17 Traveling Tips & Tricks from a Hawaii Wedding Planner

Over the years we've worked with hundreds of destination brides and grooms, and expectedly, there have also been more than a few unexpected travel dramas, we've gathered a few good tips we think you'd find useful.  

1.  Room Blocks.  No, we don't get discounts on hotel rates, but you can!  If you have a large group traveling with you and think everyone is going to need a place to stay, you can get a block of hotel rooms through many of the hotels here in Hawaii.  A block of rooms is usually considered either 10 or 20 rooms and you'll have to reserve them ahead of time.  This is great if you are absolutely sure that you can fill them.  If you aren't you're better off just asking guests to book on their own as you'll be left with the bill when you're block isn't filled.  With room blocks most hotels will give you a 10% or 20% discount off of the going rate. 

2.  Travel Zoo.  An even better option, is to check travel sites for special deals.  This applies to both airfare and hotels.  We like to recommend www.TravelZoo.com.  They have the best deals around often getting you up to 60% off the going rates.  That means an awesome room at a fraction of the price.  Deals are updated weekly so check their website often or sign up for their weekly newsletter.   It might be a good idea to give this tip to your guests on your wedding website or on your Save the Date card. 

3. Carry your wedding dress on the plane.  It's the safest thing to do and it will keep it fairly wrinkle-free.  We'd hate for you to lose it on the way over.  It's a major part of the wedding you can't afford to lose so make sure it's with you the whole time.  This goes for the rings too!

4. Don't book through Craigslist! We've recently had a bride who booked a villa through Craigslist, when she arrived (3 days before her wedding), she realized that a family lived there and it wasn't a rental after all.  In fact, it was a complete scam.  She had already sent the "so-called owner" a $4,000 check and now both she and her family were out of a place to stay and a reception site.  We never recommend booking anything through Craigslist.  VRBO is much safer! 

5. Arrive a few days early.  Don't fly in the day before your wedding.  Give yourself a few days or a week if possible.  You'll need to get your marriage license at least a few days prior to your ceremony.  You'll also need a few days to recover from the flight and get used to the time change.  You want to be fully rested and ready when you walk down the aisle not tired and out of sorts.  

6. Fill out the Marriage License Application before arriving in Hawaii.  It'll make things much easier when you go to sign the paperwork if everything has already been done before you get here. Visit https://emrs.ehawaii.gov/emrs/public/home.html for more info.  

7. Be wary of the sun.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen a bridal party or even a bride sunburnt. Not a little bit either, but bright red, and let me tell you this does not look great in photos.  The sun here in Hawaii can be deceiving, if it's clowdy, you can still get burnt.  Also, going in the sun for 10m might be ok, but any longer, put on sunscreen!  You can sunbathe after you say your "I do's", trust me - you can thank me later :) 

8. Organize!  Make sure you have a list of everything you need to bring early and that nothing is missing.  This includes your veil, rings, marriage license paperwork, earrings, shoes, etc. You don't want to arrive here and realize you forgot something very important!  Packing early ensures that you won't forget anything essential.

9.  Wear-in your shoes! Don't put your shoes on the day of the wedding.  When getting married on the beach you'll probably skip shoes all together but if your ceremony is on the grass, make sure you practice walking on the grass.  The last thing you want is a blister on your wedding day or to trip as you walk down the aisle because you've never walked in your new heels before.  We even suggest wearing comfy shoes just to walk down the aisle and changing into your fancy ones later.  You won't be able to see them under your dress and being comfy and not slipping is often more important. 

10. Pack a complete outfit to bring with you on the plane.  In case your bags go missing for a day or two, you'll have something to wear.  This has happened to me on more than one occasion and I was stuck wearing my husbands clothes which were way too big.  Not exactly the way you'd like to start your wedding vacay.  Bring a complete relaxed outfit, dinner outfit and swimsuit if possible. 

11. Bring half of the clothing you think you need and double the money.  You're going to go shopping, you know you are, and you'll need the space in your bag for the ride home.  Plus, you never end up wearing all your clothes when you travel.  Packing less than you need is a good travel trip for any type of traveling.  Also, bring clothes that are solid and neutral colors so they're easier to mix and match. 

12. Be sure to have all your paperwork in an easy to reach pocket.  This includes your license or ID, travel documents, passports, etc.  You'll have to pull them out a thousand times so it's easiest to keep them someplace that is easily accessible. 

13. If honeymooning straight after your wedding, wait to change your name.  It'll be much easier to travel with your old name than to try and get everything changed over in time to travel with your new name.  Changing your name over can take months and you don't want to get stuck somewhere without the proper ID's because not everything has changed over properly. 

14. Have the hotel press your dress.  Most hotels will steam and press your dress for a small fee, just ask the front desk when you arrive. 

15. Ask for directions & say "Thank You'.  People in Hawaii are generally really friendly.  If you get lost, don't be afraid to ask for directions, someone will gladly help you out.  Also, when driving, locals will stick their hands out the window and wave "Thank You" if you let them in your lane.  Be gracious, join in the Aloha Spirit and do the same.  Saying "Thank You" goes a long way here in Hawaii, so use the phrase often and you'll be surprised at how much you'll get out of it. 

16. Pay your vendors off before you get here.  It'll just be one less thing to worry about.  This way you won't have to worry about final balances and you'll only have to tip. 

17. Uber.  Uber and Lyft are everywhere now days and they're really easy to use if you haven't rented a car.  Just download the apps and press the button when you need a ride.  Simple, easy, affordable transportation.