wedding day

What to Expect When You’re Expecting … A Wedding Day with Aloha Ever After

wedding day

Learn what to expect when you’re expecting … not a baby, but your Wedding Day!

Wedding day time! It’s finally here!

You’ve been looking forward to it for so long … so what do you need to expect when you’re expecting (not a baby, but your wedding day!)? In our eternal efforts to help customers feel as comfortable and stress-free as possible, we decided to create this article to help you know what to expect after booking your wedding.

We’ll handle the wedding day details …

When you book your wedding, we will get as many details from you as possible and ask that you sign and return the contract, even if there are some minor changes to come (such as the flower order or adding on a bit of photography time). After your wedding is planned it is expected that you won’t hear from us (unless something is wrong or we have a question) until about a month before your ceremony.

Wedding day timing for an outdoor Kauai beach wedding

We ask that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your wedding start time. Please let us know ahead of time if the bride does or does not wish to be seen by the groom before the ceremony begins! If the bride and groom are arriving together then it’s easy; we just all meet in the designated location 15 minutes prior to the wedding start time. If the bride does not wish to be seen then she will need to arrive separately (sometimes by taxi if necessary). We will meet with the groom (and any guests) before her arrival and walk him to the location where we will have him wait where he cannot see her. Then we will meet with the bride and anyone walking “down the aisle” with her in the parking lot where we will have her wait in a place that the groom cannot see. Then we will start the ceremony with her entrance.

The vows take about 15 minutes, and the entire ceremony takes about 30 minutes (including the signing of the legal marriage license documents etc). If there are many extras (i.e. sand ceremony or water ceremony), it could take a bit longer.

Wedding day photos

During your wedding day ceremony, if you can remember, try to put the ring on your partner’s hand from underneath, so that your photographer can take beautiful shots of this without it being blocked. After the ceremony we will take photos with any guests. Allow approximately 3 minutes per photo setup. So that means if you want a photo of the bride and groom with siblings, then the bride and groom with Mom, then the bride and groom with Dad, that is 3 separate photo set ups and will take approximately 9 minutes. It is important to not use up a high percentage of your photo time on guests, so as to allow enough time for the formal bride and groom shots.

After we finsish photos with guests (if there are any) then we will go off and do the formal bride and groom photos on our own (with possibly the musician with us if there is one).

When will I get my photos?

If you need your photos “rushed”, a minimal $35 fee (plus any extra shipping you request) is available. Then you can have your photos shipped and ready for pick up within 2-3 days of your wedding … or by a date that you designate (e.g. a reception date). If you have not “rushed” your photos, expect to have your photos mailed 4-6 weeks after your wedding date. That means they will arrive on the US mainland aproximately 5-7 weeks after your wedding date.

Please remember that if you have less than 45 minutes set aside for photos of the bride and groom (after the ceremony and guests photos are done), we cannot guarantee the quality of the formal couple shots that are the core of the photos.

What about the marriage license?

We are not supposed to book your marriage license appointment until about a month before your wedding day. Rest assured that even if you don’t know all the details now about what you are supposed to do … you will! About a month ahead of the wedding day we will mail you and email with all the info, links and list of things you will need to bring to your marriage license appointment. If you are interested in learning more, please visit our blog article “The Top 9 Things You Need to Know about Getting a Kauai Marriage License“.

When you can, please provide us with the day and your preferred time of the wedding license appointment (e.g. “I prefer Sat. Nov. 1st in the later afternoon on the south side”). Remember the appointment is with State agents who do not work on Sundays, and in most cases don’t make Saturday appointments unless you are getting married on a Sunday and were not on island on Friday. If you want a Saturday appointment, you may have to drive to the south side of Kauai.

What about my vows and minister?

Everyone is welcome to help write their own vows and/or participate in seeing and writing the vows that their minister provides … however no one is required to. You may be as involved or uninvolved as you choose. Either way we request that you contact your minister and communicate with him or her your preferences (it’s also just nice to have a little contact with them beforehand). If your minister is Joel McDonald you can contact him at

What do I need to know about the wedding ceremony?

Lei exchanges are typical in all Hawaiian ceremonies and the minister will assume you have one included in your ceremony unless instructed otherwise. If you are interested in a sand or water ceremony you need to discuss this with your minister ahead of time. Sand ceremonies are a beautiful, symbolic way to celebrate a wedding. If you are having a sand ceremony, you need to provide both your own sand (you can use the natural sand on Kauai or purchase colored sand online) and especially you need to provide 1-3 sand vessels. You will need 2 vessels to hold the sand you wish to use, and a third in which to pour the sand and take it home with you. It’s best to fill the third vessel completely so that it does not move around on the journey home and mess up the beautiful sand art you created during your ceremony.

What happens after the wedding day?

Immediately after you are officially pronounced married and the ceremony ends, your minister will guide you to sign the wedding papers (the marriage license). This usually happens right before your wedding photography time begins. After that, your minister will take care of submitting the paperwork to the State of Hawaii.

Your official legal marriage certificate will be mailed to you in around 2-3 months. You can print out a temporary one after 3-4 days throughout the same website where you applied for the license before your wedding day.

Expect your wedding day will go smoothly and relax

I hope all this information helps you relax and know that you are in excellent hands with Aloha Ever After. Your wedding day will be gorgeous!

About the Author

Timory McDonaldTimory is the owner, house photographer, on-site coordinator, and founder of Aloha Ever After. She is a world traveler and adventurer. She moved to Kauai in 1999 and loves the island beyond words. After traveling the world she had her option to live wherever she wanted to, and chose to both live and marry on the gorgeous island of Kauai. She is now the mother of two beautiful boys born on Kauai and in her profession she loves to help couples and families make their dream wedding become a reality on this island paradise. She has been a wedding planner and photographer for years. Connect with her on Google+View all posts by Timory McDonald →

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