Guide to Eloping in Hawaii
Are you wondering how to plan an elopement in Hawaii? Well, I think I can help with that! I have been helping couples plan their elopements here in the islands since before I even arrived on island. Living here gives me the local knowledge and insider insight to really assist in the planning process. Plus, the planning process is one of my favorite parts!
How to get started
From the moment eloping in Hawaii became a thought in your pretty head, you probably also heard that little voice saying: okay, but where do we start? I think the simplest thing you can decide is which island. In fact, most couples who reach out to me are torn between islands. Choosing between the Hawaiian islands is not always easy, but it can be as simple as narrowing down what kind of scenery you want to enjoy and the type of activities you’re looking to experience before or after your elopement. Each island is so unique!
Do you want to visit the Garden Island and explore majestic red canyons, go hiking, take a boat around the Na Pali Coastline? Is it your dream to have photos of the two of you taking in a view so epic you’ll never forget the feeling of standing on the cliff surveying the Grand Canyon of the Pacific? Maybe you want your elopement to be on a sail boat with the coast melting in the distance while you exchange vows. You should definitely choose Kauai in this case. Kauai is for the adventurous at heart! Kauai elopements are wild, earthy, and downright gorgeous.
Do you like nature but also feel drawn toward urban environments? Do you want to elope with a beautiful, dramatic mountain range on one side and the ocean on the other? Maybe you want to celebrate on the town after hiking to a waterfall for your elopement. Or maybe you’re really into surfing and you want to explore the famous North Shore with your love. In this case, opt for Oahu! Oahu is unique because of it’s mix of funky urban areas (look no further than the murals at Kaka’ako) and desolate beauty (Ka’ena Point, Lanai Lookout, and the like). It’s probably the best mix of adventure and creature comforts you’ll find in Hawaii.
Island of Hawaii Elopements
Are you more curious about volcanoes? Looking for some crazy views from the top to say your vows? Into an eclectic mix of towns and all kinds of different beaches? Definitely head to the Big Island of Hawaii to elope. You’ve got your choice of white sand, black sand, and even green sand beaches here! One of only four places where you can see a green sand beach, the Big Island has the most diverse landscapes. You can go from deserted fields of dried lava to steep mountains, volcanoes long gone to sleep, or to Iao Valley National Park. You can head for the town of Volcano and find a lush tropical rainforest where you’ll be able to stay in a tree house (we did it)! It’s such a cool island. You can even plan a backpacking trip here, camping along the ocean as you go.
Do you just love road tripping with your babe? Maybe you love the idea of diversity, but want something different than the Big Island. If funky surf towns appeal to you, but Honolulu doesn’t, think about Maui. Maui is home to one of the craziest road trips you can find with its Road to Hana. You can plan an elopement centered on renting a fun car or van and traveling the Road to Hana, stopping at waterfalls, beaches, and forests to take photos along the way. This rambling adventure is a great way to explore the island and will give you some interesting variety for your elopement. Maui is also home to forests of giants that rival those in the Northern Pacific areas of the mainland. There’s even a red sand beach!
Molokai and Lanai
Molokai and Lanai are lesser known than Oahu, Kauai, Maui, or the Big Island, but they are definitely options for more adventurous couples who want to experience something even less traditional. Molokai has serene beaches and such a sense of peacefulness with the Halawa Valley being an amazing spot to visit. Lanai has a little of that otherworldly look, something so very different and still so beautiful. It seems to give us a view into what much of Hawaii must have looked like before it became so developed. It’s also ranked one of the top hidden gems to explore! Both are a great choice for planning an elopement!
When to Elope
Now that you’ve got an idea to narrow down which island you want to elope on, you’ll want to think about the time of year. It’s a common misconception that Hawaii is always warm + perfect weather (the sun to shine by day and all the stars by night, anyone?). These islands are always beautiful, but the weather can really vary. Perfect example: on Oahu, you might have bright sunshine on one side of the island and when you drive over to the other side, usually the windward side, you’ll run straight into a wall of clouds + rain. The weather changes often, too. I think the best advice I can offer for planning a Hawaii elopement is to embrace all of the experience, even if that means some rain or a cloud covered sky. You can have just as much fun dancing in the rain and clouds can lend so much depth + mood to the landscape. As long as you’re ready for anything, I promise you won’t be disappointed. That said, there are some guidelines as to what sort of weather you’re most likely to encounter.
Typically, the summers here are sunnier but they are VERY warm. Like, be prepared to sweat + feel like you’re in a sauna. For this reason, summer elopements at sunrise are a great idea! Not only will it be a little cooler, but you’ll find it far less crowded at popular spots. April to October are the warmer, sunnier months with July + August being probably the hottest. Our rainiest months are November to March, but if you’re okay with the chance of rain it will pay off as these months are cooler, less humid, and generally so beautiful! Just don’t try doing anything in the water on the North Shore of Oahu unless you’re good with monster waves haha
I think it may be a myth that there is a tourist season in Hawaii. Living here, I haven’t noticed anything except that there are a lot of tourists. Always. That doesn’t mean there will be crowds of people at your chosen elopement spot, however, as some are harder to get to or less well known. Just ask me if you’re curious about how crowded a spot might be!
The rest is in the details
All right! So you have an idea of where and when, the rest is in the details. This is the really fun part! Now you get to choose your spot. Do you want to elope at Waimea Canyon? Are you thinking more of eloping at a special spot on Oahu? You’ll want to really consider the locations your chosen island has to offer. With every elopement package, I offer my assistance choosing locations, planning, and referring vendors who work in the area. It helps to have an expert to guide you through the ins and outs of choosing the place that you’ll promise forever to each other, the one that’ll live in every photo I capture. I’m happy to help you visualize + decide on that perfect spot to elope.
With any elopement, you get to decide how much or how little you want present. You can opt for something simple, minimal, just you and your love dressed how you feel best + making promises. You can also opt to have that gorgeously wild bouquet of your dreams, a pretty ceremony arch, an officiant, and even a few rentals for a picnic celebration. It truly is whatever you want to make it! Figuring out your vision together will help you with location as well, as some areas may not allow for more complex styling. And I’m always happy to provide clients with vendor referrals that will bring the vision to life.
From there, it’s all a matter of figuring out how best to enjoy the occasion! Maybe you picture getting ready together, having me there to capture the details as you enjoy a cup of coffee, snuggle up before it’s time to prep, or to share a first look. Whatever sounds like the most amazing day to the two of you, if that’s hiking together, if that’s yoga on a paddle board in the morning, if that’s hanging out on the cliffs by the beach, whatever it is, that’s how you should plan your day. You’ll want to make memories that’ll last and bring a smile to your face, not be stressed about this or that.
Making it Official
We’ve talked about all of the fun parts, but there’s that one other thing that kind of might be important ;) the legal end of things! You’ll want to decide how to approach making it official with your Hawaii elopement. You have a few options on this! You can go to city hall and have a civil ceremony to take care of the paperwork prior to the elopement. You can even meet with an after hours marriage license agent. You can also choose to have an officiant to make things official for your elopement. There are so many awesome officiants on island who are willing to perform elopement ceremonies! Some will even add an island twist, if that’s something you like. I am also ordained to officiate and we can take care of paperwork together before the adventure!
This is just the start
There is so much more that I could share to guide you on how to elope in Hawaii, which is why I always include planning assistance in each of my elopement packages. Just fill out the contact form below to get in touch!