanagardens@hawaii.rr.com

Wahi'awa Botanical Garden
Nestled between the Wai'anae and Koolau mountain ranges, Wahi'awa is considered the "tropical jewel" of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, boasting 27 acres of Hawaiian palms and native plants. Permit required.
Location: 1396 California Avenue, Wahi'awa
Contact: 808-621-7321

WHERE TO APPLY FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE ON OAHU

Health Department Building
1250 Punchbowl Street (corner of Beretania and Punchbowl Streets)
Honolulu, HI
Room 101 on the first floor

HOURS: Monday-Friday (excluding holidays), 8AM to 4PM

For the names, addresses, and phone numbers of marriage agents in the rural and suburban areas of Oahu, call 808-586-4544.

See More: Destination Weddings , Planning