Hawaii Five-0 ended the year with a beginning: the wedding of Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim). The characters of both Chin Ho and his new bride Malia are locals, who have the great good fortune of living in one of the most beautiful places in the world to get married. But you don’t have to live here to begin your new life in paradise. People from all over the world travel to the islands to get married. Soon, even more couples may make the trip.The Five-0 cast shows its viewers just how beautiful a Hawaiian wedding may be.
Beginning January 1, civil unions are legal in Hawaii. Locals who plan and perform weddings are hoping the change in the law will bring a boost in business. While local researchers are predicting that it will. Unlike some domestic partnership laws, a Hawaii civil union is valid only after a ceremony performed by a person licensed by the Department of Health.
A working research paper published by The Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii (UHERO) was prepared during the legislative discussion on civil unions. It examined the potential impact on tourism. Hawaii is already a prime wedding and honeymoon destination, and the report says the same is likely to also be true for civil unions: “Some same-sex couples residing in other states that recognize civil unions or their domestic partnership equivalent [may] visit Hawaii for their … ceremonies rather than to have them in the dreary Oregon rain or Washington sleet or Nevada heat. Many will be accompanied by families and friends.”
It also notes that ceremonies for local couples will also attract off-island relatives and friends to Hawaii just like opposite-sex wedding ceremonies do today.
For many, a Hawaii beach wedding is a dream… and now for civil unions as well.
The UHERO report looked at the 2007 Annual Visitor Research Report. Here’s the number breakdown:
-1.17 million visitor days associated with weddings.
-3.82 million visitor days associated with honeymoons.
-43 percent of those traveling to Hawaii to get married were from the U.S.
-49 percent of those on honeymoon were from the U.S.
It estimates that if Hawaii got even one percent more visitors from states where civil unions are legal, then that would add 9,500 additional visitor days and about $1.4 million in travel alone, with an estimated $2.2 million spent on events surrounding the ceremony.
If you’re interested in a Hawaii civil union ceremony, then the state of Hawaii Department of Health has set up an online application process. The website is not yet accepting applications, but there are questions and answers posted that guide you through the process. The same state website has information about how to get a marriage license for a traditional wedding.
No matter what brings you to the islands, you can enjoy the same dramatic beauty that framed the television wedding. The flowers, beach, sky and ocean are just as vivid as they appeared behind Chin Ho and Malia – no amount of decoration can improve on what nature has already provided.
Source: “The Impact of Civil Unions on Hawaii’s Economy and Government” by Sumner La Croix and Kimberly Burnett, published by The Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii (UHERO).
Five-0 Photo Credit: CBS Broadcasting Inc.