Aulani Ceremony & Reception Venue Tour

Ceremony Venues
When we first started planning, there were numerous wedding venues around Aulani that I was planning to document here. Then they realized they had to overhaul a bunch of stuff at the resort to meet guests’ needs, and suddenly almost half these venues were wiped out.

The biggest shocker is that Makaloa Garden—the lawn with the gorgeous ocean view seen in all of Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings’ promotional materials and the site of the “Dream Wedding” they staged live on an episode of Live with Kelly—is now a dirt patch, on its way to being consumed by the pool area expansion. This means that there are now no private venues with an ocean view, which is almost incomprehensible to me. I mean, who’s going to go all the way to Hawaii to get married and not do it someplace with an ocean view? (I dunno, maybe locals are less cracked on the idea than we are.)

When the dust clears, there will be five ceremony venues left: two for Memories events and three for Wishes. Two of those are directly on the public beach, where they’ll rope off a little area between the sunbathers; one is yards away from the diners at ‘AMA ‘AMA Restaurant; one is at the Jacuzzi in the main pool area; and one is on the lawn overlooked by the rooms of the Ewa tower. If you’re hoping for absolute privacy, Aulani is not the place for you.

In addition to the Memories venues, I’ll put in photos of the Wishes venues just so you can see all the options.

Memories Collection Venues

Alohi Point (a.k.a., The Jacuzzi)

I actually think Memories brides get the better deal here with access to Alohi Point because it is reasonably private, unlike either of the Wishes venues with ocean views. Initially I had nightmares of kids in water wings streaking between us as we tried to say our vows, while behind us lifeguards led guests in Pool Bingo as “YMCA” blared from the speakers. But if you can do your ceremony early enough in the morning (the official time is 9am, but we requested 8am), there really isn’t anyone around, and of course they rope off the Jacuzzi area for you. We ended up having only one onlooker, a nosy lady who parked herself at the bottom of the stairs next to our photographers. Patrick didn’t even notice her.

Deck area, where the ukulele player and officiant stand


Looking back at the pool area behind Alohi Point


Looking back at Alohi Point from the Beach


© Disney

© Disney


Memories Beach Location
I don’t know what they’re going to call this one when it’s ready, or why it’s different from the beach location for the Wishes Collection, which is just a few yards away. Both are spots on a public beach that Disney will clear for you, but I’d recommend doing an early-morning ceremony if you don’t want a bunch of tourists in Speedos beached on either side of you.

You stand on the sand somewhere around here…


Looking back down the beach and the path that takes you to Aulani

…And that’s it for Memories Collection ceremony locations.

Wishes Collection Ceremony Venues

Now that Makaloa Garden is gone, the next closest thing is Halawai Lawn, the site of the Starlit Hui two nights a week. It’s in a relatively private location (I mean, except for being directly underneath a bunch of hotel rooms) on the far side of the resort, between Aulani and whatever will eventually be built on the property next door. However, it does not have the ocean view one sort of expects with an Hawaiian wedding, or ANY view.

Halawai Lawn

Looking back at the Ewa Tower


Wishes Beach Location
I’m sure they’ll come up with a fancy name for this venue once the construction’s done, but it’s basically a spot on the sand directly between the two rock piles out in the bay.

All these chairs and umbrellas would be cleared out for you


‘AMA ‘AMA Patio
For my money, this is now the best Wishes ceremony venue if you want an ocean view, but it’s not super-private. Although they will rope off the patio for you, it is directly below the open-air restaurant ‘AMA ‘AMA, so you’ll have plenty of potentially boisterous onlookers. It’s also not huge, so larger weddings won’t fit here.

Looking up at ‘AMA ‘AMA from the patio


© Disney


Wishes Collection Reception Venues

Indoor Wishes receptions are held in the small conference center. The outdoor reception venues are the Halawai Lawn (pictured above) or the Kipuka Lawn and Courtyard, which are adjacent to the conference center and not directly accessible from the Halawai Lawn.

Kipuka Courtyard
Disney’s website bills this as one of the Wishes ceremony locations, but my planner said nobody really uses it for that. It’s mostly for cocktail hours and receptions.

© Disney

Kipuka Lawn

The Conference Center features two ballrooms that can be subdivided into nine small rooms, with an exterior corridor running down one side.

Kaiona Ballroom

This is what it looks like without your glasses…


Passageway between Kaiona Ballroom and Ka’ala Ballroom


Ka’ala Ballroom III & IV

Through the exit door pictured in the shot above is a very small back patio—just deep enough for a few people to get some air, not a separate event space


Standard Dance Floor


Ka’ala II

Up Next: Our “Reception”!

16 Responses
  • Anne
    April 4, 2013

    My sister just took a quick trip to Aulani this March to see the locations in person since it was confusing what venue locations were available online. We too were surprised they would get rid of that area where the Promotion weddings were held. It seemed like the best spot. My sister totally disliked the Ama Ama Patio due to lack of privacy and it’s a patio. She ended up booking the new lawn since it had the long aisle and she plans to do a circular seating arrangement where that circle patio is in the middle. As long as there is an ocean to take photos nearby, she was ok with it. She does have the option to view the “new” beach location when it is finished in September (her wedding is in December). My sister also checked out 6 other hotels in the area and Disney’s price was comparable as anywhere else and cheaper than some. I did my vow renewal on Disney Cruises last November and you can’t beat Disney’s services are top notch!

    • Carrie
      April 4, 2013

      Fascinating! I’d be interested to see any photos she takes of the new beach location. I can’t imagine what they’re doing to the sand that it’s going to take them another 5 months…

  • Eileen
    March 25, 2013

    Can’t wait!
    I thought they should have put a floating wedding site between the 2 rocks. They boat you over and boat you back.

    • Carrie
      March 25, 2013

      That would be cool! They have this big floating platform out in the bay that you can sit on… maybe they could use it for weddings too!

  • Eileen
    March 25, 2013

    Which wedding site did you end up picking? My favorite place was between the 2 rocks…

    • Carrie
      March 25, 2013

      We picked the Jacuzzi site. I was really worried about it being too public, but as you’ll see in our photos, it was private and really pretty.

  • Kelly
    March 23, 2013

    Hi Carrie….what type of wedding cake options did they give you…or is that for another post? 😉

    • Carrie
      March 24, 2013

      LOL! Yes! That is for another post, and if my photos are ready soon, it could be the next one!

  • Katelyn
    March 20, 2013

    It also took me a minute to grasp that those weren’t just pictures of the GCH ballrooms. They could have at least built a rip off of the Wisteria room! Something with more charm to it than just a loud carpet…

    • Carrie
      March 20, 2013

      LOL! There is a lot of the same dark wood, isn’t there?

  • Hope
    March 19, 2013

    It’s kinda disappointing to see the actual spaces available at Aulani. I thought the point of a HI VR was the view, and if everything is obstructed then what’s the point? Also, the reception rooms look a lot like the GCH (where we held our wedding reception) so I don’t see us flying over to throw a party there anytime soon. :/

    It’ll be interesting to see how the spaces transform after the construction. It feels like Disney didn’t really think any of this through when they built the hotel.

    • Carrie
      March 19, 2013

      Yes, some of the decisions are head-scratchers. It’s like different departments wanted different things, and now the DFTW department is getting the short end of the stick.

  • Lisa
    March 19, 2013

    Hmmm….Not very impressive. I mean locals may like it but I can’t see brides coming from say the East coast there for a wedding. You could get married at sunset point at the Polynesian and get a better view.

    • Carrie
      March 19, 2013

      Yeah, I really think they’re mostly going to get local business for weddings at Aulani, and even then, aren’t there cheaper places on Oahu that have actual ocean views? Maybe they think there will be a lot of well-off DVC members who will decide to renew their vows during the family vacations, but my experience has been that most people with families don’t want to spend more than a thousand bucks for a vow renewal.

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