Our Hawaii Elopement Guide

Let’s face it, big weddings are beautiful and amazing, but they can also be SO stressful. Between figuring out seating charts and dealing with family pressures sometimes you just crave intimacy and adventure. That’s what celebrating your love is all about, right? 

If you’re reading this, you’ve been planning a Hawaii elopement, and I’m here to help you make it happen with this elopement guide! Whether you’re looking for the best islands for your Hawaii elopement, when to elope here, and what elopement activities to include, this blog will cover it all!

Hawaii Elopement Guide

romantic bride and groom with stunning Big Island landscapes in the backdrop during their Hawaii elopement

Best Islands for Your Hawaii Elopement


Maui is known for its luxurious resorts, beaches, and the incredible Road to Hana. It is also one of my favorite places I have ever been!

The island offers a good balance of natural beauty and tourist amenities without feeling too crowded. The landscapes range from the lush and full of waterfalls on the east coast to the more volcanic west coast. If you’d like to elope in Maui, I recommend the following beaches; Oneloa Bay (Ironwoods) near Ka’anapali/ Kapalua and local secret – Paipu Beach near Wailea. There are many other options for scenery to explore even Hana if you are up for the ride!

Adventurous couples like you can roam around through the rainforests, waterfalls, and natural water pools.


Oahu is the most popular and developed island. It’s home to Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, and the historic Pearl Harbor. Oahu tends to be more crowded than the other islands. Oahu offers a mix of urban and natural attractions, with stunning beaches and hiking opportunities. We loved the North Shore beaches and the small towns of Haleiwa and Waialua for a more unique experience. You can head to any beach in the area and watch some amazing surfers.

If you’d like to elope in Oahu, I highly recommend Lanikai Beach! It’s honestly the most beautiful beach I’ve ever visited and amazing for swimming or having a picnic after your vows. Sunrise is best or sunset but has more people on the beach.

The Big Island

The Big Island, as the name gives away, is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is known for its diverse landscapes. You can find everything here, from lush rainforests to volcanic deserts and snow-capped peaks. It’s less crowded than Oahu and Maui, offering more secluded spots for a private ceremony. The weather varies significantly across different regions; it can be sunny on the west coast and rainy on the east coast. If you plan to elope in the Big Island, I recommend Polulu Valley! It’s a short (but challenging!) hike, offering beautiful views of the valley, cliffs, and a black sand beach.

On the south end of the island Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is also an amazing location with black sand beaches and palm trees.


Often referred to as “The Garden Isle,” Kauai is the choice for nature lovers. It’s the least commercially developed of the main islands and boasts dramatic natural scenery, including the Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon. Kauai is perfect for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty, with fewer crowds. The weather tends to be a bit rainier, but that’s exactly what allows you to enjoy all that lush greenery!


Known for retaining a strong Native Hawaiian heritage, Moloka’i offers a glimpse into traditional Hawaiian culture without the influence of major tourism. It’s ideal for those looking to escape the typical tourist experience and enjoy unspoiled natural beauty. It is the least developed for tourism among the islands, so expect minimal crowds. This off the beaten path has more travel involved to get to and limited transportation and lodging.

Location Considerations

I am familiar with rules and permits for several of the islands and this is an important consideration as you cannot just show up and have your ceremony on these islands. We have had elopements on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island and each have been unique with rules and regulations. Hawaii is beautiful and a very popular destination with delicate ecosystems that need to be protected. It’s also home to many important cultural landmarks that deserve respect and consideration when planning your activities. We work with you to ensure correct permits & permissions at your Hawaiian elopement location.

hawaii elopement and honeymoon photography
Big Island beach hawaii

Best Season for Your Hawaii Elopement

Any season! Hawaii is gorgeous year-round, but the best time to elope is during the shoulder seasons—April to June and September to November. These months offer beautiful weather, fewer tourists, and better rates for travel and accommodations.

If you’re worried about rain – just be prepared for it! There’s normally a bit of rain in Hawaii, so let’s just roll with it and make the most out of it! 

TIP: We recommend eloping in the mornings and weekdays to avoid crowds during any season

Hire Your Elopement Vendors

Finding the right vendors is an important part of planning your Hawaii elopement and we are here to help. Before you begin your search, decide what services you want and how much you’re willing to spend.

Some vendors to consider:

Photographer: A great photographer will be able to not only capture every moment of your elopement but also help you with advice and planning for your day. Look for a photographer who specializes in elopements and can capture the unique spirit of your special day. (someone like me!)

Videographer: Look for a videographer who does elopements and loves adventure

Officiant: You will need a state approved officiant for your Hawaii elopement but no witnesses are required. (always happy to sign as your witness tho)!) Check out this site to find a list of people who can legally marry you in Hawaii!

Flowers: We can recommend a local florist or we can also provide floral services! If you are interested in this service, let me know, and we can chat!  Please note that some national parks or other sensitive areas should not have dried flowers or choose locally grown, native plants.

Hair and makeup: Professionals can help create a flawless look that lasts all day. We make customized recommendations for you based on the location.

Catering/ picnics /dessert: This is totally up to you, but depending on your location, you could have a private chef come to your vacation rental (a great option if you are having a few guests) or a picnic for your day. We are here to help with options for that, too, and can deliver a picnic with a small cake or even breakfast!

These are a few of the vendors you might need for your elopement. If you’re looking for specific recommendations, I’m happy to help you with that! Just reach out to me here

To make things easier and less stressful for you, I recommend making things official in your home state/country. However, if you want to make it legal in Hawaii, you’ll need to apply for a marriage license there.

You must apply for a marriage license from the Hawaii Department of Health. The license is $65 and can be completed online. You’ll need to pick it up in person and have your ceremony within 30 days. This site has everything you need to know to apply for your Hawaii marriage license!

romantic couple running into the ocean

Fun Elopement Activities

You’ll probably be in Hawaii for a bit longer than just your elopement day – as you should, honestly! So how about including some elopement activities to make your time and celebration there even more special?

  • Go snorkeling + scuba diving
  • Enjoy a helicopter tour
  • Go hiking (On Oahu, the Diamond Head Crater hike offers panoramic views of Honolulu. The Kalalau Trail on Kauai provides breathtaking vistas of the Na Pali Coast. For volcano landscapes, the Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is perfect.)
  • Try out surfing
  • Visit a Luau
  • Go whale watching (during the winter months, December to April)
  • Go Golfing
  • Try kayaking and/or paddle boarding
  • Go zip lining
adventurous couple standing on the cliff overlooking the ocean during their Hawaii elopement celebration

Hawaii Elopement Tips

Here are some tips to make your Hawaii elopement the best it can be!

  • Pack smart! Weather can be unpredictable. Bring layers and comfortable shoes for exploring!
  • Always respect the land, the natural beauty, and cultural sites.
  • Make travel and accommodation arrangements early, especially if you are planning to elope during the peak tourist seasons.
  • If you plan to invite a few guests, think about their needs, how they’ll get there, and what they might do before and after the ceremony. 
oahu elopement on the beach at sunset

My Hawaii Elopement Packages

I’m Merissa, and I specialize in candid storytelling, and I love to explore beautiful places.

While I’m based in Montana, I’d happily travel to be your Hawaii elopement photographer! Here’s a bit about my packages!

  • Half-day, full-day, or two days of elopement coverage
  • Full elopement planning experience
  • You get a full elopement planning guide to help you with common FAQs
  • I help you plan your day! (location planning, helping you find your elopement vendors, figuring out your activities, helping you with any permits, licenses, etc, a custom timeline, and florals!)

Ready to inquire? Reach out to me here! And if you’re looking for more wedding and elopement tips and inspiration, check out the rest of my blog!