Those who know me probably believe that I am a painfully un-spontaneous person. To some extent, they’re not entirely wrong, but sometimes I like to break that perception and keep everyone on their toes.
Earlier this week, our partners at Hawaii Kai Marina Chapel invited the Hawaii Activities team to come in for a visit. Not only did they let us take some great pictures of the facility, they were also kind enough to oblige my request when I asked if I could surprise my wife with an unplanned vow renewal ceremony.
This led to a phone call in which I asked, “Hey, if you’re not busy tomorrow, do you wanna get married again?”
Fortunately, she said “Yes.”
Now, to give you a little context, my wife and I never really had a formal wedding. We came to Hawaii with a K-1 fiancee visa to get married, and that provides an unreasonably tight window of time within which you need to A) get married and B) have all your papers filed.
So suddenly having the opportunity to do it again, and do it right this time, meant a lot to us. To be honest, we couldn’t have picked a better place than Hawaii Kai Marina Chapel.
The chapel is cozy, seating up to 30 guests comfortably. Beyond two sliding glass doors is a small patio surrounded by foliage overlooking the stunningly blue water of Hawaii Kai Marina.
The chapel was designed with a nautical theme in mind, as is evident from the decor. The ceiling fans are covered in cloth, giving them the look of a ship’s sails, and ocean motifs, like conch shells and anchor rope, can be found throughout the facility.
The careful design choices make for a visually and emotionally consistent experience: you’re taking a journey together.
Chapel staff presence is deliberately kept to a minimum so that, start to finish, the entire ceremony feels natural and relaxed.
The officiant was kind and patient; none of it felt forced or formulaic, even though we asked them to accommodate our impromptu request at the last minute.
The whole day was characterized by an atmosphere of genuine caring. At a point when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, the chapel staff surprised us with fresh flower leis to exchange.
We went simple (as only 24 hours had passed since the idea of doing a vow renewal even crossed my mind), but the chapel offers additional wedding services such as live music and professional photography.
And here’s the thing we found hardest to believe about Hawaii Kai Marina Chapel: you could add in all the extras—you could even throw in a luxurious limo ride from Waikiki—and it would only cost you a little over a thousand dollars.
Without a doubt, the Hawaii Kai Marina Chapel is one of Oahu’s best kept destination wedding secrets, and I’ll never forget how they gave my wife and I second chance at our dream wedding.
Already have your wedding plans covered? Don’t forget to check out our favorite romantic things to do on Oahu!