The Ultimate Hawaii Elopement Planning Guide

From Oahu to Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and more incredible Hawaii elopement spots.

The 50th state of the United States of America, Hawaii is an absolute dream wedding destination for many couples. It’s a beautiful far away destination with a rich culture and beautiful landscape ready to be explored. With its stunning beaches and incredible rainforests and volcanoes, Hawaii’s islands have a lot to offer and are a perfect location for an elopement!

If Hawaii is your dream bucket list wedding destination and you’re looking to plan an amazing elopement, then look no further – from specific locations to important legal information, activities, accommodation and more – we’re here to provide you with all the details you need to plan the ultimate elopement in Hawaii.

Hawaii Elopement Checklist:

  • Research and decide on your location/ elopement spot

  • Book flights

  • Book your accommodation

  • Choose your vendors

  • Plan your elopement day/ activities

  • Get all marriage documents a month before your ceremony

  • Enjoy!

  • Honeymoon – in Hawaii?!

The Legal Requirements for a Hawaii Elopement

Luckily it’s very easy to get married in Hawaii with minimal requirements. There are no witness requirements for weddings in Hawaii so you can focus on you and your partner having a great day together with your elopement photographer and officiant, capturing the most special moment.

Marriage Licence:

To get married in Hawaii you and your partner will need to sort a marriage licence. But don’t worry, it’s super easy. Applications can easily be completed online and the cost is minimal at $65 which can be paid online too, or directly to a marriage licence agent. There are no waiting periods between obtaining your marriage licence and your wedding day – yay! – so you can get married as soon as that’s completed and they are valid for 30 days.

Once you arrive in Hawaii you need to pick up the documents from an authorised marriage licence agent and after the elopement your officiant will file you all the legal documentation.

Documentation wise, you’ll need a government-issued photo ID – your driving licence or passport, and if you’ve been previously married, proof of original divorce decree or death certificate needs to be present if the divorce or death was finalised within 30 days of applying for a marriage licence.

Officiants:

For ****your elopement, you must have an officiant licensed by the State of Hawaii Department of Health, you will need to find a licensed officiant or you can apply online if you have an officiant you would like to be there to be certified by the State of Hawaii.

Wiki Permits:

For some locations in Hawaii, you’ll need to have a Wiki Permit that allows you to reserve and have right of entry to specific areas such as beaches. With the popularity of elopements booming in Hawaii, it’s essential now to have a permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. This is in place to protect the commercial rules and limit any unregulated activity. Be sure to research your desired locations that photography and videography is permitted!

Best Time to Get Married in Hawaii

Eloping in Hawaii, you’re most likely to be blessed with good weather – the sun is usually shining with a gentle breeze that makes the heat bearable. Rainy season is from November to March so if you are wanting sunny spells then be sure to have your elopement in the late spring, summer and early autumn months… but if you don’t mind a little drizzle the rain in Hawaii is actually quite refreshing.

If you’re wanting picture perfect elopement moments then getting married at sunset or sunrise is most recommended… Sunrise is great if you’re wanting to elope with minimal crowds but sunset will have to do if you and your partner aren’t early birds!

Where to Elope in Hawaii

There are eight main islands in Hawaii however two of them (Niihau and Kahoolawe) are not open to visitors, tourism is highly limited here to preserve the past and present of Hawaii and its landscapes and culture. The other islands – Oahu, Kauai, Maui, The Island of Hawaii, Molokai and Lanai all have something amazing to offer so it’s important to know what kind of elopement you want and choose your location accordingly.

Oahu

Oahu is one of Hawaii’s most popular islands and is home to the famous Honolulu, Waikiki Beach and you can even visit the spots where Jurassic Park was filmed. If you’re a fan of the surf, as well as food, culture and nightlife, then Oahu is the home of surfing with some of the best surf breaks in the world. Beach elopement and then hitting the surf? Sounds like a dream.

Best Oahu Elopement Spots:

  • Ka’ena Point State Park – Perfect for scenic hikes

  • Lanikai Beach – Mile long beach with trails to explore and swim

  • Ahupua’a ‘O Kahana State Park – Great for epic views and the surf

  • Hale’iwa Beach – Beautiful waters, turtles and sunsets. What more could you want?

  • Yokohama Beach Park – Great for private elopements

  • Waikiki Beach – Great for small elopements, and post elopement celebrations

Kauai

If you dream of lush rainforests, botanics and nature then what better place than “The Garden Island” aka Kauai. If your dream elopement is a hike or a trek in a tropical rainforest then Kauai is perfect for all the nature lovers.

Best Kauai Elopement Spots:

  • Hanalei Bay – Gorgeous views of the mountains and ocean (You’ll need to obtain a permit for this one)

  • Tunnels beach – Great for scuba diving and scenic wedding photos

  • North Shore Falls – Has its own private waterfall!

  • Kokee State Park – Lush greenery at it’s finest, here you’ll find forests, flowers and tons of hiking trails leading into views of Waimea Canyon. You’ll require a permit for this area

Maui

Maui is the second largest, and most visited island, after Oahu and is the perfect blend of couples searching for that blend of city and outdoor for their elopement. Maui is known as “The Valley Isle” – and ʻĪao Valley is super special because of its scenery, history and spiritual significance, making it a massive part of the islands history. You can climb the lookout to get 360 views of the valley and Wailuku, swim in the flowing waterfalls and explore.

Best Maui Elopement Spots:

  • Baldwin Beach – This beach is great for an intimate elopement as it’s far away from too many crowds, making it nice and secluded.

  • Haleakala National Park – If you’re seeking thrill, breathtaking views as your wedding backdrop and volcanoes along with stunning mountain peaks then this is an amazing spot for your elopement.

  • Pa’iloa Beach – If you’re after something a bit more unorthodox then this incredible beach is situated in Wai’anapanapa state park and is a black sand beach with lava cliffs! It works perfectly with the lush greenery and bright ocean. There’s also some magical caves nearby to explore.

The Island of Hawaii

The Island of Hawaii aka Big Island is so big that you could fit all the other islands inside and it still wouldn’t fill the space! There is so much to do on The Big Island. It’s the home to the Akaka Falls – the tallest waterfall on the island, the Volcanoes National Park (the volcanoes are active), some of the best observatories for stargazing, beautiful botanical gardens and more. So if you’re after a jam packed and exciting elopement then this might be the island for you. Must see are the green and black sand beaches and a day out in Hilo.

The Best Island Elopement Spots:

  • Captain Cook Bay – Captain cook bay is great for adventure and romance with lots of water activities from dolphin swimming and kayaking on the beautiful beaches.

  • Pololu Valley – Not your traditional image of a Hawaiian wedding but Pololu valley is beautiful with lots of greenery and lookout cliffs, plus there’s a black sand beach to relax and explore.

  • Puako – This small oceanfront community is secluded and private, renowned for its crystal clear waters and amazing snorkelling experience. Plus, it’s the driest area on the island so if you’re worried about rain ruining the big day, you’ll be just fine here.

Molokai

This little gem is only 38 miles long and if you’re after the more traditional Hawaiian experience away from all the tourists then Molokai will offer just that. Most of the island’s inhabitants are of Native Hawaiian ancestry and so have kept its rural traditions to preserve the island’s history and rather than tourists you’ll be interacting with the locals. Molokai hosts the highest sea cliffs in the world and has the longest continuous fringing reef. Why not say I do on Papohaku beach, one of Hawaii’s largest white sand beaches.

The Best Molokai Elopement spots:

  • Halawa Valley – Here the mountains are draped in thick rainforest with magical waterfalls, hidden valleys and tropical plants.

  • Papohaku beach – If you want it to feel like it’s just you and your partner, this beach is super secluded and stretches for three miles, plus you’ll get a beautiful view of Oahu and Honolulu at night

  • Dramatic sea cliffs of Molokai – A truly astounding setting for an elopement, why not take a boat trip and say “I do” with this natural wonder as your backdrop.

Lanai

Lanai is the least populated out of the six islands and can be compared in similarity to Molokai however as well as it’s rugged back to basics side, there is also a side of Lanai that has some of the most luxurious resorts and golf. It’s a great place to feel tranquil, private but also gives that spirit of adventure.

The Best Lanai Elopement Spots:

  • Four Seasons Manele Bay – A stunning hotel situated above the bay with stunning views, lush gardens and waterfalls.

  • Hulopoe Beach – The water here is gorgeous, perfect for a post elopement swim and sunset picnic on the rocks

  • Garden of the gods – This unique red rock landscape is perfect if you’re looking for something off the beaten track. It’s truly magnificent at sunset, with the whole area turning red, purple and orange in the golden hour light.

Planning your Hawaii Elopement

Now that you’ve got the location sorted and your elopement spot picked out, you need to start thinking about all the important bits like getting to Hawaii, where you’ll stay and how you want your wedding to be! What will you wear? Will you have decorations or keep it all about the scenery? Which wedding photographer and videographer will you choose? The beautiful thing about elopements is you only get to do them once so make sure you spend time curating your perfect day.

Travel

Making sure you, and any guests and vendors you want, get to Hawaii is the first step! Sorting flights and travel arrangements from the airport, sorting transport to your elopement location if needed and back to the airport is the first thing to organise. When booking flights make sure you and your partner arrive a couple of days before your elopement ceremony so you can ensure everything is confirmed and all going to plan.

When travelling, make sure you’ve accounted for all your luggage on the flight. Your dress, makeup, suits and decoration needs to be accounted for – we don’t want any last minute mishaps!

Accommodation

Hawaii is full of beautiful hotels and resorts, you’re really going to be spoiled for choice. Decide which Island you want to visit and your potential elopement spot then have a search for all the accommodation nearby. You want your accommodation to be within easy distance of your elopement spot and you want to be somewhere memorable that you and your partner love.

Wedding Day Necessities

  1. Elopement Dress: Without the extra costs associated with hosting a big wedding you can really treat yourself to the wedding dress of your dreams. Anything goes but gorgeous floaty, whimsical dresses really tie in with the whole atmosphere and vibe of Hawaii.

  2. Flowers: Whilst you might not have a venue to decorate, it’s still good to bring decoration into your ceremony somehow to make it feel extra special and add to your wedding photos. Why not create a bouquet full of Hawaiian flowers? Think Anthuriums, Bird of Paradise and Hawaiian Hibiscus.

  3. Hair & Makeup: You might want to do your hair and makeup yourself or you might want to get it done for the big day. Decide on if you want to search for a vendor in Hawaii in your chosen area or if you want to invite a makeup artist of your choice along for the journey to Hawaii! You want to look and feel amazing on your big day so really think about this and organise everything logistically as early as possible.

  4. Wedding Photographer & Videographer: Your wedding day is all about creating memories and whilst it’s nice to cherish the memories in our minds, nothing beats being able to relive them through photographs and film. Having the right elopement photographer and videographer that understands your love story, how you want to capture it and your vision for the day is essential as your wedding photos and videos live on for generations. If you’re not having many guests at your elopement it’s the perfect way to ensure everyone back home can see exactly how wonderful your day was.

As a Hawaii wedding photography and videography we can help you every step of your elopement journey from helping with the best locations to helping you with permits, activity suggestions and just helping you achieve your dream wedding. If you’re in need of a photographer and videographer for your Hawaii elopement, just get in touch right here.

Planning the Best Elopement Day

You’re in Hawaii, so you need to make some memorable elopement day plans. Imagine your dream elopement day and what that looks like? Is it relaxing on the beach and drinking cocktails, is it hiking to the highest viewpoints and admiring scenery, swimming with the turtles? Hawaii has so much to offer, here are just some of the activities that you can do:

  • Go for a hike

  • Go swimming

  • Go surfing

  • Helicopter rides over the volcanoes

  • Charter a boat and head out to sea

  • Explore the lush rainforests and magical waterfalls

  • Visit an observatory and stargaze

  • Have a picnic or a bbq on the beach

Once you’ve got everything sorted and booked, all that’s left to do is begin the countdown and have the adventure of a lifetime! It’s the most exciting time eloping with your partner and planning your dream adventure, then once the elopement is over you might want to consider carrying on the celebrations and having your honeymoon in Hawaii. Maybe visit some of the other islands and experience all this amazing place has to offer. Is there any place better to continue the celebrations than Hawaii? Definitely not.

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