Are you ready to let the next chapter of your love story unfold with a wedding on the island of Kauai? Whether you envision hosting your ceremony overlooking the ocean in a resort extravaganza, or tying the knot under the stars in a tropical garden lit by tiki torches, the Garden Isle provides some of the most romantic wedding locations on the planet. With temperate climates, a laid-back vibe and photo-ready backdrops at every turn, Kauai offers unparalleled beauty and ease. And after one visit to the island you understand why the locals here are considered some of the most genuinely friendly people you will ever encounter. Everything they do is in the spirit of aloha — a natural love of welcoming others — and when you are planning something as important as your wedding, the people of Kauai go out of their way to make you feel special.

Do you know exactly where on Kauai you would like to get married, or are you still looking for a spot that speaks to you? Are you seeking an experienced wedding planner who understands both your vision and the unique qualities of the island? This guide will highlight two top Kauai wedding resorts (one on the North Shore and one on the South Shore), and suggest a handful of the best wedding planning services who can offer up photographers, florists, musicians, and all the other amenities that will make your big day personal. These planners can also help you take your nuptials out into nature . . . or to locations you haven’t even yet considered. And finally, we will offer up some of the most exciting and delicious catering options on this or any other planet.

Let’s dive in so we can start to help you plan the most memorable Kauai wedding ever . . .

Venues Galore: Ceremony & Reception

Though there are many kinds of locations to be found around the island (such as gardens, mountainsides, even the famous Fern Grotto), let’s take a moment to compare the two most popular kinds of venues for a Kauai wedding: at a luxury resort and on the beach.

At a luxury resort:

At private venues like resorts and event spaces, you have the ease of “one-stop shopping” if you desire, as most have that all-inclusive convenience of ceremony, reception and accommodations all at the same location (aka the wedding triple crown!) Resorts often come with built-in packages, services, catering and wedding coordinators. And if you’re eager for that ocean view but would like your guests to be seated, some resorts have lawns or bluffs overlooking the sea. You will also have more leeway to be creative than on the beach. You can use most any design elements you desire, including arches, chairs, tables, cocktail bars, tiki torches, etc. It’s worth noting that even if a resort fronts a beach, it does not own it as all Kauai beaches are public. This means all non-set up laws remain in effect. However, resorts often offer many options such as gardens, waterfalls, meadows, ocean views, etc.

On the beach:

Many brides dream of saying their vows on the sand — and for good reason: The setting is romantic, exotic, and filled with a sense of free-spirited adventure and natural beauty. It’s important to note that per Kauai County law, a beach wedding has a maximum capacity of 30 people. Additionally, no arches, podiums, or furniture of any kind (including chairs) are allowed on the sand which means your guests will need to stand. This is important as you consider the ages and abilities of the loved ones who will be traveling to join you. Receptions are never held on the beach due to the no set-up laws.

A local wedding planner (see section below) will be invaluable as you navigate the joys and limitations of on-the-sand nuptials — including making sure that the setting you choose is the setting you get. The beaches of Kauai are wild and varied and can change from season to season. That spot with the pristine sands and calm shoreline you fell in love with last summer may turn into a stormier, damper beach with deafening waves in the winter. A planner worth his or her (sea)salt will be sure to advise you properly about your choices.

Here are examples of luxury resort wedding venues — one on each of the two main shores:

THE SOUTH SHORE

Known for its perpetual sunshine, glorious sunsets and world-famous beaches, the South Shore of Kauai has picture-perfect year-round weather. White sands stretch for miles of coastline, trees and tropical foliage proliferate and dramatic reef formations jut out over the sparkling Pacific. The South Shore also offers the most dining and shopping options on the island — not to mention plenty of adventure for your guests looking to kick up the fun-factor. Ziplining through a rainforest, anyone?

Koloa Landing Resort

view of grand ballroom and sunsetA premier destination wedding resort on Kauai, Koloa Landing in sunny Poipu creates a spectacular backdrop for your dream event. Palm trees sway, waterfalls cascade, wooden bridges span meandering streams and a panoramic view of the ocean shimmers just beyond. A sense of peace and festivity co-exist here.

Whether you are looking for a Kauai wedding venue that looks like it is straight out of a movie set or you just want to be married in a serene paradise that brings an exotic touch to your nuptials, Koloa Landing Resort in Poipu delivers on all these accounts and more.

Here are a few of the ready-to-go venue choices within Koloa Landing:

The Ocean Lawn

Featuring lush tropical greenery, the Ocean Lawn offers a panoramic view of the azure-blue ocean as the backdrop of your vow exchange. Imagine your first kiss framed by a breath-taking Kauai sunset. A wedding arch, flower-petal aisle, white chairs and so much more can be added to complete your vision.

The Garden Lawn

An ideal location for a Hawaiian ceremony, the Garden Lawn is surrounded by hibiscus, plumeria and orchid flowers. This lawn flows easily onto the Koloa Ballroom Lanai, where your guests can enjoy cocktails and appetizers before transitioning to unveil a stunning ballroom. You may also imagine your outdoor reception on The Garden Lawn with café lights strung from surrounding coconut trees and tiki torches to create a magical, twinkling reception under the stars.

The Sunset Infinity Deck

This poolside locale is perfect for an intimate reception of 20-40 guests. Personalize your bar and dining station cabanas and create the ambiance you desire. Delight your guests with an event on an elevated pool deck overlooking the glassy infinity edge of what was recently voted the best pool in America by USA Today’s 10Best. This view continues all the way out across the waterfall grotto and to the ocean. Sunsets dazzle at no extra charge.

Koloa Grand Ballroom

Wide view of inside of grand ballroomThis magnificent 10,000-square-foot ballroom boasts 17-foot-high grandeur with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto the tropical Garden Lanai and Lawn. This versatile venue may be set for intimate celebrations with 20 of your closest friends or a fabulous gala to wow up to 500 guests. Offering a blank canvas for you to personalize, the room can be filled with flowers, décor, lighting — wherever your imagination takes it.

Whether elegantly formal or casual and fun, our catering team will help you throw the event you’ve always dreamed of hosting.

Koloa Landing Ceremony Packages include:

Elopement Ceremony

  • Outdoor Tropical Ceremony Site Rental
  • Resort Event Coordination by Your Koloa Landing Specialist
  • Wedding Rehearsal Reservations
  • Arrangement of Marriage License Appointment
  • Non-Denominational Officiant
  • Fresh Hawaiian Leis for Ceremony Exchange
  • Banquet Attendant
  • Keepsake Calligraphy Certificate
  • One Bottle of Sparkling Wine

4 Guests | $3,000

Koloa Ceremony upgrades include all Elopement Ceremony components plus:

  • Two Bottles of Sparkling Wine for a Post-Ceremony Toast
  • 8″ Bridal Bouquet
  • 20 White Folding Chairs
  • Ceremony Solo Musician
  • 10″ Wedding Cake with Fresh Floral Décor
  • Tropical Fruit-Infused Water Station

20 Guests | $6,000

Autograph Ceremony upgrades include all Elopement and Koloa Ceremony components plus:

  • 60 White Folding Chairs
  • Wedding Arch
  • Flower Petal Aisle
  • Two Hours of Photography Time

60 Guests | $7,500

Koloa Landing Reception Packages:

Wedding menus are individualized with signature specialty drinks and menu selections that showcase your favorite ingredients along with the colorful flavors of the island. After all, this will be your first dinner party as a married couple. So, bring on the celebration!

Ceremony & Reception Package Perks

Allow the catering team at Koloa Landing Resort to take care of your ceremony and reception arrangements for stress-free planning and convenience. With a package you receive the following complimentary perks:

  • Coastal View Villa Accommodations for Bride & Groom (3 Nights)
  • One Category Upgrade (from Studio Villa) for Parents of the Bride & Groom
  • Bridesmaid’s Dressing Villa
  • Groomsmen’s Dressing Villa
  • One Poolside Cabana Rental
  • Anniversary Gift Certificate for a 3-Night Stay
  • Discounted Resort Fee
  • Dance Floor
  • Outdoor Ambiance Lighting

Would you like traditional “haku” flower crowns for your entire bridal party? The sweet fragrance of plumeria blossoms lining your aisle? Would you like an ukulele player to serenade your new spouse with your favorite melody? The Koloa Landing staff are eager to help create something meaningful for you. This next-level hospitality not only makes the planning more enjoyable but also fills you with the sense that you are doing something deeply personal.

Koloa Landing Resort

2641 Poipu Road, Koloa HI 96756

(808) 742-2494

Rita Moore, Director of Destination Weddings

Email: [email protected]

Website: koloalandingresort.com/kauai-wedding-venue

THE NORTH SHORE

Beloved first and foremost for its lush beauty due to an abundance of both rain and sunshine, the North Shore of Kauai is that jaw-dropping, how-can-this-be-real, tropical paradise you see in your dreams (and in plenty of movies, too). The North Shore offers the charming bohemian vibe of Hanalei Town and the more upscale Princeville area — both easily walkable to and from many points. With long stretches of empty beaches, world-class surfing and the biggest reef in Hawaii, the North Shore is a traveler’s dream.

Hanalei Bay Resort

Hanalei Bay Resort is a tropical Shangri-La that overlooks the Hanalei Bay on the North Shore of the Garden Isle. Guests of the resort are treated to views of breathtaking sunsets, majestic mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The property sprawls over 22 lush acres and the accommodations are tranquil and spacious. Choose to have your wedding ceremony in the garden, surrounded by mountain waterfalls, plumeria trees, and exotic flowers. You may want your ceremony on the beach with toes in the sand, taking in the exquisite natural beauty of Kauai’s North Shore and catching a beautiful sunset.

Imagine standing on the bluff overlooking Hanalei Bay, surrounded by your loved ones as you promise to cherish your significant other for all the years to come. With the waves crashing on the beach below, the Bali Hai mountains rising out of the bay—nothing could be more romantic, and you can fully relax because every detail will be taken care of by Hanalei Bay Resort’s experienced wedding coordinator.

Follow your vows with a reception in the tropical garden with beautiful bay views. The space’s covered gazebo makes the perfect spot for lounging with cocktails. A free-form lagoon pool overlooks Hanalei Bay and is surrounded by waterfalls and lush tropical gardens. There’s even a spa tucked away in a grotto carved from volcanic rock for your guests to enjoy.

Hanalei Bay Resort amenities include:

– Wedding Planning Services

– In-House Catering / Alcohol

– Amplified music Indoors and outdoors

– Venue Set Up and Clean Up

– Day-of Coordinator

– Public Parking

– Transportation / Shuttle

– Beach Access

– Multiple On-Site Venues

– Scenic Views

– Ceremony and Reception Onsite

– Guest Accommodations

– Event Rentals

– Liability Insurance

– Wheelchair Access

Available year-round, daily, and anytime. Check with the resort for the most up-to-date restrictions.

The Hanalei Bay Resort can accommodate intimate weddings for two and grander affairs for up to 50 people. For more information and package prices, please contact the wedding coordinator who will ensure every detail of your big day is even better than you’d imagined.

Debra Lebiet, Wedding Coordinator

(808) 826-1540

Email: [email protected]

Address: 5380 Honoiki Rd Princeville, HI 96722

Website: hanaleibayresort.com/weddings

Expert Advice: Wedding Planners and Services

bride and groom posing on beachIt is not an overstatement that having a local Kauai wedding expert on your team may be the single most important element for a successful event. Kauai is an exotic and unique location, therefore a planner with experience on the island and deep knowledge of its benefits and challenges is invaluable. These planners know the Kauai vibe, its culture and codes, practices and principles. They will also have connections to local vendors, nabbing valuable deals and services for you.

An imported planner would not only be pricey, (in fees, travel costs and lost vendor deals) but the learning curve would be steep, indeed. Most of the Kauai resorts offer an onsite coordinator, so vet those, as well. These local saviors not only do it all, they are your eyes and ears in absentia and can swoop in to handle any number of snafu’s that may arise in the weeks prior to your nuptials.

You will want to consider photographers who know Kauai with its unique lighting, weather and hidden locations, professional florists with the freshest exotic blooms, not to mention all the “idea people” who can provide fun extras that will make your wedding soulful, unforgettable and undeniably you.

It’s also worth noting that Kauai is beloved not only for its awe-inspiring natural beauty but also for its easy-going attitude. Clocks run a little slower here than in the big city, so give your caterers, florists and other providers some extra leeway. If you are a control freak and like to stick to a strict timetable, it’s time to ease up, have another mai tai and trust the locals — because they’ve got this!

Here are three of the top all-in-one wedding planning services for Kauai weddings — each on different points of the island:

LEGACY EVENTS: (South Shore)

(808) 652-8186

Email: [email protected]

Koloa Rd Koloa, HI 96756

Website: legacyeventskauai.com

Philosophy: Custom events crafted with detail and love.

Legacy Events is a team of professional and experienced coordinators who are committed to you before, during and after your wedding day. They make sure everything that you’ve planned together happens just as you envisioned. They carefully attend to each of the small details, give the vendors explicit direction, and swiftly resolve any possible last-minute issues. They are at your side — even to cue your ceremony once everyone is seated and in place. Their goal is to provide the bride and groom with a beautiful, stress-free event. Your wedding is as much about the experience leading up to the big day as it is about the wedding itself, and they love to ensure that both are a joy for you.

KZIETZ EVENTS KAUAI: (North Shore)

(772) 971-0236

Email [email protected]

PO Box 223833, Princeville, HI

Website: kzietzweddings.com

Philosophy: Providing couples with flawless events that leave guests with memories for a lifetime.

As seen in Vogue, KZietz Events Kauai is a team of dedicated planners who specialize in gorgeous destination weddings on the Garden Isle. Run with experience and vision by founder and principal Krisy Zietz, this professional events team has deep relationships with Hawaiian vendors that offer you a memorable, seamless, and completely stress-free experience. You can rest easy knowing the capable staff at KZietz Events Kauai will expertly handle all of your wedding details, from the first fluttering petal to the last sip of champagne.

With a focus on medium to large weddings, KZietz’s services include rehearsal dinner, day-of coordination, partial and full wedding planning, event design, timelines and to-do lists, vendor referrals and even budget analysis. Enjoy a level of service and attention to detail that will create the wedding of your dreams. Just one look at their photos will make you a believer!

RACHEL WHITNEY WEDDINGS: (South Shore)

(808) 631-3045

Email: [email protected]

PO Box 1276, Lawai, HI

Website: rachelwhitneyweddings.com

Philosophy: Bringing people together in beautiful environments and creating opportunities for joy.

Rachel Whitney Weddings prides itself on creating beautiful and meaningful details that make all the difference for their clients’ events — delivered with style, grace and professionalism. The staff understand that your wedding is a chance to share your love story with the most important people in your life and has the potential to leave lasting impressions on your guests. They love to take the time to get to know you and what is important to you so they can be your advocates throughout the planning process.

Whether you are just beginning your wedding planning journey, or have some of the details already secured, Rachel Whitney Weddings is ready to help you see it through seamlessly. Packages range from Full Service Planning or Partial Planning, to straight up Coordination, so there is a level that is just right for you. Rachel Whitney Weddings is in the business of ensuring you enjoy a one-of-a-kind celebration that exceeds your expectations. Let them take all your stress away while they help you plan an unforgettable wedding day!

Festive Feasting: Kauai Wedding Caterers

Delight your guests with cuisine that is artful, elegant and also celebrates all the colorful flavors and textures of the Garden Isle. Mmm . . .

Farm Cook Kauai — Princeville

(808) 639-8860

Email: [email protected]

4186 Wailea Pl, Princeville, HI 96722

Website: farmcookkauai.com

Farm Cook Kauai is aptly named because their culinary point of view is inspired by local farmers, fishermen and ranchers, while their impeccable service is inspired by the Kauain spirit of aloha.

A personal chef and catering company, Farm Cook Kauai strives to create an outstanding dining experience. Their cuisine is clean, healthy, flavorful and unique, and uses only the freshest organic and locally sourced vegetables, meats and fish. With starters like grilled octopus, shrimp cakes and poke, and entrees such as grilled ono with house-made jerk seasoning & avocado mousse and Big Island ribeye grilled with smoked paprika miso butter & chimichurri, you will be treating your guests to a feast they won’t soon forget.

Contemporary Flavors Catering

(808) 245-2522

Email: [email protected]

1610 Haleukana Street Lihue, Hawaii 96766

Website: contemporaryflavorscatering.com

Born and raised on the Garden Isle, Chef Mark Oyama collaborates with local fisherman, farmers, and businesses to bring the freshest ingredients to your table and provide a warm atmosphere for your wedding.

The largest full-service licensed catering company on the island of Kauai, Contemporary Flavors is built on more than 35 years of international culinary experience, and specializes in Pacific Rim and continental fine dining. Chef Oyama works personally with you to make your wedding feast vision a reality. He can also create the wedding cake of your dreams — a multi-tiered show-stopping confection that tastes as good as it looks! With romantic, traditional, whimsical and contemporary designs, these cakes can be customized with any flavor including Lilikoi Chiffon, Chocolate Mocha Crunch, or Toasted Macadamia Nut with Pineapple — and so many more. Yes, please!

Finca Makaleha Kauai

(808) 651-1382

Email: [email protected]

In the town of Kapaa on the East Coast

Website: fincamakalehakauai.com

Chef Danny selects produce from his personal gardens and from many of the organic farms on Kauai. His menus can be customized to suit your preferences, as Chef Danny takes pride in cooking up delicious dishes to suit each person’s needs. He loves to create a menu that will wow your guests while taking special dietary restrictions into account. Highlighting Hawaii-inspired delicacies and Pacific Rim specialties, Finca Makaleha Kauai also offers gluten-free and vegan-friendly options. Their professional staff know how to spread the aloha, making any wedding dinner a sight to behold, a joy — and a breeze.

For more information about Kauai weddings, go to Koloa Landing Resort Kauai Weddings. You can fill out a handy contact form or dial the team directly at (808) 201-3805. Wedding experts are standing by!

— Erica Karlin, Koloa Landing Resort