If you’re planning a Hawaii wedding, you will need to think about what kind of wedding you want when choosing your wedding chapel. According to my wife, who is a Hawaii wedding planner, there are three types of weddings:
1) a traditional wedding in a large church or cathedral,
2) a chapel wedding, something much smaller than a church, and
3) an outdoor wedding, such as a beach wedding or garden wedding.
On the island of Oahu there are four main churches. The first one is St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The second is Central Union Sanctuary. The third one is the oldest church, Kawaiahao Church, which is made from coral stone. And the fourth church is Calvary By The Sea. It’s the only church where you can get a view of the ocean.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral is the most difficult church you can book. You have to book your wedding over one year in advance. This church is built of large grey stones and has huge stained glass windows and a pipe organ. If you get married around 3:00 p.m., the light comes straight through the windows, so the photos of your wedding will be magnificent. If you’re OK about booking a year in advance, this church is worth the wait.
Central Union Sanctuary is quite elegant. Inside, the church is pure white with a long central aisle covered in red carpet, and it has a big pipe organ. From the outside, Central Union Sanctuary is a beautiful piece of colonial architecture with four pillars and a tall steeple. This church looks like something you would see in the Eastern United States. It’s truly picture perfect.
Kawaiahao Church was once used for royal weddings. 150 years ago, when there was a King and Queen in Hawaii, members of the royal family would get married here. The pipe organ has 2,500 pipes. The Church is located next to the famous King Kamehameha statue in downtown Honolulu. The church is a Hawaiian heritage historical landmark.
Calvary By The Sea is a wooden church. There are lots of palm trees surrounding the church. The setting is quite peaceful. During your ceremony, your minister will stand with his back to the ocean so that you will be gazing at the blue sea when you say, “I do.” This church is great for having a photo shoot at the beach.
None of these churches are equipped with reception facilities. You will have to plan your reception at a different location after your wedding ceremony. But with your limousine waiting, getting to your reception isn’t a problem. Having your Hawaii wedding at one of these churches is dramatic and more traditional than a beach wedding or chapel wedding.
There are so many chapels in Hawaii to choose from. It seems that all the biggest hotels have chapels. It’s cheaper to get married at a wedding chapel and more cozy and more charming. Chapels give you more time to get married too. You are allowed at least two hours for your wedding, whereas some the big churches schedule a wedding every hour.
One fairytale chapel that sticks out in my mind (and I live in Hawaii) is the wedding chapel at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. This chapel is right out of a storybook. It’s surrounded by waterfalls and is designed to look something like a victorian chapel or swiss chalet. It’s all white and made of wood. Just outside the chapel is a gazebo and the beautiful grounds of the aptly named, Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Another popular wedding chapel is at The Kahala Resort. I stayed at The Kahala for my honeymoon, and I can vouch for the romance and beauty of this chapel on the beach. It’s great for a photoshoot, complete with little waterfalls and a gazebo too. You can also have your reception at The Kahala, so this is a lovely spot to have your ceremony, reception, and honeymoon all in one location.