When it comes to elopement locations and experiences, the islands of Hawaii offer no shortage of incredible opportunities for a one of a kind elopement celebration. Between the jaw-dropping beaches, magnificent views, and the lush and beautiful nature of the islands it’s easy to see why! But when it comes time to decide on where to elope in Hawaii, how do you choose? If you’re struggling to answer this question, or are just looking for more information as you begin to plan your elopement in Hawaii then you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to decide on the ideal location for your Hawaiian elopement!
Find Your Hawaii Elopement Photographer
First and foremost before you can decide between the different locations and options the islands have to offer, you will want to zero in on an elopement photographer! This is ALWAYS the first step I suggest couples take when planning out their elopement. Having your Hawaii elopement photographer early on in the planning process is super helpful because of all of our experience helping other couples elope in Hawaii. With Olson Productions, we work with each of our elopement couples to craft a day that fits their vision and have SO many tips and ideas that we love to share throughout the planning process.
Not to mention all of the locations we have carefully scouted and kept to ourselves just to share with our elopement couples! These locations are typically magical, secluded and some of our favorite spots to document an elopement day! Along with these locations, there are SO many other beautiful locations for eloping throughout Hawaii, here are some of my favorite spots throughout Hawaii.
Choosing an Island for Your Elopement
One of the first decisions you and your love will want to make when deciding where to elope in Hawaii is what island you want to elope on.
About the Islands of Hawaii
The island of Hawaii, also known as The Big Island, is known for its larger cities, beautiful venues, lush greenery, and more organized tourist activities like golfing, snorkeling, etc. Oahu is arguably the most versatile island. Tourism is still pretty high on this island because of its size, but there is a lot more greenery and national parks drawing people to the island. Kauai is more outdoorsy and adventurous with fewer large cities. Kauai has a very relaxed feel and is one of my favorite islands for elopements.
Maui is known for its variety of landscapes throughout the island. With white sand beaches, black sand beaches, red sand beaches, jungles, forests, mountains and so much more, there is so much to love about the Island of Maui for your elopement. Last but not least we have the islands of Molokai and Lanai. These islands are on the smaller side, and what they lack in organized activities they make up for in beauty and adventure!
Decide on An Experience
Knowing there is so much to think about when planning your elopement in Hawaii, I recommend deciding what kind of experience you and your lover hope to have for your elopement day first! Are you two hoping for some adventure? You might want to hike to your favorite lookout in Maui to elope with the sunrise. Or maybe you’re looking for something a little more laid back and taken care of for you like one of our full-service elopements where you elope on the North shore of Oahu and end your day with a sunset picnic. There really are no wrong answers here, you just want to decide on the experience you envision for your Hawaii elopement.
Applying for Your Permits
When it comes to having your elopement on the Hawaiian Islands you’re more than likely going to need a permit no matter where you decide to elope. Pretty much every beach throughout the islands requires a permit to have a ceremony there. Once you decide on a specific location for your elopement ceremony you’ll also want to do some research into whether or not they require a photography permit as well. If you’re having trouble finding information on the location’s website you can always call and ask directly, or refer to your photographer and ask if they’d be able to help you find the information and requirements as well. I always recommend starting this process early to avoid any complications!
Where to Elope in Hawaii
Now that we have the general planning out of the way it’s time to find the perfect spot for your elopement in the Hawaiian Islands! As I mentioned earlier this is by no means a definitive list of every location in Hawaii (we’d be here all day if that was the case!) this list is more to give you some ideas of some great locations to help get your brain flowing.
Where to Elope on the Big Island
The Big Island sort of gives the best of both worlds in that it has a lot of amazing resorts and places to stay, while still having a number of beautiful parks and beaches to elope at. If you do plan to elope on the Big Island and hope to have an intimate experience, I recommend thinking about eloping on a weekday or in the morning around sunrise. Many of these places are full of tourists each weekend and it can get challenging to find an intimate space in some of these popular parks.
Kealakekua Bay, also known as Captian Cook Bay, is an incredible location with black sand beaches, the Kealakekua Bay Cliffs, and scenic hikes that take you down to the waterfront. The bay itself is home to dolphins and is a very popular snorkeling location. I love the way the sun sets over the water for evening elopements, and how the sky warms up the entire cliffside that lines the bay.
Elopement at One of the Many State Beach Parks
The Big Island is full of so many resort beach fronts and state beaches that each offer something a little different from the last. Whether you want a more relaxed elopement sticking close to your resort, or hoping for an adventurous hike to a more secluded waterfront spot, there are SO many different options on the Big Island.
Where to Elope on Oahu
Though we may be biased (we are based out of Oahu), the island of Oahu has the perfect mixture of cities and natural Hawaiian beauty, making it a great choice for an elopement no matter what vibe you’re looking for. With this perfect balance though comes the challenge of more tourists being present throughout the year. This is by no means a deal breaker though as you’re able to avoid a large number of tourists depending on the location you choose and the time of day you have your elopement ceremony. The scenery and beauty of the island is well worth the added challenge of avoiding the tourists, as you can see from some of the incredible locations Oahu has to offer.
Found on the east side of Oahu, Crouching Lion is an intermediate hike whose view is VERY worth the added challenge that comes with it. The trail itself is full of lush greenery and the natural beauty Oahu and the Hawaiian islands are known for. The finale of the hike though takes you to an incredibly scenic overlook of the bay below that is absolutely jaw-dropping. It’s one of the most incredible views on the list and an easy spot to consider for your Hawaii elopement.
Ka’ena Point is a state park that can be found on the westmost point of Oahu and has a lot of options in terms of elopement locations. The park offers beachside locations as well as nature-filled hikes with plenty of beautiful views. The park itself is on a more remote part of the island so it’s a good idea to pack along some food to keep you fueled throughout the hike.
For a one of a kind Hawaiian Islands elopement experience look no further than the Kaneohe Sandbar on Oahu. This sandbar which is only accessible via boat or kayak is one of the coolest and most unique elopement locations the islands have to offer. With your elopement ceremony taking place on the sandbar you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful ocean water with views of the island in the background. I actually have a full feature post on the Kaneohe Sandbar if you’re looking to see more!
Where to Elope on Kauai
When it comes to experiencing the beauty of the Hawaiian islands to the fullest and having your elopement in its nature, Kauai really can’t be beaten. This is the island for the outdoorsy and adventurous couples looking to have their elopement experience with the natural beauty of the islands on full display. There aren’t many main cities on the island giving it a more relaxed vibe overall. That combined with the number of parks, trails, and outdoor activities the island offers and you end up with an elopement that’s fully in tune with nature and the peacefulness of the island.
This beach on the north side of Kauai offers an incredibly picturesque location for your elopement ceremony. If you want to have your elopement right down on the water, Anini Beach is the way to go. And with its ease of access alongside its mix of rocky and sandy shores, it makes for a prime location with a ton of options too!
Waimea Canyon is one of Hawaii’s most unique state parks. The state park looks over the BEAUTIFUL and colorful gorge of Waimea Canyon. The Waimea Canyon Lookout is very easily accessible, and only a short walk away from a parking lot. Whether you want to have your full elopement ceremony here or just spend a little bit of time soaking in Waimea Canyon’s beauty as you start your wedding day, it is a very beautiful and easily accessible location to include on your elopement day. Check out Christina and Daniels’ Waimea Canyon Elopement for a little inspiration on what to expect at this beautiful state park.
Kauai’s Princeville is filled with so much beauty. From the botanical gardens, Puu Poa Beach, and so many other locations that I love for my couples and their elopements, you really cannot go wrong with the Princeville area. The island’s edge consists of unique tide pools, seaside cliffs, and a number of easy to access beaches perfect for your elopement. I LOVED being a part of Michael and Martina’s Kauai Princeville Elopement where we started within some of the lush forests that make up the island, and ended their elopement on the beach watching the sunset.
Where to Elope on Maui
Maui, also called the Valley of Isle, is the second largest island of Hawaii. Maui is known for its variety of red and black sand beaches. It is also full of lush forests, waterfalls, and so many beautiful hikes and cliffs that line the water offering no shortage of incredibly picturesque elopement locations.
Kapalua Bay is home to so many cliffs, coves, and beaches that make for the perfect backdrops to your elopement. One of my past couples, Megan and Nelson spent their elopement together on the beach enjoying their time with one another. The laid-back beachfront has so much variety to explore throughout your elopement and is home to a lot of wildlife including sea turtles that Megan and Nelson actually had a chance to see during their beachfront elopement!
Kihei is known for its easygoing and laidback vibes making it one of the most relaxing places to plan your elopement. Kihei itself is a small beach town that lines the ocean filled with small shops and restaurants. The six miles of coast that make up Kihei are filled with dozens of beaches and so much to see. Pavel and Yulia, who spend a lot of time exploring the beaches that make up the island, actually introduced me to the beach that they eloped on which ended up being a beautiful backdrop for their sunset elopement. If you’re looking for somewhere laid-back for your Hawaii elopement, South Kihei might be for you.
Wai’anapanapa State Park also known as the black sands beach is an easily accessible state park on Maui that makes for a beautiful elopement destination. Filled with lava pools, natural stone arches, and even blow holes, this location is such a fun space to explore and host your elopement!
If you’re looking for more information on planning your elopement in Maui, check out this blog here! And to check out another one of my Maui elopements here’s Will and Cait’s on the west side of Maui.
Eloping on Molokai
If you do plan to elope on Molokai, you can count on your Hawaii elopement to be on the more adventurous side. Without the tourists, you can fully immerse yourself in the beauty and nature that makes up the small island. On the downside, there are less organized things to do on this island, but plenty of places to elope and explore throughout your trip, including some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world!
Eloping on Lanai
Another smaller island of Hawaii is Lanai. If you’re deciding where to elope in Hawaii and you’re looking for both intimacy along with a bit of variety, Lanai might be for you! The island has two very different feels from the east side to the west side. The west side of Lanai is filled with beaches, blue ocean views, and a lot of warm beachy vibes. Meanwhile, the east side of the island has more rugged land. Filled with waterfalls, rocky coastlines and cliffs, and lots of jungles.
As you can see not only is there a lot to plan out when looking to elope in Hawaii but also a TON of different options to consider for your perfect elopement location. If you’re having trouble deciding or would like more information on these locations as well as eloping in Hawaii we’d love to hear from you. Head over to our contact page and we can start planning your elopement together!