Hawaii Residents Seek to Limit Weddings at Popular Beach Venue: ‘We’re Kind of Blocked by Photographers’

Residents living around Waialae Beach Park say the increase of wedding ceremonies and photography has prevented them from enjoying activities in the area

<p>Getty</p> Stock photo of couple on beach


Stock photo of couple on beach

Some residents in Hawaii are looking to say “Aloha” — or goodbye — to an influx of weddings on O'ahu’s popular eastern shore.

Waialae Beach Park, which is also known as Kahala Beach, has become a popular wedding destination and scenic photo spot for engaged couples both in the U.S. and around the world due to its white sandy beaches, palm trees and bright blue ocean views, along with its close proximity to vacation hotspot Waikiki. According to the Weddings of Hawaii website, Kahala Beach has enough space for a smaller wedding with approximately 30 guests.

However, residents living around the area say the increase of wedding ceremonies and photography has prevented them from being able to relax and enjoy activities on the beach, and they are drafting a measure to limit or ban them from occurring, according to local channel KITV News.

"Wedding planners can be quite aggressive about keeping people away from the weddings and we're kind of blocked by photographers," neighborhood board chair Richard Turbin told the outlet.

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Turbin told KITV News that he’s drafting a resolution to the Honolulu City Council, which would possibly “restrict” those kinds of wedding activities “or require a lottery system” for them so that the beach could be utilized more by the locals.

However, people in Hawaii’s wedding industry are pushing back against banning or limiting weddings on the beach, as they say that could severely impact their industry. Wedding planner Julie Aragaki with The Best Hawaii Wedding told KITV News that couples may end up choosing to get married somewhere else due to restrictions.

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"It's a beautiful location as far as backdrop and everything," she told the outlet. "If you take that away, as far as being able to offer that [a beach wedding] to a wedding couple, then why would they choose Hawaii to come and get married?”

In order to carry out commercial activities like weddings or wedding photography, vendors would need to obtain permits to help prevent overcrowding on the beach, according to the city’s parks and recreation.

"Typically, we permit about four to eight photographers for Waialae Beach Park a month, but we do not track event permits specifically for weddings," a spokesperson with the department told KITV News.

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The spokesperson noted that one solution they are "potentially" looking at to solve the problem is a park ranger program to help monitor how the commercial activities are carried out at public parks like Waialae Beach Park.

“Our ultimate goal is to preserve the general public’s recreational access to these park resources, and establish a clear understanding of what is and is not allowed in city parks and beaches,” the department said.

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