Saying I Do in Paradise

Hawaii wedding locales LGBT

The stories behind three unique locations chosen by couples getting married in Hawaii.

Images by Kelli Bullock


Names: Tanya & Maylani Alana
History: Together 4 years, wed on February 22, 2014
From: O‘ahu, Hawai‘i

Why Queen Emma Summer Palace:
We decided to get married towards the end of December, 2013. With only a little time to prepare, we had to keep costs down as much as possible. Once we took a tour, we fell in love with the place. The palace and grounds are beautiful, the atmosphere is serene. It’s secluded, a hidden gem. The fact that it was one of our queen’s homes made it that much more special.

Most memorable moment:
For me, walking up the pathway with my parents, seeing our family and friends, and seeing Maylani standing at the alter looking beautiful, with happy tears in her eyes. For Maylani, walking down the stairs into the courtyard, seeing all our family and guests, and watching me walk up the pathway with tears of joy in my eyes.

Definitely do a walkthrough a couple weeks prior to figure out the ceremony setup, the seating in the reception area, and where the entertainment will go. At Queen Emma, be sure to get the courtyard and the reception areas. We used the courtyard for the ceremony, which was perfect. Take in the beauty and the simplicity of it all.


Residence-darrendav-KBP 7852

Private Home

Names: Darren Stover & Dav Rice
History: Met New Year’s Eve 2011, married New Year’s Eve 2014
From: Dallas, Texas

Why a private home in Hawai‘i:
We wanted it to be somewhere special, and a place that would be a vacation for our family and friends. We searched sites for vacation rentals all over the islands. Hale Lokahi on O‘ahu had all of the amenities we wanted, and rental options nearby for the rest of our friends and family. The most important thing was to have a home where we could have big communal dinners and a beautiful ceremony.

Most memorable moment:
It was the most perfect day of our lives. Our good friend married us. My two best friends from high school sang. We wrote our own vows. Our reception dinner was catered by Chef Chai, and everything was coordinated by White Orchid Wedding. The setting was perfect, from the weather to the roosters in the background to the beautiful mountain backdrop. But the most memorable part was standing in front of our family and friends and declaring our love for each other.

Hire a professional to orchestrate everything, including the home rentals. We rented a total of four homes for 29 of us. We coordinated car rentals and travel details for everyone. It was a huge task, especially flying blind. But it all worked out.


Beach Wedding


Names: Leila Finn & Sandra Neuse
History: Together 25 years, married on the 25th anniversary of their commitment, October 1, 2014
From: Atlanta, Georgia

Why Waimanalo Beach:
At first we were going to get married on Waikiki Beach, but Leila’s sister, who had lived in Honolulu for 10 years, pointed out that it would be busy. We didn’t want people wandering in and out during our ceremony! Our officiant’s website had several suggestions, including Waimanalo Beach. It was an easy drive from Waikiki, the scenery was spectacular, and it was relatively quiet.

Most memorable moment:
The ceremony. It was beautiful. We kept it very simple, with two close friends, the photographer, and the officiant, James Chun. He did a wonderful job, showing respect for the years we already had together and explaining how marriage builds upon an already wonderful and special relationship.

Let the beautiful surroundings be your backdrop—you really don’t need anything else! Our friends picked roses up from a florist in Honolulu for a “flower shower.” Be careful what you take to the beach for this; some items aren’t allowed, like confetti or rice. Also, you do need a beach permit. Finally, don’t stress over weather forecasts. The weather in Hawai‘i changes quickly. Rain was forecast for our wedding day, but the sun came out and stayed out.