Wedding Photography

Top 10 Tips for Beach Weddings: Getting Married in Hawaii?

April 8, 2024

Big Island Wedding Photographer

Top 10 Tips for Beach Weddings

If you’re planning a destination wedding or elopement in Hawaii, chances are you’re not too familiar with the tropics, and may feel unsure regarding what you need to keep in mind for a beach wedding. Let me help you out! These are the top tips that I want you to know, after photographing beach weddings for 12 years, and living in the Pacific Islands for twice that long!

  • #1 – Plan your timeline carefully and make sure you leave enough time for photos! While saying “I do” can be so romantic as the sun goes down, keep in mind that you’ve lost the light along with the sun. If you want a ceremony right at sunset, consider a first look and photos prior to the ceremony so we still have beautiful light to work with. Talk to me about your timeline and I will be sure to advise you as to what will work best from a photography perspective. You definitely want to capture your special day!

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  • #2 – Get ready early, give yourself some margin, and relax a little bit before the ceremony. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready so you don’t feel rushed, overheated or stressed at all. After all, you’re in paradise! If you’d like some preparation shots, these are best done in these non-rushed moments. Think ahead to what details/stationary/flowers/rings/jewelry etc. that you’d like to have beautiful shots of, and communicate this to me. These types of detail shots can really help tell the story of your day.

  • #3 – Remember that you could get hot and sweaty once you head outside. It’s the tropics! Your hair may react with the humidity and you may sweat. Keep this in mind as you choose your makeup and hairstyle. Choose waterproof mascara. Carry a small bag with a tiny makeup kit, tissues or a handkerchief (for blotting) and a small mirror or compact for touch-ups on the go. When choosing a shirt color for the guy(s), stay away from colors that show the sweat stains if they get wet. Don’t forget deodorant! If you’ll be out in the sun, don’t forget sunblock.

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  • #4 – Beaches sometimes get windy! Have some spare bobby pins and make sure you hairspray your curls if you want them to stay in the wind. Pick a dress that will blow in the wind but not make you look like a potato sack (it should have some definition at the top). Brides: consider a veil! They can be so gorgeous in the wind on the beach. You don’t have to wear it the whole time, and it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it will look so good! Another great option is a floral crown with fresh Hawaiian flowers . . . it will keep your hair in place and looks so tropical and beautiful.

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  • #5 – Pick appropriate footwear. While high heels can look amazing in a chapel or on a sidewalk, plan for a second pair of shoes that enable you to be able to walk on grass and sand if you’re wanting those types of shots. You can sometimes just take your shoes off on the beach, but some beaches in Hawaii have rocky lava rocks and large pieces of coral that can be painful to walk on. Maybe even a pair of white flip flops! Or, pick versatile, wider heels that you’re confident can handle a variety of terrain and just stick with those.

  • #6 – If you’re getting married under a gazebo or arch, keep the shadows in mind. While a bit of shade can sound like a good idea, you don’t want striped lines of shade slashing across all of your ceremony photos. Even lighting will work best.

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  • #7 – If you’re having a reception, consider the sunset time. Type your date and location into google and see what time sunset is, and work that into your timeline. We can capture some amazing images with even just ten minutes of that gorgeous golden light. It’s worth sneaking down to the beach (or staying there if that’s where your ceremony is!)

  • #8 – Keep you smartwatch and hair ties off your wrist, and your phone out of your pocket. Technology will date your photos – you want them to be timeless and beautiful. No one wants to see the bulge of a rectangle in the groom’s pocket. Give a bag of your personal items to someone to hold. If it’s just the two of you, bring a bag along on our photo shoot, and we can just set it to the side while we take photos.

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  • #9 – Watch out for sunburn! Please, please, please don’t get a sunburn right before your wedding. It’s extremely time-consuming and costly to edit out burn lines and glowing red skin. Be ultra-careful about your sun exposure. Apply sunblock and watch out for lines. On a related note, avoid the DIY fake tan. While it may look good to the eye, it can come across as overly-orange in photos. If you really want a spray tan, use a professional service and avoid doing it yourself.

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  • #10 – Relax and enjoy. You’ve probably picked a destination wedding because you don’t want the hassle of planning a giant, expensive wedding in your hometown. With a Hawaii wedding, you can pick your planner or resort, pick your photographer, choose from a handful of preferences, and then relax and enjoy while it’s all set up for you. Seriously. Just enjoy.

Did I answer all of your questions? If you are wondering about anything else, please feel free to click the contact form and let me know your thoughts and questions. I would love to hear from you!

Peace and Light,


Laura Pittman Photography

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Capturing beauty and connecting with people brings me joy. A camera lets me do both!

I picked up a camera and the rest is history. I fell in love. The art of photography, the ability to connect with people, and the chance to do what I adore all inspire me. You can feel it when you're with me. Photography has been such a blessing in my life, and I want to pass that blessing on to you.


© laura pittman, 2024