The ultimate guide for your elopement in Hawaii - tips, venues and location ideas
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 your!
Let’s dive in so you can start your journey right away!
Table of Contents
First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:
1) What is an elopement?
Elopements happen since love exists. In the past, it was a meaning for two people madly in love to get married in secret. But nowadays, it is 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 for 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 can be legal in many states of the US, including Hawaii.
2) How to elope in Hawaii legally
You have two options when it comes to eloping in Hawaii:
– make your elopement the legal day of your marriage. This is very easy to do as Hawaii has a very simplified process for marriage licence, 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 licence to you, and you can then have your licence with you for your ceremony to be legal.
– make your elopement a symbolic day, and get legally married in your state or country of origin beforehands. 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!
3) Why you should plan an elopement in Hawaii
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 beutiful and new to offer!
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 Hawaii.
Very easy process
Making your elopement legal won’t be a problem in Hawaii. You can read the precious section to know more about how to make this big day legal, but it is definitely one of its amazing perks.
The Na Pali coast
Kokee State Park
Waimea Canyon state park
Hawaii volcanoes 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!
5) The most beautiful elopement venues in Hawaii
6) What is the cost of an elopement in Hawaii?
Travel to and from Hawaii: $2 500
Wedding licence: $65
5 nights in a high-end accomodation // $2 500
Elopement photographer // $7 000
Private chef or full board // $1 000
Officiant // $1 000
Florist // $500
Rentals // $500
Wedding dress and accessories // $4 000
Suit and accessories // $1 000
Total for a high-end elopement in Hawaii: $20 065
Travel to and from Hawaii: $2 500
Wedding licence: $65
5 nights in an airbnb // $1 000
Elopement photographer // $5 000
Food // $250
Officiant // $500
Florist // $200
Wedding dress and accessories // $2 500
Suit and accessories // $500
Total for a budget elopement in Hawaii: $12 515
7) The best time for an elopement in Hawaii
Hawaii is a very varied state and its weather is one of the most stable you can find in the world. However, all seasons are not the same and offer different kind of positive and negative notes. Discover why!
Hawaii’s winter is incredibly warmer than the states (or pretty much any other country actually). In January, the average temparature is 18°C (66°F), which is really nice when it’s pretty cold at home. It will rain more in winter, but one thing to know is that generally speaking, rain tends to fall during the night in Hawaii, which is great because it never interferes with your plans for the day.
If you have the soul of a surfer, Hawaii’s biggest waves also come with winter, so if you’re looking to catch some giant waves, be sure to visit during winter and head to the north shores!
Big waves during winter are perfect for surfing
Humpback whales are also common during winter in Hawaii
Waimea canyon during spring
A sunset on Kauai in spring
When spring comes, the rainy days of winter are just a distant memory. The weather is warm and nice, and the crowds of tourist are not here yet. So the prices for flights and accomodation are also on the lower side.
May has been the preferred month for weddings in Hawaii and I would suggest the same: you will enjoy nice weather, less rain, no crowds, amazing hikinh opportunities and cheap accomodations and flights.
Summer is the peak touristic season, so prices are high and crowds are pretty much everywhere. However, if you follow my tips to avoid Oahu and travel preferably to the other islands, you will definitely enjoy some calmer areas to exchange your vows. Summer is hurricane season in Hawaii, even if storms are very rare. Big Island and Kauai are the least visited islands in general so if you want to avoid people alltogether, be sure to check them out first!
Summer is also the best period for diving and snorkeling. You will be able to discover plenty of different species of fishes, while enjoying a calmer, nicer water without the big winter waves.
The best time for sunsets
Beaches are beautiful in summer
Fall sunset on Kauai
Clouds during a fall elopement
November is the best month (with April) to visit Hawaii, as tourists are gone and you will still have a very nice weather and beautiful views. Early fall is the best moment to be hitting the trails, if hiking in Hawaii is your kind of elopement experience.
8) What to wear for your elopement in Hawaii
Even if elopements are generally associated with laid-back and casual, this is not necessarily the case. Elopements can also be luxurious, delicate affairs and will require some special adjusments. Feeling beautiful while exchanging your vows and wearing something truly special for this moment might be something you truly care about, this is why this section will cover everything you need to know when it comes to what to wear for your elopement in France.
Don’t forget about the weather! Hawaii is a very warm place and wearing a huge, heavy dress is not an option for your elopement.
When you choose your dress, try to go for a flowy, layered dress that will go with the wind and will also dry easily in case you get it wet. Don’t forget you will also walk a lot in your dress, so try it well when you’re putting it on for the first time. You definitely can wear a beautiful dress that will look awesome for pictures and will enhance the way you will feel during this day!
Once again, try to avoid heels and shoes you will not feel comfortable walking long distances with. Adventure elopements are all about finding that beautiful, personnalized place just for you, but it might include so mild hikes to get there. You will definitely love a good pair of leather hiking boots that will paid nicely with your wedding attires and will add a touch of radness and adventure to your elopement pictures!
Same here, avoid a 3-pieces tuxedo you will die 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 go short-sleeved with nice linen pants, paired with the colors of the dress. While is always classy but can stain easily, especially if there is a bit of mud on the ground. So try to think about where you will exchange your vows, and choose your color accordingly.
Other things to consider
Always carry with you emergency things 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.
9) Eloping in Hawaii - your checklist
Think about where you'd like to go
Hawaii is so diverse, you cannot simply go there for one of its aspects. Would you like to exchange your vows on a beach? After an incredible hike on top of a mountain? On a boast overlooking the Na Pali Coast? On top of a mountain after a helicopter ride? Everything is possible, and 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 little gem well hidden, but it is still a pretty touritstic destination, in particular on the main island, Oahu. Try to avoid touristic destinations like Honolulu’s beaches or the slopes of Diamond Head. Once you go to the other islands, you will find less and less people, and 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 the date you choose, the parks will be less crowded, and if you avoid the peak touristic season of summer, you will be pretty much good to go at any location on the islands.
Find more informations about travel visas
If you plan to get married in Hawaii and you are not a US citizen, you might want to look right away into the travel visas needed to plan your elopement in Hawaii. If you are a US citizen, follow the path explained in this article to obtain your marriage certificate.
Book your accomodation
Once you have picked an area/island for your elopement, it’s time to book your accomodation. There will be plenty of options there and they will depend on the budget you’re ready to allocate to your accomodation. Some hotels are all inclusive and offer an amazing experience to their guests, while on the other hand, you can rent a good AiBnB for a fraction of the price.
Book your photographer
Once you have started to plan everything, booking your photographer will be the next thing on your list. Since we tend to be booked solid 6 to 12 months in advance, the earlier the better. Try to find someone with a style you like, and whose experience in Hawaii is proven so you can truly live an amazing day with a pro on your side.
Find a place to exchange your vows
Your photographer might be able to help you on that one. Since seasoned photographers know where to go, ask your photographer first when it comes to the exact spot for exchanging your vows. You can also find lots of hikes and ideas on the official websites of Tourism Hawaii and the island you have chosen your your big day. Don’t forget to take into account the people who will be with you on this amazing event, and if you’re planning a “just the 2 of you” kind of day, don’t hesitate to go all in and rent an helicopter or a boat to take in all the panoramas Hawaii hasto 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 a much more amazing travel. You don’t have to simply exchange your vows and go back with your life, your travel experience can last as long as you want, and Hawaii has so much to offer! You can plan a huge road-trip around the many islands to visit all the iconic spots and take in all the Hawaiian food, culture and nature.
Live your dream elopement
It’s your big day, enjoy it to the max!
10) Other elopement vendors in Hawaii
Depending on where you decide to exchange your vows or organize your couples pictures, you might need a permit. They can be free or available for a fee, again depending on the place you choose. Your photographer will take care of all the details for you, and generally will be the one bringing that up if it is required.
Since some couples (maybe just like you!) consider the outdoors their second home, adventure elopements are simply the best way for them to include nature into their wedding day. Generally, adventure elopements involve hiking, taking a helicopter to the top of a mountain, camping, or other outdoorsy activities of your choice.
I always plan a 2-days window before and after yhe day we chose, just for that reason. Storms happen very often in Hawaii and it’s generally best to plan on an early arrival and late departure to give yourself some more time if we need to reschedule.
Totally! An elopement doesn’t have to be just the two of you! I’ve photographed elopements in Hawaii with up to 20 guests.
The best months to visit Hawaii with great weather and less crowd are the months of April, May, September and October.
Elopements are pretty easy. They are way easier than weddings, even intimate ones, since you don’t need to plan for a caterer, a venue, and all sorts of classical things. So I would say a 3-months delay is enough to plan an extraordinary elopement in Hawaii. I’ve even planned elopements 3 weeks before the date!
It depends. If you choose the go the legal route and make your elopement day your legal wedding day, then yes, you will need a state-validated celebrant. If your elopement is more of a symbolic day, or if you’re doing a vows renewal, a celebrant is optionnal.
Definitely! I hike with my family since I’m a little girl, and I’m used to steep slopes and mountains. Plus, since I’ll be the one helping you craft the perfect elopement, we’ll choose the ceremony site together!
Your peaceful plan to elope in Hawaii
Schedule a non-sales call
I truly hate sales call and I refuse to do them. We will simply chat about what your dream day/travel looks like and see if we’re a match!
Book your date
We find the perfect date together and you’ll be officially booked!
I'll plan your dream elopement
From itinerary planning to vendor suggestions all the way to helping you with permits, I will plan everything.
Your vision comes to life
You get to live a peaceful, meaningful wedding day on an itinerary that was custom created just for you.
Your relive this day forever
I’ll deliver your pictures and you can choose from a variety of beautiful albums to remember this adventure and share it for years to come.
Let's find the perfect spot for YOUR elopement!
Need more inspiration for your elopement?
Check out this brand new article about the best places to elope IN THE WORLD
All elopements and couples: myself, Zephyr & Luna / Na Pali Coast: John B. Kalla / Kokee state park: Eli Duke / Waimea canyon state park: Andy Baerst / Mahaulepu beach: Chris Barker / Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park / Winter waves: Samuel Apuna / Winter whale: Chad DiCocco / Fall sunset: Delobius / Fall sky: Daniel Ramirez / Summer beaches: Lauri Sten / Spring Waimea: Nasrullah Taha / Spring sunset: Steve Corey