Getting Married in Hawaii: Legal Requirements

Getting married in Hawaii is a dream come true for many couples. With its stunning beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and warm tropical climate, Hawaii offers the perfect backdrop for a romantic wedding. However, before you start planning your dream ceremony, it's important to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements for getting married in the Aloha State. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know to ensure a smooth and legal wedding in Hawaii.

Getting Married in Hawaii

Hawaii is not only a popular tourist destination but also a sought-after location for destination weddings. The state's unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage makes it an ideal choice for couples looking to exchange vows in a tropical paradise. However, it's crucial to understand that there are specific legal requirements that must be met to make your marriage official and valid.

Legal Age and Consent Requirements 

One of the first things to consider when planning a wedding in Hawaii is the legal age and consent requirements. In Hawaii, both individuals must be at least 18 years old to get married without parental consent. However, if either party is between the ages of 16 and 18, written consent from a parent or legal guardian is required. It's essential to provide valid identification to prove your age, such as a driver's license or passport.

For couples where one or both individuals are under the age of 16, marriage is generally not permitted, except under special circumstances and with court approval. It's crucial to consult with a legal professional to understand the specific requirements and procedures in such cases.

When planning a destination wedding in Hawaii, it's essential to ensure that both partners meet the age and consent requirements set forth by the state. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in your marriage being deemed invalid, leading to potential legal complications down the line.

Obtaining a Marriage License in Hawaii 

Congratulations on taking the next step towards your dream wedding in Hawaii! Once you've familiarized yourself with the legal age and consent requirements, the next crucial step is obtaining a marriage license. A marriage license is a legal document that allows you to get married and serves as proof of your union. Here's what you need to know about the process of obtaining a marriage license in Hawaii.

To apply for a marriage license in Hawaii, both individuals must appear in person at a marriage license agent's office. These offices are typically located within the state's Department of Health or the county's Bureau of Conveyances. It's important to note that Hawaii does not require a blood test to obtain a marriage license.

When visiting the marriage license agent's office, make sure to bring valid identification, such as a driver's license or passport, to prove your age and identity. Additionally, you may be required to provide proof of termination of any previous marriages, such as divorce decrees or death certificates, if applicable.

It's advisable to contact the marriage license agent's office beforehand to confirm the specific requirements and fees, as they may vary slightly depending on the location. The marriage license fee is typically paid at the time of application, and most offices accept cash, debit, or credit cards.

Waiting Period and Validity of the License 

After successfully obtaining your marriage license, there is a waiting period that you must be aware of. In Hawaii, there is a mandatory waiting period of one day (24 hours) between the issuance of the license and the solemnization of the marriage. This means that you cannot get married on the same day you obtain your license. However, keep in mind that the waiting period does not include weekends or holidays, so plan your wedding accordingly.

It's crucial to note the validity of the marriage license as well. In Hawaii, a marriage license is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance. This means that you must get married within this timeframe, or the license will expire, and you will need to reapply. To avoid any unnecessary complications, it's best to plan your wedding date within the valid period of the license.

Required Documentation for Non-Residents 

Planning a destination wedding in Hawaii is an exciting adventure, but if you and your partner are non-residents of the state, there are a few additional requirements to keep in mind. To ensure that your marriage is legally recognized, you'll need to provide certain documentation when applying for a marriage license.

For non-residents, a valid passport is typically required as proof of identity and citizenship. Additionally, you may be asked to provide a certified copy of your birth certificate. Some marriage license agents may also request documentation to establish your legal status in the country, such as a visa or immigration documents.

It's important to note that all documents must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation. If you're unsure about the specific documentation required, it's recommended to contact the marriage license agent's office in advance to clarify the requirements based on your individual circumstances.

Marriage Ceremonies and Officiants

Now that you have your marriage license in hand, it's time to start planning your wedding ceremony in Hawaii. One of the significant advantages of getting married in the Aloha State is the variety of options available when it comes to officiants and wedding ceremonies.

Beach Wedding in Hawaii

In Hawaii, you have the freedom to choose who will officiate your wedding ceremony. While religious and spiritual leaders, such as priests, ministers, and rabbis, can perform ceremonies, the state also allows individuals to apply for a one-time permit to officiate a wedding. This means that a close friend or family member can become ordained through an online process and have the honor of marrying you.

In addition to traditional religious or civil ceremonies, Hawaii offers unique wedding experiences that embrace the local culture. You can opt for a Hawaiian-style ceremony that incorporates traditional chants, blessings, and the exchange of leis. Another popular choice is a beach wedding, where you can say your vows against the backdrop of the mesmerizing turquoise waters and golden sands.

When planning your ceremony, remember to discuss the details with your chosen officiant and ensure that the ceremony adheres to the legal requirements of Hawaii. Your officiant will guide you through the process and help create a memorable and meaningful wedding ceremony that reflects your love and personal preferences.

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Venue 

One of the most exciting aspects of planning a wedding in Hawaii is selecting the perfect venue for your special day. With its stunning natural beauty and diverse landscapes, the islands offer a range of breathtaking locations to exchange vows. Here are some considerations to help you choose the ideal wedding venue in Hawaii.


Hawaii is famous for its pristine beaches, and it's no wonder that beach weddings are a popular choice. From the white sands of Waikiki to the secluded shores of Maui, there are countless beachfront locations that provide a romantic backdrop for your ceremony. Consider the size of the beach, accessibility, and any necessary permits or restrictions when choosing your ideal spot.

Gardens and Parks

If you prefer a lush and tropical setting, Hawaii's botanical gardens and parks offer a picturesque setting for your nuptials. The abundance of vibrant flowers, towering palm trees, and serene water features create a serene and romantic atmosphere. Many gardens and parks have designated wedding areas and may require reservations or permits, so be sure to plan ahead.

Resorts and Hotels

Hawaii is renowned for its world-class resorts and hotels, many of which offer stunning wedding venues. Whether you envision an elegant ballroom affair or a sunset ceremony overlooking the ocean, these venues often provide a range of services, including catering, accommodations, and event planning assistance.


For a truly magical and enchanting experience, consider exchanging vows in front of a cascading waterfall. Hawaii boasts several awe-inspiring waterfalls, particularly on the lush islands of Kauai and Big Island. Keep in mind that access to some waterfalls may require permits or guided tours, so factor that into your planning.

When choosing your wedding venue, take into account your personal preferences, budget, and the number of guests attending. It's also important to consider the logistics, such as transportation, parking, and facilities, to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Understanding Marriage Laws for Same-Sex Couples 

Hawaii has long been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ rights, and it is a welcoming destination for same-sex couples looking to tie the knot. In 2013, the state legalized same-sex marriage, allowing couples of all orientations to have their love recognized and celebrated. Here's what you need to know about the marriage laws for same-sex couples in Hawaii.

All the legal requirements and procedures for obtaining a marriage license and solemnizing a marriage apply equally to same-sex couples. There are no additional requirements or restrictions based on sexual orientation. Whether you choose a traditional or unique ceremony, you have the freedom to design your wedding in a way that reflects your love and commitment.

It's important to note that Hawaii recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions where it is legal. This means that if you were legally married in another state or country, your marriage will be recognized in Hawaii.

Planning your dream wedding in Hawaii as a same-sex couple offers an opportunity to celebrate your love in a supportive and inclusive environment. From extravagant celebrations to intimate gatherings, the islands provide a welcoming and accepting backdrop for your special day.

Destination Weddings in Hawaii

Dreaming of a destination wedding in paradise? Look no further than the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Destination weddings offer a unique opportunity to combine your special day with a memorable vacation for you and your guests. Here's what you need to know when planning a destination wedding in Hawaii.

Guest Accommodations

Consider the comfort and convenience of your guests when selecting accommodations. Hawaii offers a wide range of options, from luxurious resorts to charming bed and breakfasts. Look for accommodations that can accommodate your desired number of guests and provide easy access to your wedding venue. It's also helpful to inquire about group rates or wedding packages that may be available.

Wedding Planners

Planning a wedding from a distance can be challenging, but hiring a local wedding planner can alleviate much of the stress. A professional planner with experience in destination weddings in Hawaii can assist you with everything from venue selection and vendor coordination to logistics and guest accommodations. They can also recommend trusted vendors who are familiar with the unique requirements of Hawaiian weddings.

Informing Guests

Give your guests plenty of notice and information about your destination wedding. Provide details about travel arrangements, accommodations, and any pre or post-wedding activities you have planned. Consider creating a wedding website or sending out regular email updates to keep everyone informed and excited about the upcoming celebration.

Marriage License Considerations

Remember that both you and your partner must be physically present in Hawaii to obtain a marriage license. Factor this requirement into your travel plans and ensure you have enough time to obtain the license before your wedding date. It's also a good idea to check if there are any specific requirements or additional paperwork for non-residents marrying in Hawaii.

Planning a destination wedding in Hawaii allows you to combine the beauty of the islands with a celebration of love. From intimate beach ceremonies to lavish resort weddings, the options are endless. Embrace the spirit of aloha and create lasting memories for you and your loved ones.

Additional Considerations and Tips for a Smooth Wedding Experience 

As your wedding day approaches, there are a few additional considerations and tips that can contribute to a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some valuable insights to keep in mind for your wedding in Hawaii.

Couple Getting Married in Hawaii


Hawaii enjoys a mild tropical climate year-round, but it's still essential to consider the weather patterns of the specific island and time of year you're planning your wedding. Be prepared for potential rain showers, especially if you're having an outdoor ceremony, and consider having a backup plan or renting tents if needed.

Cultural Sensitivity

Hawaii has a rich and diverse culture, and it's important to approach your wedding with respect and cultural sensitivity. Consider incorporating elements of Hawaiian culture into your ceremony, such as a traditional lei exchange or Hawaiian music. Consult with your officiant or wedding planner for guidance on cultural customs and traditions.

Photography and Videography

Hawaii's natural beauty provides a stunning backdrop for wedding photos and videos. Consider hiring a professional photographer and videographer who are experienced in capturing the essence of Hawaiian weddings. They can offer guidance on the best locations and timing for capturing breathtaking images that will serve as cherished memories for years to come.

Marriage Certificate and Legalization

After your wedding ceremony, you will receive a marriage certificate. It's important to ensure that your certificate is properly signed and witnessed by the officiant. Additionally, if you plan to use the marriage certificate for legal purposes, such as changing your name or updating legal documents, you may need to have it officially legalized. Check with the appropriate authorities in your home country to understand the requirements for legalizing your Hawaiian marriage certificate.

As you embark on this exciting journey to wed in Hawaii, keep these additional considerations and tips in mind. With proper planning, attention to detail, and the spirit of aloha, your wedding in the paradise of Hawaii will be an unforgettable experience for you and your loved ones.

For further reading: