Things to consider to have an ethical wedding in Hawaii.

Ethical Hawaii Wedding | Alana Beth Officiant

Welcome! You are on this page because you feel the call to get married in Hawaii. You want your wedding to be ethical and responsible. As someone who is not from here, I constantly evaluate and reevaluate this. I want to be be the most pono (in harmony) and do my part to respect the aina (land and sea the land). I keep this in mind as a resident on the island and as a business owner. Doing the research is the first part! You are well on your way to doing your part to have an ethical Hawaii Wedding!

Couple has wedding in Hawaii and kisses under the sunset

First step to an Ethical Hawaii Wedding: Understand the History

Before you travel to Hawaii, research a little bit about its history. This will give you a better understanding and appreciation of the culture, beyond the beauty of the islands. Did you know that the Hawaiian Kingdom was illegally overthrown in 1983? I did not know this before I moved here either! If you have some time, I recommend a visit to Iolani palace. This visit will to better inform you about the rich history of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Couple kisses under water fall after getting married at Waimea Valley, Oahu
Couple gathers under a waterfall for small wedding ceremony in Hawaii at Waimea Valley, Oahu.
Photos courtesy of Chelsea Stratso

Research the location

The better you understand the history and meaning of where you marry, the more meaningful your entire ceremony is. For example, a stunning wedding venue (pictured above) is Waimea Valley. Which is located on the North Shore of Oahu. The most well known mo‘olelo (story) of Waimea is that it was a unique land division that was run by O‘ahu high priests. There are still many traditional significant sites throughout the park such as houses and shrines dedicated to different Hawaiian gods that cultural practitioners. While this is just an example, the more that you know about the Hawaiian culture, the deeper meaning your wedding day will have.

LGBTQ couple gets married under two rainbows at Kaala Vista on the North Shore of Oahu
Photo courtesy of Chelsea Stratso

Acknowledge Hawaii during your ceremony

For your own reason, you may or may not choose to have a Hawaiian Kahu (translates to honored guardian) officiate your ceremony. If you do not go this route, you might decide to have a friend or someone like me (an officiant who is not Hawaiian) officiate, ensure that they incorporate the significance of place into their ceremony. I do this my acknowledging the Aina (the exact location your ceremony is taking place. I acknowledge it with reverence and gratitude), Akua (Spirit of the islands, spirit in what it means to you), and kanaka (the Native Hawaiian people who have stewarded the land). Since you also bring your cultures with you, think of ways in which you would like your cultures weaved throughout your ceremony.

Couples kisses after Wedding in Hawaii at the Byodo temple in Kaneohe, Oahu.

Volunteer to make your trip to Hawaii ethical and responsible

There are so many amazing Hawaiian centered organizations where you can volunteer based on your personal passions. Taking a few hours out of your trip to volunteer will make you feel good about giving back to the place that gave you the most memorable wedding day possible.

Alana is a wedding officiant based on Oahu, Hawaii for chill, wildly in love couples. You can inquire with her via her two officiating business. Alana Beth Officiant and Wild and Free Elopements.