Finding paradise in the U.S. makes the easiest of all destination weddings. Plus, diverse, action-packed islands make this the ideal place to combine your wedding and honeymoon. Here are five particularly worthy wedding spots:
Hotel Hana-Maui, Maui
Anyone who's driven the Hana Highway -- a winding, 52-mile ode to natural beauty -- won't be surprised that the hotel at the end of the road has some amazing outdoor ceremony spots. The Kaihalulu Beach Overlook, which lets guests take in Hana's unique blend of pastoral and coastal views, is one of the best. Other picture-perfect settings include the tropical greenery-fringed Garden Pool and the oceanside Hamoa Beach Pavillion, where the only drawback is the neckache you'll get from stargazing. But two indoor settings are wedding worthy as well: the on-site Plantation Guest House, a restored turn-of-the-century home with views of Hana Bay, and, for church-bound couples, the historic Wananalua Congregational Church, just across the street from the hotel. (808) 248-8211, www.hotelhanamaui.com
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island
The Kona-Kohala Coast is a 40-mile stretch known for historical sites (such as the Puukohola Heiau temple), lava fields, and a mix of black-and-white sand beaches. It's also where you'll find the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at historic Ka'upulehu. By the time you get married, your guests may already be familiar with a few of the best ceremony sites: the oceanside Seashell Pool, with its lagoon shape and infinity edge; the Palm Grove, shaded by tropical palms and boasting views of the ocean, and the King's Pond, carved from natural lava and filled with a blend of mountain and ocean water. The King's Pond stocks 3,500 or so fish -- spotted eagle rays (a type of stingray) are the most popular of the aquatic celebrities. (808) 325-8000, www.fourseasons.com
Local touch: In addition to exchanging rings, exchange leis during the ceremony -- a beautiful local symbol of love. Alternatively, have your officiant bind your hands together with a lei to represent your commitment.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
One consistent contender for best beach in Hawaii is Hanalei Bay. And the reputation is well deserved: This long half-moon of sandy beach emerges from the base of a sheer cliff on one side and narrows to a rocky point on the other. To hold your wedding at the sandy patch of your choosing, get pavilion permits from the county of Kauai. Or, if you stay at the resident Princeville Resort, you can exchange vows on the beach in front of the property, and choose from a number of jaw-dropping reception spots (the Makana and Bay Terraces are perennial favorites). (808) 826-9644, www.princeville.com