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Getting Married in Hawaii

By Lacy Varner

Everyone dreams of the perfect wedding. If you’ve decided that your idea of perfection includes a ceremony in Hawaii, here are a few things that you should know.

A Beach ceremony is usually the first thing that comes to mind when considering a Hawaiian wedding and there are many gorgeous beaches for you to choose from on every island. That stunning sunset ceremony is why you came here, right? Just keep in mind that beaches in Hawaii are public, so there is no way to keep strangers from walking past or stopping to watch your ceremony. You may or may not mind this. And a right-of-entry permit may also be required, depending on the location you select. For more info on this, CLICK HERE.

If you’re wanting the beach ambiance, but could do without the actual “sand between your toes” effect, there are plenty of ocean-view chapels or wedding sites to choose from. Or you could even select a botanical garden, boat, or underwater wedding. The possibilities are nearly endless!

But no matter what type of wedding you envision, we always recommend you take a scouting trip. Just consider it part of your wedding expenses! You want to make sure that everything will live up to your expectations.

Beach Wedding
(HTA)/Tor Johnson

Weather is always a factor for outdoor weddings, even in Hawaii. While I’m sure you’re aware that the 50th state is usually sunny, we do have a rainy season that runs from December-March. Each island also has a wetter/cooler side (facing North or East) and a hotter/drier side (facing South or West), commonly referred to as the windward and leeward sides respectively. Just be aware that if your location is on the windward side of the island, your chances of rain and passing showers are increased, particularly at night.

Regardless of what type of ceremony you are looking for, you will be able to find an officiant to meet your needs. All performers must be licensed with the State of Hawaii to perform marriages. If your performer is also registered online, it will make the paperwork portion much easier (see below).

A lot has been done in recent years to make more of the process available online. This is incredibly helpful for visitors.

You will need to obtain a marriage license from the State of Hawaii; this license is only valid for 30 days, so do not do it too early. You can complete most of the process online at, including the payment portion. But you will need to meet with an agent once you are on island in order to verify your identities and pick up the official license. Bring this form with you to your wedding.

After your wedding, your officiant is responsible for filing the completed form.  If he/she is able to do this online, a temporary marriage certificate will be available for you to print 48 hours after it has been submitted. An official marriage certificate will be mailed to you within 30-120 days.

Happy planning!

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