Why Should You Elope in Hawaii?
Maybe you’re already set on eloping in Hawaii, or maybe you’re on the fence. Regardless if you’re on the fence or already sold, you can’t deny that Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Hawaii is filled with incredible culture and has so much more to offer for your elopement than just turquoise beaches. From luscious greens and jaw-dropping waterfalls to delicious food and serene hikes, Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to elope.
You Don’t Need a Witness to Elope in Hawaii
Yes, that’s right! Hawaii is one of the few states that doesn’t require any witnesses for your elopement. No more stressing over whether or not you should bring a friend or family member to sign the license. It’s a great thing for those wanting something a bit more privacy on their wedding day.
You Can Get Married the Same Day
The great thing about Hawaii is that they don’t have a waiting period attached to their marriage licenses, meaning you can get your license and get married on the same day!
Hawaii Has Great Weather All Year Round
Whether you decide to elope in the middle of December, or during the summer months of July, you’ll be promised great weather and lots of sunshine on your special day.
You Can Island Hop on Your Elopement Day
Hawaii is known for their six major islands: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the island of Hawaii (the Big Island). Each island has completely different scenery, so imagine saying your vows during sunrise in the mountains of Kauai, then enjoying a romantic dinner on the beaches of Maui just a few hours later!
Hawaii Has Some of the Most Beautiful Places in the World
Hawaii has some of the most beautiful (and famous) locations in the entire world. It’s not surprising that millions of people visit the island every year to get a glimpse of the beautiful beaches, incredible waterfalls, and everything else Hawaii has to offer its visitors.
Hawaii Elopement Marriage License and Laws
You can fill out a marriage license application online or in person. The easiest way to get a marriage license in Hawaii is in person, where you’ll fill out the application, present your ID, and pay the $65 fee. The marriage license office is located in Honolulu. However, they do have neighboring offices on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Molokai.
To view everything you need to know about how to get a marriage license in Hawaii (and how to fill out an application online), check out the official site here.
Do I Need an Officiant and Witness to Elope in Hawaii?
Yes, you do need an officiant for your Hawaii elopement. However, Hawaii does things a bit differently. In Hawaii, your ceremony must be performed by state-approved “marriage performer,” meaning you can’t bring in a friend or family member to officiate your ceremony. To see a list of people who can marry you in Hawaii, check out this site.
As far as witnesses go, you don’t need any witnesses to elope in Hawaii.
Where to Elope in Hawaii
Hawaii is known for their six main islands: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and the Big Island. Each island offers something completely different for your Hawaii elopement. Before you take a look at the elopement locations on each island, take a look at the individual islands as a whole to see which one would be the best fit for your elopement.
Out of all the islands I have visited in Hawaii, Kauai is hands-down my favorite island. Kauai is less developed than the other islands. In fact, only 20% of the island is accessible by foot or road. However, this makes Kauai the most green and lush island of them all. Kauai has some of the most famous and beautiful elopement locations. From the Napali Coast to Wailua Falls, Kauai is very diverse in scenery. This island is perfect for couples who love the outdoors, hiking, and want a less crowded elopement experience.
Oahu is the most developed island in Hawaii. Home to Honolulu, you’ll find the most people on this island. On Oahu, there are endless things to do. From fine dining and shopping to surfing and horseback riding, Oahu truly has everything you’ll need for an elopement. Oahu is the cheapest island to fly into, and it’s perfect for couples who want something more developed for their elopement. If you’re looking for both a city and quiet mountainside region, Oahu is the perfect island for you.
Molokai is the least visited island in Hawaii and is the one that preserves most of the culture. Molokai is not developed and doesn’t have any resorts, large buildings, or extravagant excursions. In fact, it’s mainly just locals who live on the island. It’s very remote, but that’s why so many people love it. If you’re a couple who loves off-the-beaten-path experiences, quiet time, and are looking for a super private elopement experience, I highly recommend checking out the island of Molokai.
Lanai is pretty similar to Molokai and is the second least visited island in Hawaii. It’s also the smallest and least inhabited island of the six. However, it’s slowly becoming a more touristy island, but just like Molokai, it’s a pretty laidback and quiet place. This island is perfect for the couple who loves exploring and who wants more seclusion on their wedding day. The island is also right next door to Mauai and can be visited from the ferry if you’re wanting an escape for the day.
Maui is the second-largest island and is a crowd favorite among visitors. Maui truly does have a bit of everything. From waterfalls and beaches to fine dining restaurants and night clubs, it’s the perfect mix between Oahu and Kauai. This island is a personal favorite of mine, simply because it truly does have everything. If you’re a couple looking to have adventure-filled experiences in the outdoors, but also extravagant experiences in the city, Mauai is a great option.
The Big Island
If you were to put all the islands together, they would barely make up half of the Big Island. This island is the most diverse when it comes to practically everything. On the Big Island, you can find 5-star resorts and golf clubs, but you can also find dense terrain and even snow. This island also has the most turtles, and some of the coolest fish around. If you’re a couple looking for a variety of different climates, experiences, and landscapes, definitely check out the Big Island.
The Best Places to Elope in Hawaii
Before we get into all the best places to elope in Hawaii, we need to go over the rules and regulations of the land.
The Hawaiian lands are sacred to the locals, and they’re very passionate about preserving this beautiful area of the Earth. That being said, these sacred lands have quickly been being destroyed by people which is requiring them to block off certain locations in order to protect their land.
While you’ll more than likely come across images of elopements in Hawaii online, many of them have been taken in illegal areas which can result in huge fines and a complete cancellation of your wedding. There are famous places on every island that are not allowed for ceremonies or images at all. While it can be frustrating to see so many blocked off locations, it’s important that we abide by the guidelines to be sure that these beautiful locations stay preserved for years to come.
I strongly practice Leave No Trace at all my elopements and help all my couples choose locations that are both beautiful and able to be photographed on.
To see an entire list of accessible locations on all the main islands, check out this list! Keep in mind that this is not the entire list of locations. With special permission and the right permits, you can elope almost anywhere in Hawaii!
Best Places to Elope in Kauai
Waimea Canyon State Park
While you can’t have your elopement ceremony in Waimea Canyon State Park, I wanted to include it as an option for pictures. Waimea Canyon is one of Hawaii’s most famous state parks. At Waimea, you’ll be floored by the deep, colorful gorge and iconic waterfall that can be seen around the park. So while you can’t have your ceremony here, you definitely shouldn’t count this park out for pictures.
Wailua River State Park
Wailua River State Park is one of my favorite places to elope in Kauai. When picturing Hawaii, you picture everything that can be found in Wailua River State Park: lush greens, rushing waterfalls, and colorful flowers. Wailua only allows specific locations for ceremonies and images.
Polihale State Park
Located on the western portion of the island, Polihale State Park is known for their remote beach that’s surrounded by beautiful cliffs. The beach is lesser known and extremely quiet, making it a perfect location for your Hawaii elopement. This park only allows ceremonies and pictures at certain locations, so always check with the office to make sure you’re abiding by the rules.
Hanalei Pier and Beach
The Hanalei Pier and Beach is a peaceful area situated on the north shore of Kauai. The pier provides beautiful views of the nearby mountains, and the beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the weather. This is a beautiful location for pictures, as well as for watching the sunset. The pier and beach each require their own separate permits for pictures.
Best Places to Elope in Oahu
Crouching Lion Hike
The Crouching Lion Hike has to be one of my all-time favorite places to elope in Hawaii. The hike is only about half a mile, but it’s extremely steep and muddy. However, if you get the chance to exchange vows at the top of this beautiful hill, I highly recommend doing so. Here, you will get some of the most beautiful views in all of Hawaii. If you’re not much of a hiker, the bottom of the hill right next to the water also has some absolutely incredible views.
Mokolii Island Beach
Mokolii Island Beach, also known as Chinaman’s Hat, is a beautiful beach located about a half hour away from Kailua. The beach itself is surrounded with the famous Hawaiian mountains and beautiful vegetation that makes the perfect background to any elopement.
Puu Ualakaa State Wayside
Different from traditional Hawaiin scenery, the Puu Ualakaa State Wayside is a popular outlook for sunset watching. This elopement location will provide you with the perfect view of Honolulu and the nearby beach. It’s a great spot for your elopement ceremony if you’re wanting a slice of city in your Hawaii elopement.
Waimanalo Bay Beach Park
Also located near Kauai, the Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is the perfect ceremony location for couples looking to have a traditional beach elopement in Hawaii. Similar to Mokolii, you’ll find yourself surrounded with the jagged mountains and turquoise water. If you’re looking for a simple backdrop for your ceremony, definitely be sure to check out Waimanalo.
Best Places to Elope in Molokai
*Finding ceremony/photography restrictions in Molokai has been challenging. I’m currently in the process of finding locations that are available to shoot at. That being said, the locations below may or not be available for your Hawaii elopement.
Halawa Valley is known for their rich history and numerous hikes. Within Halawa Valley you’ll find beautiful waterfalls, scenic beaches, and old buildings that have been overtaken by nature. Halawa Valley is the oldest once inhabited area in Hawaii and continues to be visited by explorers everyday.
Kamakou Preserve is a rainforest unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. I liken this forest to the Hoh Rainforest found in Washington State. In this rainforest, you’ll find over 200 native plants and animals. The forest is very hidden and requires a four-wheel vehicle to reach it. It’s the perfect spot for any private ceremony.
Halawa Beach Park
Halawa Beach is located right next to the valley I mentioned earlier. If you’ve ever hiked the Crouching Lion in Oahu, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that the scenery is very similar. Once you reach the beach, you’ll be able to see two beautiful waterfalls in the distance.
Moaula Falls is a stunning waterfall that requires a 4 mile round-trip hike to reach the falls. Moaula Falls is located on private property, so permission and a tour guide must accompany you. However, don’t let this deter you from considering this location for your elopement. These falls are the most accessible on Molokai and are absolutely stunning.
Best Places to Elope in Lanai
*Similar to Molokai, finding elopement restrictions in Lanai has been a challenge. Please see the note above.
Pu’u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)
Pu’u Pehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock, is a very unique rock formation that can be found on the south shore. The red rock perfectly clashes with the beautiful blue ocean. It’s like a small piece of Utah or Arizona in Hawaii. If you’re looking for something a bit different than traditional Hawaiian greenery, I highly recommend checking out Sweetheart Rock.
Garden of the Gods
While you might be picturing beautiful greens, Garden of the Gods provides the exact opposite. Often compared to Mars, this beautiful spot is filled with red and orange rock formations. It also provides some beautiful views of the nearby ocean. Once again, if you’re looking for a vibe similar to Arizona with a bit of Hawaii, the Garden of the Gods is a great option.
The Munro Trail is not for the faint of heart. This trail goes on for 12.8 miles, but it offers some absolutely breathtaking views along the way. If you’re not wanting to commit to the full hike, consider hiking 2.5 miles in to see the well-known scenic view. Throughout the trail you’ll come across rainforests, the highest peak in Lanai, and if you’re lucky, a scenic outlook that will give you views of all six Hawaiian islands.
If you’re looking for that simple Hawaiian beach on your special day, I recommend taking a look at Hulopoe Beach. Located right next to Sweetheart Rock, Hulopoe is a popular, yet simple beach that’s perfect for any occasion. You won’t be bombarded with Hawaii’s greenery, but it’s a great option for couples looking for something a bit more simple.
Best Places to Elope in Maui
Hana Beach Park
Hana Beach is popular black sand beach on the eastern side of Maui. Filled with picnic tables and grills, this area is best during sunrise on a weekday when there aren’t a ton of people. The black sand looks striking against a white dress, and with multiple sceneries around the beach, a variety of backdrops are available for your elopement.
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside is a beautiful spot in Mauai. Stretching over 5 acres, you’ll find rainforests, waterfalls, and pools. I personally love making my down to the base of the first waterfall. There, you’ll be surrounded with lush greens and mist. However, this area is very popular and should be avoided on busy weekends and peak seasons of travel if you’re wanting something a bit more intimate.
Waianapanapa State Park
Waianapanapa State Park stretches over 122 acres and is one of Hawaii’s most popular state parks. Within Waianapanapa, you’ll find tropical plants, freshwater, beautiful panoramic views, and my favorite part, the black sand beach. Pa‘iloa Beach, the black sand beach found within the park, is my favorite black sand beach in Hawaii.
Wailua Valley State Wayside (Lookout)
Wailua Valley State Wayside is known for their famous staircase that gives you a perfect view of Wailua Valley once you reach the top. However, there are multiple areas around the park that are absolutely jaw dropping. From the beautiful Waikani Falls to the Saint Gabrielʼs Church, there truly is a view for everyone.
Best Places to Elope on the Big Island
Akaka Falls State Park
Akaka Falls State Park is known for their famous 442-foot waterfall: Akaka Falls. This is one of my favorite waterfalls in Hawaii that makes the perfect backdrop for any photo. The waterfall is bordered by tropical plants and vibrant wildflowers that surround you as the walk to the lookout of the falls. If you’re dreaming of a waterfall elopement, definitely be sure to put Akaka Falls on your list.
Hookena Beach is a grey-sand beach near the south shore on the Big Island. Lined with a coral reef, this beach is a beautiful and unique spot for an elopement. Also lined with palm trees and cliffs, Hookena Beach is a simple Hawaiian beach for the laidback couple.
Kalopa State Recreation Area
Kalopa State Recreation Area is a very unique area on the Big Island. When foggy, this area transforms into a scene out of the Twilight movies. At Kalopa, you’ll find a forest filled with an arboretum of native trees. This area is usually colder and rainy due to the high elevation, but it’s a peaceful and beautiful area to explore if you’re wanting Pacific Northwest vibes.
Rainbow Falls is a very accessible waterfall located 5 minutes away from downtown Hilo. Named after the rainbows that can been seen on sunny days, these falls are truly magical. Due to their ease of access, the falls can get very crowded. It’s highly recommended to visit the falls for your Hawaii elopement during the early morning hours, ideally before 9 am.
How Much Does It Cost to Elope in Hawaii?
Eloping in Hawaii is relatively cheap compared to other states in The United States. The cost of a Hawaii marriage license is only $65, which compared to places like California or New York, is a steal.
However, you also have to mindful about the cost of getting to Hawaii, along with lodging, food, permits, and vendors. According to The Knot, in 2019, the average cost of a wedding in Hawaii was $32,900. Already, the high-end elopement budget will be much cheaper than this, another pro of eloping!
To make it easy, I’ve put together three different elopement budgets that might help you picture how much you want to spend on your Hawaii elopement. You can compare this to what could be found in certain Hawaii elopement packages.
- $750 – plane tickets
- $65 – marriage license
- $100 – location permit
- $2,000 – three nights at a luxury resort
- $6,500 – photographer
- $700 – florist for bouquet and decor
- $5,000 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $300 – hair and makeup
- $1,000 – suit, accessories, and shoes
- $1,000 – helicopter tour
- $500 – private chef
- TOTAL: $17,915
- $750 – plane tickets
- $65 – marriage license
- $100 – location permit
- $1,000 – three nights at a 3-star hotel
- $4,500 – photographer
- $400 – florist for bouquet and light decor
- $3,000 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $200 – hair and makeup
- $500 – suit, accessories, and shoes
- $500 – ziplining
- TOTAL: $11,015
- $750 – plane tickets
- $65 – marriage license
- $100 – location permit
- $500 – three nights at a simple hotel/airbnb
- $2,500 – photographer
- $200 – florist for bouquet
- $1,000 – dress, accessories, and shoes
- $100 – hair and makeup (or free if done yourself)
- $300 – suit (rented)
- TOTAL: $5,515
I want to emphasize that these numbers are not quotes for your elopement. In fact, you have complete control over how much you want to spend. These numbers are simply just examples of what your elopement day could look like. Want to see what Hawaii elopement packages would look like? Check out my U.S. elopement packages here.
When Is the Best Time of Year to Elope in Hawaii?
Winter in Hawaii lasts from November to April and is the best time to elope in Hawaii. The average temperature during this time is around 78 degrees. However, the winter is when Hawaii has its wet season, but don’t let this deter you. Rainstorms in Hawaii are localized, meaning it usually only rains in a certain spot on the island. The rainy weather usually doesn’t disrupt plans and mainly sticks to the mountains and valleys.
Winter is also a great time to visit if you’re wanting to get a glimpse of the famous Hawaiian waves. Mainly found on the north shore, many surfers all around the world come to visit during the winter to ride the wave.
If you’re wanting to avoid the crowds, do not visit Hawaii during the months of December – March. This is Hawaii’s peak season, meaning you’ll find tourists everywhere, causing prices to skyrocket.
November is Hawaii’s least visited month (with the exception of Thanksgiving week of course). During November, you’ll find minimal tourists, discounted prices, and great weather.
November is the best time to visit and elope in Hawaii if you’re wanting to avoid all the tourists, get some epic weather, and score some pretty awesome deals.
Summer in Hawaii lasts from May – October and carries the best weather. The average temperature during this time is around 85 degrees, but has high humidity. The beaches during the summer have minimal waves and are extremely relaxing, especially on a blistering hot day.
One thing to be wary of during the summer in Hawaii are hurricanes. Summer is Hawaii’s hurricane season, and while the islands don’t usually get hurricanes, it’s something to be wary of.
If you’re wanting to elope during the summer season, April, May, or late September/early October are the best times to visit if you want to avoid the crowds, have nice weather, and still get some pretty good deals on hotels and activities.
Do I Need a Permit to Elope in Hawaii?
Yes, you will need permits to elope in Hawaii on every island. However, the permit process is not scary, especially if you have a photographer or elopement planner who is knowledgeable about how to obtain permits on the island.
If you decide to visit multiple locations on your elopement day, you’ll need to obtain multiple permits. Again, don’t be scared. To see more information about acquiring your location permit, check out this website.
Hawaii Elopement Checklist – How to Elope in Hawaii in 7 Easy Steps
1. Come up With a Vision
The best part of planning an elopement is getting the inspiration for it. I always recommend checking out wedding blogs and Pinterest to get a feel of what you want your elopement day to look like.
Consider what you two love doing together. What are things you want to do on your wedding day? What would your perfect day look like?
2. Book Your Hawaii Elopement Photographer
You might be surprised to see this so high on the list, but it’s a super important step. Elopement photographers are going to know all those secret locals-only locations for your elopement. Plus, they know all about the permit process. They also can help you plan out all those nitty gritty details. For example, in all my Hawaii elopement packages I include personalized location recommendations, permit assistance, timeline samples, vendor recommendations, and more!
3. Choose Your Hawaii Elopement Location
Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you want your Hawaii elopement to look like, you need to choose your dream location. I personally help all my couples choose their dream elopement locations by sending out personalized questionnaires and lists of locations they can choose from.
Be sure to scroll up to read all about the best places to elope on each island in Hawaii.
4. Book Your Hawaii Elopement Vendors
Now that you have everything pretty solidified, it’s time to book your other vendors. I recommend booking a hair/makeup artist, florist, and a private chef, restaurant reservation, etc. As an elopement photographer, I have a list of vendors I recommend that I give to all my couples who book with me.
5. Book Your Flights, Lodging, and Excursions
Hawaii can be booked months in advance, especially if you choose to elope during the busy season. As soon as you can, book your flights and find your dream Airbnb, resort, or other lodging for your elopement.
6. Get Your Hawaii Marriage License and Permits
You have to be in Hawaii for this part, so now that you’re here, it’s time to pick up your marriage license and location permits. If you’re wondering how to get a marriage license in Hawaii, check out the instructions a few scrolls up.
7. Elope in Hawaii!
Woohoo! Time to elope in Hawaii! It can’t get any better than this.
Hawaii Elopement Timeline Examples
You’re probably curious as to how much time you should set aside for your elopement. Check out some example timelines below. For a place like Hawaii, I recommend no less than 6 hours of coverage, and after you see all the possibilities of what you can do on your elopement day, you’ll definitely be wanting to double it.
6 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 2:00pm – ceremony starts at your favorite waterfall in Hawaii with close friends and family
- 2:30pm – family portraits
- 3:00pm – head back to the Airbnb for a late lunch
- 4:30pm – we sneak away to hike the Crouching Lion for some amazing pictures
- 5:30pm – couples portraits and adventuring in the nearby town
- 7:00pm – head back to the Airbnb for a fire and toasts
- 8:00pm – Brianna leaves
8 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 10:00am – getting ready pictures in a cabin up in the mountains of Hawaii
- 11:00am – we head to the famous Rainbow Falls for some epic pictures
- 11:30am – we make our way to a Hawaiian bbq place for some lunch
- 12:30pm – helicopter tour over the beautiful island of Kauai
- 2:00pm – head back to the Airbnb to freshen up and prepare for your ceremony
- 3:00pm – we head out to the mountains where you exchange vows in complete privacy
- 3:30pm – couples portraits
- 4:00pm – make your way across the island for a lūʻau
- 5:30pm – finish the lūʻau and head outside for some more portraits
- 6:00pm – Brianna leaves
12 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 10:00am – getting ready pictures in an Airbnb right on the beach
- 11:00am – first look with your partner right next to the water
- 11:30am – we head out to get some portraits near Waimea Canyon in Kauai
- 12:30pm – you two have a romantic picnic next to the beautiful waterfall
- 2:00pm – you catch an hour flight to Maui for your ceremony
- 3:00pm – arrive in Maui and head to your Airbnb where you meet up with family
- 4:30pm – ceremony on the beach with friends and family
- 5:00pm – family portraits
- 5:30pm – we head back to the Airbnb where dinner from a private chef is awaiting you
- 7:00pm – a small hike up the mountain pass to get gorgeous images and a moment to yourselves
- 8:30pm – fire gets started on the beach with your loved ones where you toast and eat smores
- 10:00pm – Brianna leaves
Hawaii Elopement Packages
Are you sold on Hawaii as your elopement destination? Check out these Hawaii elopement packages that will help you with everything you need for your Hawaii elopement. To see more Hawaii elopement package options, or elopement packages for areas, check out my pricing!
Hawaii Elopement Package Pricing
- 6 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage on any of the Hawaiian islands
- A hands-on Hawaii elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- personalized Hawaii elopement locations and questionnaires
- vendor recommendations
- permit assistance
- customized elopement timeline
- Online gallery with full resolution and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peak images from your Hawaii elopement
- Travel fees to anywhere in Hawaii are already included
- Starting at $5,500
It costs $65 to elope in Hawaii. $60 for the marriage license, and $5 for the administration fee.
To elope in Hawaii, you’ll need a Hawaiian marriage license, a marriage performer, and a location permit.
Yes, you can legally get married in Hawaii without being a citizen in Hawaii.
There is no waiting period to get married in Hawaii. You can get married the same day you get your marriage license.
No, you don’t need any witnesses to get married in Hawaii, but you do need a state-approved marriage performer to officiate your ceremony.
Yes, you can get married on the beach in Hawaii. However, there are certain beaches where ceremonies are not allowed.
Kauai is the best Hawaiian island for weddings. It has the most beautiful scenery out of all the islands.
November is the best month to get married in Hawaii.
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I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.