Helpful Oahu Wedding Information
Oahu Wedding Pricing Stats
The average Oahu wedding and reception costs $32,000 in 2012 not including honeymoon, travel, dress and rings according to the Knot and the Wedding Report. It’s important to understand that this is the average cost amongst all weddings from micro-budget weddings to high-end lavish events. The average guest count is 30 – 40 people for a destination wedding or 100 – 125 for a local wedding. Less than 5% of all Oahu wedding have a budget of less than $5,000 and less than 5% with a budget over $100,000. If you are having a destination wedding in Hawaii with anywhere from 20-40 people, seeking a simple ceremony and reception with all the wedding basics you should have a realistic budget range of $20,000 – $30,000. For those with more luxurious tastes or seeking ample decor, you should have a budget of $30,000 – $50,000. For those that are seeking ceremony only services, $5,000 – $10,000 is a realistic range for a quality service. These numbers are averages based upon thousands of weddings per year in Hawaii and do not include the cost of the rings, dress, travel or honeymoon. Your exact costs will vary.
Does a Small Wedding Equal Small Cost?
It is widely believed that smaller weddings cost less due to the lower guest count which is true to a point. You will definitely save money on food and alcohol. You may also save money on lower rental costs such as fewer tables and chairs. However, many of your wedding costs are fixed costs regardless if you have two guests or two hundred guests. For example, the average wedding arch including rental fee, delivery fee, set up fee, fabric, decor, and flowers costs about $1,500 total. The cost of the arch doesn’t change based on the size of your wedding. The minister service fee doesn’t change based on your guest count nor does the musicians, site rental, photographer, videographer and more. These are all fixed costs that won’t change based upon your guest count. While some vendors will charge more for larger events due to the extended planning, hours and additional staff, they don’t charge less for smaller events because they are still doing the same amount of work, providing the same services and products. An example would be a DJ who will charge a base rate of $1,500 – $2,500 for an event regardless if it is 20 people or 200 people. While you will definitely save money on food, alcohol and rentals by having a lower guest count, almost all other costs are fixed costs that won’t change. This is why 80% of destination Oahu weddings that are having both the ceremony and reception with just 30-40 people will still cost about $20,000 – $30,000.
Pros & Cons of Oahu Beach Weddings
Many brides and grooms will find low rates on simple Oahu beach weddings which are the perfect fit for select couples but not everyone. Oahu beach weddings are perfect for those that want to get married with their toes in the sand just steps away from the ocean but aren’t fussy about anything else. These simple ceremonies are affordable, beautiful and stress-free. The downsides of an Oahu beach wedding is that the beach is public so other beach-goers will be present at your event. Another downside is that you have no back-up venue in case of rain. Thankfully, it usually only rains for short spurts of time and passes quickly. The biggest downside is that it is illegal to have any “bulky” item set up on the beach including arches, tables, chairs, large floral displays or any other “bulky” item that stands more than 3 feet tall or over 20 lbs. If you are caught by the Hawaii DLNR breaking this law, you will be subject to a $5,000 fine and may be arrested. Lastly, you can only have ceremonies on the beach but receptions are strictly prohibited. Is a Oahu wedding on the beach right for you? Keep reading…
Is a Beach Oahu Wedding Right for You?
Beach Oahu weddings are ideal for groups of 15 people or less with no set up or decor of any kind that aren’t fussy about other people being around, can go with the flow in case of poor weather and have invested in a great photographer. If you are having a small, mobile group of 15 or less then you don’t really need to worry about rain because if bad weather occurs you can simply relocate. For larger groups relocating isn’t possible so we would recommend going with a private venue with a backup venue in case of rain. If you are open to a traditional standing Oahu beach wedding with no chairs, arch or tables, then a beach Oahu wedding might be a good fit. However, if you have your heart set on chairs and arch, you will need to go to a private venue. Most beach-goers will be respectful during your ceremony but just make sure you hire a photographer who is experienced enough to shoot around the crowds so you don’t end up with bikini clad strangers in the background of your wedding photos. If you are looking for ceremony only services then an beach Oahu wedding may be perfect for you. However, if you were hoping to have your reception at the beach too you’ll need to reconsider. Beach Oahu weddings are one of the best and most affordable wedding options available but they aren’t right for everyone. It’s important you way the pros and cons and make the choice that is right for you.
Hawaii Marriage License
Any couple that would like to get married in Hawaii will need to apply for a Hawaii marriage license. There is no waiting, no blood test and no proof of divorce are required. It’s very simple and easy. You will simply fill out the form, provide government issue photo ID and pay a $60 fee. You will need to obtain the license prior to the ceremony and bring it with you. We will provide detailed instructions to all of our clients to make this process simple and easy for you and your Oahu wedding.
Oahu Wedding Venues Stats
There are over 800 Oahu wedding venues varying from beaches, churches, hotels, country clubs, estates, gardens and more. However, currently there are no cliff locations legally available on Oahu and their is only one NATURAL waterfall available for Oahu weddings which is Waimea Falls. All other waterfalls are man-made creations made for landscaping and are not real, authentic waterfalls. There are only 4 semi-private beaches on Oahu available for weddings – Secret Island, Turtle Bay, Disney Lagoon & Lanikohuna. The first 10 feet of sand is public but the rest of the property is privately owned. All other beaches are completely public. Lanikai & Kailua beaches do not permit weddings on them and they are actively patrolled. The average venue rental for two hours for ceremony only ranges from $900 – $2,500. The average all day venue rental for ceremony and reception ranges from $1,800 to over $5,000. This would include the venue rental only and not any other products or services.
For those of you who are seeking the best travel options for you and your guests, we recommend Anne from Destination weddings. Her contact information is below and she will help get you the best discounted group rates for you and your guests.
Anne Del Vecchio
Senior Certified Destination Wedding Specialist
Monday – Friday, 9:00AM – 5:00PM PST
Evenings and Weekends by Appointment