Don’t feel pressured by wedding magazines and celebrity weddings to put on an elaborate wedding celebration filled with “traditions” that are meaningless to you.  Focus on having a meaningful wedding day rather than a spectacle. It is very simple to create a beautiful meaningful wedding without adding the burden of wedding debt to the marriage.



Pick a venue so beautiful you don't have to decorate. Parks, Botanical Gardens, Beaches, and Lakes are filled with natural beauty with no or low usage cost. Homes and backyards are also inexpensive alternatives to more formal venues which can come with usage fees ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.


State Parks and Beaches: Hawaii has over 12 miles of beautiful beaches and parks which make beautiful backgrounds for wedding ceremonies! A permit is required by the State of Hawaii to hold any type of gathering including weddings and or receptions at State parks and beaches. Visit the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources website for info on how to get a permit from the state.


Surprise Vow Renewal on Waikiki Beach


Botanical Gardens: There are beautiful botanical gardens around the island of of Oahu. They are filled with lush assortments of tropical plants, trees, and flowers which make a spectacular backdrop for weddings and vow renewals. There is a usage fee on some and some are free to use, you need to apply at the garden for a usage permit in advance.

Wahiawa Botanical Garden (Wahiawa) FREE
Foster Botanical Garden (Downtown Honolulu) FEE APPLIES
Lili’uokalani Botanical Gardens (Downtown Honolulu) Has a waterfall. Apply for permit at Foster Botanical Garden. FREE
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden (Kaneohe) Has a fresh water lake. FREE
Lyon Arboretum (Manoa) Has garden options for ceremonies as well as offers indoor facility rentals for ceremonies or receptions.  FEE APPLIES
Senator Fong’s Plantation and Gardens (Kaneohe) FEE APPLIES

Backyards and Homes: Use your home or backyard or one of a family member or friend to have your ceremony and/or reception. A yard or living room can be transformed into a beautiful wedding site very inexpensively.


Intimate Wedding With Sand Unity Ceremony At My Home


Minister’s Home: I am a Wedding Minister on Oahu, Hawaii and I offer my home in Kapolei for intimate wedding ceremony services with the wedding couple and up to 2 guests at no additional cost. I do accept same day wedding requests at my home, however, it is subject to my availability. I also perform wedding services for traditional and same sex couples anywhere on the island of Oahu and am willing to perform unusual services in unique locations.
Wedding service $150, Vow Renewal $125.

Contact Me For Additional Wedding Minister Services Information.

Wedding Rings

Many couples are opting wedding rings made from Sterling Silver, White Gold, Stainless Steel, or Titanium over Gold as they are just as beautiful but much less expensive. Ebay is an excellent place to find a wide variety of very nice inexpensive wedding rings. If you prefer gold, antique wedding rings are another more affordable option and are available through Pawn Shops and Estate Brokers in addition to Ebay.
How to measure for ring size

Take a strip of paper or string and wrap it around your finger below the joint of your finger and close to your knuckle. Mark the spot where the ends meet and measure the distance with a ruler. Below are US ring sizes (half sizes are typically available for measurements in between):

Size 4: 1 13/16 inches

Size 5: 1 15/16 inches

Size 6: 2 1/16 inches

Size 7: 2 1/8 inches

Size 8: 2 1/4 inches

Size 9: 2 5/16 inches

Size 10: 2 7/16 inches

Size 11: 2 9/16 inches

Size 12: 2 5/8 inches

Size 13: 2 3/4 inches

Size 14: 2 7/8 inches



                                                                                       Wedding at Wahiawa Botanical Garden 



Pandora and other subscription music services have “Wedding Music” channels which makes for great background music during your wedding and reception. You can play it through a computer or smart phone and connect it to a portable speaker. Another option is create a playlist using iTUNES and put it on a midi player and connect it to a portable speaker.


Wedding Attire
What you get married in is your choice. Anything from bathing suits to fancy formal wear is acceptable in Hawaii! You do not need to spend money on elaborate wedding clothing you will only wear once if you already own something you look & feel good in. Borrowing wedding attire or purchasing from a thrift store is a more economical way to acquire wedding attire if you do not already have something.  Another alternative is to rent wedding clothes from companies like:

Celebrity Tuxedos Hawaii

Rent The Runway

JJ’s House


Wear what makes you look and feel good on your wedding day!


Fresh Flower Blooms make beautiful decorations and can usually be acquired for little or no money. Plumeria, hibiscus, and bougainvillea blooms are found in abundance around Oahu and you may have some in your yard or neighborhood. The day prior or of the wedding collect the blooms in a plastic shopping bag or ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use to preserve them. Just prior to the wedding ceremony spread the blooms on the ground of the area where you will be holding the ceremony. They blooms add a nice touch of color and look great in photos!


Pink &Purple Bougainvillea Blooms Used To Decorate Ground


Circle of Flowers is a tradition in Hawaii where the wedding couple has a circle of blooms mark the spot where they will exchange vows. The circle of flowers is symbolic of their never ending love for one another and their eternal pledge they commit to one another in the circle. It typically takes 250 loose blooms to create a thin circle. It is more common to use 500-1,000 blooms to create a full circle of flowers or use strands of blooms to more easily create the circle. Blooms that are common to use are plumeria, orchids, hibiscus, and bougainvillea. Cut ti leaves, banana leaves, ginger leaves, red and/or white ginger flower heads can also be incorporated to add to or create the circle of flowers.


Pink Bougainvillea Blooms Used To Create Circle of Flowers

A Fresh Flower Bouquet can be easily created from grocery store flowers for a fraction of the cost of a Florist. If you are not crafty ask a crafty friend/family member to create one for you in lieu of a gift. This video shows how to DIY!



Tiki Torches are a great way to add a fun atmosphere. If the wedding is in the evening the torches can be lit, if the wedding is during the day the tiki torch makes a great flower arrangement holder. To use as a flower arrangement holder remove the fuel holder and put the fresh or silk flower stems in it's place. Orchid sprays, shower tree branches, anthuriums and other tropical flowers are great for tiki torch flower displays. Silk leis are ideal for tying on to the torch stand to add more tropical flare. Lightweight chiffon fabric can also be tied between the tiki torches to create an isle, section off areas, etc. Tiki torches are typically available in home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes and can also be found in the patio section of stores like Walmart and Target.


Tiki Torches Can Be Used To Hold Flower Arrangements For Daytime Weddings


Reduce Ceremony Costs

The more people invited to participate in and attend the wedding the more expensive the wedding will be. Having an intimate wedding with just the wedding couple is the most cost effective way to get married. If you want to include others then only invite family you communicate with regularly and closest friends.



Share Your Wedding By Skype/Facetime/Facebook Live
The wedding ceremony can be shared using a laptop or smart phone over the internet to include those who want to witness the wedding but can not make it or if the couple opts for a intimate ceremony. Make sure the venue has wifi or set up a hot spot.


This couple Skyped their wedding to share ceremony with their family on the not in Hawaii.


Wedding Traditions
There are endless "traditions" that can be added to a wedding. The more "traditions" added to the ceremony the higher the costs. Focus on incorporating meaningful things rather than things you think you are supposed to have and do. The only tradition required to get married is the couple agreeing to marry each observed by a legal officiant, everything else is optional and unnecessary unless it is meaningful for the wedding couple.
Popular optional wedding "traditions":
ring exchange
fancy wedding clothing
bouquets and boutonniere
lei exchange ceremony
unity ceremony
wedding march/music
bridesmaids, maid of honor, groomsmen, best man, ring bearer, flower girl
wedding rehearsal & rehearsal dinner
wedding favors
photo booth


This couple had a beautiful intimate wedding with just the two of them on the beach in front of their condo.


Ask For Help
Ask family and friends for help with the wedding in lieu of gifts. Many friends and family are happy to assist by doing things like: make bouquets and/or flower arrangements, make the wedding cake or cupcakes, take wedding photos, video the wedding, offer their home/yard for wedding, loan wedding attire.


There are different levels to an economical wedding reception, it all depends how many guests you have and your budget.

  • If it is just the wedding couple or the couple and just a few guests, going out to your favorite restaurant is a great option. The wedding couple can ask guests to pay for their own meal in lieu of a gift.
  • If you are having a beach, park, garden, backyard, or house wedding with several guests in attendance then consider having the reception at the ceremony location . You can have it catered through your favorite plate lunch place or restaurant very affordably.
  • Have a potluck reception and ask guests in lieu of a gift to bring their own beverages/alcohol and a food item to share.
  • Private dining rooms are ideal for a small reception:
    On West Oahu, Roy’s at Ko’olina has private dining rooms for small receptions, however, this is more of a pricey option.
    In Honolulu there are many restaurant options in a variety of price ranges with private dining rooms. Click here for a listing.



The average cost of a wedding in the USA in 2016 was a staggering $32,641 according to Money Magazine. With 40-50% of marriages in the USA ending in divorce, some couples are still paying off the wedding debt when they file for divorce. Money is the number one reason for couples to argue. Frequent arguing and stress over money leads to discontentment which often leads to divorce. Why start off your marriage choosing to stack the odds against yourself? Get married within your means, have no debt, and nothing to argue about. It is easy to create a beautiful meaningful wedding without the burden of debt!


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All content on the website was written by Mike or Kim Crinella. All photographs on the website were taken by Mike or Kim Crinella, were submitted to A Friend in the Islands by a website user, or were Public Domain Fair Use at the time of publication.