Maybe it’s the soft trade winds or flower-scented air, but for
whatever reason, Hawaii is luring an increasing number of couples
looking for island weddings. According to state reports, 28.9
percent more visitors went to Hawaii for weddings and honeymoons in
2002 than the previous year. Following are 10 romantic places for
them to take the plunge:
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island Passions run high
when couples recite their vows by the rising steam of a smoldering
volcano. HVNP wedding facilitator Aleta Knight can advise them on
the dos and don’ts of a ceremony at the edge of creation.
Haleakala Ranch, Maui Jason Latas of Maui Eco-Adventures
arranges helicopter transfers to an exclusive pasture at the
7,000-foot elevation, surrounded by forests and ocean views. Rates
from $1,000 to $20,000 depending on the client’s whims.
Sweetheart Rock, Lanai Rising from the sea off the southern
coast, this backdrop comes with its own romantic Hawaiian legend.
Supposedly, a jealous husband kept his beautiful wife, Puu Pehe,
hidden in a sea cave, until one day, she drowned in the cave.
Overcome with sadness, he buried her body at the top of an
inaccessible rock island, then jumped off the rock to his
Legend or not, this spot is best for adventurous couples who
don’t mind getting dirty. A basic beach wedding costs $1,500, when
the couple books four nights at Manele Bay Hotel or Lodge at Koele.
Kilauea Lakeside Estate, Kauai This secluded retreat boasts a
20-acre lake, five acres of tropical landscaping and a lavish
three-bedroom home that clients rent in order to marry on the
property. Owner Steve Hunt, who got hitched there himself, offers a
gamut of wedding services, from leis to luaus for anywhere between
$200 to $50,000. 310-379-7842; www.kauailakeside.com.
Kaupoa Beach, Molokai A sunset ceremony on secluded sands costs
from $625 to $1,600 courtesy of Sheraton Molokai Lodge & Beach
Village. During a honeymoon on the island, clients can try
eco-adventures like horseback riding and mountain biking.
Diamond Head Park, Oahu With palm trees and manicured lawns by
the sea, this small, photogenic park near Waikiki provides what
some couples call the quintessential Hawaiian setting. Many firms
arrange ceremonies there. Wedding in Hawaii lists packages from
$180. 888-452-5450; www.wedaloha.com.
Waterfall Wedding, Kauai Coconut Coast Weddings flies couples in
a helicopter over the scenic Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon en
route to the ceremony site, notable for its three cascading
waterfalls. Rates range from $2,650 to $3,250. 800-585-5595;
Outrigger Catamaran, Oahu Clients can sail toward the future
aboard a 45-foot vessel, with views of Waikiki, Diamond Head and
the Koolau Mountains. A 1.5-hour charter costs $1,000, plus charges
for necessities like cake and champagne. 808-922-2210;
Pali Kai, Four Seasons Resort, Maui With native Hawaiian plants
and cliff-side views of Wailea Beach, this intimate wedding site
needs no man-made props. Couples can enhance the sense of place by
hiring a conch-shell blower and chanter for the ceremony. A package
for $6,250 includes dinner for the newlyweds. 800-334-MAUI;
Nani Maui Gardens, Big Island Four miles from Hilo, this
nature-lover’s attraction provides 20 acres of gardens, pavilions
and waterfalls for weddings of all sizes. Couples can plant a tree
together to honor the occasion. 808-959-3500; www.nanimaui.com.