Catholic Destination Wedding in Hawaii

A Catholic church wedding or marriage as destination weddings




You will often hear it said that you can't have a Catholic destination wedding or that there are just too many rules to do so. The truth is, it takes very little extra preparation for planning a Catholic wedding as a destination wedding than it does to perform your Catholic wedding vows at home.

Most non Catholics are not aware of the requirements for a Catholic church wedding and all that it entails. Therefore, when they read what is needed for the Catholic destination wedding they assume there are additional, difficult rules to follow, when you are actually doing many of the same things you would do at home for your wedding ceremony.

Much of your preparation for your Catholic Hawaii wedding will be done at home with your local priest. He will guide you in preparing for your Catholic destination wedding and also help you to prepare for the extras needed on your wedding day in Hawaii.

These instructions are from the Diocese of Honolulu website. They are very complete and will guide you for your Catholic destination wedding.

Catholic Destination Wedding in Hawaii

Marriage in the Diocese of Honolulu
Procedure for Couples from Other Dioceses
Requesting Marriage in the Diocese of Honolulu
Your Catholic Destination Wedding

1. Marriage Preparation: Contact your local parish to arrange for your marriage preparation. This ordinarily includes meetings with a priest or deacon, completion of required paperwork, the use of a premarital inventory (such as FOCCUS or PMI) which will be discussed with the priest or deacon, and participation in an Engaged Encounter Weekend or other similar program offered in your own diocese.

2. Contact Information: Contact a priest or deacon assigned to a parish in Hawai`i where you wish the marriage to take place. If he agrees to celebrate the wedding, send to him the name, address, phone number(s), and e-mail address for the following:

  • Bride
  • Groom
  • A relative or friend in Hawai`i as a local contact, if there is one
  • The priest or deacon preparing you for marriage
Cautionary note on fraudulent clergy: Beware of individuals who pass themselves as legitimate Catholic priests but who, in fact, are not. Sometimes referrals to such individuals are made by secular wedding coordinators. Make sure that the priest you are dealing with is in full communion with the pope and the bishop of Honolulu. Weddings celebrated by fraudulent clergy are invalid. Those with links through this web portal are legitimate. Questions concerning other clergy can be directed to the Office of Canonical Affairs at (808) 203-6766.

3. Letter of Permission: Once your priest or deacon has established your freedom to marry, he should write to the priest or deacon who will be celebrating your marriage here in Hawai`i. The letter should state the following:

  • That the pastor of one of the parties (the Catholic party if only one party is Catholic) gives permission for the marriage to take place at the parish in Hawai`i
  • That both parties are free to marry in the Catholic Church
  • That he will be preparing the couple for marriage

4. Canonical Paperwork: At least three months in advance of the date of the wedding, your priest or deacon is to forward the following authentic documents to the diocesan curia of his diocese, which is then to mail the authentic documents (not photocopies or faxes) to the Office of Canonical Affairs, 6301 Pali Hwy., Kâne`ohe, HI 96744 USA:

  • Premarital Investigation Form – as used in your diocese, along with the rescript for any required dispensation or permission (this will be handled by your priest or deacon)
  • Proof of Baptism:
  • For Catholics, a baptismal certificate – it must be a new certificate (not a photocopy or fax) issued within the past year.
  • For non-Catholics, proof of baptism may take the form of, in order of preference, a baptismal certificate, a page copied from a sacramental register, an affidavit of the fact of baptism by a parent or other witness, or some other reliable proof.
  • Affidavits of Freedom to Marry – an affidavit regarding each party’s freedom to marry is to be completed by a parent or other person who has known the party to be married since he or she was at least 16 years of age.
  • A certificate of death, a declaration of nullity, or proof of dissolution (Pauline or Petrine privilege) is required for all previous marriages or attempted marriages, civil and religious. (For Catholics with a prior attempted marriage outside of the Church, the defect of form must be established by a Tribunal declaration.)
  • Certificate of participation at an Engaged Encounter Weekend or similar program
  • A copy of the letter referred to in #3
The Office of Canonical Affairs of the Diocese of Honolulu will then review and approve the authentic documents and forward them to the priest or deacon here in Hawai`i who will be celebrating your wedding.

Photocopies of all authentic documents mailed should be kept by the parish sending the documents out until it is certain that they have arrived at the parish where your Catholic destination wedding will take place.

5. Liturgy Planning: Plans regarding music, choice of readings, and other details of the ceremony need to be arranged with the priest, deacon, or staff of the parish where the marriage will take place. Marriages where only one party is Catholic are celebrated with a full ceremony but ordinarily outside Mass.

6. Church of Wedding: Marriages are to take place inside a Catholic church or oratory. This requirement reflects the fact that marriage is a religious vocation and a public celebration of the Church community.

Exceptions in the case of a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic: Permission to celebrate the marriage in a non-Catholic church building may be sought if there are objections of conscience by non-Catholics to entering a Catholic church building. In such a case, the Catholic party must write a letter to the Director of Canonical Affairs of the Diocese of Honolulu stating the reasons for this request. The priest or deacon celebrating the wedding must also agree to this, and the couple needs to make arrangements with the non-Catholic Christian minister to use his building.

Exceptions in the case of a marriage between a Catholic and a non-baptized person: If objections of conscience arise by non-Catholics to entering a Catholic Church building, permission may be sought to celebrate the marriage in a non-Catholic religious building or in another suitable place. If possible, the ceremony should be celebrated in a chapel-like arrangement or in a room apart from the place where the meal or reception will take place. In such a case, the Catholic party must write a letter to the Director of Canonical Affairs of the Diocese of Honolulu stating the reasons for this request, the name and address of the proposed place, and a complete description of the indoor setting that is proposed for the marriage. The priest or deacon celebrating the wedding must also agree to this.

7. Civil Marriage License: The prospective bride and groom must appear together before a marriage license agent to get a license. In Hawai`i, no blood tests, waiting period, or residence or citizenship is required to obtain a marriage license. Licenses are issued immediately and expire in 30 days. Licenses are good anywhere in the state of Hawai`i. Marriages licenses for the couple may be received from:

  • Hawai`i State Department of Health Building, 1250 Punchbowl St., Honolulu, HI 96813 USA
  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • For more information: (808) 586-4545 or www.hawaii.gov/health
For the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of marriage agents in the rural and suburban areas of O`ahu, call (808) 586-4544.

For the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of marriage agents on the neighbor islands, call the local office of the Department of Health:

  • Hawai`i (Big Island) - (808) 974-6008
  • Kaua`i - (808) 241-3498
  • Mâui - (808) 984-8210
  • Moloka`i - (808) 553-3663
  • Lâna`i - (808) 565-6411
The marriage license must be presented to the priest or deacon at least 24 hours before the rehearsal. The priest or deacon who officiates at the marriage is responsible for completing and mailing in the marriage license.

8. Arrival in Hawai`i: Plan on arriving a few days before your scheduled wedding to meet with the priest or deacon who will be officiating at your wedding. The marriage license may be given to the priest or deacon at this time.

Procedure for Clergy from Other Dioceses Requesting to Officiate at a Catholic destination wedding in the Diocese of Honolulu

1. The visiting priest or deacon should contact the pastor in Hawai`i where the wedding will take place to make initial arrangements to officiate at the wedding.

2. At least four weeks before the wedding is to take place, two copies of a letter of good standing from the Ordinary of the visiting priest or deacon must be sent to: Office of Canonical Affairs 6301 Pali Hwy. Kāne`ohe, HI 96744 USA

This letter must:• be on letterhead of the diocese or religious institute of the visiting priest or deacon• include the visiting priest or deacon's full name and address • contain information regarding the specific wedding that he will be celebrating, including the names of the couple, the date of the wedding, and the name and place of the church

The Office of Canonical Affairs will keep one copy of the letter and mail the second copy to the Hawai`i State Department of Heath along with a letter from the Diocese of Honolulu vouching for the cleric’s credentials.

3. The priest or deacon must also write or call the Registration Section of the Department of Health to request an application for a temporary license to officiate at the wedding: Hawai`i State Department of Health Vital Records Office, Registration Section P. O. Box 3378 Honolulu, HI 96801 USA (808) 586-4540

The application and letters must be submitted to the Department of Health at least two weeks prior to the marriage. Upon receipt of the application and requested letters (#2 above), authorization will be given prior to the priest or deacon’s arrival in Hawai`i.

For more information: www.hawaii.gov/health

Important: It is the responsibility of the visiting priest or deacon to secure the temporary license!

4. The visiting priest or deacon should ask the pastor for delegation to assist at the Catholic destination wedding. (He can also get this delegation from a parochial vicar or deacon assigned to the parish.) The delegation should be noted by the pastor (or other priest or deacon) in the marriage paperwork. The marriage is to be recorded in the church where the wedding takes place, and the paperwork is to be filed there.

5. The officiating priest or deacon is to receive the civil marriage license at least 24 hours before the rehearsal and is responsible for completing the license and mailing it in.

As you can see there are many things you, your fiancee and your priest will be doing for your Catholic destination wedding, but you would need to do most of them for your local wedding anyway.

You have the choice of several islands and churches. Your Catholic destination wedding will be a complete Catholic marriage and you can even invite your local priest if you prefer.

A wedding celebration in Hawaii is magical. There really isn't anywhere more beautiful. So go ahead and plan your Catholic destination wedding in Hawaii and begin preparing for your day in paradise.



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