© 2024 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hawaiʻi wedding industry is bouncing back to pre-pandemic numbers

Catherine Cruz

Weddings have returned and Hawaiʻi small businesses in the industry are bouncing back with them.

The restrictions on gathering sizes put in place in March 2020 and again in August 2021 disrupted just about every aspect of normal life, including getting hitched.

In a November 2020 report, PBN found small businesses in the wedding sector were “hanging on by a thread.” Things are looking up now.

Joseph Esser is owner of Joseph Esser Photography and president of the Oʻahu Wedding Association, which represents 150 businesses in the sector. He says the industry is now “booming like crazy.”

State Department of Health figures back that up. There were just over 20,000 weddings each year in the state in 2018 and 2019. That plummeted to a little over 10,000 in 2020.

Last year, there were nearly 18,500 marriages and 2022 seems on track for about 19,000 based on numbers through June.

Wedding businesses that were reeling from COVID restrictions got pummeled again in April. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed into law Bill 28 that month, largely restricting commercial activity at East Oʻahu beach parks.

That took famous beaches out of circulation as locations for weddings and wedding photography locations.

This inspired one wedding business to chart a new course. Eternal Tides Photography owners Patrick and Kelsi Nichols bought a sailboat they intend to use to conduct ceremonies and take wedding photos in a romantic setting they can control themselves.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
Related Stories