After the budget, some folks may say that choosing a “theme” is the first step to planning your wedding.  I think it’s the venue(s) that really should be that first step.

Once you secure a venue, it dictates the date of your wedding, the tone (formal, casual) and the options you have for decor. Not to mention that the venue might also affect your budget.

Now, living in Hawaii you would think that finding a venue would be easy as pie, right? Just pick a beach/hotel and be done with it. Unfortunately, I’m not that kind of bride, and I don’t want that kind of wedding.

The beach part I like, but I can’t think of anything I would like less than to be married at a hotel, motel or Holiday Inn (I had to put that reference in). While I think there are a lot of advantages – resources, indoor, consistent – it’s just not my cuppa tea.

Instead I’d love an outdoor, fierce (yeah, I said fierce) and budget friendly wedding of my dreams…with the venue to match. And unlike our mainland counterparts, Hawaii has very few appropriate venues for such an event. Not as many big historic wedding-friendly places, or even suitable warehouse/loft type spaces within my budget.  The closest to perfection is the Haiku Sugar Mill, but two big caveats there are the site fee – $4,500! – oh yeah, and it’s on Maui. We’re looking for something on Oahu.

Here are some of my ideas so far:

  • Morning ceremony + reception at the park by my parents house; bar after party for friends – probably most cost effective option
  • C+R at a beach house – will probably cost more, but no need to rent a hotel for the big night and we can house our friends and fam bam at the same time
  • Molii Gardens at Kualoa Ranch – gorgeous with a ton of possibilities