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Getting married on Oahu

Getting married on Oahu

Are you planning on getting married on Oahu? If so, 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 850,000 and over 600,000 vehicles registered on Oahu, traffic and parking can be quite a challenge. Plan to get going early, check out our 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 and 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 after waiting in line for a minister. New Years 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 for may also be booked solid during these holidays. Weekends at popular parks can cause parking delays of more than 30 minutes, so beware! Get there early or let us get you a limo. Hawaii vacations 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 would 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 can top the 90 degree mark, but this is not the usual case. 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 and 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.

Sunsets on Oahu:

As the sun makes its journey North of West in the winter and 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 and 5 (closest to Waikiki) face South so the sun 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. 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.


Even though Honolulu is known for quickie marriages, that doesn’t mean you can just waltz off the street into a chapel and get married. Getting married on Oahu has 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 is wholly false. For other legal questions, check with the State Health Dept.  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. 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.


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 if you’re getting married on Oahu. 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 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!

The official:

Wedding officiates, ministers, in Honolulu offer only a religious ceremony. Only a magistrate can perform a civil ceremony. Keep in mind that prices vary widely among ministers that perform the religious ceremony.  Unusual weddings: If you’re getting married on Oahu, 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.  Ministers normally handle collections (whenever fees are due to be paid) after the ceremony. They do not accept checks or credit cards without prior approval, or make change.

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 style accordingly.

Final Notes

Keep this in mind as you gather your things to go to your wedding site if you’re getting married on Oahu — remember to bring your license, rings, and money. Military and some other couples need to present a copy of their license to their personnel officers to begin family benefits back home. Copies may only be obtained from the State of Hawaii Office of Vital Records. Check with your finance officer if our Marriage Certificate will suffice until the certified copy comes in. The State charges a fee of $10 to expedite copies that may normally take 4 months to get.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Jul 22, 2006