Couples applying for a marriage license in Hawaii face frustration, confusion

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Couples looking to get married in Hawaii are facing additional stress and confusion.

The State says there has been an unexpected surge in the number of people wanting to tie the knot and what is normally a quick process is trying some people’s patience.

Couples are supposed to call ahead for an appointment, as the sign says no walk-ins. But every time they try to call, nobody answers. With their wedding scheduled on Saturday, July 17, a couple decided to come down in person and hope for the best.

“We were panicking, ringing. I think we rang them around six times this morning and nothing,” said Ella Putner, a marriage license applicant.

There are days when even those who were actually able to get an appointment still wound up waiting in line for hours. Newlyweds Rick Cao and Glenda Disselkoen arrived early for their appointment during the week of Monday, July 7.

“Fifteen minutes turned into 30, 30 turned into 60 and so on and so forth. And I don’t think we saw anyone until we were there for about two and a half hours,” said Cao.

They sensed the frustration from everyone else in line.

“I just decided to just give it up and relax and not stress me out cause there’s so many other things going on,” said Disselkoen.

Marinell and Kyle de Boy also had their appointment during the week of July 7 and found ten couples waiting ahead of them.

“Just thinking about all these other plans with family. After that are we gonna have to call and change our reservations that we have later in the day?” said Kyle de Boy.

Those in the wedding business said this is a setback to an industry that is still trying to climb out of the pandemic. The Department of Health (DOH) said there ha been unpredictable spikes in appointments and walk-ins.
A spokeswoman says there are two people and an assistant working in the office, but couples told KHON2 they have only seen one person working in there.

The spokeswoman said in a statement, “DOH is in the process of cross-training other staff to work as surge capacity for the unpredictable higher volume days.”

She added, “DOH is also working with the wedding industry on a pilot project to extend license issuance authority to private wedding businesses.”

Also, it is best to avoid Mondays and Friday because those are the busiest days.

There is a list of other places that issue marriage licenses here.

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