If you're here, you're probably planning the AMAZING destination wedding of your dreams in Oahu, Hawaii! My name is Janelle, and I've been photographing weddings and lifestyle portraits for over 10 years! (Wow, has it really been that long?!)
You're excited, and I am too!
Throughout my career as a destination wedding photographer, I've had the opportunity to experience and work with tons of venues, and I've been able to gather knowledge and experience along the way. With the knowledge I've acquired, I've decided to take some time to offer you free resources— regardless of whether you've chosen me to be your wedding photographer or not. This guide of the best Oahu wedding venues and vendors is my gift to you while you're in the process of planning your Oahu wedding.
Of course, I want to take a moment now to note that while these suggestions are a list of my favorite wedding venues and vendors in Oahu, Hawaii, they still 100% reflect my personal taste (which is subjective of course). Every image you see in the grid below will direct you to a blog post I've written for that particular wedding venue or vendor. These blog posts aren't all encompassing, so check them out, and definitely let me know if you have any questions about any of these Oahu wedding venues or vendors!
Actually, feel free to contact me if you have questions about a venue anywhere! Logistics for a destination wedding can be hard if you don't have someone experienced in your corner.
No matter where we have to travel (which, I love to do BTW), I want to be your wedding photographer.
I love a tropical climate!
My rescue fur baby, Freya!
A REAL Ragu
South America's Coast
Anything in the Water
Travel the World
favorite Thing to Do
as seen in
personal rights print release
an incredible experience
an awesome photographer - me!
WHAT Do YOU GET?
Honest Travel Talk.
This year I want to shoot more weddings in Oahu, Hawaii! Because of this, I'm offering something special to you that I usually don't offer. Its this: I am happy to waive all travel fees for Hawaii destination weddings! I think that is a pretty good deal for both of us!
If you like what you see, let's start a conversation! I'm happy to be your Hawaii wedding photographer!
- Janelle Rivera
NO travel fees!!
A: The island of Oahu is absolutely stunning, wether you're in the bustling Honolulu, or more secluded in the jungle scenery of the north Waimea Bay! Truly, Oahu destination weddings are one of a kind, with such incredible venues and resources for your perfect island wedding. And with a gorgeous destination like this for your wedding, you don't even need to leave Hawaii for your honey moon. In order to pick your perfect destination though, let's talk logistics. The great thing about Oahu wedding venues is that this is the most populated, and third largest, island. Home to the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, and the world famous Waikiki Beach, it's the easiest island to travel to. There is also so much to do, and tons of diversity for your venues! So before anything else, start with your finances. See what you can realistically afford without pushing your budget too much. After all, your venue is only a portion of your overall destination wedding budget. You still need a planner and design team, catering, photography, hair & makeup, decor, transportation, and all the other awesome things that come with it. Once you've set your budget, start thinking about what fits the best with your personality, whether you want easy car access for your guests or not, and what's going to give you the wedding you've always dreamed about. Then after you've taken all of that into consideration, have a look at the Top 5 Oahu wedding venues and my Top 5 Favorite Oahu wedding vendors that I've curated and listed above.
Tips and Advice
A: Yes, they definitely can get expensive. That said, there are ways to make things more financially possible, a big one being payment plans. But I must stress that you should not stretch your budget so far on a wedding venue that you can't afford the other things that mean a lot to you. If you really want an Oahu wedding photographer for $4,000-$6000, but your venue costs $15,000-$20,000, choosing a venue that is a few thousand less will open up that extra budget for the Oahu wedding photographer that you've always wanted. In complete honesty, Oahu wedding venues are super unique, stunning, and diverse! So, once you've set a budget and decided what style of wedding you're looking for, you should be able to easily find a perfect venue within your budget. There are many, many gorgeous wedding venues and locations on the Island of Oahu. Actually, there's no shortage. And I am more than happy to help point you in the right direction if you are wanting some help finding the right wedding venue for you, your personality, and your budget! Just use the contact form on my website!
A: This totally depends on your wedding venue, but the biggest thing to take into consideration (as related to photography and video), is choosing a place that has a lot of natural light, and since its Hawaii, a view too! Think big windows, with space to spread out, and a gorgeous look over the ocean or even into the jungle! This means, I do not suggest you get ready in a super dimly lit hotel room, or somewhere that doesn't make you feel like you're at the destination you're at. It's really worth it to pay for the upgrade to a room with a view, and a room with lots of extra space! That space will be quickly taken up by your hair & makeup team, your parents, your friends and bridal party, and all the bags of clothing, shoes, makeup, and accessories that you're bringing with you. You'll want enough space to be able to hide all of those things so that your wedding photographer and videographer can have a clean, minimalistic backdrop to document. These things don't happen by accident. You wouldn't know it, but there's usually a huge pile of bags, shoes, and water bottles just outside the frame of the gorgeous getting-ready wedding photographs you see all through my website and blog. :) If your venue doesn't offer a great place to get ready in, I have plenty of suggestions (including some BEAUTIFUL AirBnBs) depending on where your ceremony is located. Please, feel free to message me if you're interested in AirBnB recommendations.
A: This is a really hard question to answer. The first thing you need to consider is what style you want for your destination Oahu wedding. If you're wanting a wedding at a luxe Honolulu hotel with a tropical flower toss to exit just at dusk, then you'll need to have your wedding much earlier in the day than you would for a ceremony in the jungle outside at sunset, with a tented reception, dancing, and moody night sky photos before your exit. Another thing to consider is the time of year. While Summer days are longer, in Hawaii the summer sunsets still start around 7:20pm, and it's Winter days have sunset as early as 5:45pm! Once you've decided the style of wedding you want, and the time of year, choosing the time for your Oahu wedding should be a piece of cake! All this to say, having an awesome team of vendors is super important for helping you put the whole thing together. You really can't replace an excellent wedding planner and designer who's familiar with making a timeline that reflect your wants. And of course, you don't want to be without an Oahu wedding photographer who is versatile and experienced to take photos in any lighting situation!
A: I keep coming back to this— your personality means everything. If you are wanting a totally stress-free, laid-back, and meaningful wedding, an Oahu wedding right in Honolulu might not be the perfect option for you. While many of the nearby beach wedding venues may have a higher number of logistics when planning everything out, with more locations and logistics for transportation that can often translate to a higher dollar number for your expected overall budget, they will be much more peaceful for YOU on the day of your wedding. I'm not saying any of this to scare you away from having a wedding at one of Honolulu's many beautiful hotels or city venues, but to give you my honest, open, and truthful piece of advice based on many, many weddings I have personally photographed over the years. That said, if the vibrant and luxe Hawaii vibe is all you've ever dreamed of, then it can all come to reality! Just ensure you have an incredible wedding planner on your side, an incredible Oahu wedding photographer who knows all the best tips to get the most out of your special day, and a great list of vendors who have your back! After all, it's your big day. And I want you to have the most amazing day of your entire life, completely stress free.
"We LOVED working with Janelle for our wedding photography. While creative and artistic, the shots are not too trendy and will stand the test of time. She was very attentive to our desires and planning, and even helped us out with our flowers. We will cherish her work for years to come and would gladly hire her again. We feel as though she really captured the mood of our wedding and the nature of our relationship. It was a wonderful experience!”
- Hayley and Bryce
I met with Janelle before obtaining her services for my Wedding at Agnes Scott. I was a fan of her work... , but after our meeting, I was a fan of her as a person; She's a great listener, honest collaborator, highly professional and just all around a nice and very friendly. After getting the photos back from her, my husband, friends and family were all just gobsmacked by the quality of the photos... If you want a warm, friendly, and crazy-talented photographer to capture your special day/occasion with all of the elegance and vibrancy of life it deserves, please give Janelle a holler.
- Joan and Max
“ ...From the time of our first meeting, the walk thru, & up until the big day Janelle was such a pleasure to work with! It was all a seamless process. I can tell how serious she takes her work and she listens to every detail you want captured on your day... Would definitely recommend J.J. Au'Clair & hope to work with her again in the future!”
- Steely and Paul
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