Image courtesy of Arien Sherman/mauiwedding.net
How to get married in Hawaii
As a wedding destination, Hawaii offers a great choice of beach wedding venues.
Imagine exchanging vows barefoot on the sand as the orange glow of sunset streaks the horizon. Or perhaps you would prefer a lavish luau-style ceremony complete with hula dancers and drum beats?
Whatever ceremony you choose, Hawaii offers some of the world’s most spectacular and romantic settings, with sun-kissed golden sands, tropical lagoons, gardens of vivid green that are abundant with colourful, fragrant flowers. It’s not hard to see why Hawaii is one of the world’s favourite wedding destinations, especially for a beach wedding.
Getting married in Hawaii is easy. Aside from applying for your marriage licence in person from an authorised agent, there is no residency period or waiting period for visitors.
Marriage licence requirements
Here's what you require for a Hawaiian wedding:
- There are no state residence or US citizenship requirements
- Blood tests are not required
- The legal age to marry is 18 years. However, with the written consent of both parents, legal guardians or family court, either party may be married at 16 or 17. The parents or guardian do not have to reside in the state. Consent forms may be obtained from a marriage licence agent.
- A certified copy of a birth certificate must be presented for anyone 21 years of age and under. For anyone 21 and over, proof of age may be requested in the form of a valid state or military ID or drivers licence.
- Proof of divorce or death of a former spouse is not required, but applicants should be prepared to provide the date and location of the divorce or death on the marriage licence application
- Cousins may marry, but a blood relationship between the prospective bride and bridegroom cannot be closer than first cousins
Getting your marriage certificate
The marriage certificate is prepared and filed by your licenced marriage officiant or performer with the Department of Health.
A newly married couple receives one certified copy of the marriage certificate at no extra charge, upon payment of the marriage licence fee, which will be sent to the couple by mail between 60 and 120 days after the marriage.
If a marriage certificate is needed sooner than this, you can apply for one or more additional certified copies.
Tips for a destination wedding in Hawaii
Location – Allow a day before your ceremony to visit your planned location to ensure that it’s picture perfect. Also check the forecast for possible rain: you may need a back-up plan so a cloudburst won’t dampen your planned photo opportunities, not to mention your spirits.
Some beaches can be blustery and very hot at certain times of day so check with your wedding planner, ask a local expert or research yourself before your big day.
– There are just so many gorgeous beaches to choose from in Hawaii. First, pick your island and then go from there. Remember you may have to share some of your beach with other beach lovers, unless of course you choose an out-of-the-way secluded beach setting. Some beach parks offer covered pavilions and rest room facilities, which can come in handy.
Some popular ocean front settings include: Magic Island, Diamond Head and Kailua beaches on O‘ahu; Anaeho’omalu, Manini and Hapuna on the Big Island; Shipwreck, Poipu and Princeville on Kaua’i; Makena Cove, Wailea and Ka’anapali on Maui; and Halawa and George Murphy on Moloka’i.
Gardens – If you want to avoid sand and potentially a crowd of strangers, head for greener pastures, such as the many gardens and mountain settings that make Hawaii a true tropical paradise. You may like to consider tropical or Japanese gardens, magical waterfalls and any of the picturesque parks spread throughout the islands.
The Big Island’s gardens at the Kona Outdoor Circle are very pretty as are O‘ahu’s Waimea Falls Park and Foster Botanical Gardens. Kaua’i is home to picturesque Kilohana Estate, where you can choose to roll across the beautiful landscape grounds atop a horse and carriage. In Maui consider the Keali’i Nui Oceanfront Botanical Gardens and Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden.
Culture – For a real Hawaiian sense of place, consider historic Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park, located about 48 kilometres south of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island and a special and spiritual place that is often considered the true essence of old Hawaii.
Kukui Heiau on Kaua’i is one of only a handful of heiau, sacred Hawaiian sites of worship, open for weddings. It is located near the mouth of the Wailua River and is especially scenic at daybreak.
Hawaiian music – Add a sweet note to your wedding ceremony as local musicians serenade you and your guests with traditional Hawaiian ballads, contemporary music or love songs. Consider a conch shell blower for a majestic fanfare to your wedding vows. And don’t forget a hula dancer or two to add to that ultimate island experience.
Flowers – Hawaiian flowers can add an all-important touch. It is traditional for Hawaiian brides to wear a fragrant lei of pikake buds (a type of jasmine). This garland is a symbol of purity and can add a lovely touch to your special day.
For the groom, consider wearing a traditional maile lei for the wedding. This garland of wild green leaves with a spicy scent is the oldest kind of garland in the history of lei making.
Brides may also choose to wear a haku head lei, a pretty weave of flowers and fern, or blossoms in the hair. Some women may select a bouquet — orchids are always popular — or an ankle haku for a ‘barefoot on the beach’ affair.
It’s also traditional to present leis to members of your wedding party. Tropical flowers also make a pretty addition to a wedding cake, especially exotic with a filling of haupia (coconut), pineapple or passion fruit.
Something different – Add a few Hawaiian-style touches to your special day: release Hawaiian monarch butterflies or rainbow-coloured doves, scatter colourful island blossoms around you and your groom or plant a row of tiki torches to light the way to your beachfront altar.
It’s not hard to see why Hawaii is one of the world’s favourite wedding destinations – especially for a beach wedding!
Location – The Hawaiian islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, around 3860km from mainland USA.