How to Get Married in Hawaii
Many couples travel to the gorgeous islands of Hawaii for their destination wedding and to start their new lives together in paradise. From simple weddings on the beach to grand celebrations, Hawaii offers many options for every kind of wedding. If you have never planned an event this large or from a distance before, knowing how to access and book the resources that you need for your big day will be vital to pulling off a successful wedding event.
Getting a Marriage License
Make sure you are eligible to apply for a marriage license in Hawaii.A marriage license allows you to get married in any of the Hawaiian islands and you don't need to be a U.S. citizen or resident of Hawaii to obtain one. As well, because of The Marriage Equality Act, any couple of any gender can obtain license to marry in Hawaii. However, you must meet these requirements to apply:
- You can legally marry if both you and your spouse-to-be are at least 18 years old.
- If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must obtain written consent from both parents, legal guardian, or from the family court. Consent forms are given to you by a marriage license agent.
- If you are 15 years old, you must obtain written consent from both parents or legal guardianandthe written approval of a judge of the family court. Consent forms are given to you by a marriage license agent.
- If you are 18 years old or younger, you must provide a certified copy of your birth certificate.
- If you are 19 years or older, you must provide a valid I.D. or driver's license as proof of your age.
- If you have been previously married, you must have proof of your divorce decree or a death certificate of your previous spouse to present to the marriage license agent within 30 days of applying for a marriage license.
- Blood tests are not required. However, the blood relationship between you and your significant other cannot be closer than first cousins.
Find someone to perform your marriage ceremony.They must be licensed by the State of Hawaii to perform. Hawaii's Department of Health offers a that can perform a variety of ceremony types.
- If you choose from the list of licensed performers provided by the Department of Health, you can obtain a temporary online marriage certificate 3 days after your ceremony. This is useful if you need your marriage certificate early since most official certificates take up to 3 weeks to be received in the mail.
- The Marriage Equality act not only allows same-sex couples to marry but also gives religious freedom to performers or religious societies to determine who they will marry. So if you are a same-sex couple, be sure to find a performer that respects your choices and relationship.
Obtain your Hawaiian marriage license from a marriage license agent.First, you must complete a marriage license application form and either or and given to your marriage license agent. You can find a on the Hawaii Department of Health web site.
- There is a fee of .00 to submit your application. This can be paid online or in-person to your marriage license agent.
- Both of you must appear in person before a marriage license agent and bring along the required documents such as your proof of age or proof of previously terminated marriages.
- Marriage licenses are valid 30 days in the State of Hawaii after you are issued approval. After that, there is no waiting period to get married.
Learn about the islands of Hawaii.There are six main islands in Hawaii with a variety of resorts and beaches. Some islands are more isolated than others and may require extra travel to reach them. If you're having a big wedding with several guests and employing multiple services, a convenient location with lots entertaining activities may be best. Or if you're having a small wedding, a more private island may suit you better. Search Hawaii's island websites, travel sites, and forums to find the best island for your wedding.
- Hawaii's International Airport is located in Honolulu on Oahu island. Most flights from outside of Hawaii will arrive in Honolulu. From there, you can catch smaller planes that fly to the other islands of Hawaii. Some airlines may also fly directly into Maui.
Consider Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or Big Island if you prefer a lively atmosphere for your wedding.These four islands are most popular for tourists and couples coming for a vacation, wedding, or honeymoon.
- Oahu:This will most likely be the first island you arrive in if you're coming to Hawaii by plane. Since Honolulu is home to the international airport, Oahu island offers a more tourist-friendly urban setting with many activities, great nightlife and many dining options. Waikiki Beach is lined with many resorts that look out at the Diamond Head State Monument (Le'ahi).
- Maui:Dubbed as the most romantic island in Hawaii, Maui is a popular location for couples looking to get married with its black, red and white sandy beaches. It is also home to Hawaii's most luxurious resort hotels and easily accessible with several flight companies that fly directly from the mainland U.S. to Maui. There are also many flights flying daily from the Honolulu International Airport to Maui.
- Kauai:Or "The Garden Isle" is Hawaii's lushest island and rainiest. This is a great island if you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, ziplining or sunset cruises along the Na Pali Coast. Kauai's North Shore is a popular wedding venue with many great resorts and private villas that can accommodate smaller weddings. Kauai's south coast is sunnier if rain is something you're worried about.
- Big Island:It's no mystery how this island got its name. The biggest isle of Hawaii, Big Island is home to many volcanoes both covered in snow or actively sprouting red-hot lava. The island is divided into two sides: one side is lush and green and the other side near Kona is almost lunar-like but home to most resorts in Big Island.
Relax in Lana'i or Molokai.These exclusive isles are great venues if you're looking for a small and serene wedding ceremony without the big crowds.
- Lana'i:Considered a more upscale or posh island to be wed in, its two resorts each offer different landscape experiences. Four Seasons Resort Lana'i is beachfront resort looking over Manele Bay, while Four Seasons Lodge at Koele is a surrounded by tropical forests.
- Molokai:Nicknamed the "Friendly Island", Molokai is described by locals as the most Hawaiian island because it is untouched by big resorts. It's a great island if you want to explore the cultural and ecological sights of Molokai on horse-drawn wagons or on mules.
Decide when is the best time to go to Hawaii for your wedding.Hawaii's climate is quite consistent with temperatures ranging from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. However, Hawaii does have its wet seasons and some islands are drier than others.
- Summer in Hawaii lasts from May through October and is warmer and drier than its winter season from November to April.
- The southwestern part of Hawaii is drier since winds blow from the northeast. This creates more rain on the mountains and on the northeastern sides of the islands.
Planning Your Wedding
Seek out Hawaiian wedding professionals to bring together your big day.It's quite difficult to plan a wedding when you're not in Hawaii. Consider hiring a Hawaiian wedding planner or booking at a resort hotel that offers wedding packages that can virtually handle every aspect of your wedding, from decorations to catering to entertainment. Most wedding consultants can even help you with the process of obtaining a marriage license or hiring a wedding performer.
- Some services offer inclusive wedding packages that help plan out your entire trip so you don't have to worry about booking flights or accommodations or planning meals.
- Be prepared to sign a contract and pay a deposit fee when you've chosen your wedding planner or venue. Read the contract carefully! You may also be dealing with a foreign company and the contract laws of your country may not apply to them.
- Hire a wedding planner or book resort hotels well in advance. A year or more in advance is usually what vendors ask.
Inquire local wedding vendors about destination weddings.Some vendors at home may offer destination wedding services, especially if the vendor is a big corporation or specializes in destination weddings.
- The fee may include the vendor's travel and accommodation so be prepared for higher expenses to be paid.
- Book vendors well in advance. A year or more in advance is usually what vendors ask.
Choose a wedding venue.Since Hawaii is a such a popular spot for destination weddings, it's important you find a venue that fits the image of your perfect wedding day. You should consider the following:
- How convenient is your wedding venue? The most convenient way to plan your wedding day is to have everything (rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception) held in one resort. Most resorts will have expert staff to help you plan and customize your wedding and already have designated ceremony locations such as the beach, a gazebo or a garden.
- How big is your wedding? Most destination weddings will have around 60-75 guests. You will need to find a way to accommodate them all if you're making the travel arrangements. This becomes more complex if your wedding is larger with more than 200 people. A particular venue you might like might not be able to accommodate you if you're having a large wedding. If you're having an intimate wedding, consider renting a villa for you and your guests. You also need to consider the cost of travel for you and your guests. Some venues or resorts will have group rates to make it more affordable.
Properly invite and prepare your guests for your destination wedding.Destination weddings can be very difficult to plan, especially when it comes to your guests. And since destination weddings are longer celebrations that can range from 3 to 7 days, there are many things to consider to ensure you and your guests have a smooth vacation.
- Send a save-the-date announcement as soon as your plans are confirmed. 9 to 12 months before the date is most ideal to give your guests enough time to schedule travel plans and time off work.
- Send formal invitations 2 to 3 months before the wedding.
- Since destination weddings are mostly for smaller parties, don't expect to be able to inviteeveryone.You might be questioned by friends or relatives who weren't invited, but all you have to tell them is that the wedding is small. If it is a large wedding, be honest about why someone wasn't invited, but don't be mean. You can't possibly invite everyone!
Book hotels and flights as soon as possible.A popular method for booking hotels and flights for a destination is to do a group block. This means your wedding specialist or destination wedding company will reserve a set number of rooms and flights for your guests. However, you may choose to allow your guests to make their own travel arrangements.
- For convenience, it's best to have all your guests stay in the same resort or hotel with you.
- You may begin to wonder who will pay for travel and accommodations. In most cases, you are only expected to pay for the ceremony and reception, and your guests should be paying for their own travel and accommodation. However, some guests may not be able to make it because of financial reasons. In these cases, you could consider aiding guests financially, especially if they are close friends or relatives, or part of your wedding party. However, you might be exposed to some criticism or stir negativity among your other guests, so it's best to keep things quiet or do what is most comfortable for you.
Visit wedding venues before deciding on one.It might all look and sound good on the website and through the phone, but you won't know for sure until you see it and experience it with your own eyes. Plan a short 4-5 night trip and visit all prospective venues.
- This is a great opportunity to meet with your wedding consultant or local Hawaiian wedding planner face to face. Use this time to make decisions such as which caterer you'll be going with, how you and your guests will travel to the venue, or if the atmosphere of the location is right for you.
- An extra trip to Hawaii may be costly, so be careful to budget how much you spend on this scouting trip. Consider staying in cheap hotels or travelling during the off-seasons.
QuestionIf two US citizens are married in Hawaii, is it recognized in the rest of the United States?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Hawaii is a part of the United States. They just need a Hawaii marriage license from the city or town in which they're getting married.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need a witness for the marriage?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you don't need one. Having a witness is a tradition, but not necessary. The officiant also serves as a witness.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a waiting period for a marriage application in Hawaii?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. Once you apply and receive your license, you may get married anytime within 30 days.Thanks!
QuestionWe were recently married. Our Minister fell very ill and now cannot process our certificate. How can we get our certificate processed right now?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAsk your minister to submit the unfinished certificate to City Hall, and then your City Hall will find someone to help you out.Thanks!
QuestionDo you have to show proof of divorce for all marriages, or just the last one?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOnly the last one, since you cant get married if you do not have the previous one terminated.Thanks!
QuestionI've been divorced over 20 years. Do I still need a divorce decree? I'm not sure I have it.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCall the courthouse you were divorced at and they can mail you a certified copy usually for around .00.Thanks!
How do I get married in Hawaii if I am a foreigner?
Can I use my passport if I don't have my birth certificate?
How long does it take to get a marriage license?
If I dont have a birth certificate, can I use my passport?
How long after I get married until I can get my marriage certificate & do I have to apply in person
- Consider incorporating Hawaiian traditions in your wedding. A great tradition in Hawaiian culture is the exchanging of leis between the bride and groom.
- Expect smaller wedding gifts since your guests have had to travel and spend money. As well, a polite line in your invitation is useful to let guests know where to send their gift. You don't want to have to lug home dozens of wedding gifts when travelling back home!
- Consider giving a little gift to your guests when they arrive in Hawaii. This could be a beach bag filled with Hawaiian essentials or delicacies. It's a great way to say thank you for coming all this way to celebrate your big day.
- Select a close family member or friend to act as your liaison with the vendors on the day of your wedding. This will allow for you to enjoy the day uninterrupted.
- Consider holding an at-home wedding party for guests who weren't able to make it to your destination wedding.
- Most religions are respectful to Hawaiian traditions, and you can have a Christian or Jewish Hawaiian wedding.
- Not all guests will be able to make it to your wedding. As well, not everyone will be invited. Be prepared to have some tough or uncomfortable conversations with upset friends or relatives.
- Plan well ahead. In most cases, destination weddings may take a year to plan.
Video: We're definitely getting married in Hawaii.
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