Thinking about hosting a destination microwedding or elopement in Hawaii? You’re in the right place! We’re about to dive deep into the nitty-gritty of planning your dream Hawaii elopement! We’ll cover everything from choosing the right island to deciding on the most idyllic ceremony spot. After reading this guide, you’ll be ITCHING to plan the heck out of your tropical elopement in Hawaii. Grab a snack and let’s goooo!
Why Should You Elope in Hawaii?
Let’s face it – Hawaii needs no introduction. This archipelago in the central Pacific is a magical blend of pristine beaches, volcanic mountains, and a lush landscape that leaves every visitor speechless. More than just a tourist destination, Hawaii is the perfect stage for the greatest love story of all – yours!
Choosing the Island: Different Strokes for Different Folks
Hawaii is made of up 4 different islands, which I’ll be briefly breaking down in this section:
Maui: The Romance Capital
Maui offers a mix of adventure and romance. Think horseback riding at sunrise in Haleakalā National Park or diving into the crystal-clear waters of Maluaka Beach.
Oahu: The Best of Both Worlds
You get a bustling city vibe with a natural paradise backdrop. Whether you’re into nightlife or hiking, Oahu has you covered. Oahu is where my couple Bailey and Derek got married, and their photos are all throughout this blog!
Kauai: Nature’s Canvas
For the couples who live and breathe the outdoors, Kauai offers insane cliffs, waterfalls, and an endless backdrop of greenery. It’s THE elopement spot for the adventurers at heart.
Big Island: The Grand Finale
A geological wonder offering everything from snow-capped mountains to an active volcano. Have your ceremony next to ancient lava flows for a wedding that’s literally “lit.”
How to Get a Hawaii Elopement Permit and License
Not to dampen the thrill, but paperwork is essential. A wedding permit, usually about $50-$100, can be acquired through the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Keep in mind that each island may have different specific requirements. Plan ahead!
You’ll need to get a marriage license from the Hawaii State Department of Health. Both parties must be present to apply for the license, usually costing around $60. No tests required, and you can even pre-apply online.
When to Elope in Hawaii – A Breakdown of the Seasons
Honestly, there isn’t a BAD time to elope in Hawaii. But! For planning purposes, here’s what you can expect from each season so you can make an informed decision:
Winter (December – February)
Winter in Hawaii is rainy and relatively cooler, with temperatures ranging from 60s-70s°F. If you love the cozy, romantic vibes of winter and don’t mind a bit of rain, this could be a beautiful time to elope. Just keep in mind that some outdoor venues might not be ideal during these wetter months.
Spring (March – May)
Spring brings new life to the Hawaiian islands, with blooming flowers and a bit of a warmer climate. We’re talking temperatures in the 70s-80s°F. Less crowded than summer, spring offers a sweet spot for your intimate celebration.
Summer (June – August)
Summertime is peak tourist season, with temperatures in the high 80s. Everything is vibrant and lively, but you’ll be sharing the beauty with lots of visitors. The upside? Perfect beach weather!
Fall (September – November)
Fall is the secret treasure of Hawaii elopements – still warm but less crowded. Temperatures typically range from the 70s-80s°F. An excellent time for those autumn sunset photos!
Building Your Hawaii Elopement Dream Team
The vendors you choose to hire for your elopement in Hawaii will greatly depend on the type of elopement you’re planning. If you’re keeping this SUPER short and sweet, you’ll only need the core vendors: photographer, officiant, and maybeeeee a florist. However, I am a huge advocate for making your intimate celebration just as special and extravagant as you would a large one. So, I’m officially giving you permission to go all out!!
Your photographer is going to capture the magic of your elopement. If photos matter to you (and they should), don’t skimp here. Look for a style that resonates with you both AND someone who you vibe with on a personal level. Obviouslyyyy I specialize in photographing microweddings and elopements – you can learn more about me here!
Whether you want a religious ceremony or something more spiritual or secular, your officiant will help make your union official.
Depending on your style, you might opt for a simple bouquet or go all out with an arch and aisle decor. Local florists can help you choose blooms that are in season and match your aesthetic!
For those who want to relive the day forever, a videographer is worth considering. They’ll capture not just images but the sounds, movements, and emotions of the day.
Hair & Makeup
Having a pro can make all the difference for those close-up shots. They’ll know how to make sure you look your best in the Hawaiian sun – especially if you have a longer timeline.
Especially for destination elopements, having someone local to help you organize can be a game-changer. They’ll know all the best vendors, spots, and can coordinate everything on the day-of. I’d recommend hiring a coordinator if you’re inviting guests and have that longer timeline!
How Much Does It Cost to Elope in Hawaii?
Eloping can definitely be more budget-friendly than a traditional wedding, but it isn’t necessarily cheap – especially in a location like Hawaii. On average, you might be looking at:
- Flights: Around $500-$1,200 per person, depending on where you’re flying from and when.
- Accommodations: You’re probably going to want something more special than a budget motel for your elopement. Mid-range to luxury accommodations can range from $300 to $500+ per night.
- Officiant: Fees can vary, but you’re typically looking at around $200-$500.
- Photographer: This is a big one, and prices can vary dramatically based on experience and packages, but expect to pay around $6000 – $10,000 for quality elopement photography.
- Videographer: If you’re adding video, add another $1,000-$3,000 to your budget.
- Florist: A simple bouquet and boutonniere could run you around $250-$400, while arches and additional arrangements could easily push that number to the thousands.
- Hair and Makeup: Expect to pay around $250-$500 (per person) depending on your needs and the artist’s experience.
- Permits and Fees: Don’t forget about marriage license fees, park permits, etc. This could add another $100-$300 to your budget.
- Food and Drink: Whether it’s a romantic dinner or a small gathering with your closest family and friends, you’re probably looking at around $50-$150 per person for something special.
- Miscellaneous: Then there are the little things – rings, attire, transportation. These can add up, so let’s tack on another $1000-$3,000.
All told, a Hawaii elopement can range from around $8,000 on the low end to $15,000 or more for a more luxurious experience. But remember, this is YOUR day. Make it as simple or as extravagant as you wish!
Best Hawaii Elopement Locations
Best for: Adventurous couples who love dramatic cliffs and ocean views.
Permit required: Yes
Why it’s special: Apart from its breathtaking beauty, Waimea Bay is famous for its giant, curling waves – ideal for extra epic photos.
Considerations: Due to its popularity, it can get crowded, so early morning or late afternoon ceremonies are best.
Best for: Couples looking for powdery white sand and crystal-clear water.
Permit required: Yes
Why it’s special: It’s actually rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!
Considerations: Parking can be a hassle, so plan ahead or arrive early.
Best for: Those who dream of saying “I do” above the clouds.
Permit required: Yes
Why it’s special: Imagine watching the sunrise over a sea of clouds before exchanging vows.
Considerations: The temperature can drop significantly, so dress accordingly.
Best for: Nature lovers who fancy black sand beaches and lava tubes.
Permit required: Yes
Why it’s special: The contrast of the black sand and lush greenery makes for some super cool and non-traditional photos.
Considerations: Being a state park, you’ll need to adhere to specific rules and guidelines.
Best for: Adventurous souls who want dramatic, untouched landscapes.
Permit required: Yes, for certain areas.
Why it’s special: The cliffs, waterfalls, and greenery are almost otherworldly.
Considerations: This area is often accessed by boat or helicopter, adding to the adventure but also the cost.
Best for: Beach lovers looking for a more laid-back, classic Hawaii backdrop.
Permit required: Yes
Why it’s special: The bay offers a long, walkable beach with a mountainous backdrop.
Considerations: This is a popular spot, so again, early morning or late afternoon is best to avoid crowds.
Best for: Those who want a mix of dramatic cliffs, forests, and beach.
Permit required: Yes
Why it’s special: The valley offers a mix of different sceneries all rolled into one!
Considerations: It’s a bit of a trek to get there, so it’s best suited for adventurous couples.
Best for: Couples who want to literally take their love to new heights.
Permit required: Yes
Why it’s special: Standing above the clouds, you can cap off the ceremony with some of the world’s best stargazing.
Considerations: The altitude and changing weather conditions mean you need to be prepared for anything.
Sample Hawaii Elopement Timeline
Your timeline is really up to you! Here’s a sample day-of timeline just to get the wheels turning:
- 10:00 am: Breakfast + Quiet Time
- 11:00 am: Getting Ready Photos
- 1:00 pm: First Look and Couple’s Photos
- 3:00 pm: Ceremony
- 4:00 pm: Sunset Photos
- 6:00 pm: Private Dinner
After Your Hawaii Elopement: Adventure Awaits
Eloping in Hawaii is just the first chapter of your new life together. After the “I dos,” the islands offer an endless array of adventures to kickstart your married life. Here are some thrill-packed activities you won’t want to miss:
Ever dreamed of soaring over waterfalls, volcanic craters, or lush valleys? Book a helicopter tour for unparalleled views. Imagine holding hands, a panorama of tropical beauty below you – now that’s a killer way to celebrate!
If both of you are water babies, hit the waves with a surf lesson. Whether you’re a beginner or just looking to improve your skills, a surf session is a pretty cool bonding activity that’ll give you a new respect for Mother Nature’s power.
Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
Explore the underwater paradise that is Hawaii’s coral reef ecosystems. Book a guided snorkel or dive tour to see vibrant marine life up close. It’s like Finding Nemo, only you’re part of the story.
Hiking to Waterfalls
Go chasing waterfalls – literally. Hawaii has trails that range from easy to challenging, culminating in breathtaking waterfalls. Pack a picnic and enjoy a secluded afternoon swimming in the freshwater pools.
Zip-lining over Hawaii’s stunning landscapes? Yes, please! Feel the rush as you zip from tree to tree, a blur of emerald green and earthy brown below you. It’s exhilarating and offers a unique vantage point of the islands.
End a day of adventure with a more serene activity. Book a private sunset cruise and watch the sky explode into hues of pink, orange, and gold as you toast to your forever.
Star-gazing on Mauna Kea
If you’re on the Big Island, you can’t miss star-gazing on Mauna Kea. It’s an experience that transcends the usual tourist activities. You’ll need to acclimate to the altitude, but once you’re there, it’s just you, your partner, and the universe.
Off-Road ATV Tours
Unleash your inner daredevil with an off-road ATV tour. Roar through muddy trails, picturesque landscapes, and historical sites as you explore parts of Hawaii that many tourists never get to see.
Okay – you ready to do this thing?!
Now that I’ve given you literally everything you need to know about eloping in Hawaii… LET’S GET TO PLANNING! Yes, even though I’m a photographer, I loooove helping my couples plan the heck out their microwedding or elopement. To get this party started, be sure to check out my packages, and then inquire through my contact form when you’re ready!