Tips for Planning your Hawaii Wedding

By Team

Perhaps no other ceremony in the human experience is so laden with tradition than the wedding. Though details may change from one culture to another, the sentiment is the same: preserving continuity with the past to move forward into the future. In this spirit we offer suggestions for planning a wedding in Hawaii. Use what works for you, disregard what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to improvise!


Take care of your paperwork early.

Take care of the paperwork early in your planning. You’ll need a marriage license from the State of Hawaii to be legally married. To get this done, refer to Hawaii’s marriage license requirements.

Find a good wedding coordinator.

Planning a wedding on uncharted ground can be challenging. Relax! Find a good wedding coordinator and let someone else do the work…you just need to say “I do.”

Be weather-ready.

If you’re planning an outdoor wedding: Hawaii’s temperatures average 78 degrees Fahrenheit year-round and though rain showers are usually light and brief except December through February when you’ll have the occasional day-long downpour, you should plan a backup location in case of inclement weather. Also keep in mind that strong tradewinds (winds from the North) are a Hawaii hallmark, especially in shoreline areas. Be sure to pin down veil, dress, hair and anything else you don’t want flying up and away during the ceremony.

Know the important details.

All beaches in Hawaii are public, but changes to outdoor wedding laws have made wedding permits a requirement in some areas. Also don’t expect to have a popular spot all to yourself. Most beaches and parks in Hawaii are not secluded, and especially during spring and summer months may have quite a few visitors.

You are not legally required to have witnesses present at your ceremony. Although some wedding consultants and officiants will offer to provide you witnesses (for a fee), they are not required by state law.

Give yourself time to relax.

If you’re traveling to Hawaii for your ceremony, allow yourself at least two days to relax, get your bearings and recover from jetlag before the day of the ceremony. This will also give you the time to troubleshoot any unexpected problems.


When planning your ceremony, don’t forget the flowers. Lei (which go around the neck of both the bride and groom) and haku lei (which go on the bride’s head) are a common element of a Hawaiian wedding. Grooms normally wear maile lei, a green leafy garland that drapes over the neck but is not sewn in a circle, with flowers intertwined. Brides can wear the delicate ginger or pikake lei with rosebuds. It is also traditional to present a maile lei to the pastor or Hawaiian kahuna (priest) who officiates your wedding. It is also keeping with the aloha tradition to present important people with lei including family members attending the ceremony.


Couples who are marrying outdoors or on the beach can dress as casually or formally as they like. Many outdoor brides wear long, flowing summer dresses (white, cream or pastel floral) with a haku lei and flat shoes (if you’re having a beach or lawn wedding, consider going barefoot!). Grooms wear nice aloha shirts (patterned or plain white) with solid-colored slacks or long shorts and of course their maile lei. A brightly colored sash around the groom’s waist also adds color to the ceremony.

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