If you’re thinking of planning the wedding of your dreams, Hawaii just might be the perfect place to say “I do”. As home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and scenery, a laid-back vibe, and the true spirit of Aloha, Hawaii is often touted as the ideal place for a romantic destination wedding.
Best of all, its U.S. location means no complicated paperwork or unfamiliar territory when obtaining a marriage license. And as an added bonus, you have the convenience of having your wedding, reception, and honeymoon flow together, as you’re already in paradise—how perfect is that!
Now, this all sounds wonderful; but surely you have loads of questions: How do I get a Hawaii marriage license? Where do I find an officiant? Which Island should I get married on? When is the best time to get married in Hawaii? In this article, we’ll break things down for you in small steps and show you that you and your special someone can have an easy and (relatively) stress-free Hawaiian wedding.
1. Determine If You’re Eligible to Marry in Hawaii
Hawaii’s Department of Vital Records has set forth the following guidelines for obtaining a marriage license:
You do not need to be a resident of Hawaii or a U.S. citizen to marry.
No blood tests are needed.
Both applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
Applicants must present proof of age—Usually a state-issued I.D. or driver’s license.
Applicants who have been previously married must present proof of the original divorce decree or death certificate to the marriage agent that the divorce or death was final within 30 days of applying for the marriage license.
Blood relationships between applicants cannot be closer than first cousins.
Please refer to the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health/Vital Records website for information regarding applicants under age 18.
Hawaii is the perfect place for a destination wedding.
2. Choose an Island
While we’d like to tell you this is a simple task, this can actually be the most difficult step. Why? Because unless you have your heart set on a location already, each Hawaiian Island has its own unique vibe, charm, and breathtaking locations. Honestly, which island you choose all comes down to personal preference. For more island-specific information, check out our Which Hawaii Island to Visit page for more information on the best times to visit each island, weather patterns, sights, activities, and more. Based on this, you can decide not only which is the right island for you, but what region and time of year best suits your wedding plans.
Note that many couples choose to marry and have their honeymoon on one island, while others prefer to island hop and see as much of the Aloha State as possible. Again, this is a matter of personal preference.
3. Select a Hawaii Wedding Planner
Many laid-back couples (and those on a budget) on the U.S. mainland choose to do most of their wedding planning themselves. This includes everything from selecting a venue, choosing the floral arrangements, sampling menu items, and more. And while doing so may take a lot of time, it is certainly possible to do this yourself. This all changes, however, when planning a wedding in Hawaii.
Pop on over to check out a new location? Taste some wedding cakes? Make sure the lighting is flattering? How are you going to do this when your wedding is in Maui, for example, and you’re in Connecticut? The answer lies in hiring a wedding planner who can take care of these details for you.
4. Choose an Officiant
Whether you opt for a religious or non-religious ceremony, there are many licensed officiants in Hawaii. We suggest selecting one who is registered online with the state’s Dept. of Health, as they are able to electronically complete a marriage/civil union license after the ceremony. This is helpful if you need your marriage certificate shortly after the ceremony.
Note that while the Marriage Equality Act allows gender-neutral marriages for both same- and opposite-sex couples, it also stresses that religious institutions and benevolent organizations cannot be required to participate in same-sex unions or celebrations. Therefore, you may need to confirm that a potential officiant will respect your relationship.
5. Obtain Your Hawaii Marriage License
You’ll need to get your marriage license from the state; however, be aware that the license is only valid for 30 days so you may have to hold off for awhile, depending on when you plan to travel. Once the license has been issued, there is no waiting period before the marriage can take place. Thankfully, most of the paperwork can be completed and submitted online, including payment.
Once you are on the island, you will need to appear before a marriage license agent and show your documentation such as proof of age and proof of previously terminated marriages. Once he/she reviews this information, the agent will give you your official license, which you will take with you to your ceremony.
6. Get Married!
After the knot has been tied, so to speak, your officiant is responsible for properly filing the completed form. If they are authorized to do so electronically, you’ll be able to print a temporary marriage certificate about 48 hours after the documentation has been submitted. You should receive your official marriage certificate via snail mail within about one to four months.
7. Head Off On Your Honeymoon
Because you’re in one of the world’s most beautiful destinations, your honeymoon is bound to be simply spectacular. Whether you stay on the island where you celebrated your nuptials or decide to explore some of Hawaii’s other amazing destinations, enjoy this time to relax and celebrate your new life together.
As with your wedding, we do encourage you to plan your activities (or lack thereof!) well ahead of time. This is Hawaii, after all, and booking your tours and activities and accommodations well in advance will ensure you really do top off the wedding of your dreams with a honeymoon you’ll always cherish.
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