Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Unofficial Officiant

Recently, Sak and I were presented with another hurdle the destination wedding decided to throw our way. Officiants. Sure, it would have been easy enough to book someone already in Hawaii, but we had to be difficult, didn't we? You see, we have the blessing of being quite good friends with one of our pastors, and it just seemed like a perfect idea to have him marry us. More meaningful, perhaps, since he already knows us as a couple.

So we talked to him, and as luck would have it, he was already planning a vacation with his family there that same summer! And as they hadn't firmed up their plans yet, they moved their schedule around our date.

At this point I was pretty happy, we had our officiant, and he was someone I knew, what could go wrong?

Saka-Dad, even more practical than Sak himself, pointed out: "Is a California minister legally allowed to marry people in Hawaii?"


Well, as it turns out, no - they are not. Only folks licensed by the state of Hawaii can perform Hawaii marriages. It makes sense, I just hadn't thought of it.

So we could either -
a) Get legally married at the Honolulu courthouse, and married before God with our un-licensed Pastor.

(source) At least it's pretty!


b) Have our pastor apply for a license to perform weddings in Hawaii.

The grand master plan? Try for B, and if it fails, go with A.

Luckily, becoming a licensed officiant in Hawaii isn't that hard. You do need, however, to show proof of your ordination papers. When we let our pastor know this - he cringed.

"I'm not technically ordained." He said.

Errr. WHAT?!

The color drained from my face. Yet before I could contemplate the concept of being deceived by a man of God, he continued to explain that his ordination papers misspelled his name by one letter, so it was very difficult to "prove" his identity with them. He just hadn't bother getting it fixed since it didn't effect his ministry in Salinas.

I wish I could say we have a resolved problem at this point, but I can't. At this point, our Pastor has tasked himself with getting his ordination papers corrected, and then we will try again on getting him a license for Hawaii.

To celebrate our Pastor's eventual certification, I think we should give him his very own
wedding conch shell

So the moral of the story? Going out of your home state to another state or country often includes laws on what you can and can't bring in. This includes officiants!

Are you using an officiant you know? And has anyone else had trouble "importing" their officiant to their wedding?


  1. haha! that's kind of funny. but even with the wrinkle, sounds like you guys are working it out.

    we're having a friend "officiate", but instead of having her get ordained and then register (she's not a minister or anything so this is definitely out of her job description), we're going with your option A--legal marriage at SF city hall and then fake ceremony later.

  2. We're flying in my FI's family minister in from Seattle. He performed both his sisters' weddings and is looking forward to finishing the trilogy. :o)

  3. Wow...never would have thought of that. Such great advice. We are having my pastor from my junior high and high school days marry us. He is still local and is a huge part of my faith growing up. Plus, he's super like my fiance in personality and interests so I knew they would click right away - which they have :)