Countless celebrities have been unable to resist the lure of Hawaii's sun-kissed shores when it came to the most romantic moment in their lives – their wedding.
Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley decided the Big Island was the perfect setting to seal their on-off relationship, and Friends star Matt LeBlanc elected Kauai as the optimal spot to wed his girlfriend. And with billions of dollars at his disposal, Microsoft founder Bill Gates chose the island of Lanai as the one and only spot he wanted take his vows, renting out an entire beachside luxury hotel for the occasion.
So what is it that brings brides and grooms – including There's Something About Mary star Ben Stiller, tennis ace Lindsay Davenport and one out of five US couples who opt for a "destination wedding" – to the spectacular chain of islands?
One key seems to be the unique Hawaiian ambiance: fragrant leis, the strum of ukeleles and vibrant luaus set against a background of crimson sunsets, cascading waterfalls, dramatic volcano skylines and foamy surf.
And the infinite number of picturesque locations means the ceremony doesn't have to take place in a church. Ben Stiller wed wife Christine Taylor near Secret Beach on Kauai; Bill Gates married on the picturesque golf course of the Manele Bay Hotel; and Nic and Lisa Marie – whose mother Priscilla Presley owns a Hawaiian home – tied the knot at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel on the Big Island's sunny Kohala Coast.
Each couple's dream wedding can be tailor-made, aided by the hundreds of agencies which help plan romantic island nuptials."Hawaii is a unique and special place that's not duplicated anywhere in the world," says CEO of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau Tony Vericella. "It is a place that's welcoming, and nobody feels they're a stranger. Everybody can feel comfortable here, whether they have celebrity status or they don't."