Hawaii is an incredible place for an elopement. From a variety of isalnds, cliffs, jungles, clear ocean, and stunning beaches. You can’t go wrong in this incredible State. This elopement guide is going to cover everything you need to consider such as seasons, crowds, locations, and permits. We will go over exactly how to elope in Hawaii, and beautiful Hawaii elopement locations.

Why Choose Hawaii for your Elopement?

When it comes to wedding destinations, Hawaii is an absolutely magical place that should be on the top of your list. Not only is Hawaii a dreamy tropical paradise with stunning natural landscapes and incredible beaches. It’s also one of the most popular elopement destinations in the world.

And yet, it is one of the most convenient elopement destinations in the world. You don’t need to worry about obtaining a passport or undergoing extensive travel preparations. With multiple direct flights from various destinations in the United States, getting to Hawaii is a breeze.

How to Get to Hawaii

If you’re eloping in Oahu, you will want to fly into  Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. For Maui, there is only one major airport to come into from the states, which is Kahului Airport. The other airports do travel between the other islands. For Big Isaland, you’ll want to fly into Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole. Lastly, for Kauai, you’ll fly into the Lihue Airport.

These are all of the airports that accept flights from the mainland. You can also island hop, and take advantage of the smaller airport on the islands to deal with less crowds at the major airports!

intimate hawaii wedding

Best Time to Elope in Hawaii

The best time to elope in Hawaii is the winter (February-March) or the fall (September-November.) However, it’s important to research all of the seasons for your Hawaii elopement, and figure out what weather will suit you and your partners needs the most. Here is what each season looks like in Hawaii:


Spring is a beautiful time in Hawaii. Temps are within the 80’s and the summer tourism hasn’t totally picked up yet. Rates slowly start going back up for flights and lodging around spring due to spring break. However, if you prefer the warmer weather, this is a slightly hotter time than in winter, and still isn’t as crowded as Summer or the holiday season.


Summer is peak season in Hawaii. Schools are out for summer, and a lot of people travel here with their families. This is when lodging and flights are going to be the most expensive, and when you’re likely to deal with more crowding in Hawaii, especially Oahu. The temps are within the 90’s. The produce and flowers are plentiful. If you really want a summer elopement, you can still absolutely find less crowded spots by looking into more remote locations.


Fall is one of my favorite times for a Hawaii elopement. Specifically between September to November. This is known as the shoulder season, when tourism is at a very low point. Things like flights and lodging are the cheapest during these shoulder seasons, and you’ll find a lot of space without crowds.


Winter is another incredible time for a Hawaii elopement. However, I would fully avoid December and January. December is another high peak time of the year due to winter vacation, Christmas, and New Years. Some of that holiday and off time traffic still floods into the month of January. During these times, rates go back up. February through March is perfect, as the crowds are gone, and rates are again back down. It’s also a mild time of year, hanging out in the high 70’s. Perfect for couples who don’t want to deal with a ton of heat.

intimate hawaii elopement

Hawaii Wedding Permit

To elope in Hawaii, you will need a permit. There is a list of pre-approved locations for weddings, and you can take a look at them here. There are other beaches and parks run by State Parks or through the BLM, so who you will contact for a permit will sometimes depend. In order to get a permit, you will need to apply to view the permits here. Once you’re approved for that, you’ll apply for a permit with your specific location, which can be done here.

Lastly, you will have to submit a Certificate of Liability Insurance. You can see that here. This might sound like a lot of steps, but the forms are easy and straightforward to fill out. Plus, I help all of my eloping couples with the entire process. The last thing to consider is that each location will have regulations. Make sure you’re prepared to follow the rules set for the location prior to applying!

How to Get a Hawaii Marriage License

Getting a marriage license in Hawaii is actually fairly easy. You will need to fill out the online application here, and pay the $65.00 fee.

After that, you will both need to appear in person to pick up your marriage license and finish the application. This is the part this is a little complicated in Hawaii. Instead of applying through the county you’re eloping, you apply through that first link I listed above. You will then additionally have to find a licensing agent in the area where you are eloping.

However, there is a list of all the different licensing agents on the different islands, you can find that here. Make sure to apply online BEFORE reaching out to them. Your agent will tell you what you need to bring to finish your application. You will both need to appear, and bring valid ID. After that, you’re given your marriage license and set to use it right away as there’s no waiting period in Hawaii! I help my eloping couples with this entire process when they hire me to work with them as their elopement photographer!

sunrise hawaii elopement

How to Elope in Hawaii

You plan a Hawaii elopement in similar ways as you’d plan any adventure elopement. There are a few major steps, and you can read about those here on my thorough guide on how to elope. For this Hawaii elopement guide, I’m going over the major things you’ll need to consider!


This is an imperative part of the planning process for elopements. This is because some guests won’t have the hiking ability, some might not be able to be in the sun all day, and a lot of Hawaii elopement locations have a cap on how many guests you can have. Choosing a location will be much easier once you’ve determine who you’re inviting, and how many guests total you’ll have.


This might feel early in the planning process, but bear with me. Elopements don’t have wedding planners. Most elopement photographers have taken it upon themselves to help couples with some of the planning. Many actually help you find your location! And they will think of things you might not have considered, such as: lighting, elevation, difficulty in hiking in a dress, permits, and so much more.

Each elopement photographer offers something different. Personally, I send my couples a customized list of locations based on their preferences, hiking ability, who they want to invite, and what they want to see. I also help them determine lodging options, get permits, get their marriage license, recommend vendors, and create a comprehensive day of timeline, and offer unlimited guidance calls for any questions along the way.

The being said, hiring your Hawaii elopement photographer early is going to take a massive amount of planning stress off of your shoulders. Wanna chat? Contact me here!


This is going to help you choose a date and maybe even a specific location, as some locations can be more humid than others. Certain season bring more heat, humidity, or cooler and mild temps. So researching what each season in Hawaii brings will help you determine the best time of year to elope in Hawaii.


Once you’ve decided on how much you’d like to hike, how many guests are coming, your ideal weather, and the landscapes you want, you’re ready to deep dive into researching Hawaii elopement locations. Finding the perfect spot will be a lot simpler after considering all of your needs and logistics.

This is information I collect from my couples through a questionnaire, and then use to make a customized list of Hawaii elopement location options for them.


Once you have your location, it’s time to consider if there’s anything you need vendors for. Do you need any event rentals? Do you want a friend or family to officiate, or do you want to hire an officiant? Will you go out to eat, or do you want something catered, like a meal at an Airbnb from a private chef?

Figure out what extra services you may want, and hire your vendors in advance!


You will need to get the correct permits for your elopement. These are usually “special use” permits that you apply for on the National Parks website, or National Forest/BLM website.

Personally, I get all permit information for my eloping couples that hire me. With that, all you need to do is fill out the application when it’s sent to you and pay the fee. Fee’s vary, but are usually around $150 or less.


Activities are such a fun part of an elopement. When you choose to elope, you’re opening yourself up to having a wedding day celebration that feels unique and resonates with you. Incorporate things that will elevate your elopement day experience. Here’s just a few ideas to get you brainstorming:

  • Going on a hike
  • Having a bonfire
  • Having a picnic on a beach
  • Star-gazing or astrophotography
  • Swimming
  • Cliff jumping
  • Visiting waterfalls
  • Camping
  • Glamping
  • Hiring a private chef
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Helicopter tour (landing on, mountains seeing volcanoes, etc)
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Sightseeing
  • Scenic driving with time to stop for pictures
  • Sunset cruise
  • Exchanging gifts
  • Reading letters from friends or family


Making a timeline is an important part of any elopement. It strings together all of your locations, activities, and lets guests know where to be and when. Creating a well thought out timeline will help you feel relaxed during the day, instead of stressed or rush. Make sure to include drive times as well as buffer times between each “event.”

Here are the things I include in the timelines I make for my couples:

  • All addresses
  • Sunrise time
  • Sunset time
  • Drive times
  • A linke to Accuweather
  • A list of all names for group shots
  • Vendor info
  • Emergency contact info
  • A packing list

Which Hawaii Island to Elope At

Now that we’ve gone over the all general information of how to elope in Hawaii, the logistics of permits, and the best seasons, it’s time to consider what Island would be best for your elopement. Each island offers something a little different. Personally, I feel like you can’t go wrong with any of them. However, there are distinct differences, and each should be researched before your find a more specific Hawaii elopement location.

Big Island

Big Island is the biggest of all of the Islands of Hawaii. Hence, the name. This means that there is a lot to explore here. Due to its size, it has the most diversity in not only landscape, but climate. If you’re looking to get the full Hawaii experience and see a bit of everything, this a great location for you. It’s also a great spot for a ton of hiking, and it’s easy to find remote locations and get a ton of privacy.


Kauai is the smallest of the main islands in Hawaii. It’s also one of the least developed. So if you’re looking for an array in options for resorts, restaurants, etc, Maui and Oahu will be a better choice. However, if you want to have a lot of privacy, see a ton of waterfalls, and be really immersed in nature, this is an amazing Hawaii elopement location for you.


Oahu is easily the most developed, and recives the most tourism. A lot of the beaches near the resorts are heavily populated, making it a bit harder to find a private elopement location. However, there’s a ton of areas on the island that are stunning and less crowded, such as the North Shore and West Side of the island. If you’re looking for a half and half experience of exploring more remote locations, and want the luxury of a big city with a ton of amenities, Oahu is a great choice for you. You can read my entire guide on eloping in Oahu here!


Maui might be one of my favorite Hawaii elopement locations. Maui has the most “exotic” locations. A ton of rainforest, and extremely tropical areas, red and beaches, lava scapes, and a ton of tall mountains. As someone who loves the tropical feel but also wants diversity, I highly recommend this location to couples who like to explore and love a lush location. You can read my entire guide on eloping in Maui here!

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Hawaii

A marriage license in Hawaii is $65, so technically, it costs $65.00 to elope in Hawaii. That being said, most couples spend an average of $5000-$20,000 on their elopement. This includes flights, lodging, permits, vendors, wedding attire, meals, and anything extra a couple might want.

Hawaii Elopement Locations

There are a ton of stunning Hawaii elopement locations. Since there are a few different islands, you’re actually working with a lot of diversity. Keep in mind, this list of Hawaii elopement locations is the tip of the iceberg. When couples hire me to photograph their elopement, I make them a custom list based on what they want to see, landscapes, weather, and group size. For now, here’s a list of stunning Hawaii elopement locations:

Waialae Beach Park

This small and secluded beach is located in Honolulu and offers stunning views of Diamond Head. With white sand, turquoise waters, and a grassy area perfect for a small ceremony. I recommend eloping here during the shoulder season, or sunrise when there are less people!

Waimanalo Bay

Hawaii elopement locations

One of my favorite Hawaii elopement locations. This a short drive from Waikiki, Waimanalo Bay offers a quieter and less crowded setting for your elopement. With miles of pristine beach and crystal-clear waters. A good option for couples who are in Oahu and don’t want to do much driving.

Secret Beach

As the name suggests, this hidden gem can only be accessed by hiking down a steep trail, but the reward is worth it. With towering cliffs, turquoise waters, and a secluded location, this is awesome for couples who love adventure and want to be away from crowds. This Hawaii elopement location is located in Kauai.

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

Hawaii elopement locations

This sacred Hawaiian site offers a unique and cultural location for your elopement. With its historic ruins, palm trees, and stunning ocean views, it’s a breathtaking setting for an intimate Hawaii wedding. This Hawaii elopement location is located on Big Island.

Crouching Lion

Hawaii elopement locations

short but incredibly steep hike the boasts some of my favorite views in Hawaii. You have to crouch under trees while going up a steep incline to reach the top. Once you’re there, you’re high above the ocean with incredible views. This location would be absolutely perfect for an intimate ceremony, and is one of my favorite Hawaii elopement locations I’ve shot at. Located on Oahu.

Makena Cove

Hawaii elopement

Makena Cove is one of my favorite Maui elopement locations because of how stunning it is. It feels a lot more secluded, and is absolutely perfect during sunset. This is a great location for either a ceremony or portraits. Located in Maui, Hawaii.

Ironwoods Beach

Hawaii elopement

I absolutely love ironwoods beach, due to the amazing rugged rock structures around it. This Hawaii elopement location is perfect for adventurous couples, and you’re able to get away from other people by climbing around on the rocks while exploring. This location is located in Maui, Hawaii.

Yokohama Bay

Hawaii elopement

Yokahama Bay is a STUNNING Hawaii elopement location. It’s incredibly secluded and tranquil. This is also an amazing time for whale watching during the fall! There’s also a few trails nearby, and you can easily get a ton of different landscapes in this beautiful location. This location is located in Oahu, Hawaii.

Lanikai Beach

Hawaii elopement locations

One of my favorite Oahu elopement locations, Lanaikai Beach has a long stretch of shallow water before dropping off into blue turquoise calm ocean, with islands in the background. Once again, I have ONLY shot here at sunrise, and highly recommend it. Not only because it gets busy, but because this location is on the East short and gets stunning sunrises.

Lodging in Hawaii

Lodging is important when it comes to elopements. A lot of couples incorporate their lodging into aspects of their wedding day. For example, getting ready + getting ready photos, a first look, an intimate reception with friends, a dinner made by a private chef, etc. Once you’ve decided what you’ll incorporate in your day, pick a location that will allow everything you want to include.

If you want to host an intimate reception, I highly recommend a vacation rental such as a cabin or an Airbnb. You can also stay at hotels, resorts, chalets, campgrounds, etc. Here are some amazing lodging options in Hawaii:

Hawaii elopement

Hawaii Elopement Packages

Elopement photography by Emilee Setting Photo, and everything included in my packages:

  • Explore anywhere within Hawaii, all travel fees included in the price!
  • Packages from half day elopements to multi-day elopements
  • Receive a customized location list
  • Help finding lodging that suits your needs if you’re having an intimate reception
  • Included comprehensive timeline design
  • Help obtaining your permits
  • Help obtaining your marriage license
  • A planning checklist
  • Unlimited planning and guidance calls 
  • All of your stunning photos delivered under three months
  • Day of polaroid sneak peeks

Hawaii elopement packages starting at $6800. Want more information on my pricing and what’s included? Click here

hawaii jungle elopement

Ready to Elope in Hawaii?

This Hawaii elopement guide is a way to get you excited about all the possibilities of what your day could look like. Although, this amount of information can be overwhelming. I’m here to help. I can answer any and all questions you have on a complimentary low pressure consultation call. If you then choose you’d like to work together, I’ll do all of this planning right by your said to alleviate any stress, and bring your Hawaii elopement vision to life. We can chat here!

Don't forget your free elopement planning checklist


You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

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