Destination Weddings in Hawaii

June is almost upon us, which means wedding season is about to begin. If your clients are considering a destination wedding in Hawaii, here's some good information for you to know, courtesy of a survey of more than 2,700 members of The Knot. The respondents all either got married during 2011, or were planning weddings this year.

Nearly a quarter - 24 percent - of respondents had a destination wedding in 2011, the survey revealed, an increase of 20 percent from 2009. There was also an increase in choosing domestic weddings as opposed to international, although the survey counted Hawaii as an international destination for its purposes. Of all international (and "international") destinations, Hawaii was the third most popular choice, behind the Caribbean and Mexico but well ahead of Europe (by a full 14 percent). Of all the islands, Maui is the most popular for destination weddings, claiming 42 percent of the niche market. Oahu came in second at 32 percent.

Nearly 40 percent of couples held their ceremony and/or reception at a hotel or resort, and that became 60 percent for international events. All-inclusive resorts were the most popular choice for international destination weddings, including Hawaii. 

In a good sign for agents organizing destination weddings, most people attending the ceremonies or reception stay at the destination beyond the event date: A full 85 percent of bridal couples remain at the destination after the wedding, and 80 percent of their family and friends keep them company. This does not include the 68 percent of couples who spend their honeymoon (or part of their honeymoon) at the destination, and of that group, more than half will honeymoon in the same accommodation where they celebrated the wedding.

The Knot recommends incorporating local traditions into a Hawaiian wedding, like blowing a conch shell and a bright sash for the groom. Of course, a lei exchange is essential, and a luau is a perfect choice for a reception.

For more ideas on Hawaiian weddings, be sure to check out the May 21 issue of Travel Agent Magazine, which will have our annual Weddings & Honeymoon Guide.