Hawaii wedding Hawaii beach wedding – Image courtesy of Arien Sherman/mauiwedding.net

How to get married in Hawaii

With a choice of luxurious resorts and idyllic white-sand beaches fringed by gently swaying palm trees, the Islands of Hawaii offer the perfect spot to say 'I do' – and the ideal destination for that long dreamt of beach wedding!

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.

Hawaii Marriage Requirements

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.

Residency Requirement

There are no state residence or US citizenship residency requirements.

Marriage Licence

Both bride and groom must appear together in person before a marriage licence agent to apply for a Marriage Licence (proxies are not allowed).

Both participants should provide proof of age and present any required written consents and approvals. All of the necessary documents should be obtained prior to applying for a marriage licence.

Upon approval, a marriage licence is issued at the time the application is made. Cost of the marriage licence is USD$65, payable in cash at the time the application is made.

The marriage licence is valid throughout the State of Hawaii for 30 days, from and including the date of issuance, after which it automatically becomes null and void.

Required Documents

Ensure that all documents are in your legal name, and provide affidavits in cases where you are known by another name.

All documents must be issued in English, otherwise they must be translated by an Official Translator and subsequently notarised.

Documents required for getting married in Hawaii, include…
  • Driver's license or passport
  • Proof of age. A certified copy of a birth certificate must be presented for anyone 18 years of age or under. A valid I.D. or driver’s license may be presented for anyone 19 years of age or over.
  • 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.
  • Parental consent, if under 18 years of age.

Blood tests are not required. Cousins may marry, but a blood relationship between the prospective bride and bridegroom cannot be closer than first cousins.

Marriage Certificate

The Marriage Certificate indicates that a legal marriage has been performed. 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.


Marriage Licence – USD$65

Wedding Planners

The majority of hotels in Hawaii can provide professional wedding planners who can insure that the entire process of getting married in Hawaii, including fulfilling all legal requirements, is stress free.

For more information visit the wedding portal of the Hawaii Tourism Authority website to learn more about recommended wedding planners and wedding venues.

Further information: Visit the Hawaiian Department of Health website to download a Marriage Application Licence form, and to find a list of civil union/marriage license agents. Or phone the Department of Health Marriage License Office (Tel: (808) 586-4545).

Hawaii Wedding Tips

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.

Beaches – 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!

Please note: while accurate at time of publication this information is for guidance purposes only and liable to change without notice. Please check with your wedding planner at your resort of choice or the relevant embassy of the country in which you intend to marry for up-to-date details before your wedding.

Latest update: How to get married in Hawaii: 26 May, 2020

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