PAX is bidding aloha to sunny Hawaii this week, joining eight Canadian destination wedding experts on a FAM hosted by Hawaii Tourism to take a closer look at some of the many reasons to sell weddings on the archipelago.
An eventful itinerary so far has seen in-depth inspections of a range of wedding offerings showcased by Oahu hotels and other properties; the ongoing Hawaii Wedding Week, meanwhile, coincided with the arrival of the Canadian team (led by Hawaii Tourism’s account manager for Western Canada, Lea-Ann Goltz) and has highlighted the variety of options to tie the knot among each of the state’s six islands.
That diversity of marriage offerings was identified by Julie Aragaki, founder of Wedding Week Hawaii, as a central reason for Hawaii’s burgeoning popularity as a destination wedding location, with the week-long event drawing increased interest from across North America and the world in its second year.
“Every island, although we’re from the same place, has a uniqueness to it,” she told PAX. “There’s so many unique things about our state. In addition to that, we have really amazing shopping, and really quality culinary options here.”
Julie Aragaki, founder, Wedding Week Hawaii with Lea-Ann Goltz, account manager, Western Canada - Hawaii Tourism.
It was a sentiment echoed by many of the show’s vendors, who asserted that the convenient distance and easy transport between islands – not to mention increasing international air access to Honolulu – meant that the state presented an array of attractions for couples seeking a unique and inimitable wedding.
Karishma Chowfin, director of travel industry sales at the Oahu Visitor’s Bureau, opened the week’s proceedings by providing an insight into what she described as the "unique town-and-country appeal" of the island, and it has certainly been in ample supply during a jam-packed five days that have seen the Canadian delegation take in a multitude of authentic Hawaiian experiences demonstrating the state’s appeal for brides, grooms, and guests alike.
A special performance during a luau held at Paradise Cove, Kapolei.
Fireworks and champagne overlooking the picturesque Waikiki Beach marked the end of the FAM’s first day, with subsequent engagements including a spiritual cleansing ceremony by sunrise, a stunning lu’au experience on Paradise Cove, and tour of the renowned Bayer Estate – not to mention a behind-the-scenes tour and lavish dinner, on the grounds of Iolani Palace, the former residence of Hawaii’s legendary King Kalakaua.
Indeed, the sheer variety of wedding experiences available in Hawaii was perhaps best exemplified by Tuesday’s tour of the Kualo Ranch, a sprawling green 4,000-acre expanse – located far from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach – that’s served as the backdrop for a plethora of iconic movies.
Kualoa Ranch, a private nature reserve that offers numerous wedding options.
One of the key themes to emerge from Wedding Week’s opening day was the continuing centrality of the travel trade to the destination wedding business. Saturday’s keynote speaker, celebrity wedding planner David Tutera, noted the key role wedding specialists can play in creating a ceremony and event that lasts long in the memory – describing their input as ‘incredibly important.’
More to come from Hawaii - stay tuned to PAXnews.com and all our social media channels for more updates as the FAM continues!
That, he added, was particularly significant for weddings in Hawaii, where there were ample opportunities to "surprise guests and create an environment that’s the opposite of what they’re expecting."