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How to Get Married in Hawaii: Plan a Wedding in The Aloha State

Published Friday, May. 12th, 2023

Newlyweds in Lahaina, HI / Photo: Engin Yapici / Unsplash

Planning a Hawaii wedding? This short guide will help, with advice on how to find a wedding officiant, choose a location, and apply for your marriage license. 


From pristine beaches to lush mountains and metropolitan skylines, Hawaii offers romantic backdrops of every kind, making it a favorite destination for weddings and elopements. 


Applying for a marriage license in The Aloha State will look a little different on each island, so it’s important to get a head start on the planning process to avoid unnecessary stress. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a short guide to help you begin. 


Asked to officiate a wedding in Hawaii? 

Read How to Become a Wedding Officiant in Hawaii



Photo of a tropical mountain scene in Hawaii, lush green leaves and a waterfall

Get married in Hawaii! Favorite destinations for wedding include 'The Big Island' of Hawaiʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi



How to get married in Hawaii in 6 Steps


1. Get yourself a sweetheart! 


Got one? Whew! There will be a few more boxes to check, but the hardest part’s over.

2. Find a wedding officiant in Hawaii.

A wedding officiant (or ‘marriage performer’) is the person who conducts your ceremony and signs the marriage license, making things legal.


A friend or relative can perform your wedding ceremony if they’ve been ordained and register with the appropriate office.  





If you want to hire a professional, the state has many qualified officiants and marriage performers to choose from. The following people are authorized to solemnize marriage in Hawaii, including licensed AMM Ministers:


(a) A license to solemnize marriages may be issued to, and the marriage rite may be performed and solemnized by: 1. Any minister, priest, or officer of any religious denomination or society who has been ordained or is authorized to solemnize marriages according to the usages of that denomination or society; 2. Any religious society not having clergy but providing solemnization in accordance with the rules and customs of that society; 3. Any justice or judge or magistrate… (continues) 


(b) A civil license to solemnize marriages may be issued to, and the marriage rite may be performed and solemnized by, any individual at least eighteen years of age, upon presentation to the individual of a license to marry, as prescribed by this chapter… (continues) (§ 572-12)


(Find more Hawaii marriage laws here.)



view of Honolulu buildings and the beach

Photo: Jess Loiterton / PEXELS

Home of the most beautiful wedding venues in the world...



3. Choose a date and a venue...

Hawaii is world-renowned for its stunning beaches, lush mountains, unique state parks and local history, diving and scuba adventures, luxury resorts, and some of the finest dining and shopping options in the world – making it a favorite for destination weddings. 


Whether you’re dreaming of a big to-do or a romantic elopement for two, there’s something for everyone!



Popular dates, venues, and officiants book up fast, so start early. And remember you’ll need permission (and a permit) to use a public space, such as a city park or recreational area. Permits can take weeks to process, so factor this into your timeline, too. 



Hawaii Marriage License Quick Facts

 No Waiting Period
30 Day Expiration Period
 3 Day Return Period*

*Hawaii requests that officiants (marriage performers) file a marriage electronically with the Department of Health (DOH) within 3 business days of the ceremony. Contact the DOH with specific questions.

stylized graphic of a groom, bride, and marriage officiant, with a large pen signing a marriage license

Did you know? Every state has different laws governing when the marriage license is issued, can be completed, and must be returned. There are called a state's marriage license Waiting Period, Return Deadline, and Expiration. Learn more here. 



4. The marriage license. 

Alright, time to make sure your wedding’s legal! We’ll break down each part of the marriage license process, one step at a time: 


Apply for your Hawaii marriage license


You’ll apply for your marriage license or civil union license through an authorized agent. In Hawaii, authorized agents can be public agents, such as an agent working at the Hawaii State Department of Health office, or private agents. To find a list of private marriage agents for each island, head to the Hawaii State Department of Vital Records website. You don’t have to be a Hawaii resident or a U.S. citizen to marry in Hawaii.


You must complete an online application before meeting with an agent. Once it’s complete, you should meet with the agent no more than 30 days before your ceremony date. For detailed instructions, head to the Vital Records Marriage Licenses website.


Requirements to Apply: 


  • Complete the online application using the Electronic Marriage and Civil Union Registration System
  • Write down your “Authorization Code/ Locator Identification (ID)” after completing the electronic application. 
  • Meet with an authorized agent no more than 30 days before your ceremony date
  • Both applicants must meet in person with the agent
  • Both applicants must provide valid government issued photo ID; applicants 18 or under must also provide a certified copy of their birth certificate
  • Both applicants must be at least 18 years old or meet the requirements for minors
  • If previously married within 30 days of the ceremony date, applicant must provide proof of original divorce decree or death certificate


If you’re planning a wedding on any Hawaiian island, we recommend contacting the Vital Records office closest to your venue to learn more. 


Your marriage license will cost $65. There’s no fee to register your marriage after the ceremony.

Waiting period

There is no waiting period between the time you receive your license and when your ceremony can take place.

Use and Return Your Hawaii Marriage License

A Hawaiian marriage license can be used anywhere in the state (on any island), and expires 30 days after it’s issued. This means you must hold your ceremony within 30 days of receiving your license. Directions on how to return the license will be given by the marriage agent, and your officiant (marriage performer) has three business days after the ceremony to electronically report the marriage to the Dept. of Health.




The license must be signed by each party to the marriage and the wedding officiant following the ceremony, and returned to the Hawaii Department of Health. Witnesses are not required. 


After the ceremony, the license should be registered / filed electronically with the Hawaii Department of Health by the officiant within 3 business days. Once your marriage is registered, you will be issued a 'marriage certificate.'



Close up photo of a wedding centerpiece with tropical flowers



4. Meet with your wedding officiant...

Once you’ve chosen a date, a venue, and have your marriage license details worked out, you’ll be ready to meet with your wedding officiant to plan the ceremony!


This is when things start to come into focus. You’ll talk about the tone of your ceremony, the ‘vibe’ you want to create for your guests, and any special elements and unity rituals you want to include. You and your officiant might meet a few more times to exchange more ideas, fine-tune a script, or rehearse the ceremony leading up to the wedding day. 


AMM’s website is full of resources to help you decide what kind of ceremony you want, tips on working well with your officiant, and advice on keeping your ceremony authentic and on budget. 


Visit Articles for Couples on our American Weddings blog, or browse general articles by category or keyword. 


5. The wedding day! 

Aside from yourselves, the most important thing you’ll bring with you on the wedding day is your marriage license -- because you can’t get married without a marriage license. Your officiant won’t be able to perform the wedding without having a license present (even if you have it at home), so make sure it’s with you. 


Following the ceremony, you and your officiant will sign the license. 



After it’s signed, the marriage license should be filed electronically by the officiant with the Dept. of Health within three business days. Your marriage agent will give you detailed instructions when issuing the license. Contact the Vital Records office with specific questions on how to return the license. 


Once it’s been recorded, you’re officially married! 



Happy newlyweds in Hawaii, a bride and groom with their young son

Photo: Derek Owens / Unsplash

Congratulations on your marriage!


Asked to perform a wedding in Hawaii?


Visit Weddings by State: Hawaii


We’ve got everything you need to understand the state’s licensing and registration requirements, any ministry credentials and paperwork you might need, and helpful tips for several cities in the state, including Honolulu and Hilo. 






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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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