The ultimate guide to eloping in French Polynesia
TIPS. VENUES & LOCATION IDEAS
for an adventurous French Polynesia elopement
Lush landscapes, turquoise oceans, and sandy beaches make eloping in French Polynesia every couple’s dream. The relaxing, romantic atmosphere and stunning natural beauty of French Polynesia gives you a place to celebrate your love in a way that you couldn’t have ever imagined!
From the legal stuff to all my tips and tricks about planning your perfect wedding day, this guide will tell you all you need to know about eloping in French Polynesia!
Let’s dive in…
Hey! I’m Amber.
Your French Polynesia elopement photographer + planner
Your one-stop-shop for absolutely everything you need for a magical, incredible elopement day.
I offer all-inclusive elopement packages for couples who want to relax and let me handle absolutely everything, as well as options for couples who like a little bit of DIY! I’ll find the perfect place for you to exchange vows, recommend vendors, help you figure out travel and lodging, make a timeline, and more – personalizing each part of your elopement day to perfectly suit the two of you. And of course, I’ll be there to take the photos and document this once in a lifetime adventure.
You aren’t like every other couple, and your wedding day shouldn’t be either! I’ll help you craft a day that’s true to you, authentic, and real, allowing you to immerse yourselves in the experience as you say your “I dos.”
First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:
What is an elopement?
Eloping used to mean running off to a courthouse or running away to get married in secret 0 but nowadays, elopements are more about making your wedding day all about you. If you’re not a fan of an audience or big events, a traditional wedding may seem really intimidating! Eloping allows you to be in control of your wedding day and start your marriage in a way that showcases who you are!
How to Legally Elope in French Polynesia
When you elope in French Polynesia, you can choose to get legally married abroad, but there’s quite a bit of paperwork to do and it’ll all need to be translated to French! Here’s what you’ll need:
- A valid passport
- A birth certificate
- A signed and dated letter to the mayor where you’re planning to elope
- A “Certificate of Non-Marital Status” signed by a lawyer and legalized by the French Consulate
- The “Marriage of Foreign Citizens in French Polynesia” application
- Proof of residency
Your ceremony will have to be in French at the mayor’s office and you’ll need two witnesses – if you don’t have friends or family joining you for your elopement, they can have someone at the office be your witness. After your ceremony is complete, you’ll have to then bring the completed documents home to make them official. Because it’s a little tricky to get legally married here, you can also do the paperwork at home and have a symbolic elopement ceremony when you visit French Polynesia to make things a little more simple!
Why Elope in French Polynesia
Humpbacks and turtles and rays, oh my! The reefs of French Polynesia are filled with incredible marine life, which makes them awesome scuba diving and snorkeling locations. You can dive with lemon sharks in Mo’orea, ride the currents with sea turtles in Tahiti, and watch wildlife work together at the “Manta Ray Cleaning Station ” in Bora Bora. If you’re more of a landlubber, you can definitely still see marine life from a boat or shore! Take a whale-watching tour to see humpbacks and dolphins or catch the sea turtles hatching on the beaches in July!
In French Polynesia, you’ll find more than just white sand beaches! Black sand beaches caused by volcanic activity can be found all over, and the huge coral reefs create gorgeous pink sand beaches, too! The ocean waters surrounding the beaches are warm, clear, and full of fish – perfect for laying out in the sun, building a sandcastle, or saying your vows.
In the South Pacific, the weather is tropical and warm year-round! The seasons are broken up into two main categories – the rainy season from November until March and the dry season from April until October. Whichever season you choose, the tropical weather is comfortable enough to elope in French Polynesia.
Top 5 spots to Elope in French Polynesia
Imagine waking up on your wedding day in a bungalow over the turquoise waters of the Pacific. The island of Bora Bora is the perfect island for couples who look for luxury and seclusion with many of the resorts only catering to couples. The soft white sands of Matira Beach or the private lagoons of The St. Regis Resort are just a few of the places where you can elope in Bora Bora!
Bursting with years of culture and history, Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. You can explore the waterfalls of the Papenoo Valley, visit the Point Venus Lighthouse, or explore the history of Tahiti at Papeete’s Colorful Market.
If you’ve ever dreamed of swimming with humpback whales, you can do so on the island of Mo’orea – it’s one of the few places in the world where you can swim with whales! Though it’s become somewhat popular, Mo’orea still feels like a small, relaxed island that’s perfect for couples to say their vows. Finding something to do won’t be hard in Mo’orea, either – you can zipline through the treetops, feed the rays in their natural habitat, or even go jet skiing in the lagoon!
While most of the islands in French Polynesia are full of beaches and lagoons, Nuku Hiva has more dramatic mountains and a rugged, rocky coastline. There’s only one hotel on the island, but what the Nuku Hiva lacks in lodging, it makes up for in natural scenery! With a population of fewer than 3000 people on Nuku Hiva, it’s one of the most remote islands in the world. To best experience the island, you’ll have to hike or rent a 4×4 since there’s no public transportation.
The Tuamotus region is home to three of French Polynesia’s best islands for checking out marine life! Swim with dolphins or make a pink sandcastle on the island of Tikehau, take a dive with sharks on Fakarava, or snorkel with fish on the extremely remote island of Rangiroa.
When to Elope in French Polynesia
When you’re choosing your elopement date, it’s important to consider the weather and crowds in each season so you know what to expect when you elope in French Polynesia. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons in French Polynesia are swapped from the Northern Hemisphere, meaning summer is from December until February and winter is June through August. The weather is generally amazing but can vary a bit between different regions of the islands so, no matter where you go, be sure to check out the weather when you elope so you know what to prepare for.
WINTER IN French Polynesia
Between June and August is the French Polynesian winter, and it’s also the dry season. The weather is the most comfortable during this time of year, so it’s also the busy season! Festivals and school breaks in other parts of Europe mean lots of tourists. If you want to elope in the winter in French Polynesia, try to plan for an early winter ceremony, or shoot for a weekday elopement!
SPRING IN French Polynesia
Spring is a great time to elope in French Polynesia! September and October are low tourism months, and the weather is warm and still relatively dry until November.
SUMMER IN French Polynesia
Summer in French Polynesia is hot and humid. With the rainy season beginning in November and not ending until March, you can expect a lot of rainy days between the hot and sunny days.
FALL IN French Polynesia
It’s extremely hot in the fall in French Polynesia, just like in the summer! For a more comfortable elopement weather-wise, shoot for a ceremony in May before the tourists come in the winter! To avoid the heat, you can also plan your elopement for sunrise or sunset.
Example budget of an elopement in French Polynesia
All-inclusive, 7-day ELOPEMENT + Honeymoon
6 nights in accommodation (3* or more)
Award-winning elopement photographer for 3 days
All meals for the 7 days
4-5 beautiful, natural and raw ceremony location options
Custom timeline of the day
Hair and makeup
TOTAL FOR An all-inclusive ELOPEMENT IN French Polynesia:
Award-winning elopement photographer for 12 hours
4-5 beautiful, natural and raw ceremony location options
Custom timeline of the day
TOTAL FOR A 12-hour ELOPEMENT IN French Polynesia:
What to Wear to Elope in French Polynesia
Being comfortable is the most important thing about choosing what to wear when you elope! That means that a traditional wedding outfit may not fit the vibe of your beach wedding or make sense for a hike to a waterfall. Ultimately, you’ll just want to make sure that you will be able to stay in your outfit for the whole day and be able to move around a lot!
Since French Polynesia is a tropical environment, you’ll want to pick a dress that has a light, airy fabric. Having a dress with a loose skirt is important, too, so you can move more freely on your elopement adventure! If your elopement includes a hike, make sure to wear some layers in case you get a little chilly in the shade.
Think about the activities you’re doing and where you’re going when deciding what shoes to wear, and be sure to wear them around before the day of your wedding – comfort is key! If you’re planning on going on a hike, you’ll probably want to go with some hiking boots, but if you are at the beach you can probably opt for some sandals or no shoes at all!
Similar to dresses, you’ll want to find a suit that has a lighter fabric that allows you to move around in it – can you sit, jump, stand, and bend down in your suit? If you’re doing an elopement on the beach, you might consider a more casual outfit like dress pants and a button-up.
Elope in French Polynesia – Your Checklist
Choose a Location
The most exciting part of planning a destination elopement is finding the perfect place to say your vows. As a travel planner, and an avid traveler, I’m always looking for new and exciting places to go that are a bit off the beaten path. If you’ve decided to elope in French Polynesia, I’d love to help you find some incredible secret spots so you can say “I do” in private!
Pick a date
Once you’ve looked into the weather and crowds in French Polynesia, you can set a date for your elopement!
Find more information about travel visas and wedding documentation
If you’re planning on visiting French Polynesia for less than 90 days, you won’t need a visa – yay!
Book your flights and accommodation
Make sure to look at your car rental, flights, and hotel early because the closer you get to your elopement date, the fewer options you’ll have!
Book your vendors
If you want to make sure your favorite vendors are available for your elopement, make sure to get in touch with them early to secure that date on their calendar! Some more popular vendors are booked out way ahead of time and weekends tend to fill up quickly.
Live your dream elopement
Once all your planning is done, you’ll be able to finally watch all that hard work come together! You’ll marry your favorite person in the place of your dreams all while having the adventure of your lifetime. If you want to know more about my French Polynesia elopement packages, get in touch, and let’s make it happen!
DOES French Polynesia SOUND LIKE YOUR DREAM?
How it works to plan your elopement in French Polynesia
Let’s dive in, so you can start your journey right away!
Imagine a wedding where you can be you. Breathe. Bask in each other’s love.
Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket-list dream.
Are you eager to start planning your elopement in French Polynesia? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!