Tips on Getting Married in Hawaii

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Eleven things to remember when getting married in Hawaii
  1. Holidays & Traffic: The Honolulu Marriage License Office is open only during normal business hours, but not on the usual 13-14 State holidays. With a population of over 900,000 and more than 800,000 vehicles registered on Oahu, traffic & parking can be quite a challenge. Plan to get going early, check out your site before your scheduled day and make sure sure you keep to our schedule to avoid overtime fees or conflict with other events for which the minister & other performers may be obligated. Keep holidays in mind when choosing your Hawaii wedding date. Valentine's Day is a hugely popular date for weddings in Hawaii and while it might seem romantic, you may change your mind if you have to wait in line for a minister. New Year's Eve is another busy wedding day in Hawaii. It's also party central for tourists, which means your out-of-town wedding guests may have trouble finding a flight or a hotel room unless you book well in advance. Keep in mind that reception sites may also be booked solid during these holidays. Weekends at popular parks can cause parking delays of more than 45 minutes, so beware! Get there early or let us get you there in a luxurious limousine and avoid the parking problems & driving in traffic.
  2. Weather: Hawaii has beautiful, sunny weather most of the year. However, even though the summer months are popular for weddings, the weather here can be hot and humid so may be uncomfortable if you're dressed in a tuxedo or a long, heavy gown. The sun can melt everything from the bride's makeup to the icing on the wedding cake. Hawaii temperatures rarely top the 90-degree mark. Temperatures are pleasant at night, so you might want to think about a shady site or a late afternoon ceremony during the summer. During Spring & Fall, rain may be more common, but showers are usually brief and centered over the mountains and windward sections. Most beaches are exposed with no shelter from wind or rain. We provide umbrellas if needed. Windward beaches tend to have more wind. We get lots of rainbows so maybe you'll be lucky to have one on your day! Check the weather for current conditions in Honolulu.
  3. Sunsets on O'ahu: As the sun makes its journey North of West in the winter & South of West in the summer (due to Earth's tilt), the view of sunset at any particular beach changes daily. As viewed from shore, the sun sets a little farther to the right every day until the end of June, then a little farther to the left until end of December. Most beaches in Areas 4 & 5 (closest to Waikiki) face South so the sun in the summer will go down to the right as you face the ocean. This means that the winter months offer the best opportunity to view the sun setting over water from some of these beaches, not all. During the summer, you'll need to get to a beach facing West (Areas 6 & 7) to be sure to see the sun setting over water. Want to do your own calculations? Go here for a sunset calculator.
  4. The dress: Since Hawaii has no waiting period for getting married, spur-of-the-moment weddings are a common occurrence. So, where can you find a wedding dress with only a couple of hours notice? Many brides simply purchase a beautiful aloha print dress or simply come dressed in your bikini top and sarong. Check out our favorite shop: Hilo Hattie.

  5. Legal: Even though Honolulu is known for quickie marriages, that doesn't mean you can just waltz in off the street into a chapel and get married. There are legal requirements you must meet before being issued a marriage license. Check out our section on the legalities of getting married in Hawaii. Rumors that public beach weddings are not legal in Hawaii are wholly false, however a permit may be required. For other legal questions, check with the State Health Dept. Same-sex marriages are not legal in Hawaii, but we do perform very meaningful romantic services for gays, Civil Unions & non-binding commitments. Marriages in Hawaii are generally accepted in most nations of the world. Check your local office for legalities regarding marriage in the United States. An Apostille is available with your copy of the license from the State for $1 if needed by your foreign government.
  6. Witnesses: If you're one of those couples who decide on a last minute wedding, you might not have any guests in town, which brings up the question of having a witness at your ceremony. Not to worry -- Hawaii does not require a witness signature. That said, since most couples hire our professional photographer to shoot the ceremony, he will serve as a witness for your happy occasion at no extra charge.
  7. Time: If you have your wedding on one of the hundreds of beaches around Oahu, don't expect a long ceremony or a lot of quality time afterwards. Many beaches are crowded with people and it may be difficult to find a really "secluded" beach. You'll probably opt to get back into the limousine and cruise the coast, or drive to another site for your reception. The most popular time of day for weddings is sunset, so be well advised to book early to secure a minister and site for sunset, which only occurs once per day in Hawaii and is not fully visible from every beach. Ask for recommendations according to your expectations. Check our link to the sunset chart and remember the sun goes down in the West!
  8. The wedding performer: Ministers offer a religious or civil wedding ceremony. Only a judge can perform a civil wedding ceremony. Keep in mind that prices vary widely among ministers on O'ahu. Our prices are among the best! We normally perform a beautiful, romantic & simple non-denominational service. See testimonials from some of our couples.
  9. Unusual weddings: If you come to Honolulu to get married, you don't have to have a traditional ceremony in a chapel. Why not make it a wild and crazy experience? Our ministers offer custom services that cater to your special needs. You can get married in a rainforest under a waterfall, on a hilltop overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean, or even have a naturist ceremony.
  10. Hair and makeup: If you're from out of town and you're in Honolulu for your wedding, you will probably want to find a hairstylist to help you prepare for the big day. Many hotels have salons or spas right on property. You may also want to try a local salon in Waikiki. In either case, be sure to book your appointment well in advance and keep those holidays and weekends in mind. The salons can get booked up fast. There are also some services in town that will come directly to your hotel room to fix your hair for your wedding. On our frequent windy days, especially on windward beaches, you may find your hair blowing all over the place, so consider style accordingly.
  11. Lastly: Our ministers handle collections (whenever fees are due to be paid) after the ceremony. They do not accept checks or make change on-site. Keep this in mind as you gather your things to go to your wedding site -- remember to bring your license worksheet, rings, & money. Military and some other couples need to present a copy of their license to their personnel officers to begin family benefits back home. Certified copies may be printed out from the Vital Records website 24-48 business hours later. The State charges a fee of $10 for a certified copy that normally takes 3-4 months to get.

Other Articles & Resources to Help Keep Your Occasion Happy:
Planning Your Wedding

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Last modified: 01/08/2014