TROPICAL WEDDING INSPO
25 Ways you can make your wedding vibes scream Island Tropical!
Let’s be real, tropical weddings always have been and always will be an incredible way to celebrate your wedding day. Vacationing in a tropical paradise is something MOST OF US love to do! So, to marry in one is an ultimate dream for so many. While not all marrying somewhere Tropical decide to go with a tropical vibe (and my advice is to go with what personally lights YOU on fire!), it’s definitely a fan favorite. In the 11 years I’ve been photographing weddings, I’ve seen so many awesome and creative ways couples have incorporated the tropical elements into their big day. So I went through some incredible galleries and pulled some awesome Tropical Wedding Inspo for you!
Despite living in Hawaii, I’ve traveled the planet capturing epic weddings and some of this tropical inspo comes to you from Thailand and Grand Cayman as well! So Buckle up and get our Pinterest fingers ready, because you’re about to be Pin-spired!
I’ve also made these image Pinterest friendly so if you see something you love or would like to reference later, just hit that Pin-it button.
1. Save-the-Dates & Wedding Invites
To get all your guests excited for your big wild wedding event, picking out your Save-the-Dates are the first exposure they’ll have to your wedding vibe. These first invites are a HUGE favorite of mine! My incredibly artsy bride created them all by hand… She actually PAINTED the VIEW of her wedding location at Paliku Gardens at Kualoa Ranch. Incredible, right? Her florist Vanessa Olsen of La Flor events, had extra floral pieces set aside for us to style the invites with.
**PRO TIP: Want to make sure your photographer captures gorgeous photos of your Save-the-Date/Invites? Bring a set (or two if they’re double-sided and request your florist bring some floral scraps your photographer can use to style your invites.
These incredible Invites were bold and dynamic and matched their wedding floral perfectly! The baby pineapples were the perfect touch. Courtney Crane of Wylder Florals (and Courtney Crane Events did a gorgeous job with these florals and let me borrow these ammaaaaazing baby pineapples to style details with. DEFO ask your florist for baby pineapples, they’re amazing…!
This next set is also amazing! From the incredible Shindig Bespoke these custom invites came complete with wooden laser engraved box with coconuts and little wooden pineapples. Her invites are always a joy and so much fun to unwrap!
2. Shoes – Hers
Speaking of baby pineapples… How adorbs are they styled with these PERFECT Coach Shoes (love that leather cut and that sweet wooden heel) Not to mentioned the brushed copper color of that groom’s ring is definitely a huge favorite.
When it comes to shoes, I highly suggest you let your personality shine through! & Also, make sure you pick something comfortable out! Nothing worse than missing out on the important parts of your big day because you’re distracted by your sore feet!
These two gorgeous brides looked absolutely perfect together and I just loved how everything from their dresses to their shoes, to their rings all showed their awesome and unique personalities (Click HERE to see a sneakpeek of Mandy + Kaliko’s gorgeous gallery!) Your details and your day should all help tell your story. So stick with what’s right for you! But seriously though… how about these Edelman palm print heels for your tropical themed wedding? Here are a couple of other great choices from some of our tropical brides…
**PRO TIP 1: Make sure you order some SOLEMATES HEEL SAVERS to keep you from sinking into the grass or catching a heel!
***PRO TIP 2: Remove ALL labels/tags from your shoes and WAIT to install any padding or foot petals. You’ll want a clean shoe for your photographers to photograph, and depending on the experience level or style of your photographer they may photograph them as is, not to mention in the hustle and bustle a foot pedal could easily get misplaced (or stuck on to something!) I highly recommend you give these to your MOH (Maid of Honor) and have her hold on to them until right before you leave the room! This way they won’t be photographed on your shoes either during detail shots OR when you’re getting ready and putting your shoes on.
2.1 Shoes – His
Brown leather tends to be a fan favorite amongst grooms although this is just a tiny sample of tropical wedding grooms! Whether it’s fun, tropical socks or no socks at all that’s totally your choice. My fav is the bottom center. I’m a big fan of that look, and the braided brown leather was incredibly unique!
3. Groom’s Boutonnieres
Next on our Tropical Wedding Inspo list, BOUTONNIERES! Orchids and sweet little baby pineapples are so damn cute and a beautiful addition… While the tropical orchids and sweet tiny flower were the perfect tropical touch. These wild bunches had a sweet timeless feel.
I love the Anthurium Boutonnieres on the left, my favorite type of boutonniere has a small simple tie because I love to see the stems. However, these burlap wrapped ginger bouts are super sweet as well.
The amazing thing about these orchid boutonnieres (aside from them being absolutely perfect) is the florist actually made them with MAGNETS….. MAGNETS! Talk about genius, They were so easy for the groomsmen to put on and they stayed perfectly in place… There wasn’t a cluster of men poking each other with pins, trying to get their bouts on straight… I can’t believe all bouts arent made with perfect little magnets! Amazing… and last but not least, probably my ABSOLUTE favorite of the bunch… this sweet little poppy boutonniere. I just love it so much from the small little details of the blue thistle to the beautiful little imperfect strip of wild fabric holding it all together.
4. Bride + Bridesmaid’s Robes!
Bridesmaids Robes are usually a special part of your big day as it’s 1 of 2 coordinated outfits that are worn by the bridal squad that day. 😉 So here’s some Bridesmaid Tropical Wedding Inspo for you! I recommend checking out Show Me Your Mumu (who also has killer bridesmaid dresses!) or this ETSY list for loads of gorgeous Tropical Wedding fun!
Brides will often include the bridesmaid robe as part of their bridesmaid gift! Which brings us to our next Tropical Wedding Inspo category…
5. Bridesmaid’s Gifts!
Like previously mentioned Bridesmaid’s robes are often a sweet inclusion for your bridal squad! As seen above, this generous bride included, bridesmaid robes from Show Me Your Mumu Kendra Scott bracelet’s earrings and a personalized glass (certainly for drinking mimosas wedding morning!) What a cute collection of bridesmaids goodies!
& while the most tropical thing about this next image is the bridesmaids dress, these flasks were too great to not included! Plus you could throw in your favorite tropical beverage and it would fit our list quite nicely!
6. Groom’s Swag!
Tropical ties and floral boutonnieres are always a fun look for a tropical theme.
Floral ties paired with a Maile-style Ti leaf lei are also a popular look amongst Hawaii grooms! Whether your rocking black, navy, tan or gray a tropical floral pattern adds a nice island touch and pop of personality to your wedding day.
Not to mention, it gets your squad lookin’ on point…
7. Tropical Groomsmen Swag!
8. Tropical Bridesmaid Dresses
We just loved she mismatched Tropical Print dresses from Show Me Your Mumu! From this photographer’s perspective it adds more interest to the group shots, when each bride maids dress is slightly different be it by pattern or, color tone, or style. Not only that you allow your bridesmaid’s unique personality to shine through AND they’re able to selected a dress cut that they feel most comfortable in or flatters their unique figure best!
9. Tropical Bouquets
When it comes to your bouquet you definitely want something you’re super in love with. After all, it’s your biggest accessory on wedding day! There are so many gorgeous ways to do a Tropical Bouquet depending on what type of colors and blooms inspire you!
Although originating in Africa the Protea is an incredibly popular flower and so much fun to photograph… it always adds interest! Chavah of Vida Chic Events created the stunning bouquet (top left) and bottom left was created by the bride’s mother, a wonderful florist in PA who owns Crazy for Daisies, flew to Hawaii and did the florals for her daughters beautiful day!
to EVERY bouquet and the texture is always so much fun.
This gorgeous bouquet by Jeff Alencastre is the perfect mixture of Anthurium orchids, proteas and greens! I love the deep colors and the way it flows.
How about some Tropical Bridesmaid Bouquet Inspo! A few simple blooms (Ginger on the Left and Orchids on the Right) paired with Monstera leaves is a great way to keep it simple!
This bride had Medium Violet Red and Crimson toned palette for her Tropical wedding day on Oahu. Spinning Web florist did a gorgeous job pairing ginger and peonies with sweet baby pineapples! We especially loved the satin ribbons holding them all together. (Baby Pineapples again… I mean… how can you NOT love ’em?!)
10. ALOHA Signs
These Light-up “Aloha” Wedding Signs are an awesome addition to your Tropical Wedding decor! They are such a fun addition to your wedding vibe and make for a totally cute wedding photo prop. Plus who doesn’t love extra ALOHA!
These Wedding signs are by DESIGNED BY ALOHA and PALM PALM PARTIES! Both companies are run by crazy awesome humans and all signs are cute as can be! The biggest difference is the “Font” of the word, with Palm Palm Parties having a more Vintage feel (lower left.)
11. Arches and Arbors
There are so many ways you can say “I do” and while I’ve seen an incredible array of Wedding arches and arbors types and floral choices, I’ve picked out a few, in particular, to add to our Tropical Wedding Inspo List.
This Geometric Arch was just gorgeous!! Tropical Moon Events and La Flor styled out a gorgeous Tropical Classy Wedding at Kualoa Ranch. The White Orchid and Light Anthuriums crated a gorgeous floral ensemble, with of course the iconic Mokoli’i island AKA “Chinaman’s Hat” Island in the background. This incredible ceremony location is known as “The Water Tower” at Paliku Gardens, Kualoa Ranch on Oahu, Hawaii.
Which Wedding Arch is YOUR favorite? There are so many beautiful ways to decorate this sacred space. From Tropical Blooms and Montsera Leaves (like the beautiful arch on the left, perfectly crafted by Jeff Alencastre, to the incredible driftwood arch by Altered Maui and adorned with simple coconuts and a white sheer by Vida Chic Events. The arch on the right was INCREDIBLE, full of Peonies and big beautiful Hibiscus blooms, the entire arch was just incredible. This floral magic was created by Ocean Dreamer on Oahu (the ocean is at Hawaii Polo Club)
There are so many choices when it comes your ceremony space. From an entire floral design like this INCREDIBLE arbor on the left (Venue: Lanikuhonua) to the beautiful arches on the right, once you decide your full vibe, and floral vision, you can chat with your floral artist about colors, floral availability and your vision.
For those wanting a more simple green and white floral look, we just love these two looks. I especially love the arbor on the left, created by floral master Vanessa Olsen of La Flor (OAHU).
AND…. For those wanting NATURES most perfect spot, we highly recommend SUNSET RANCH!! (As seen below right) Fern’s Garden at Sunset Ranch is my favorite ceremony location on the island of Oahu. It’s as though Nature made this spot just for your wedding! Also, the people there are fantastic!! & If you let them know I sent you, they’ll take extra special care of you!
One of my favorite tropical ceremony spaces was Kelly and Nestor’s beautiful, sweet setup at their Fairmont Orchid Wedding on the Big Island. Aloha Bridal Connections did a beautiful job setting up this sweet space with tropical blooms, wooden chairs, and pineapples. It gave off the perfect sweet island vibe!
12. Kahu (Traditional Hawaiian Wedding Officiant)
kahu. 1. n. Honored attendant, guardian, nurse, keeper of ʻunihipili bones, regent, keeper, administrator, warden, caretaker, master, mistress; pastor, minister, reverend, or preacher of a church; one who has a dog, cat, pig, or other pet. – wehewehe.org
Having a traditional Hawaiian Kahu marry you and your best friend is always an honor. Hawaiian weddings are quick, typically running around 15 minutes and when you have a real Kahu perform the ceremony, it’s oftentimes filled with spiritual elements to help honor the sacredness of your union. Often times a lei ceremony may be involved, blowing of the conch, Salt or Coconut/Sacred Water ceremonies… everyone has their own way of marrying two humans.
It’s a sacred honor and a true Hawai’i blessing to have a Kahu perform your ceremony. We always recommend Kahu Aokai!! You couldn’t possibly find a better human who cares more about your big day. & Although he is based on Kauai, he definitely travels.
13. Guest “Book”
Couples everywhere have been getting extra creative when it comes to their guestbook at their wedding. No longer are people only using a book to keep track of their guests well-wishes on their wedding day. I’ve seen lots of plays on different creative ways to go about this. But to stick with our theme for Tropical Wedding Inspo, we’re going to talk about way to do it, to keep in line with your tropical wedding vibe. Char and Travis opted for a surfboard they can mount on their wall, while another couple went with a ukelele! This is a cute way to mount an object on your wall that was blessed by all of the people you love most and filled with positive energy, love and well-wishes to bless your marriage. Of course, a tropical-themed guest book is also a good choice, like Missy and Jon selected for their Thailand wedding.
14. Tropical Wedding Signs
There are so many beautiful ways to have your signage at your Tropical Wedding Day! From a hand-painted sandwich board showing your favorite tropical foods, to a Welcome Sign greeting all of your guests to your big day, or a sign reminding guests to stay off their cellphones (should you choose to have an “Unplugged” Event.) There are lots of reasons you’ll want signs at your wedding!
Wood is always a good call and adds to the Tropical Vibe, We were really loving the Glass/Gold combo as well! Of course adding a message of “ALOHA” only adds to your island vibe. You can add brightly colored tropical blooms, or Monsteras and tropical greens for added styling. The Simple Flourish and Hawaii Calligraphy are two local artists definitely worth checking out!
15. Tropical Reception Table Inspo
There are so many ways you can design your decor for your big Tropical Wedding day! Wooden tables are always a good choice, and when covered in tropical blooms you can’t go wrong. So Tropical you may get other tropical friends 🦎 popping in.
We loved Alex + Ken’s super cute wedding at Loulu Palms! They even used Ti leaves to hold their little guest gifts which sat on each plate. Their hanging macrame pineapples were also a unique feature I had never seen before!
This table decor from a Tropical Wedding in Thailand was beautifully inspired by The Wedding Bliss Thailand. They sprayed pineapples golden and cut some at angles to decorate their tables.
Aloha Bridal Connections designed a sweet, natural, tropical vibe with pops of yellow to complement their main wedding color, Teal for Tyler and Blair’s Wedding reception.
La Flor sourced tropical greens and florals to decorate the tables at Joy and Hunter’s Wedding! Emerald Green was the primary color for their wedding palette and their day was full of beautiful dark greens from florals, to greens, gorgeous emerald glasses, and more!
Or how about this sweet tropical luau so beautifully styled by Unveiled Hawaii? This Wedding luau Welcome Dinner at the Four Seasons Lanai paired gorgeous florals by Mandy Grace with Tavola linens for the perfect tropical wedding look.
One of my favorite tropical looks is this beauty right here by K.E. Daniels and DB Hemingway! Bright tropical blooms paired with lots of fruit and natural wood. The vintage glass from Garnish Craft Cocktails complemented this setting perfectly! Four Seasons Maui.
16. Tropical Themed Wedding Menus (& Bonus FAN)
These sweet menus were also made into fans, which were perfect for a warm Hawaiian evening! Guests could keep cool while enjoying the delicious food that was to come!
Some couples turn their Ceremony program into a fan while others provide raffia fans for guests to use. This is especially nice for tropical summer-time weddings as weddings, particularly Hawaii Weddings can get hot during the Summer.
17. Tropical Ceiling Installations
These tropical ceiling installations by La Flor were a gorgeous addition to their Wedding Reception tents! They made a beautiful focal piece and added a sweet element of interest in their wedding imagery. They were beautiful and gave us al of the Tropical feels! La Flor always does a gorgeous floral job and we highly recommend her for a creative florist on Oahu!
18. Tropical Inspired Wedding Pupus
You definitely want to make sure you’re serving up the right type of foods at your Tropical Wedding Soiree! If you’re in Hawaii, that’s simple as most caterers will definitely have you covered! Kalua Pork is a traditional Hawaiian food and quite popular at weddings. There are also lots of delicious vegan options depending on what your diet consists of. The presentation is always beautiful when paired with and served on wood!
Traditional Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sliders on Taro Buns are a very popular Hawaiian Wedding Pupu!
A gourmet chef will not only create delicious pupu’s they are just gorgeous to look at! Whether you are plant-based (left) or a carnivore (right.)
There are so many fun ways you can incorporate your favorite tropical wedding refreshments on your big day! The guests were thrilled when they showed up and were immediately handed a Corona upon sitting down on the coast of Hawaii and waiting their wedding ceremony to start! If you want to specialize this even further, you can hire a Craft Cocktail Maker like Stir Beverage who will not only customize a bar perfect for your event, but work with you customize a craft cocktail list especially for your guests!
You’ll also want to consider frosty beverages for you and your crew to hydrate with during “Get Ready” time. Your bros will certainly appreciate a cooler of frosty local beers!
2o. Craft Bar
Of course COCONUTS would make an appearance on our list of Tropical Wedding Inspo!!! If you really want a fun Tropical drink at your wedding and something that will really add to your fun island vibes, the Catered Coconut is definitely the way to go. Located on Maui, but available for weddings on other islands, not only is their set up crazy-cute but who doesn’t love drinking fresh coconut water out of a beautiful green coconut? This husband-wife team will be an awesome tropical addition to your big day!
22. Tropical Wedding Cakes
There are soo many ways you can do your cake and/or wedding dessert table!
23. Traditional Polynesian Entertainment
Always an incredible addition, a traditional Polynesian Entertainment Company can provide lots of Aloha and a beautiful cultural experience for couples and their guests. From presenting the traditionally cooled Kalua Pig to, lei’ing your guests upon arrival, and of course beautiful performances from dancing to Fire-Knife Dancers spinning fire, it’s sure to Wow your guests.
24. Traditional Polynesian Entertainment
WEDDING LOCATIONS – Tropical Nature Vibes
While location isn’t necessary to have a Tropical themed wedding, nothing helps set the mood like being on the beach in paradise or off in the jungle! Here are a few of my favorite Hawaii locations that are sure to give you ALLLLL of the Tropical Feels!!
Ponomakena (Above Left) is a gorgeous location on Maui that is only available on occasion. The owner returned for 2020, this wedding being one of the last they took and they will announce at the end of the year whether or not they will be taking weddings in 2021. Four Seasons Maui (Above Right) is another gorgeous coastal location with sweet beautiful views!
If gorgeous mountains and beautiful ocean views is your jam, Kauai may be the island for you! It can be a real gamble with the weather, but when you catch it on a good weather day, it’s incredibly gorgeous.
Clockwise Starting at Top Left – Turtle Bay, Kualoa Ranch Moli’i Gardens, Kualoa Ranch Paliku Gardens, Lanikuhonua, Sunset Ranch. Some of the top venues to get married on Oahu. Sunset Ranch takes the cake for my favorite spot, the greenery is insane and the jungle vibes are incredible! Kualoa Ranch is insanely gorgeous with their ocean views, Stunning green mountainscapes, and jungle vibes! They are a lot more strict than some venues, but the views are incredible. Lanikuhonua is a great spot on the ocean with loads of palm trees and stunning views. It sits right next to the Four Seasons. In fact, I recommend staying at the Four Seasons and getting married at Lani (the ceremony spaces are a lot nicer than the ones the Oahu Four Seasons – Lani has more space, no leering pool-goers, more nature, better views and the best beach areas!
To Recap, my favorite Tropical Wedding Locations on Oahu are: Sunset Ranch, Kualoa Ranch, Lanikuhonua, Dillingham Ranch (not pictured above) and Turtle Bay!
8.2 WEDDING LOCATIONS – Waikiki Resorts, Oahu
The Royal Hawaiian has to be one of my favorite resorts in Waikiki for a wedding… it’s GORGEOUS. Not only does the resort sit on the famous Waikiki Beach overlooked by Diamond Head, It’s chock-full of history, and so much fun to look at. The hotel is finely curated and each every corner is adorable with amazing furniture and textures for gorgeous photos. Just look at that incredible wallpaper in the bride’s room.. PERFECT for those wanting a tropical vibe for their wedding. Their popular ocean-front ceremony spot sits with Diamond Head directly in the distance. It does sit on Waikiki Beach (the busiest beach in all of Hawaii) so you’ll have beach-goers standing and walking around in the distance, and in all of your wedding shots, however, it’s almost part of Waikiki’s charm. The people are further back and honestly, the people didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would! 😉
If you’re considering a Waikiki Resort, I’d also look into The Moana Surfrider or the Halekulani!
As you can see there is no shortage of ways to make your big day extra tropical, whether you are getting married here in Hawaii or at a venue somewhere across the ocean. Have ideas you’d like to share with other couples? Share in the comments what you did to make your day extra tropical or what you’re planning to do! We always love to hear about your wedding plans or stories.
Thanks for reading!
Love, Light, and Aloha,