Couples to be charged fee for beach marriages

Morris Atta
Morris Atta
Steven Vinson
Steven Vinson

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

KAHALA BEACH (KHNL) - Our beautiful beaches are not only a draw for visitors looking for sun and surf, they also bring in thousands who want to get married.

But these ceremonies create more than just happy memories. Some leave behind beaches full of trash and that's why the state is now fully enforcing a charge to get married at the beach.

The push to require permits is really nothing new. It was first put in place in 2002, but now it's time to enforce it fully. The DLNR says if you want to reap benefits from use of the land, you need to make sure you respect it.

For Steven and Charline Vinson, it's the happiest moment of their lives.Their picture perfect wedding is on the shores of Kahala beach.

"I've always wanted to get married at the beach," said Bride Charline Vinson.

"We just came here, stood, pictures, said our vows and that was it," said Groom Steven Vinson.

The state says it wants to enforce a $20 plus 10-cent per square foot permit to make people are accountable for any mess they leave behind.

"More importantly to ensure public access to those resources and that they're not hindered or infringed upon and that the resources themselves are protected," said State Lands Administrator Morris Atta.

Before they say they do, couples like the Vinsons have to say they won't do things like drive a motor vehicle on the beach, serve alcohol at any time or bother nearby residents.

"Some people do leave the parks and beaches around this island a mess so we'll know who was in this area last and who can be held accountable," said Steven Vinson.

Officials say Hawaii's wedding industry has been stalling the enforcement of the law, saying they can't add in this additional permit fee to budgets. But officials say come august, they're putting their foot down before anyone walks down their sandy aisle.

"We would hope that the industry receiving any type of compensation for that would contribute to the maintenance of that resource," said Atta.

Counting down until deadline day, the State promises it'll be a happily ever after for both brides, and cleaner beaches.

The permit is only two pages long and takes a week for approval. But don't ignore it. After August, if you're caught without it, you'll face a fine of $500. If a new bill is signed into law, that penalty could increase to up to $5000, even more for repeat offenders.