Marla and I decided we would keep costs down and elope to Hawaii on Waimanalo Beach while enjoying an amazing honeymoon without breaking the budget.  Well, let me be honest it wasn’t quite an elopement but it was still just a small group of our closest family in attendance.

Eloping in Hawaii is a fantastic way to celebrate your love in a setting that is unmatched.  And it’s not even that expensive.  Other than airfare and hotel the only costs you’ll incur are the officiant and a photographer.  When you’re on a budget getting married in Hawaii is still possible!

Why Choose Hawaii for Our Wedding?

I had been coming to Hawaii for years.  Like most, I visited Oahu on my first trip.  I’m not exactly sure when that was but it was around 2001 or so.

We stayed at the Hale Koa hotel right on Waikiki Beach.  The Hale Koa Hotel is a hotel reserved for those that have served, or are currently serving, in the United States military.  They provide reduced pricing, in comparison to similar hotels on Waikiki based on rank.

We were able to stay there because my step-dad had served.  Without this benefit there was no way our family could have afforded to take a vacation to Hawaii and stay right on Waikiki Beach!

Since that time I have returned to Hawaii for vacation many many times.

I loved Hawaii so much that when Marla and I were were looking for a destination wedding location I was determined that location was Hawaii.  She had never visited but trusted me that it would be all I had built it up to be. Hey…good relationships are built on trust, right?

At this point I had only visited Oahu so that would be the island we would be married on.  But where?

The Best Location for a Hawaii Wedding

Part of the draw getting married on Hawaii was the picturesque setting.  The amazing blue water.  The white sand.  Set against the blue sky and fluffy clouds.

Pick Your Wedding Photographer First

So, of course, our first step in deciding on where to get married was to find a photographer. 

We called a few and ultimately settled on Anthony Calleja Photography.  After talking with Anthony we felt confident in his ability to not only capture the wedding but the incredible Hawaii setting.

We asked for his opinion on where on Oahu we should get married.  He had one particular location he felt would be best…

We Picked Waimanalo Beach

Anthony knew this would be the perfect location to get married.  Great sand, beautiful water and not too crowded.  Just the setting you need for a great Hawaii wedding.

Not having been to Waimanalo Beach we immediately Googled it.  After checking out a few pictures we knew this would be perfect!

With our photographer picked and location identified we just needed to find someone to marry us.  Anthony helped us by referring us to someone who would do the ceremony along with e aa Hawaiian blessing as well.

Our Destination Wedding

The whole idea about eloping or a destination wedding is about the destination…not the normal stress associated with planning and executing a wedding.

That is exactly what we wanted.  This was not the first wedding for either of us and we wanted to be focused on each other and enjoy our trip to Hawaii.

We invited our closest family and friends and figured whoever showed up, showed up.  It wouldn’t hurt our feelings if they couldn’t make it as we realized Hawaii was quite a trip for many of them.

We ended up with a nice, small group of about 10 including three of Marla’s four kids, Marla’s mom, one of Marla’s sisters and her husband, Scott’s mom and step-dad, Scott’s aunt and uncle.  It was perfect.

Although we missed some people we would have loved to have be there with us, we were perfectly happy with those that were there.

The other official business we had to take care of was getting our marriage license at the courthouse.  Within just an hour or two we were able to get in with the completed paperwork and get our license.  With that out of the way we moved on to the fun.

We did not plan what to wear.  No tux or wedding gown.  Nope, we just headed over to the mall in Honolulu to pick out our clothes when we got there.  Nothing fancy…just something appropriate for a Hawaiian wedding on the beach.

Prior to the ceremony Anthony was able to take a few fun pictures of us on the beach before everyone arrived.  We had some fun shots and just enjoyed being together in such an amazing place…on our wedding day!

Weather Can Be a Factor When Getting Married on the Beach

About half way through the ceremony the winds started picking up.  The the clouds formed.  They got darker and darker and the winds got stronger and stronger. Until it was an all-out storm forming right at the very end of the ceremony.

We quickly packed everything up and headed for cover.  We were planning on taking more pictures but Hawaii had something else in mind.  The wind and rain would not let up so we planned a future day to come back and take more pictures.

My mom had picked up a small wedding cake for us.  With the weather we weren’t able to enjoy it in the park so we headed over to the closest area we could find to celebrate the wedding with a small slice of cake.  That closest area??  McDonalds!

While most people headed over to our “reception” a small group of us parked in the McDonalds parking lot to participate in the “cutting of the cake” ceremony.  Hey…it wasn’t about things being perfect.  It was about the experience…and it was certainly an experience to never be forgotten!

A Hawaiian Luau Reception

Our “reception” was a Luau in the Honolulu area.  It was a bit of a drive but we had heard this particular Luau was one of the best so we figured it was worth it.

When we arrived the storm had followed us and the winds were quite strong but there was no rain.

We enjoyed some of the pre-luau games and festivities until the winds picked up.  It was so windy that some of the large umbrellas they had started rolling across the grounds of the luau.  Some of the staff said they had never seen such winds before.  

Luckily they had the dinner seating under cover so we were protected as the rain started.

It wasn’t the best luau experience, but it was what was meant to be.

It was the Perfect Way to get Married

As the night wrapped up Marla and I headed back to our vacation rental at Lāʻie Point on the north shore.  Our moms took the kids and headed to a hotel on Waikiki to prepare for their trip home the following day.

Several days later we returned to Waimanalo Beach and finished up the pictures we were unable to take after the ceremony.  They turned out great!

Did everything go perfect?  Not exactly.  But it was still perfect.

Marla and I were married…IN HAWAII!

We were in love.  With each other.  And with Hawaii.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Fernanda

    Hey Scott! I’m planning a trip to the Big Island on a budget (but I don’t want to miss the best) – could you give me some pointers on trusted vendors for guided tours, etc?

    1. Calling Kona Home

      I hope you have a great time while visiting the Big Island! We love it and hope you do too. Of all the things we’ve done here are our favorites:

      Night Manta Snorkel/Dive (Keauhou Bay) –
      Zipline (Hilo) –
      ATV Tour (Holualoa) –
      Luau (Royal Kona) –

      And if you’re looking for even more resources our friends over at 365 Kona have some great suggestions. Check it out here:

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