8 Ways To Make Guests Happy at Your Hawaii Destination Wedding

May 4, 2020

Just because you’re saying “I do” in paradise, doesn’t automatically mean your guests are going to have a wonderful time. For many, this might be their first trip to Hawaii and they’re anxious about what to expect. For others, budget concerns may be secretly looming behind their enthusiastic congratulations. 

So how do you ensure your friends and family truly enjoy the occasion? It all starts in the planning stage! Scroll on for 8 easy ways to make your guests happy at your Hawaii destination wedding

1. Hire a Local Wedding Planner As Your Guide

First things first, hire a local wedding planner. While some out-of-state companies will try to coordinate your Hawaii wedding remotely, the overall experience is sure to be distant and possibly nerve-wracking. Hiring someone who lives in Hawaii cuts out the middleman and allows you an opportunity for a real human-to-human connection.  

Hawaii wedding planner

A Hawaiian wedding planner will not only take better care of you, but they’re experts on the locale and have amazing connections. A local planner will help you make the best decisions to ensure your guests are happy and satisfied. 

Just take these words from Miranda L: “Planning a beach wedding from out of state can be stressful but Simple Maui Wedding made everything so easy. They answered every question or concern I had, they responded so fast to all my emails. It could not have been more perfect.” 

2. Send Out a List of Nearby Lodging

Hawaii hotels are not cheap. As a bride or groom, opting for the highest price tag makes sense–it’s your Big Day and you deserve the best money can buy! But your guests might already be cracking into their piggy banks just to afford the plane tickets. So research ahead of time or ask your wedding planner for a list of affordable lodging in the area. If you’ve hired locally, your wedding planner will be more than familiar with the town and able to give you the insider scoop.   

If you are looking to trim costs, we recommend looking into condos in the area. Most are much more affordable than the average hotel and feature kitchen units, which means big savings on food costs! For a family of 4, why spend $100 + per day on a hotel breakfast (not including tip), when you can make it in your condo for less than $25? 

3. Know the Location

Your guests’ experience can be dramatically different depending on the location and time of day. For instance, with Hawaii beach weddings, the guest count is legally restricted to 30, and items that need to be stuck into the sand (like chairs or arches) are also prohibited. Beach access can also pose a problem for those who are movement-restricted or elderly. 

Rain is also common in Hawaii… While they might not boast sandy shores, most venues in Hawaii have an indoor option, ample parking, and feature gorgeous views. A wedding venue can ensure rain doesn’t affect your Big Day, and that may help you sleep better at night knowing you thought of everything. Also, if you plan your timing accordingly, you can usually get some beach photos even if your venue isn’t on the beach. 

Hawaii destination wedding

Ask your wedding planner for the pros and cons of each locale so you can determine a spot that’s still a dream-worthy place to say “I do” but is also comfortable for every guest.

Doing so made a big difference for Nikki K: “I love that Simple Maui Wedding gave suggestions and were honest when the location we wanted was under construction and wouldn’t be as pretty.” 

4. Suggest Flight Insurance 

Things happen, and sometimes destination weddings in Hawaii need to be postponed or rescheduled (just look at what happened with COVID-19). But a global pandemic aside, traveling is never without risks, and flight insurance provides that extra bit of cushion if the unforeseen happens. The last thing you or your guests want during a trip to Hawaii is to worry about a flight cancelation or lost luggage.    

5. Inform Them of Weather Basics

Hawaii has a ton of stunning days with sunshine and blue skies…. Which means it can get HOT! And humid and windy. So let your guests know ahead of time about the weather basics. 

Have them bring a stylish hat for the occasion, put on sunscreen an hour before, and opt for an updo in case of wind. You should also inform women in your party that fixing a hairstyle can be difficult in the humid Hawaiian weather. Suggest they schedule in at least 30 extra minutes for hair and beauty prep.

If your ceremony is taking place on the beach, your guests will also need a heads up about the possibility of rain. And don’t forget to let them know what kind of shoes are best for the sandy shore: nothing beats sandals, slippers, or bare feet. You could also make a cute little basket like this one! 

shoe basket for beach wedding

6. Include TWO Tropical Must-Haves

While monogram cookies or mini bubbles on guests’ seats might be the perfect refreshment for a mainland ceremony, for a Hawaii destination wedding consider a collapsible fan and mini water bottle instead. Those other cute and personal Etsy-style details can always be included in their welcome bags.

7. Provide Entertainment

After that big kiss, your Hawaii wedding photographer is likely going to whisk you away for a series of romantic couples portraits against the tropical backdrops. Be sure to have something arranged to keep your guests entertained during this time. 

A venue might have an open bar or offer a cocktail hour, but if your ceremony is on the beach you may have to get creative. Arrange an early arrival time with your reception venue or restaurant and allow your guests to go ahead while you happily pose in front of the sunset. 

On the other hand, if you’ve hired beach entertainment, such as a musician, consider paying for an extra 1/2 hour and giving your guests the unforgettable memory of dancing to the ukulele with the hum of waves crashing in the background. 

Hawaii destination wedding

8. Don’t Forget They’re On Vacation Too! 

Everyone loves playing tourist from time to time, and your guests are no different! As you’re planning your trip and after-wedding bliss, take a little extra time to compile a list of fun things for guests to do while they’re in Hawaii. Make it pin-worthy and print it up on a cute little card that you can include in the welcome bags or attach it to the itinerary. 

While you’re at it, try to also include touches of Hawaiian flair to your ceremony or reception. It can be as simple as drinking from fresh coconuts and passing out leis, or as elaborate as entertaining your party with the twisting flames of a Polynesian fire dancer! 

bride drinking from a coconut in hawaii
Hawaii destination wedding

Above all, remember that your guests are traveling a long way to support you and your special someone. Your Hawaii destination wedding will be one of the biggest days in your life, but it might also be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of your guests, so take a little extra time to show them how much they mean to you. Then go outside and do a couple of cartwheels… because you’re getting married in Hawaii!!

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