how to elope in hawaii guide

How to elope in Hawaii – the ultimate guide


So, you’re dreaming of an elopement in Hawaii, but you don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! This comprehensive guide has been written with you in mind, to help you:

– find the best location for your adventure elopement in Hawaii
– plan it step-by-step
– answer all your questions
– discover what if will look like if I photograph and plan it for you!

Let’s dive in…

Welcome to the Adventure of a Lifetime

amber, elopement photographer

Hey there, I’m Amber! I’m your elopement photographer and 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 get on the same page…

What is an elopement?

Elopements happen since love exists. In the past, it meant
that two people madly in love got married in secret.
However, it is now WAY more than this.

An elopement in the way for a couple to have a “just us”
wedding experience, and avoid all the drama, stress and
anxiety that comes with planning a big wedding. Most
couples who elope are seeking an amazing experience,
while exchanging their vows on top of a mountain, on a
secluded beach or in a forest, only surrounded by their
closest friends and family – or nobody at all.

Elopements may be legal in many states of the US,
including Hawaii.

How to plan an elopement in Hawaii

How to elope in Hawaii legally

You have two options when it comes to eloping in Hawaii:

01. Make your elopement the legal day of your marriage. This is very easy to do since Hawaii has a very simplified process for a marriage license, even for foreigners. First, you’ll need to apply online on the EMRS website, and pay the $65 fee. Then, you’ll need to find an official performer, approved by the State of Hawaii. The comprehensive list can be found here. This celebrant will be the one issuing the official marriage license to you, and you can then have your license with you for your ceremony to be legal.

02. Make your elopement a symbolic day and get legally married in your state or country of origin beforehand. This is another option if you don’t want or can’t get officially married in Hawaii. You can check your government’s website for marriage regulations and get legally married in your town, then have a symbolic elopement in a beautiful place in Hawaii, stress and legal-stuff free!

Why you should plan an elopement in Hawaii

Beautiful weather

Hawaii is a tropical location. If you’re looking to elope in a warm and sunny place, Hawaii will be the perfect location for you. In fact, every season
has something beautiful and new to offer!

Incredible diversity

Hawaii is an adventurer’s dream come true. You will find pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, peaceful mountains and roaring volcanoes. You can hike in a green valley in the morning and dip your toes on a sandy beach at sunset in

Very easy process

Making your elopement legal won’t be a problem in Hawaii. You can read the preceding section to learn more about how to make this big day legal, but it is definitely one of its
amazing perks.

The best locations for an elopement in Hawaii

how to plan an elopement on the na pali coast in hawaii

The Na Pali coast by boat

This beautiful mountain range merges into the sea, with dramatic drops and a breathtaking forest landscape. The NaPali Coast is best discovered by boat or helicopter, since there are very few hiking spots and it is very high, plus it’s illegal to get married on the land or to take wedding photos.

Kokee State Park

With beautiful vistas and deep forests, this state park is a beautiful place to elope in Hawaii! You can exchange your vows at sunset overlooking some beautiful landscapes, after an easy hike to a viewpoint of your choice. For your ceremony, a permit is required and you won’t be allowed to take photos everywhere in the park.

how to plan an elopement in hawaii - kokee state park
elopement in hawaii - waimea canyon during spring

Waimea Canyon State Park

This is my favorite place in Hawaii for elopements. If dramatic landscapes are your thing, the Waimea Canyon is an absolute dream come true for exchanging your vows! Right now, the regulations don’t allow for any kind of wedding or photoshoots in the park, but it might change in the future!

Mahaulepu Beach

With limited access, this beach is best visited by horse. However, it is worth the hassle, because you won’t encounter many people there. You will be able to enjoy some dramatic, beautiful landscapes. The ride to go there itself is worth the detour. You will need a Wiki Permit to have your ceremony there.

elopement on mahaulepu beach in hawaii
where to elope in hawaii - hawaii volcanoes national park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A must-see during your visit to Hawaii, this state park requires a permit but it is definitely worth the hassle! You can exchange your vows at sunset, overlooking a bright red lava fall, for example! You will need a National Park permit to have your ceremony there, and it will be limited to specific spots in the National Park.

Pro tip:

There are TONS of amazing, beautiful and inspiring places to elope in Hawaii. I have a long list of other places you
might consider for your elopement in Hawaii!

The most beautiful elopement venues in Hawaii

If you want something accessible – at least to exchange your vows!

Other elopement vendors in Hawaii

When to elope in Hawaii

The best time for an elopement in Hawaii


Hawaii’s winter is much warmer than the other states (or pretty much any other country actually). In January, the average temperature is 18°C (66°F), which is really nice when it’s pretty cold at home. It will rain more in the winter, but the rain tends to fall during the night in Hawaii. This is great because it doesn’t interfere with your day plans.

If you have the soul of a surfer, Hawaii’s biggest waves also come in the winter. Therefore, if you’re looking to catch some giant waves, be sure to visit during winter and head to the North Shores of Oahu!


When spring comes, the rainy days of winter are just a distant memory. The weather is warm and nice, and the crowds of tourists haven’t arrived. The prices for flights and accommodations are also on the lower side.

May has been the preferred month for weddings in Hawaii. You will
enjoy nice weather, less rain, no crowds, amazing hiking opportunities
and less expensive accommodations and flights.


Summer is the peak tourist season. Therefore, prices are high and it is crowded everywhere. However, if you follow my tips to avoid Oahu and preferably travel to the other islands, you will definitely enjoy some quieter areas to exchange your vows. Summer is hurricane season in Hawaii, even if storms are very rare. The Big Island and Kauai are the least visited islands, so if you want to avoid people, be sure to check them out first!

Summer is also the best time for diving and snorkeling. You will be able to discover many different fish species, while enjoying calmer, nicer water without the big winter waves.


November is the best month (as well as April) to visit Hawaii. The
tourists are gone and you will still have very nice weather and beautiful views. Early fall is the best time to be hitting the trails, if hiking in Hawaii is your favorite elopement experience.

What to wear for your elopement in Hawaii

What to wear for your elopement in Hawaii

Even if elopements are generally considered to be laid-back and casual, this is not necessarily the case. Elopements can also be luxurious, delicate affairs and will require some special adjustments. Feeling beautiful while exchanging your vows and wearing something truly special for this moment might be something you truly care about. This section will cover everything you need to know when it comes to what to wear for your elopement in Hawaii.

The Dress

Don’t forget about the weather! Hawaii is a very warm place and wearing a warm, heavy dress is not an option for your elopement.
When you choose your dress, try to go for a flowy, layered dress that will flow with the wind. It will also dry easily if you get it wet. Don’t forget you will also walk a lot in your dress, so make sure it is comfortable when you are putting it on for the first time. A beautiful dress will look awesome for pictures and will enhance the way you will feel on this special day!

The Shoes

You should try to avoid heels and shoes you will not feel comfortable walking long distances in. Adventure elopements are about finding that beautiful, personalized place just for you. However, it might include some short hikes to get there. You will definitely love a good pair of leather hiking boots that will pair nicely with your wedding attire. It will add a touch of radness and adventure to your elopement pictures!

The Suit

You should definitely avoid a three-piece tuxedo, you will be very uncomfortable in because of the warmth. You can be elegant, while still wearing something light and airy, without having to wear an Hawaiian shirt! You can wear short sleeves with nice linen pants, paired with the colors of the dress. White is always classy but can stain easily, especially if the ground is muddy. Try to think about where you will exchange your vows, and choose your color accordingly.

Other things to consider

Always carry emergency supplies with you like water, a first aid kit, mosquito repellent, snacks, a water pouch for your bouquet, safety pins, a layer of warmth for each of you (it can get cold very quickly, once the sun sets in Hawaii), an extra pair of shoes, bobby pins, and everything you might need while being out in the wild for several hours.

What is the cost of an elopement in Hawaii?

7-day, all-inclusive ELOPEMENT

6 nights in at least 3-stars hotels
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
Car rental
Airport transfers

TOTAL FOR A 7-day, all inclusive ELOPEMENT IN HAWAII :

$28 200

12-hours ELOPEMENT

Elopement photographer for 12 hours
4-5 beautiful, natural and raw ceremony location options
Custom timeline of the day


$9 000

Eloping in Hawaii – your checklist

Think about where you’d like to go

Hawaii is very diverse. You cannot simply go there for one thing. Would you like to exchange your vows on a beach? Would you prefer an incredible hike to the top of a mountain? How about a boat overlooking the Na Pali Coast? Would you like to go to the top of a mountain after a helicopter ride? Everything is possible. Once you agree on what kind of background you’d like for your elopement in Hawaii, you’ll be good to go.

Pick a date

Hawaii is a well-hidden little gem well hidden. However, it is a popular tourist destination, especially on the main island, Oahu. It is recommended that you avoid crowded tourist destinations like Waikik Beach or Diamond Head. On the other islands, you will find fewer people. In those places, you will definitely be able to find the perfect location for your elopement in Hawaii. Try to plan your ceremony on a weekday, your officiant will be more flexible on those days, the parks will be less crowded, and if you avoid the peak summer tourist season of summer, you will have your pick of any location on the islands.

Find more information about travel visas

If you plan to get married in Hawaii and you are not a US citizen, you might want to look into the travel visas needed to plan your elopement in Hawaii. If you are a US citizen, follow the procedure explained in this article to obtain your marriage certificate.

Book your accommodation

Once you have picked an area/island for your elopement, it’s time to book your accommodations. There will be plenty of available options. They will depend on the budget you’re ready to allocate for your lodging. Some hotels are all inclusive and offer an amazing experience for their guests. You also have the option of renting a good AiBnB for a fraction of the price.

Find a place to exchange your vows

Your photographer might be able to help you to find a suitable location. Since seasoned photographers know where to go, ask your photographer first about the best place to exchange your vows. You can also find hikes and other ideas on the official websites of Tourism Hawaii and the island that you have chosen for your big day. Don’t forget to take into account the people who will be with you at this amazing event. If you’re planning a “just the two of you” kind of day, don’t hesitate to splurge and rent an helicopter or a boat to enjoy all the wonderful panoramas Hawaii has to offer.

Book your other vendors

Officiant, florist, private chef, decorator, dress designer, wedding rings…these are all things you will need to take care of, while planning your elopement in Hawaii.

Plan your travel

To be honest, eloping in Hawaii is an amazing opening to even more amazing travel. You don’t have to simply exchange your vows and return immediately to your life. Your travel experience can last as long as you want. Hawaii has many things to offer! You can plan a long road trip around the islands to visit all the iconic spots. This will allow you to take in all the Hawaiian food, culture and nature.

Book your photographer

Once you have started your planning, the next step is to book your photographer. Since things are booked far in advance, the earlier you make your places, the better. Look for a photographer with a style that you like, and proven experience in Hawaii, you can truly have an amazing day with a competent professional on your side.


How to plan your peaceful elopement in HAWAII with me

Process-how to plan an elopement

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.

7 day all inclusive hawaii elopement package

Let’s chat!

Are you eager to start planning your elopement in Hawaii? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!

A beautiful elopement in Hawaii shot by Cam Gregg

How to elope in Hawaii - the ultimate guide
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