Some couples dream of a party with all of their friends and family, but for others it’s a dream of salty air and private vows; spending time with just your partner in the most beautiful spot on earth. Hawaii is a popular elopement spot, and for good reason. With beautiful weather year round, and a variety of locations to choose from, it’s all you could want for a romantic day away from the world to commit to forever with your partner. You can through the jungles, or read private vows overlooking the coastlines and beaches, and complete the adventure with a helicopter ride through the mountains and valleys of the islands. No matter what you choose, your Hawaii elopement is going to be the adventure of a life time!
Hawaii consists of 6 main islands: Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and The Big Island. Oahu and The Big Island are known for their nightlife and stunning mountains. Maui is a quieter island with amazing beaches, The Road to Hana, and Haleakala volcano. Molokai is known for its stunning sea cliffs and remains virtually untouched by tourism. Lanai is the smallest of the main islands and offers luxurious resorts and world-class amenities. Kauai has some of the best preserved nature and lots of muddy, rewarding hikes. Some of the most popular spots on Kauai are the Nepali coast and the Waimea Canyon. You can even visit multiple islands during your stay for a pretty low cost! Whether you’re looking for lush green forests, rugged coastlines, gorgeous waterfalls, or tropical beaches the magical archipelago of Hawaii has it all!
Waimea Canyon Elopement: This location is known as the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. With its red dirt, sweeping mountains, and waterfall views, it is the perfect location to read your vows! Located West of Kauai, it’s a quick 20 – 30 mins drive from the city of Poipu. You’ll want to stay on the south side of the Kauai to cut drive time to the west side of the island in half.
Kokee State Park Elopement: If you want your elopement to include epic views of the Nepali coast, Kokee State Park is the perfect spot. Located on the West side of the island, Kokee isn’t far from Waimea Canyon and includes a spectacular drive. To get there you’ll have to take the singular windy road all the way to the top of the mountain, with plenty of jaw dropping lookouts onto the rigid coastline that Kauai is famous for.
South Shore Beach Elopement: Poipu beach park, named “America’s Best Beach”, is located on the south shore of the island. The south shore offers gorgeous cliffside beaches including Shipwrecks Beach, Makauwahi Cave Reserve, and Secret Beach.
North Shore Beach Elopement: The North side of the island is my absolute favorite part of Kauai! It’s home to iconic locations such as Queen’s Bath, Tunnels Beach, the Kilauea Lighthouse, Haena Beach Park, and so many more. This area has so much to explore! I’d recommend staying in Princeville to enjoy mountain views and easy access to explore the North side of the island.
Kauai is my absolute favorite island, and is definitely the one I’d recommend for your Hawaii adventurous elopement! With less tourism than other islands, and so many gorgeous locations to choose from, it’s the perfect spot to spend your special day! Many locations require minimum hiking, making it easy to bring your family along to witness the ceremony if you choose. Take a helicopter ride and fly over the Jurassic Park Waterfalls, through Waimea Canyon, and into the Nepali Coastline! There’s so much to do here you’ll want to spend a few days enjoying all the different areas. My husband and I shared our honeymoon here and even got spontaneous matching tattoos during our trip, so I may be a little biased, but in my mind Kauai is truly heaven on earth!
Honokalani Black Sand Beach Elopement: Located on the Road to Hana, this black sand beach is iconic for its stunning colors. The black sand, blue water, and lush green plants create the perfect backdrop for an elopement. It is important to note this space is incredibly sacred to the Hawaiian people, so if this is your chosen elopement spot we will do some extra work to make sure we are being respectful.
Haleakalā National Park Elopement: This location is home to Maui’s 10,023-foot dormant volcano and offers spectacular sunrise views and glimpses of local endangered birds. Haleakala offers vastly different views from the rest of the island of Maui, with volcanic rock and a dry sparse landscape. This unique spot offers amazing mountain views and plenty of room for adventure!
Maui is the best of both worlds! Larger than Kauai it offers a few more options for night life, places to stay, and activities, while still not being too touristy. The road to Hana is a very popular attraction for many visiting the Island. And a bonus if you plan your elopement between the months of December – May… Whales! Yup, you can hop on a boat and view whales breeching out of the waters during their migration. This island is family friendly with so much to offer!
Kahana Bay Elopement: This iconic Hawaii location offers sandy beaches with mountain views, as well as short hikes up into the mountains for views that look out onto the bay. It is located on the east side of the island, and looks like it’s straight out of a magazine.
Makapuʻu Lookout Elopement: This lookout is easily accessible with minimal hiking, and some epic blow holes nearby, making it a great option if you’re bringing family along. You can read your vows on this rocky cliffside, and then head down to the sandy beach to enjoy a picnic or a romantic walk along the ocean.
Kaʻena Point State Park Elopement: Located on the Northwest side of the island and probably the furthest from the tourist-filled Waikiki, Kaʻena Point is the best spot on Oahu for those looking for a more adventurous elopement experience. Go off-roading or find an amazing hiking trail before your intimate ceremony on the beach. There is so much for you to do in Kaʻena Point State Park, you can easily make a whole day of it!
Oahu is probably the most versatile island in Hawaii! There are plenty of nightlife activities to enjoy, shops to visit, and restaurants to try. You can spend your time on the south shore enjoying all of the shops, live music, and shaved ice you desire or you can head over to the North shore were life is a bit more simple and laid back.
One of my favorite thing about elopement days, is embracing the day, no matter what type of weather we get! While Hawaii is known for being sunny and warm, don’t be fooled into thinking it never rains here. Rain is actually very common on the island, and is the reason for the gorgeous lush greens we see inland. Hawaii is home to microclimates, which means that it can be raining on one part of the island and sunny on the other side and can change very quickly throughout the day. Hawaii can be the perfect place to elope year round, but to do our best to avoid the rain and the tourism crowds, I suggest eloping sometime between April – June.
It’s so important that you choose a photographer that you feel a strong connection with. After all this person will be with you through every moment of your elopement day! Here is a little bit about myself and my mission. From a young age, I felt an attachment and connection to the human experience. I expressed myself through art, graduating with a design degree, but I was dreaming of the days that I could travel and connect with others on a personal level. Fortunately, I was able to bring all of my passions together through elopement and wedding photography! My goal with all of my couples is to bring a sense of adventure and confidence to your day that is focused on experiencing every moment to its fullest potential. I love taking couples to epic locations where the world stands still, and you can express yourselves fully and begin to see your relationship and the world in a new and exciting way!
Looking for someone to come along side and help you with all the logistics of planning your Hawaii Elopement? Sydney at Wildly in Love is so much fun and can help you to get the most out of your day. She’ll be there on your elopement day to carry your bags, help you change on site, make sure the check the weather, etc. Check out this blog on why you should hire a planner.
At the end of the day, your elopement is really about the legal joining of two people, so it’s important you don’t forget the person who makes it all official! Hawaii allows for you to have a friend or family member officiate your wedding as long as they are ordained and licensed by the state of Hawaii before the ceremony! If you’re looking for something with a nod to Hawaiian traditions, you can have the ceremony performed by a local minister, known as a kahuna pule or kahu. You also don’t need any witnesses in Hawaii, so if you want to exchange vows with only your officiant (and photographer, of course) you can definitely do so.
There are a ton of gorgeous spots to stay all over the islands of Hawaii. Whether you’re looking for a private home on Airbnb or a more traditional hotel, there are plenty of spots to choose from. These are my suggestions for the best spots on each island.
Kauai: The town of Poipu on the South side of the island is perfect if you are eloping on the West coast! And if you’re planning on spending most of your time at the North part of the island, I’d suggest staying near the town of Hanalei.
Maui: If you’re spending your time on The Road to Hana, I’d recommend staying on the East side of the island, but the southern part near Kihei also has some great options!
Oahu: The best options on the island of Oahu are condos and Airbnbs on the East side or North shore. For Oahu, I highly recommend steering clear of Waikiki to avoid tourists and traffic.
Many Hawaii locations require some additional permits, depending on the location. For some locations, you may need a permit from the Division of Land and Natural Resources.
Be sure to follow Leave No Trace Principles, so that we can malama aina: Care for the land, and care for those who call it home. Traditional Hawaiians hold close to these values, and believe that if you care for the land, it will care for you.
State parks in Hawaii allow groups of less than 25 without needing a group use permit, and although there isn’t an outright ban of groups larger than 25 you will need to fill out extra paperwork and pay additional fees. At Haleakalā National Park on Maui all elopements have a maximum of 25 people. If you have questions about a specific spot, it’s always best to reach out to the local government in advance to make sure your wedding day goes smoothly!
If you’re considering eloping, I’m not sure there’s anywhere in the world I would suggest more than the islands of Hawaii! There’s such a variety of locations available that anyone can find something they love. Say Aloha to this beautiful tropical state, and let’s give you the wedding day you always dreamed of!
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