My fiance and I have 2 requirements for a venue that we wouldn’t budge on for our 2011 nupitals:

1. Outside of Waikiki.
2. Ceremony+reception at the same venue.

A little background on us -we’re both raised on Oahu and most of our guests are living on Oahu as well.

We’ve narrowed down our choices for our site visits to the following:

  • Aloha Tower
  • Bishop Museum
  • Koolau Ballrooms
  • Mid Pacific Country Club
  • Kualoa Ranch
We’ve visited 3 of the 5 and for all you planning an Oahu Wedding, here’s my take on them:
Aloha Tower –
This is probably the front runner right now. As far as Hawaii weddings go, it’s one of the more offbeat locations. They are super flexible re: vendors and you can bring in your own caterers. The great thing is that they have some great restaurants on property (Chais – Pacific Fusion, Mexican, Gordon Bierch, Chinese, among others) that could do the catering for you as well. The location is HUGE and how cool is it to have your ceremony at the base of Aloha Tower – wikipedia the history. The price is right – it’s pretty affordable and they can take care of booking all the rentals for you. The events person there, Crystal, is very helpful. It’s a historic site and something totally different. If you want a beach site for your wedding, Kakaako Park or Magic Island are about a mile away. Did I mention that they have a liquor license until 2 am? So you really can party all night.
Bishop Museum –
The gardens are beautiful here and one of the sites has enclosed structures. There are many different sites to choose from – with every budget in mind. And you can take your portraits in the museum – SOOOO cool. There’s a huge whale hanging in the middle of one of the buildings, so having that in the background would be a fun quirky picture to take. Some of the sites have rentals that come with it (tents/tables/chairs) but it depends on the site. The bad thing is that some of the rentals are a little worn looking and dirty – not sure if I just saw them before they cleaned them up? That worried me a little. I’d suggest renting your own tents/chairs/etc. Since it’s located in the middle of a residential area, music needs to be done around 9 and you have to be out by 10.
Koolau Ballrooms –
GORGEOUS. Seriously. The ballrooms, the view from the ballrooms, the ceremony locations – all beautiful. The green Koolau Mountains in the background are BREATHTAKING. This is actual a very very close second to Aloha Tower. For an evening wedding, you can get into the ballrooms to set up at 12 noon. They have package that’s something like $65/head that pretty much includes EVERYTHING – your ceremony fee is waived, hand service for head table, a big buffet, ice carvng, wedding cake, bartender fee waived, etc. A bit more pricey, however.
This weekend we’re checking out Mid Pacific Country Club and Kualoa Ranch, so I’ll definitely update you then.