Hawaii Wedding FAQs

When is the best time of year to have a wedding in Hawaii?
Anytime you can make it! Hawaii is blessed with a tropical climate that only varies slightly throughout the year. The Hawaiian islands have two seasons – summer (Kau in Hawaiian) from May to October has an average daytime temperature of 85º F (29.4 C), and winter (Hooilo) from November to April has an average daytime temperature of 78º F (25.6º C) at sea level. Nighttime temperatures usually drop about 10° F.

Hawaii’s busy tourist season usually coincides with school vacation times. Summer and Christmas are the two busiest times, and fares also tend to increase for spring break which can fall anywhere from mid-March to mid-April.
– Peak season: mid-June to August, late December to early January
– Off season: mid-January to March
– Shoulder season: mid-March to early June, September to November

Try to book airfare and accommodations in advance if you’re planning your wedding during certain high traffic annual events. Japanese tourists flock to Hawaii, especially the Waikiki area, around the last week of April because three holidays occur in this timeframe, known as Golden Week in Japan. Other popular festivities include the week-long Merrie Monarch Hula Festival which begins on Easter and the Ironman Triathlon in October on the Big Island, Halloween on Maui’s Front Street in Lahaina, and the Honolulu Marathon in December.

You may also want to plan your stay around activities that interest you, as some attractions are seasonal. For example, if you want to see humpback whales, the first whales are generally spotted in October but the whale season peaks around February to March, and by mid-May the whales migrate back to Alaska. If you’re excited to watch big wave surfing on Oahu’s North Shore and Maui’s Peahi (“Jaws”) and Honolua Bay, visit during the winter. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (like the Superbowl of surfing) happens when the waves are big enough throughout November and December.

Which island should we choose?
Once you’ve decided to start your new life together in Hawaii, you’re faced with picking which island to wed on. With biased opinions everywhere, this choice can be really confusing. Here’s a very brief overview of each island. For a more detailed description, please check out our guide to Choosing an Island.

Should we hire a wedding planner?
If you can afford it, I would highly recommend all brides, at least, get a coordinator for the wedding day. This way you and your family can relax and let your planner take care of everything behind the scenes. For destination brides, a wedding planner is a “must have” that should be included in your budget.

Will our marriage be legal outside of Hawaii?
Yes, as long as you get your marriage license and have your ceremony performed by a licensed marriage officiant, your marriage will be legal and recognized throughout the world.

How long does it take to get a marriage license?
There is no waiting period for a marriage license. Intended spouses can apply for a marriage license up to 30 days before their wedding. If you have already filled out the marriage license application online, your meeting with a marriage license agent should only take a few minutes. Couples in Oahu can see a marriage license agent in the Health Department Building, while those on other islands need to call independent agents to make an appointment. Once your marriage license application is approved, you will immediately be issued a marriage license that allows you to get married anytime within the following 30 days. For more information, please see our Hawaii Marriage License guide.

If we are getting married on the beach, do we have to get a permit?
Yes, the State of Hawaii requires permits for any commercial activity that occurs at the beach including weddings. Permits are usually handled by your wedding planner and oftentimes the service (although sometimes not the permit fee itself) is included in a beach wedding package. Read Beach Wedding Rules to find out more.

Are there any private beaches?
Hawaii beaches are public property, meaning there may be onlookers and more than one wedding happening at the same beach. Some beaches tend to be more secluded, though if it is called a “secret beach” and is online, it’s usually not much of a secret anymore. Scheduling your wedding on a weekday and away from any holidays can help prevent a crowded beach. If you want a truly private event, Hawaii has many private venues to choose from, many of which are oceanfront or have beautiful views of the ocean.

What do we wear?
The short answer: It is your wedding day, so wear whatever you want! As long as your attire reflects your personal style, is flattering to your figure, and you feel like a bride (or a groom) in whatever you are wearing, go for it.

Traditionally, the couple’s attire should match the formality of the wedding. Flowy, lightweight fabrics like chiffon and organza and lighter colored suits and linen are often worn in beach weddings because they keep you a little bit cooler and go well with a more laid-back vibe. That being said, we love the contrast of a formal gown and tuxedo in a natural setting. It is also not uncommon to see a bride in a beautiful gown next to a groom wearing a simple white button-down shirt and khakis.

You’ll want to make sure you have comfy shoes. Try to wear flats or even just wear foot jewelry or go barefoot for a beach wedding in the sand. If you feel like you need some height, choose platform slippers (flip flops) and avoid high heels.

Is there any place that rents wedding attire?
I know what you’re thinking: I’m only wearing this for one day, maybe only for just a couple hours, why don’t I just rent it? Many formalwear shops offer menswear rentals because, to be blunt, most men are less picky and easier to fit than most women. Pants, vests, and ties are often adjustable to fit different sizes. Alterations to coat sleeve and pant hems are fairly quick and easy.

Wedding dresses are a different story. Every bride has different taste, and wedding dresses have so many factors to consider including silhouette, neckline, fabric, embellishments, and train length. This alone would make it difficult to stock the “right” rental gowns, and then you have to consider sizes. Wedding dresses are designed to fit your body just right, and 99.9% of the time, this requires some kind of alteration. For most bridal shops, it isn’t worth it to have rental gowns that brides may or may not like or fit.

How do I bring my wedding dress on the plane?
Bringing your wedding dress on the plane (all while ensuring your fiancé doesn’t sneak a peek and making sure you didn’t forget anything) can add an extra layer of stress to your traveling plans. Luckily, we’ve got the inside scoop to put your mind at ease.

  • The best way to keep your dress absolutely safe is to take it as a carry-on in a hard-bodied suitcase that clearly meets size requirements. This way you know your airlines will accept it and you’ll never have to wonder where your dress is.
  • Stuffing the bodice with acid-free tissue paper can help the dress retain its shape, but isn’t really necessary.
  • Don’t worry about folding it – wedding dresses and veils are usually shipped in small boxes that would make you question how they ever got it in there. You can always ask the bridal shop you bought the dress from to help you pack it.
  • If you’re really worried about packing your dress in a suitcase, you can also bring it in a travel garment bag in hopes that there will be room in a first class closet for it to hang. The biggest reasons why this isn’t recommended as a first alternative is because there are some “what ifs” involved, such as what if there is no closet to hold your dress or the closet is already full? We’ve heard that some flights can have as much as six wedding dresses and there’s no way to guarantee the person you’re handing it off to will be as careful as you would.
  • Before you leave, ask your wedding planner for recommendations and call formalwear shops and dry cleaners about steaming your wedding dress. They may not be able to give you an exact quote before seeing your dress, since price will depend on how long it will take them to get any wrinkles out (based on type of fabric, how much material there is, and how many wrinkles there are).
  • When you arrive, hang your dress up right away as many small wrinkles will fall out on their own. It may also help to hang the dress in the bathroom while you take a shower so the steam helps loosen any creases.

When should we arrive in Hawaii?
Try to arrive in Hawaii at least 2-4 days before your wedding. This allows you to get your marriage license, try on any menswear rentals, get your dress steamed, and have a wedding rehearsal or rehearsal dinner if you want. If you and your guests are able to come earlier, planning some group activities like a hike or scenic outing might be a fun way for everyone to get to know each other better.

Still have a Hawaii wedding question? Feel free to contact us!