Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting married in Hawaii

Kristin, this post is for you. Congratulations on your engagement, and let me know if you have any questions!

Ed and I got married in Hawaii about three years ago. We had planned on going to Hawaii before we knew we were getting married but decided we should get married when we were there. The only attendees of the wedding were the folks that were marrying us, and two giant turtles. We kept the wedding about as simple as possible, but not quite as simple as just going down to the courthouse. I spent a total of $55 on my wedding outfit and the total for our wedding, including airfare to Hawaii, marriage ceremony, licenses, etc., was about $2,000. The simplicity of it was great.

We got married through a company called Kona Wedding Services. I haven't been to their website in awhile and I must admit that I think their new website is terrible. Had that site been up when we were looking for those services I wouldn't have chosen them. BUT, the ceremony was great. You can ask to read the vows and everything they read at the ceremony in advance. The photography was excellent (and I am very particular about photography), but the photo sales were a little gimmicky. We didn't know that they would take a million photos and then try to sell every one of them to us for a small fortune. We eventually ended up buying the digital files for around $1,000. My advice is to know exactly what you are getting when you make your plans.

We stayed at a place called the Manago Hotel. It is a really cool old 1920's ish hotel in Kona. VERY inexpensive, and the clientele is a little scary so it shows. But it is a cool place.

With all of that said, I don't really recommend going to the Big Island. The reason for this is that the beaches suck. Actually, there really aren't any beaches. There's a green sand beach at a very remote part of the island and a man made beach at one of the large resorts. And they really don't care for you to hang out on the beaches if you aren't staying at their resort. Oh, there was another VERY remote small beach that was cool, but it was hard to get to. You had to hike through what looked like the moon, but it was actually a lava field. Lava fields are kinda cool to look at, but if all you have are your flip flops and bathing suit (which is essentially all I recommend bringing) the experience can be rather painful.

The only other island I've been to is Maui. They had some really cool Bed and Breakfasts and I can look them up if you want to. The food on that island sucks so I recommend getting a B&B that has a kitchen. The beaches on Maui are really beautiful--exactly like what you would see on a postcard. Other than that, Maui doesn't really have any interesting perks. Just plan on parking it on a serene beach and snorkel as much as you can.

I personally would like to try Oahu or Poipu beach on Kuaui. I've heard many people talk positively about the latter. Oahu sounds interesting to me because, like Maui, there is direct flights from Portland which is wonderful. If you are bringing the kids, a direct flight would be a huuuge plus, and from what I've heard the beaches on Oahu (probably want to steer clear of Honolulu) have many lifeguards for kiddo safety. The north shore of Oahu has the most appeal to me as it sounds like old time Hawaii.

TMI? Or do you need more info? I'm happy to share...

P.S. Whichever island you choose, there is a line of guide books Hawaii Revealed... If you chose Oahu, look for Oahu Revealed. These books were recommended to me by a local. I don't know if there are any new editions, but the last editions were blue. You should be able to find them easily on Amazon.