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 you!
Let’s dive in, so you can start your journey right away!
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 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.
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 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.
– 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!
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 beautiful 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 preceding section to learn more about how to make this big day legal, but it is definitely one of its amazing perks.
4) The best locations for an elopement in Hawaii
The Na Pali coast
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 susnet, overlooking a bright red lava fall, for example!
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
If you want something accessible – at least to exchange your vows!
6) What is the cost of an elopement in Hawaii?
Travel to and from Hawaii: $2.500
Wedding license: $65
Five nights in a high-end accommodation // $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 license: $65
Five 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
Avoid the stress, family drama and financial chaos that comes with traditional weddings. Surrender to a “just us” adventure elopement instead.
Hi! I’m Amber, your elopement photographer, planner and guide.
Together we plan your dream elopement itinerary in Hawaii over 1, 3, 7 or 12 days.
Let’s plan your all-inclusive adventure elopement in Hawaii
7) The best time for an elopement in Hawaii
Hawaii is a state with considerable variety. Its weather is one of the most stable you can find anywhere in the world. However, all seasons are not the same and have their own pros and cons. Discover why!
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 tume to be hitting the trails, if hiking in Hawaii is your favorite elopement experience.
8) 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.
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!
You should try to avoid heels and shoes you will not feel comfortable walking long distances in. Adventure elopements are about finding that beautiful, personnalized 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!
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.
9) 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.
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.
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.
Live your dream elopement
It’s your big day, enjoy it to the max!
10) Other elopement vendors in Hawaii
Interested in adventuring with me as your Hawaii elopement photographer?
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12) Elopements in Hawaii and all over the world
- Marine & Etienne – An overnight post-wedding session near Lyon
- Kristina & Tyler – A chateau Challain elopement followed by a 10-days honeymoon in France and Italy
- Imogen & Paul – An overnight mountain elopement near Switzerland
- Elodie & Dean – A post-wedding session in Scotland
- Laura & Ben – A forest elopement in the Highlands
- Misha & Chris – A 5-days elopement in the Japanese forests
How to plan your peaceful elopement in Hawaii with me
Schedule a non-sales call
Everyone truly hates sales calls (me included) so I refuse to fo them. We simply chat about what your dream day and travel plans look like to see if we’re a match!
Book your date
We find the perfect date together and you’re officially booked!
I’ll plan your dream elopement
From itinerary planning to vendor suggestions all the way to helping you with permits, I plan everything.
Live your adventure
You live a peaceful, meaningful wedding day on an itinerary that’s custom created just for you.
Relive this day forever
I deliver your pictures and your choice of album from my collection, to remember this adventure, and share it for years to come.
Let’s plan your peaceful elopement
Where you can be you. Feel. Breathe in each other’s love.
Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket list dream.
Need more inspiration for your elopement?
Check out this brand new article about the best places to elope IN THE WORLD
Have I won you over with Hawaii yet?
Hawaii is such an amazing destination for an adventure elopement!
As an elopement photographer, planner and guide, I offer a range of option that all include planning and photography, from 5 hours all the way to your ultimate 14-day elopement and honeymoon gateway in Hawaii. As part of my photography service, I will help you choose and plan the perfect elopement day(s) from crafting the whole day program to helping you choose amazing vendors and book your accomodation and flights.
Contact me now to get started!