Planning a Wedding on the Garden Isle
One look at Kauai's beautiful landscapes makes it clear why it is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the country – the natural beauty of the “Garden Isle” radiates romance. Known for towering cliffs, scenic waterfalls, scrumptious local cuisine, and exciting activities like surfing, hiking, and windsurfing, Hawaii’s oldest island can entertain you and your wedding guests for days. Getting married in Kauai will undoubtedly be one of your most memorable life events, though there are a few things you need to know before you go.
Obtaining a Marriage License
Hawaii has no waiting period to get married once you have obtained your license, and no blood test is required. The state of Hawaii recommends using the online marriage license application and fee-paying process before you meet with your marriage agent in Kauai. This is not mandatory, however, as you may also complete the application in person when meeting with your agent. Whichever you choose, the bride and groom both must sign the application together in the presence of the agent, and the agent issues the license at that time.
Check this list of Kauai agents for locations and phone numbers. There are many agents to choose from, so for convenience you can choose one who is close to your vacation home on Kauai. Work hours and days can vary by agent, so it is best to call your chosen agent ahead of time to schedule.
The license fee is $65 with processing fee, and the license is valid for 30 days from the day they issue it. Hawaii’s marriage license website at has extensive information about obtaining your marriage license.
Getting a Beach Wedding Permit
If you want your ceremony on the beach when getting married in Kauai, you will need a right-of-entry permit. The permit consists of a fee determined by your number of guests. The cost is $50 for up to 20 guests , and an additional $20 for every 15 guests above that. You cannot change your guest count without paying the fee for a new permit, so make sure your guest list is finalized before getting the permit.
Beach ceremonies are standing room only, or guests can sit on blankets; there are no chairs, arches, or decorations allowed on the beach. Visit Hawaii’s Department of Land & Natural Resources website or call 808-274-3491 for more information and an application for your permit.
Finding an Officiant
Since Kauai is a popular wedding destination, there is no shortage of professional wedding officiants. Wedding officiants must be licensed by the state of Hawaii. Local ministers are licensed, but if you choose to bring your own minister with you – perhaps your church pastor or other ceremony emcee – they will need to obtain a license from Hawaii’s Department of Health for your ceremony to be valid.
Using a Wedding Planning Service
To keep your wedding planning as stress-free and seamless as possible, and to assure you have covered all the necessary preparations, consider using a wedding planning service. Kauai has many to choose from, and they can help you plan everything from photographers to flowers to the ceremony officiant, and they many even have a marriage agent who can approve and issue your marriage license. If you are having a beach wedding, they can also help you find your ideal beach for the ceremony and obtain the necessary right-of-entry permit.
Planning the Date and Handling Weather Changes
Temperatures are mild in Kauai, averaging in the 80s Fahrenheit year round. Keep in mind that the “Garden Isle” is known for its rainfall, which is why it has such lush vegetation. This rainfall makes the island stunningly beautiful, but it can pose challenges for planning for an outdoor wedding.
One of your best options is having your Kauai vacation rental be your wedding venue. Vacation homes give you much more flexibility for settings, vendors, and lodging options. They are also very convenient - if it starts to rain, you can usher your guests inside until it stops or have your entire ceremony and reception indoors.
When getting married in Kauai, your best chance for having a rain-free wedding is planning it between April and October. There is more rain during the winter months, but don’t let that deter you if you want a winter wedding; just plan your ceremony and book a vacation home on the southern or eastern sides of Kauai where rainfall is less abundant, and have an indoor location ready as a backup option.