Firsthand Advice for Planning Your Vow Renewal in Hawaii

I’m excited to share this guest post written by Lauri Brownson of Shady Cove, Oregon. She and her husband Norm just renewed their vows for their 25th Anniversary. I asked Lauri if she had tips to pass along for planning a vow renewal in Hawaii. So, she kindly prepared this article describing how she approached the planning. Mahalo Lauri and congratulations to you and Norm on your 25th anniversary!

imageSo you have reached that milestone where it is time to consider renewing your vows. Pledge your love to that someone special all over again. Whether 10 years, 20 years, 25 years, the time frame is your choice. The renewal your choice, too.

I am not an expert by any means, but I do have a little experience as I just planned and celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii. Let me make some suggestions to help you start planning your vow renewal.

1. SEARCH for your options, find what you want and do not let anyone else tell you WHAT you want. In your heart you have an idea of what you are looking for and this is a time for YOU to make that dream happen.

2. My first consideration: COST. Bottom line I am not made of money and do not have an unlimited budget. I have been saving for this special trip for over three years. Set a budget and stick with it.

3. Remember if you are renewing vows no license is required.


WHO to involve: We decided to keep the celebration within our immediate family, my husband, daughter and myself.

TIME FRAME: We decided on May 13th, our actual 25th anniversary date. We chose May because it was not yet “tourist” season in Hawaii, rates were a little lower.

WHERE: We decided to do a simple vow renewal on a beach. (Did not have any idea of where, but it would be a beach vow renewal.)

WHEN: we wanted a sunset renewal ceremony, a beautiful sun setting in the water behind us on a beautiful sandy beach somewhere.

So what steps did I take?

Well I surfed the web and I surfed the web some more.

I had subscribed nearly 2 years earlier to and read and saved EVERY single post. (Referring to those posts quite frequently for more and more details and information that helped make every decision for our ENTIRE trip!)

I bought guides, and asked friends who had gone to Hawaii before to give me suggestions.

I even posted on websites for details to save money yet still have the romantic lasting memories that Hawaii can give.

I reviewed WHOM I wanted to do the vow ceremony by searching online as well.

After many months of searching I decided on Greg Christopherson of He let us choose the beach and date and time and was well within my budget. Greg and his beautiful wife Jolene helped us make our 25th anniversary ceremony one that we will remember forever.

image I then found the most amazing Photographer Joe Philipson (a regular on the Go Visit Hawaii website.) He truly captured the emotion of our ceremony! Again he was quite reasonable as well! You can see some of his wonderful work at (Note that Joe Philipson captured the two photos included in this article.)

We chose one of the most beautiful locations in Oahu on Ko’Olina Beach at the Marriott; right on the edge of a spectacular man-made lagoon. It was a perfect setting. It was free; it was a public beach. (All beaches in Hawaii are public beaches, just in case you did not know.) [Sheila’s note: In July, the Hawaii DLNR announced that permits will be required for any commercial operations on state land overseen by the DLNR. That includes weddings on beaches. There are a few exceptions noted in this article. Check with your service provider about whether or not a permit is required. They should handle the permit process for you, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it.]

So basically we set a budget for these services, we made a decision of when, where and who was going to be working with us. We made many calls and sent many emails ahead of time to coordinate. I even arranged to pay BEFORE we even left the Mainland! All the planning ahead paid off, by making the entire event quite stress free!

Goodness the only stress was the concern that Mother Nature would bless us with a wet kiss from her bountiful blue skies. (Thankfully she waited to christen us until AFTER the ceremony was completed!)


Ah, how romantic! Mahalo, Lauri, for sharing your experience with us!

  1. Great tips Lauri. I’ll keep them bookmarked for when it’s time to renew our vows. What do you think? Do you think Sheila would be interested in a vow renewal in Hawaii? 😉

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