If you’ve recently typed into Google something like “how to get married on Oahu,” you’ve come to the right place! As a wedding photographer based out of Oahu & Seattle, I’ve got top-notch knowledge when it comes to planning an incredible Oahu wedding. From the best Oahu wedding locations to vendors to places to stay & more.
Get ready to learn ALL there is to know about tying the knot on one of the most beautiful islands of Hawaii and to finally feel confident in planning your big day!
Table of Contents
- Planning Steps to Follow
- Hawaii Wedding FAQ’s
How to Get Married on Oahu: The Most Important Planning Steps
1. Pick a part of the island
If you’re not local to Oahu & have never visited, you might not know how exactly the island is divided! We’ve got a few main regions: the North Shore, Honolulu/Waikiki, the Leeward Coast, & the Kaneohe/Kailua area. You’ll want to do some research ahead of time and pick which areas of the island you want to look at for venues. Then take a look at which part of the island you want to stay at!
The part of the island you get married & book a stay at will likely depend on a few things:
🏝 What kind of activities you’d like to do during the time of your wedding (e.g. snorkeling with dolphins, surfing, skydiving, exploring the city, hiking to waterfalls, etc.)
🏝 If you’ll have a car for transportation, or if you’ll have to take public transportation
🏝 How far (or not far!) you want to be driving
🏝 Where your loved ones will be staying (if you’re having guests from out of state)
🏝 The type of scenery/landscape you want to experience (e.g. waterfalls & lush forests, beaches with mountains in the background, or the city skyline)
The North Shore
The North Shore is an ever-popular area of the island to visit. Especially for those coming from out of state, and for damn good reason! The beaches offer giant waves that are some of the best in the world for surfing. You’ll find some of the most beautiful beach areas with Oahu’s lush green mountains surrounding you. It’s the perfect place to experience that dreaaamy, luscious Hawaii vibe you always see in the movies. The area is roughly an hour drive from Waikiki. If you’re staying in Waikiki but want to explore the North Shore it’s super doable. We love the ability to explore multiple locations in just a day trip!
Honolulu is the capital city of Oahu and where you’ll fly to get to the island. Filled with landmarks like the Pearl Harbor Memorial & endless dining + shopping options. Honolulu is an absolutely wonderful part of the island to stay in! It stretches along the southeastern shores of the island and typically has the cheapest places to stay. Due to it being more populated + has more properties for visitors to rent out. If you want to explore the city & pack in some fun-ass nightlife after your wedding day, with beaches accessible nearby. Then the Honolulu/Waikiki area is the place to be!
The Leeward Coast is just the fancy Hawaiian name for the west coast of Oahu. A sunny & dry area that lies at the foot of the Waianae mountain range. For those of you who would rather enjoy time out in the more rural parts of the island than explore the city life, the Leeward Coast may be what you’re looking for! With its small towns, secluded beaches, and gorgeous landscapes everywhere!
The Windward Coast is – you guessed it – the east coast of Oahu, opposite of the Leeward Coast! 😉 Two of the main cities on this side of the island are Kaneohe & Kailua. Both lie about 12 miles northeast of Honolulu (meaning it’s super easy to visit even if you’re staying in Honolulu). This area of the island offers a stunning mix of landscapes with both city & country areas, mountains & oceans, and plenty of stunning beaches, of course!
2. Look at beautiful Oahu wedding venues
Next, it’s time to start the hunt for your dream Hawaii wedding venue! I recommend touring your top few favorites if you’re able to so that you can get a true feel for your day & envision it coming to life. However, if you can’t visit in person due to the pandemic (or just because life is busy AF). A lot of venues now offer virtual tours that provide you with a great look at everything the venue has to offer! Simply search through their website a little bit to see if you can find a virtual tour or at least a thorough photo gallery.
Whether you want to find a venue in a certain region of the island, or you want to look everywhere because you have no idea what you want yet. Here are some of the very best wedding venues on Oahu + other gorgeous locations that my couples & I have absolutely LOVED!
Honolulu Wedding Venues
Jenny & Yao’s Cafe Julia Wedding was a celebration after my own heart, filled with so much FUN!
North Shore Wedding Venues
I photographed a gorgeous Sunset Ranch wedding back in 2020 that you def need to take a look at to see the venue in all its glory!
Check out this beautiful Dillingham Ranch Wedding for real-life inspo!
Leeward Coast Wedding Venues
Windward Coast Wedding Venues
Lauren & Andreas planned THE most lovely Hale Koa Estate wedding even in the midst of COVID!
I photograph weddings at Kualoa Ranch suuuper often. I have absolutely fallen in love with it, so I went ahead and wrote a whole damn guide to getting married there! 😉 Head to my blog post All About Weddings at Kualoa Ranch: A Top Oahu Wedding Venue to learn all about the venue & the magic it has to offer!
After you look at a bunch of the venues in the area, I recommend narrowing it down to your top 3-4. That way, you have some flexibility when it comes to picking your date. You don’t want to nail down a date only to find out that your top venue is booked that day!
3. Hire an Oahu wedding planner or coordinator
Once you’ve narrowed down your venue selection into your top few favorites. It’s time to hire a wedding planner or coordinator! I always, always recommend hiring a planner if it’s doable within your budget. Simply because they will make your life 1000x easier leading up to the wedding. You can hand off as much work as you’d like! You decide whether you’d prefer to hire somebody to just be there the day of to keep the day running smoothly, or if you want somebody helping you plan EVERYTHING beforehand. It’s all up to you + what your budget realistically allows for!
Take a look at some of the wonderful planners I’ve worked with on the island below. Find the one that best fits your vibe + your dream for your wedding day ✨⤵️
Exquisite by Sila
For the Good Events
Love Letter Weddings
4. Hire your photographer
In case you couldn’t guess, that’s where I come in 😉 I’m an Oahu wedding photographer who knows the island like the back of my damn hand. I’ve photographed countless weddings in different regions of Oahu. At different venues, for different couples and now I’d call myself an absolute expert if I do say so myself!
If you’re feelin’ like I’m your gal, and you can already tell you’re vibin’ on the same level as me. Take a look at my pricing here to see all the magic I’ve got to offer you.
Over on my blog, I’ve crafted tons and tons of blog posts just for YOU. To provide you with real wedding inspiration + info-packed resources that’ll help you along your wedding planning journey!
And finally, if & when you’re ready to lock things down (or just want to start a conversation). Fill out my contact form here and let’s get this party started!
5. Nail down your date
Now that you’ve taken a look at venues, hired your photographer, and booked a wedding planner. It’s time to officially nail down your date! Decide what season you want to get married in, and what month + week you’d ideally choose. You’ll have to make sure to coordinate with your photographer, planner, and desired venue to make sure you choose a date that they’re all available for!
6. Book your venue
And once you’ve picked your date + coordinated with your venue, sign that venue contract, darling! It’s time to get your location nailed down and officially set it in stone so you can start the next part of the planning process. Dreaming up your ideal day! Because once you get your venue settled, you’ll be able to finally start envisioning your wedding day there. Which is truly the most fun part of wedding planning!
7. Get your Hawaii marriage license
One of the most important steps to legally get married in Hawaii is to get your Hawaii marriage license! This is a crucial step to making sure you follow the state’s rules & regulations, and so you can enjoy your ceremony stress-free🙌🏼
There are a few important things to note when getting your HI marriage license:
- There’s no waiting period before your marriage can take place once you get your license! So you won’t need to plan in advance for a certain amount of time between getting your license & your wedding date. Bless Hawaii for making that easy for us!
- Your marriage license will expire 30 days from the date of being issued. This means your wedding does have to be within that date range.
- You’ll need two separate documents: a marriage license and a marriage certificate. The license permits your marriage to take place in Hawaii and the certificate is proof that your legal marriage has been performed!
- A Hawaii marriage license costs $60.00 plus a $5.00 administrative cost.
- You don’t need to be a state resident or U.S. citizen in order to get a Hawaii marriage license!
- The legal age to marry is 18, but I’m assuming you could’ve guessed that.
Here’s how to get your Hawaii marriage license, according to the State of Hawaii website!
- Apply for your marriage license online here, following along with these provided instructions. You’ll fill out your application as well as pay the $65 in fees!
- Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to find a marriage license agent to appear in front of together.
- If they approve your application, you’ll be issued your license!
8. Hire an Oahu wedding officiant
Next up, get ready to hire an officiant to marry the two of you! It’s important to choose somebody who you trust, and who will provide the type of ceremony you’re looking for (e.g. religious or non-religious). They’ll be the one standing up at the altar with you and helping you commit to each other for the rest of your lives!
Check out some great Oahu wedding officiants below, who I’ve either worked with previously or read good reviews about online:
Or, if you’d rather have a good friend or family member officiate your wedding, you can totally do that too! Read more about officiant registration in Hawaii here!
9. Hire the rest of your vendors
Now comes one of the single most important parts of bringing your dream wedding day together. Hiring the rest of your vendors!
Oahu Wedding Florists:
Oahu Hair & Makeup Artists:
Oahu Wedding Rentals:
11. Book your travel
Now that you’ve got your date nailed down & vendors booked. Be sure to book your travel as far in advance as you’re comfortable with, whether that’s just flights, or maybe flights & a rental car! You wanna get the best prices you can, and make sure you have accommodations + transportation ready to go.
12. Book a place to stay on Oahu
Don’t forget to find a place to stay if you’re traveling in from out of state. I know it can easily be at the bottom of your to-do list! Choose where you’ll stay based on the location of your wedding venue, how far you want to drive, and where you’d like to spend most of your time on the island. Below are some fabulous Airbnbs & resorts to stay at in each region of Oahu!
Where to Stay in Honolulu/Waikiki
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
- Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
- Wonderful Waikiki Studio Apartment
- Modern Rental Unit
Where to Stay on the North Shore
Where to Stay on the Leeward Coast
Where to Stay in the Kaneohe/Kailua Area
Hawaii Wedding Planning FAQ’s
To wrap up, let’s go through some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to planning a wedding on Oahu that you might be wondering the answers to!
Do I need a permit to get married on the beach in Hawaii?
Yes! To legally get married on a public beach in Hawaii, you’ll need to obtain a Hawaii Beach Wedding Permit through the Department of Land & Natural Resources. You can find the permitted beach sites here. Start your permit application process by filling out an application for access to the Online Wiki Permits System! Find all the deets here on the State’s website.
How quickly can I get married in Hawaii?
As quickly as you want, hon! Hawaii is unique in that there’s zero waiting period from the time you get your marriage license until the time your legal marriage takes place. So if you want to get your marriage license & spontaneously head to a beach (making sure you get the appropriate permit + find an officiant, of course!) to tie the knot – follow that dream!
Just keep in mind that the license expires 30 days after being issued! You’ll need to make sure you get your license within 30 days of your wedding date.
Do I need a witness to get married in Hawaii?
Nope! Another unique aspect of getting married in Hawaii is that you don’t need any witnesses. You’re more than welcome to have a private elopement with just you, your partner, & your officiant if you want to🔥
Do you need a marriage license to get married in Hawaii?
Yes you do! Refer back to the marriage license section of this blog post for all the deets 🙂
Can anyone officiate a wedding in Hawaii?
Technically, yes! Anyone who applies & gets approved to be a “performer” (officiant) is able to perform wedding ceremonies. If you have a loved one who you’d like to officiate your ceremony, they can apply to become a legal performer here!
Whew! How are we feeling after all that?! My hope is that you’re feeling hella ready to start planning your dream Oahu wedding. I hope you are feeling confident that you know all you need to know to make it come to life. 🎊
If you’re considering getting married on the Big Island instead. Pop on over to my blog post about How to Get Married at Papa Kona to learn about one of my favorite Big Island wedding venues!
For more Hawaii wedding planning tips & real wedding inspo from past couples. Take a look at some fabulous blog posts below! Happy planning – and when you’re ready to book your Oahu photog, you know where to find me! 😉
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