Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your questions about Hawaii weddings, elopements, and vow renewals.


Frequently Asked Questions




Most Commonly Asked

To reserve your wedding date:

  • Fill out a reservation form.
  • Submit a non-refundable deposit (to be deducted from your total cost).
  • Receive your confirmation email with your next steps and more information. 
  • We'll begin working on your date and send you a second confirmation email along with an initial invoice within two business days.

Absolutely! We are happy to customize any of the packages to accommodate your requests.

Any package can be booked at any location!

Here's all the details of what's next.

This is the short version of what will happen after submitting your reservation:

  1. You will receive an initial confirmation email right after submitting your reservation request.
  2. About 2-3 business days later, you will get your official confirmation of the date, time, and location you have secured. This email will have all of your next steps:
    • Apply for a marriage license online (not needed for a vow renewal).
    • Submit your "Information Sheet" around 6 weeks before your ceremony date (or as soon as possible for last-minute ceremonies). 
    • Submit final payment 30 days prior to your ceremony. 
    • Schedule a check-in phone appointment with us to go over the details of your day (you'll receive an email around 12 days before your event to help remind you).
    • Pick up your marriage license at the Hawaii State Department of Health upon your arrival.
  3. Enjoy your day with the one you love!

Because we specialize in destination services, we can typically accommodate short notice events. However, if you have a specific date in mind, we highly recommend completing your reservation as soon as possible to ensure availability. Feel free to contact us if you have a tentative date and we can let you know our current availability.

Note: We strongly encourage weekday ceremonies if seclusion is important to you. Public beaches are heavily utilized by locals on weekends and holidays.

In our opinion, ANYTIME is an ideal time to have a wedding ceremony in paradise. The average temperature is 75 to 85 degrees, year round. The seasonal change is minimal, yet February and March have a greater possibility of rain.

The State of Hawaii requires a permit for all commercial activity at public beaches and parks. The cost is $50.00 per location. We obtain the permit on your behalf.

Absolutely! However, it's not a requirement. We typically have a phone meeting with our couples about 1-2 weeks before your ceremony date to talk through all the details. Many couples prefer the phone appointment in order to take advantage of every minute enjoying Hawaii, but we can book an office meeting if you prefer. Either way, we'll make sure you're all set!

Yes, of course. All our packages are available to any couple looking to celebrate their love. We've been performing gay and lesbian weddings since Hawaii made it legal. 

We recommend at least two days prior to your ceremony. This is so you have enough time to get acclimated to the time change, pick up your marriage license, and relax and have a mai tai ;-).

Please keep in mind that arriving two days prior is not a requirement. Many couples arrive the day before and even the day of. In these cases, special arrangements will need to be made, and we are happy to accommodate.





Wedding Packages

Absolutely! We are happy to customize any of the packages to accommodate your requests.

Of course! Contact us with your requests and we can provide a quote for you. We recommend choosing the package that's closest to what you want, and you can customize easily from there.

It's close, but our Lehua is the winner. It provides what most couples are looking for: ceremony, photos (with a discount on digital images), videos, two hours limo transportation, and flower options. It's the package that covers the basics, and it gives you a lot of room to customize.

Our Royal Illima is popular if you know you'd like a second location photoshoot, and our Gardenia is popular for those who just want a nice ceremony and a photographer.

Here's a cheat sheet for our Hawaii wedding packages:

  • Kamaaina - You only need an officiant.
  • Gardenia - You only need an officiant and photographer.
  • Maile - You need an officiant, photographer, and limo.
  • Lehua - want a ceremony and highlight video along with an officiant, photographer, and limo, and some more inclusions, such as flower selections.
  • Royal Illima - You want everything included in the Lehua, and you also want a second-location photoshoot and the choice of in-room hair and makeup or a live Hawaiian musician.
  • Monarch Elite - More of almost everything. We include so much to make your day special that it's best you go to our packages page and read the details.
  • Kalani Illima - Everything we could think of, yet fully customizable.






You can't go wrong with any of our locations! It all depends on what the two of you are looking for in a ceremony location. Here are some of the most popular with more information to help get you started.

Waialae Beach is a great option near Waikiki and is known for having lots of palm trees.

Details about Waialae Beach

Photo Gallery


Sandy Beach is a great choice for a toes-in-the-sand ceremony with the iconic lava rock.

Details about Sandy Beach

Photo Gallery


View all our Oahu wedding locations.

Our two most popular locations near Waikiki are Waialae Beach (gallery) and Magic Island (gallery). Both are a short drive from Waikiki and offer amazing photo opportunities. Waialae Beach has beautiful palm trees, while Magic Islands has amazing views of Diamond Head and Waikiki, along with sunset opportunities.

This is not mainland driving. While traffic can be heavy in Hawaii, it's always a beautiful journey! Please note: add enough time to be early! Being late cuts into your time, so it's sooooo much better to be early and stress-free :)

  • Magic Island - 10-15 minutes 
  • Waialae Beach - 10-20 minutes 
  • Marina Chapel - 30 minutes
  • Sandy Beach - 30 minutes
  • Kawela Bay - 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • Secret Beach - 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Nalo Gardens - 40 minutes
  • Noelani Gardens - 40 minutes
  • Moana Gardens & Catalina Chapel - 35 minutes

If you're looking for a sunset wedding, start with Magic Island (gallery). That's our top sunset location, but keep in mind that lighting can be good at many of our locations during "golden hour," so later ceremonies can still be beautiful. 






Weekdays! Holidays and weekends are when the locals take advantage of the beaches, so we always recommend weekdays for seclusion.

That depends on the wedding package you choose. The ceremony itself is typically 15-20 minutes, and the remainder of the time is for photography/videography purposes. The time for each package is as follows:

  • Gardenia Package - 1 hour
  • Maile Package - 1 hour
  • Lehua Package - 1.5 hours
  • Royal Ilima Package - 3 hours - Includes second-location photo shoot
  • Monarch Elite Package - 4 hours - Includes a second-location photo and video shoot
  • Kalani Ilima Package - 4+ hours

It rains every day in Hawaii so don’t be alarmed if the forecast shows rain. It’s often early morning or overnight showers and passing showers typically only last a few minutes. 

Our ceremonies are rain-or-shine events, as our team will conduct the ceremony as planned, regardless of the weather. Please note, Hawaii does have amazing weather year-round and it is very rare that conditions are so extreme we cannot provide our services as planned. If that is the case for your day, we will do everything we can to offer an alternative plan.

Read more on What Happens If It Rains

The ceremony itself lasts about 15 -20 minutes. All ceremonies include an introduction, the exchange of vows, the ring exchange, the lei ceremony, and sand ceremony, closing, and pronouncement.  

If you'd like we can certainly incorporate any personal vows or the children's ceremony. 

Most ceremonies are non-denominational Christian ceremonies, but we can also arrange for non-religious ceremonies too. Just let us know your preference after you've booked your reservation and we'll get that set for you! 

There is no ceremony script as we encourage all our officiants to have unique organic verbiage for each ceremony and couple.

Each officiant we work with is excellent at making you feel comfortable. He or she will lead the ceremony and guide you along the way. 

Here are more details about the elements of what makes a Hawaiian wedding so special

The lei ceremony is a time-honored Hawaiian blessing to present fresh flower leis to honor each other as a gesture of love, aloha, and respect. The true meaning of what a lei means is explained during the ceremony which adds a touch of Hawaiian tradition to the event. It is also a perfect way to show your appreciation to your family and friends.

Read more about Hawaiian wedding traditions.

The unity sand ceremony is much like a unity candle lighting ceremony. You are each given a small satchel of sand from the beach of which you are married. You then pour the two bags of sand into one, signifying the two of you becoming one. The minister will elaborate in greater detail of the significance during the event.

Read more about Hawaiian wedding traditions.

The Children's Ceremony can be included for couples with children attending the ceremony. Shortly after you recite vows with each other, the children will be asked to come forward so you can recite vows with them as well. It's a great way to include the children in the celebration.

Yes, it is okay if you want to have your own officiant!

If your marriage performer is registered with the state of Hawaii, they can conduct your ceremony and file your legal paperwork.

Most often we have a "dual officiant" ceremony. Especially if your officiant is not registered as a marriage performer with the State of Hawaii.

Your officiant to do the vows and ring exchange, then our officiant can perform the Hawaiian elements, pronouncement, and file your marriage license. Just let us know!

It depends. Keep in mind that we work as a team. Each member of our team is a piece of the puzzle. Our coordinators are here to plan your day. Our ceremony team is there to execute. If any piece of the puzzle fails, we're all part of that. We work together to make the most perfect day for you, and that's incredibly important to all of us.

When bringing in outside vendors, they are often only concerned with their job, not the team effort, and they are often unfamiliar with the locations. We've had outside photographers walk right in front of our videographer's camera during the wedding!

Please contact a wedding coordinator to further discuss details to determine what will work best for you.

Wedding setups, such as chairs, arbors, and other decor are only permitted by Weddings of Hawaii's design team due to liability reasons.

A rehearsal is not necessary for a destination wedding. We will go over the details of your service during your pre-wedding consultation, and your officiant and ceremony team will confirm details with you once you arrive at your ceremony location.

On-site rehearsals are available for an additional fee (Waikiki locations). Please contact a wedding coordinator for details.

The great part of a destination ceremony is it allows you to make the rules. There are no requirements on our end. It is not uncommon for the bride to be in a gown and the groom to be in a "Tommy Bahama" style shirt and shorts! Everything works.

A little advice on the shoes: high heels on the beach can be a challenge. It's good to wear flats or bring a second pair to walk in. We have an entire blog post about what to wear for your Hawaii wedding to help you consider some options.





Marriage License & Certificate

All that's required is a Hawaii marriage license. The majority of this process is done online; you simply pick up the license upon your arrival. After the event, we will file all legal documentation on your behalf.

Typically, the only documentation required to obtain the license is a photo ID, such as a driver's license or passport.

There are no citizenship or residency requirements; your marriage is legal throughout the world.

Some countries do require an Apostille, and you can apply for this document when obtaining the license. Your wedding confirmation email will provide information about applying for and obtaining your license. 

Here are all the details about legally getting married in Hawaii

You can apply and obtain a marriage license the same day. You can pre-apply for the license within one year of the wedding date. Once the license is physically obtained, it is good for 30 days.


The State of Hawaii will issue a temporary copy of the marriage license which can be downloaded online within a few days of the ceremony. You will then receive a certified copy of your marriage license by mail within 120 days of your wedding.

If you need a certified hard copy of your marriage license sooner, you can go online to request the copy or contact the Department of Health (808-586-4544) for more information.

No, the State of Hawaii does not require a witness.





 Photography & Videography

Your photographer (and videographer) will capture the ceremony, but this is a time to mostly ignore the cameras and focus on each other. 

After the ceremony is over, you'll begin your photoshoot. If you have guests, you'll do group shots first, so please tell your guests not to disappear after the ceremony. 

After group shots, your photographer and videographer will work with the two of you.

Being late or having large groups can cut into your time, which is why we recommend being early and getting extra photo time if group shots are important to you. 

Our photographers and videographers do their best to get your images and video to you as soon as possible. Photos are typically available within two to four weeks. Videos are typically available within four to six weeks.

Once they are available, you will receive an email link to download the video and access your online image gallery (these are separate emails).

For photos, we use a You'll receive an email with instructions based on your wedding package. All the information should be in the email.

For videos, we use Vimeo. Vimeo is great because we can password protect your videos, you have the option to download your video in several sizes, and we recommend creating your own account to save your videos. 

Note: we do not send photos or videos via disk or memory sticks.

We only work with the best! We trust our team, and we know they work well together. They know the locations, they're familiar with our style, and they care. We all know how important the day is, and we only work with those who want to make this one of the best days ever!

If you like what you see on our website, great! That's a good example of what you'll receive. 

Absolutely! Our photographers will ask if you have any requests, and please do let them know! They know how to capture the day, and they'll do their best to get a huge variety for you. However, they appreciate you communicating with them. Let them know if you have specific shots in mind. They want you to be happy, after all!

You may also like our post on Posing Tips for your Wedding Photos & Videos.

Live streaming your Hawaii ceremony is a great way to include family and friends back home. 

If you add the live stream to your day, we'll make you a unique webpage a few months before your ceremony date (or asap for elopements). You can send this url to your friends and family.

The link to the live stream will appear on your page shortly before the ceremony, usually within 48 hours. 

On the day of your ceremony, your live stream technician will ask you two questions. One, would you like to wear the mic that feeds into the live stream camera, or would you like it placed on the officiant; two, would you like to say something to everyone watching after the ceremony ends? 

More information is provided in emails after booking the live stream. 


Due to copyright laws, we must use licensed music. We currently get our licensed music from

You'll receive a list of song recommendations, and you can read more in our blog post on choosing a highlight song for your video.

If you're set on using a song that we cannot get the license to use, you can request us to edit to that song and deliver it without the music. You are legally able to insert the song yourself as it's not for business purposes, but be aware that it may get muted or flagged when saving it to YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo, which are all sites we recommend saving your video to.








For destination weddings and vow renewals, celebrations can come in many different styles. For most couples, a nice dinner at a Waikiki restaurant is the perfect way to celebrate. We have a list of our favorite recommendations on our Hawaii Receptions page. 

Luaus are also a popular way to celebrate. You can book our favorite directly from our website: Ka Moana Luau.

Remember, destination weddings are non-traditional by nature, so how you celebrate is up to you!

Yes, please check out our Wedding Receptions page for more details.

There are a lot of choices, and many of our couples and their guests enjoy Tiki's Grill.

Yes, or if not for your special day, then perhaps another evening while you're in Hawaii. A luau is a great way to experience the Polynesian-Hawaiian culture. Our favorite is Ka Moana Luau.

A Hawaiian buffet dinner plus an amazing show is a unique way to celebrate the big day! You can secure your tickets directly through this link.






Although we would never want to limit the number of guests you invite to your special day, all locations do have their limits as set by the State of Hawaii or the property owner. As we specialize in destination weddings, Weddings of Hawaii works with couples who have a maximum of 50 guests.

If your guest count exceeds 30, it will limit your location options. In addition, if your guest count exceeds 40, you will be required to have an on-site coordinator. (This applies to all packages but the Kama’aina and Kalani Ilima package. The Kama’aina package is only intended for small groups. The Kalani Ilima already includes the coordinator.)

Your guests have several options when planning transportation to your ceremony. If you'd like to provide transportation for them, we offer additional limousine and bus options. Please email for more information.

For Magic Island and Waialae Beach, both locations are within an affordable Uber/Lyft or taxi ride, and many guests decide to drive themselves.

If your guests have rental cars, carpooling is a great option, but please remind your guests to be early. If your guests are late and it delays the ceremony, that will cut into your photo and video time. 

We wrote a blog on 10 Questions from Your Guests, which a great read if you have family and friends attending your ceremony.

And here are a few helpful tips to make your special day go smoothly:

  1. Be on time!
  2. Let them know their transportation options to help them plan.
  3. Forward your guests the directions email we send you.
  4. Remind them that if they are late, you will not wait on them as it will cut into your photo/video time. 






Hawaii is beautiful year-round! In our opinion, there's never a bad time to travel to Hawaii.

Here is more information on Hawaii weather and tips on booking your travel to Hawaii.

Certainly! We have a blog post about Planning Your Travel to Hawaii, and we're happy to answer any questions you have. 

These articles may also be helpful for you:

Where to Stay on Oahu

Getting Around on Oahu

Things to Do on Oahu

Best Hikes on Oahu

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