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10 Things You Should Know About Getting Married on the Beach on O'ahu

Updated: Jan 14

O'ahu beach weddings are awe-inspiring.

Not only do the beaches have soft golden sand and crystal-clear waters, what sets them apart are the stunning views of lush, green volcanic mountains. It really adds that "breathtaking" element. The perfect backdrop for your intimate wedding. And wedding photos! But I might be biased about that. I am a local to O'ahu destination wedding and elopement photographer.

O'ahu provides an idyllic setting for couples seeking an unforgettable wedding experience. Whether you envision an intimate ceremony or a celebration with numerous guests, planning an O'ahu beach wedding offers soo many diverse options.

However, there are a few crucial things to consider when planning for your special day. Here are 10 essentials you should understand in order to be prepared for your hawaii beach wedding.

10 Things You Should Know About Getting Married on the Beach on O'ahu

1. There is rain.

While heavy rains and disruptive winds are actually pretty rare, it's important to be (and stay) informed about the weather conditions. Hawaii experiences brief daily rain showers, but they typically pass quickly. If the forecast predicts rain, don't be discouraged – it's often fleeting. 

It is also important to keep in mind that winter is considered the rainy season here in Hawaii. The chances of daily showers increases between November - March. 

2. Timing is Crucial.

Sunset weddings are gorgeous, and usually much cooler for your guests than planning one for the middle of the day. Trust your photographer with helping you make your timeline. The sunset time listed on google is the time that you should plan to be done with all photography. 

In beach locations where the sunset happens behind the mountains or another island you need to plan even earlier. (Example: Kualoa Regional Park - plan to be done with photography 1 hour before sunset time).Schedule any photography services to conclude at least one hour before sunset. 

3. It's Hot and Sunny at the Beach! (Prepare for the Sun)

O'ahu's beaches are known for their consistent heat and sunshine. Ensure everyone, including the couple and guests, has sufficient water and sunscreen. Dress appropriately in light, airy clothing (think linen suits!), and consider providing shaded areas during the ceremony for added comfort. 

4. The Beach is Public!

O'ahu's beaches are public, and beachgoers might unintentionally become part of your ceremony. It is not uncommon for beachgoers to run directly behind your ceremony, chase their kids loudly during your vows, and to photobomb every photo.

Opt for less busy times or a more secluded secluded beach, or both, if possible, to minimize distractions. Additionally, some venues provide extra security guards who will help keep away any uninvited guests who may wander onto the beach during your wedding ceremony. With careful preparation, you can still enjoy an intimate O'ahu beach wedding without worrying about unwanted spectators or disruptions.

5. There are restrictions on chairs and decor.

No chairs, arches, or adornments of any kind are allowed on the beach. If you truly were imagining a wedding with a ceremony arch, don't worry! There are other ocean front options we can take! It's just that we are not allowed to set anything up directly in the sand. This means that if you wish to have seating for your guests, you must provide seating arrangements such as blankets and cushions.

Keep in mind that even decorations such as flower petals and aisle runners cannot be placed directly on the sand due to environmental regulations either. **You can still use flower petals for a flower toss but they must be real petals and they must be completely picked up from the sand before you leave the beach.

6. Some beaches are really, really busy.

Some beaches, despite allowing permits, can be excessively crowded. Like in Waikiki. It's important to research and choose a location that aligns with your desire image for your ceremony. Especially if you're aiming for a more secluded and private atmosphere.

Understanding the beach's typical foot traffic and opting for less busy times of the day helps a lot. But don't worry, that's where my local knowledge comes in, I can help you with that.

7. You can't get married on every beach

Not every beach in O'ahu is available for weddings due to environmental regulations and restricted access. It is important to research the beaches available and make sure that you have permission from the county or state before proceeding with any plans (aka get a Hawaii beach permit!).

However, if you are getting married on a private estate next to the beach you do NOT need an additional marriage license to get married on their lawn. If navigating permits and marriage licenses intimidates you, don't worry I can help!

*It is important to note that most beaches in Kailua and Waimanalo area DO NOT allow commercial photography of any kind.

8. Factor in the Wind

O'ahu's warm ocean breeze adds such a romantic element to your wedding - in theory - but can also totally ruin your day if you don't plan for it correctly!! Choose wind-resistant decorations and hairstyles. Heavy table decorations and hairspray!

Morning weddings are almost always more calm than sunset weddings. Also worth mentioning that choosing a beach location on the south side of the island is generally less windy than the north shore.

9. Not all beaches have restrooms - or parking!

Verify if your chosen beach has public restrooms, parking, and its closing times. Check online and make sure you know if your beach has public restrooms / porta potty and a parking lot. 

10. Wear/Bring Sandals

O'ahu's beaches may have thorny trees and natural lava rock formations. And if you aren't used to walking on lava rock, it will really hurt!! Wearing or at least bringing sandals is advisable to avoid any discomfort.

Want more information about planning your wedding or elopement on Oahu? Check out my full blog about "How to Elope on O'ahu + Photography Locations".

As someone who understands the importance of adventure and meaningful experiences, I am passionate about helping you create a wedding day that reflects your personalities and values.

I will work closely with you to ensure that every detail is taken care of, from finding the perfect location to creating a timeline that allows you to be fully present in the moment.

Hiring me as your elopement photographer means that you can relax and enjoy the experience, knowing that your wedding day is in good hands. Send me a message today.

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