Destination Weddings

Destination Wedding Cheat Sheet: Kauai

Iben Dwight of Weddings Hawaii shares some of her favorite wedding venues and vendors in Kauai. Plus, a few location-specific wedding style ideas to help jumpstart your destination wedding planning.

Ceremony Spots

Two of my favorite beaches to get married on are Shipwreck Beach (above) and Anini Beach. I also love Na Aina Kai, a former private estate that's now a nonprofit botanical garden. It offers total privacy and a variety of sites, so you can hold your ceremony on the beach, under the wild forest canopy, or in the formal gardens.

Wedding Reception Locations

Plantation Gardens Restaurant & Bar has a tropical garden surrounded by all kinds of orchids and plumeria trees—it's a beautiful spot for a party. Plus, the beach is right across the street. If you want a private tented reception with a view of the ocean, check out the Hanalei Land Company, which has an expansive lawn right on Hanalei Bay.

Favorite Rehearsal Dinner Spots

One of the best luaus on Kauai is Smith's Family Garden Luau, which features a lush, 30-acre garden in the middle of the historic Wailua Marina State Park. Dinners include local specialties like roasted Kalua pig, mahimahi, and teriyaki beef (plus plenty of mai tais). There's also a show featuring the Hawaiian hula, Tahitian drum dances, and a Samoan fire-knife dance.

Guest Accommodations

The rooms at Waipouli Beach Resort are great for families since they have kitchens, as is the large pool with waterslides and group barbeque areas on the property. And, it's only 20 minutes from the airport. I also love the Grand Hyatt, which is perfect for weddings being held at Shipwreck Beach. The resort has plenty to entertain guests, including a beautiful golf course, pools, and a swimming lagoon. Plus, there's an onsite camp for kids—very convenient should parents want to slip away to the spa for a few hours.

Florists

I've worked with JC Flowers since I started my business over ten years ago. It's a friendly, family-run business who are great at taking direction and customizing arrangements to suit couples' style. I also like Martin Roberts, whose extremely creative and fabulous team can deliver just about anything couples can dream up.

Cake Baker

Icing on the Cake's creations are to die for. My favorite flavor combo is coconut and macadamia nut.

Wedding Favors

Aunt Nalani's Cookies are a wonderful go-to favor—they come wrapped in a lauhala box tied with your choice of ribbon decoration (like a seashell or an orchid). For a more luxurious gift, I recommend the organic line of home, skincare, bath and beauty products from Hawaii-based Malie.

Wedding Bands or DJs

For DJs, my go-to company is Kustom Sounds Kauai—they take care of any and all set up needed, and play a great mix of music that gets everyone dancing. Band-wise, I like Shilo Pa, who was raised right here on Kauai. His music has a reggae-vibe, perfect for a laid-back island wedding.

Ceremony Musicians

For pieces on the guitar or ukulele I love Paul Togioka, a Grammy-nominated musician. His music is also wonderful during cocktail hour. If you want an ensemble, try Kauai Musical Arts who offer a variety of wedding-music options.

Style ideas:

1. Silk chiffon wedding gown, $1,100, Nicole Miller

2. Style 450007 bridesmaid dress, $350, Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids

3. Willow Tree invitation, $234 for 100, Sweet Street Gals, minted.com

4. Chocolate turtle favor, $.75 each, Kauai Chocolate Co.

See destination wedding cheat sheets for: TUSCANY, NEW ORLEANS, PARK CITY

Photos: Frank Amodo Photography (sign, centerpiece); Gelston Dwight (petals); Emily Helen Photography (portrait); Kyle Ericksen (wedding dress); Robert Mitra (bridesmaid dress); Steven Torres (stills)
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