From the lush rainforests of Kauai to the volcanic wonders of the Big Island, the golden beaches of Maui, and the blend of urban and natural beauty on Oahu, Hawaii is a dream come true for couples seeking an intimate elopement among one of the world’s most beautiful tropical landscapes. As a Hawaii elopement photographer, there’s no place I’d rather capture your special day, and I’m here to assist you throughout your planning journey. To help you get started, here are some essential steps to consider when planning your Hawaii elopement!
1. Choose Your Hawaii Elopement Destination
Hawaii consists of several main islands, each with its own unique charm. Popular choices for elopements include Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island (Hawaii). Whether it’s the lush landscapes of Kauai, the bustling scene of Oahu, the diverse landscapes of the Big Island, or the romantic ambiance of Maui, you’re sure to find the perfect elopement location.
Known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui boasts a diverse landscape with lush rainforests, dramatic volcanic craters, and beautiful beaches. Elopements on Maui are often set against the backdrop of towering waterfalls, serene gardens, and golden sands. The island’s warm, tropical climate and romantic sunsets create an idyllic atmosphere for your ceremony, making it a popular choice for couples seeking an intimate Hawaiian elopement.
Referred to as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai is a haven for nature lovers. Its rugged coastlines, lush greenery, and awe-inspiring cliffs provide a picturesque setting for elopements. Couples can exchange vows in the heart of Waimea Canyon, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” or along the stunning Napali Coast. Kauai’s tranquil and unspoiled beauty offers an intimate and enchanting backdrop for those looking to elope in nature.
The Big Island
The Big Island, the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, offers a diverse range of landscapes, including active volcanoes, black sand beaches, and rolling hills. Here you can elope against the backdrop of fiery lava flows at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or on the picturesque shores of Hapuna Beach. The island’s unique geological features and vast spaces are perfect for the more adventurous couple who might be seeking a more unconventional ceremony.
As the most populous Hawaiian island, Oahu blends urban sophistication with natural beauty. Couples can elope on the world-famous Waikiki Beach or amid the lush gardens and waterfalls at the Byodo-In Temple. Oahu offers a mix of city life and breathtaking scenery, making it a great choice for couples who want a balance between a tropical escape and access to modern amenities.
Each of these Hawaiian islands provides a distinct elopement experience, allowing you to choose the perfect setting that best aligns with your elopement vision. Whether you’re captivated by Maui’s lushness, Kauai’s wild beauty, the Big Island’s volcanic landscapes, or Oahu’s blend of urban and natural charm, Hawaii’s diverse landscapes offer plenty of options to create lasting memories on your special day.
2. Book Your Hawaii Adventure Elopement Photographer (me, duh!)
Once you’ve settled on a Hawaiian location for your elopement, the next crucial step is to secure your elopement photographer. With so many talented photographers to choose from, making the right choice can be challenging. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when booking your Hawaii elopement photographer:
Photography Style: Determine the photography style that resonates with you. Are you drawn to bright and airy photos that capture the essence of Hawaii’s vibrant landscapes, or do you prefer a more dramatic and moody aesthetic? Browsing through photographers’ portfolios, scrolling their Instagrams, exploring their blogs, and requesting to see previous elopement galleries can help you find a style that aligns with your vision.
Compatibility: Your photographer will play a big part in documenting this intimate occasion, so feeling comfortable around them is crucial. Since you might not have the opportunity to meet in person before your elopement, consider scheduling a phone or video call. This allows both you and the photographer to gauge if you’re the right fit for each other. And it’s an opportunity for the photographer to learn more about your relationship, your vision, and how they can best capture your special day.
Early Booking: Elopements are hugely popular in Hawaii, and photographers often have busy schedules. To ensure you find the perfect photographer for your elopement, I highly recommend starting your search early. This way, you can narrow down your choices and book the photographer that’s the best match for you.
As a passionate Hawaii elopement photographer, I thrive on capturing intimate weddings and adventure elopements that celebrate love while preserving the beauty of Hawaii’s natural environment. I would be honored to be a part of your special day, capturing every precious moment. Feel free to schedule a complimentary phone consultation to ensure that we’re the perfect match and discuss all the details for your upcoming Hawaii elopement!
3. Book Your Hawaii Elopement Vendors
While elopements offer the freedom to forgo many of the vendors typically associated with traditional weddings, there are still a few vendors you might want to include in your Hawaii elopement. One vendor that is an absolute must (aside from your photographer, of course!) is an officiant. In Hawaii, you’re required to be married by a state-approved marriage performer or officiant.
Once you’ve secured your officiant, you can explore additional vendors you might wish to involve in your special day. I recommend considering a hair and makeup artist to ensure you look your best and a florist for those stunning Hawaiian bouquets. Some couples also opt for a private chef or caterer, allowing them to enjoy an intimate post-elopement meal together. Videographers are another popular addition to your vendor team if you’re hoping to capture your precious moments in motion. Feel free to reach out to me for vendor recommendations to make your Hawaii elopement truly unforgettable.
4. Apply For Your Hawaii Marriage License
While eloping in Hawaii is fairly straightforward, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to ensure it’s legal:
- Marriage License: To legally elope in Hawaii, you must obtain a marriage license from the Hawaii Department of Health. You can get started by applying online, but both you and your partner will need to meet with an agent in-person to complete the process no more than 30 days before your ceremony. Be sure to bring along a valid government issued photo ID like a license or passport. Once you have your license, there’s no waiting period which means you can elope as soon as you’d like!
- Marriage License Fee: The fee for a Hawaii marriage license is $65.
- Officiant: Only state-approved “marriage performers” can legally marry you in Hawaii. This means a friend or family member can’t perform your marriage ceremony (unless they happen to be an approved marriage performer in Hawaii). I’d be happy to provide you with some recommendations!
- Witnesses: Hawaii doesn’t require witnesses to be present at your elopement ceremony.
- Marriage Certificate: After your ceremony, your officiant or “marriage performer” will submit your signed marriage license to the Department of Health and a certified copy of your marriage certificate will be mailed to you.
5. Plan Your Hawaii Elopement Trip
Once you’ve ironed out all the vendor (and legal) details of your elopement, the next step is making plans for your stay. Fortunately, I’m more than happy to be your Hawaii tour guide, planner, and new friend! A few travel essentials you’ll need to consider:
Flights and Transportation
Most people fly into Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu, Oahu, as it’s the major gateway to Hawaii. From there, you can take inter-island flights to reach your destination. Alternatively, some international flights connect directly to other Hawaiian islands, depending on your departure location. Once on the island, rental cars, taxis, and shuttle services are available to help you explore.
Hawaii offers a ton of accommodation options for different budgets and preferences. You can find luxury resorts, boutique hotels, vacation rentals through AirBnb or Vrbo, and even glamping and camping experiences.
Explore the Islands
One of the best parts about eloping in Hawaii are all the beautiful places you get to explore while you’re here. No matter which island (or islands!) you choose, you’re sure to have an incredible experience.
Here’s are some of my must-see places on the main islands:
- Maui: Explore the Road to Hana, watch the sunrise at Haleakalā National Park, and relax on the beautiful beaches like Wailea and Kaanapali.
- Kauai: Discover the lush Na Pali Coast, hike Waimea Canyon, and take a boat tour to the Forbidden Island of Ni’ihau.
- Big Island: Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, stargaze at Mauna Kea, and relax on the black sand beaches of Punalu’u.
- Oahu: Visit Pearl Harbor, hike to Diamond Head Summit, and enjoy the vibrant culture of Honolulu and Waikiki Beach.
6. Elope in Magical Hawaii and Celebrate!
Once the planning is done, it’s time to elope in beautiful Hawaii, a unique experience that will strengthen your connection with each other and the Earth. Eloping is a meaningful way to express your love and deepen your bond amidst these stunning surroundings. If you’re still in need of a wedding photographer for your Hawaiian elopement in Maui, Kauai, Oahu, or the Big Island, I’d love to hear from you!