A Kauai Destination Wedding

As a little girl, I never dreamed of a fancy wedding and a big meringue of a dress. Let’s face it, I never liked being the center of attention.

My husband and I are two introverts who somehow found each other, so a destination wedding, with just the two of us, was ideal. When the time came to plan, we decided on Kauai, mainly because as a kid, one of my favorite movies was Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley.

In the words of Jason Segel’s character in the excellent “Forgetting Sarah Marshall“, “Oh, wedding in Hawaii! Real original.”

My “weddingmoon” process was:

1. Choose a wedding planner, Portraits of Hawaii (It’s startling, their website has not changed in over a decade. Back then, in the Dark Ages, they were one of the only wedding planners online.)
2. Pick a date and location (Sometime in the autumn, Plantation Gardens)
3. Call a travel agent – All Travel (the was pre- “I do it all myself on the Internet”)
4. Pick the hotel – Grand Hyatt  (I wish the Koa Kea existed back then. I love the boutique-y feel of the place. It’s perfect for couples.)
5. Get a wedding dress (off the rack at a boutique on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, CA.) It was a two piece, hand-painted dress by Mandalay, and definitely not meant to be a wedding dress.

That’s it. No muss, no fuss. No stress, whatsoever. In all, I’d say that it took me exactly two days to plan our wedding.


We did whatever couples do on vacation in Hawaii. We hiked, kayaked the Wailua River, took a boat to the beautiful Fern Grotto, ate a lot of mediocre, overpriced food…and got married somewhere along the way. The only pictures that exist of that time in Kauai are our wedding pictures. It was raining so hard at the Limahuli Gardens, that even with an umbrella, raincoat and a ziploc bag protecting it, my camera was completely underwater and destroyed. Sigh. But, we have the memories.


It was the trip of a lifetime and we couldn’t have been happier.

About the venue, Plantation Gardens. Love, love, loved it.

KauaiWeddingsphoto courtesy of Plantation Gardens

“Plantation Gardens is a wonderful site for a wedding,” says Carol Ann Davis, owner of Portraits of Hawaii, our wedding planner.  “It formerly housed a lava rock plantation manager’s home which has been converted into a great restaurant with good food and a wonderful atmosphere.  The restaurant still maintains the feeling of the old Hawaiian style family home.  Guest dine on a covered lanai which overlooks an very large amazing orchid garden.  When a couple gets married at Plantation Gardens, they have a private space since not many people are there during the day.  There are beautiful gardens and a lovely pond on the grounds for photos and directly across the street is the Sheraton Beach and great spots for beach and sunset photos.  It is a taste of old Hawaii which has been preserved.”


What you need for your Hawaii destination wedding:

There are no blood tests required and no paperwork that must be sent in advance of your scheduled license appointment.

  1. There are no residence or citizenship requirements.
  2. Legal age to marry is 18 years for bride and groom.
  3. Proper identification for bride and groom (State issued driver’s license or government issued ID)
  4. There’s no waiting period. You are free to marry once the license is obtained.
For more information about the wedding process and to download applications for the wedding license, go to Hawaii State Department of Health .
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