Kauai is one of my favorite places to shoot elopements and weddings. For Jennifer and Steven’s elopement in Kauai, they opted for dramatic cliffsides near Poipu.
Poipu is on the south side of Kauai, with a resort-like feel. Because it is the southern part of the island, it is usually drier here. But that was not the case for their elopement! It happened to be pouring the entire week leading up to Jennifer and Steven’s wedding, but that’s okay because everything worked out and rain is known as a “good luck” omen for weddings.
I picked Jennifer up after she had gotten ready, and we headed to the beach to meet Steven for their first look. With my eye on the Doppler radar, we were waiting for the perfect time! While the rain didn’t completely clear, it let up just enough for the two of them to have their first look together. After they had that special moment just the two of them, we wandered along the cliffs and forests for photos.
Family members soon joined us on the beach for their Kauai elopement ceremony, with Jennifer’s sister officiating. Once the ceremony finished, we snapped some family shots! And of course, right after the last few group photos of the day, it started pouring again.
I love the Poipu area of Kauai for elopements because you are never more than five minutes away from someplace epic! Read on for more of my Kauai elopement tips and info!
Hair/Makeup Company: Artists Co.
Hair/Makeup Artist: Mia Moriguchu
Florals: Blue Orchid Kauai
YOUR GUIDE TO ELOPING IN KAUAI
South Side of Kauai
In general, the south side of the island can be more resort-like and attracts the most tourists! Towns like Poipu, where you’ll find cute spots such as Living Foods– where you can grab some light bites & drinks. It’s super cute and has some unique grocery items inside along with an incredible brunch on the weekends! Want to grab dinner somewhere upscale? Try Beachhouse, which is great for a celebratory meal!
If you’re a Lilo and Stitch fan, this one is for you. The town of Hanapepe was the inspiration for the town in the movie! It can be a cute stop while you’re in the area. And before checking out some of south Kauai’s natural wonders, head to Warehouse 3540 in Lawai. It’s a fun little marketplace with shops and food trucks!
Things to Do on the South and West Side of Kauai
Kōkeʻe State Park/Waimea Canyon are amazing places to see. It’s like a smaller Grand Canyon in the middle of an island! You can drive through the whole thing, and stop to soak up the sights and various lookouts. Keep in mind that if it’s too cloudy, you won’t be able to see too far so keep an eye on the weather! Camping is a blast here, so don’t forget layers because it can get chilly at night! Usually it is drier and warmer and the beginning of the canyon, and wetter near the end (remember to bring your rain jacket!).
If you want to see the incredible mountains that make up this canyon from the shoreline, I highly recommend doing a boat tour. This is probably the most unique and incredible activity you can do while you are in Kauai and you won’t regret the breathtaking views. They are many different tours…from sunset catamaran tours that include a meal, snorkeling tours, or smaller boats that go into some of the caves. Regardless of the craft to get you there, it’s worth the trip! These tours depart year round from Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor on the west side of Kauai or from Hanalei only in the summer months on the north shore.
Places to Stay on the South Side of Kauai
You aren’t too far from the airport if you choose to stay near the east side of Kauai, which can be a plus. There are also a lot of cool hotels which can be more budget friendly. The most populated town in Kauai, Kapa’a, has a bunch of shops and places to stay. You might want to check out Fish Bar Deli, a cute restaurant in old town Kapa’a with incredible cocktails and food with local ingredients. If you’re looking for a hotel to stay at, the newly renovated Kauai Shores Hotel has a nice pool, lawn games, and is right next door to the Lava Lava Beach Club – where you can enjoy live music.
Things to Do on the East Side of Kauai
You will definitely want to stay near east/central Kauai if you are wanting to hike during your trip! This area is accessible to a lot of hikes, including Sleeping Giant. This area of the island is your go-to for so many outdoor activities! And soaking in the beauty of Kauai is never a bad idea.
Places to Stay on the East Side of Kauai
North Shore of Kauai
The North Shore is the go-to area for those seeking a natural Kauai experience. With more rain on this part of the island than others, that leads to lush jungles and beautiful greenery. You’ll find staggering cliffs and mountains near towns such as Princeville. You can even see waterfalls from mountaintops where it’ll be raining at the summit, but sunny near the base. So cool! The area of Hanalei Bay is another place that is really neat to explore. Find cute coffee shops nearby such as Trilogy Coffee in Kilauea or Hanalei Bread Co. You’ll find my favorite hidden gem, Palate Wine Bar, up in the North Shore, too! The have yummy flatbread pizzas, an amazing assortment of wines and beer, pasta, salads, and cheese boards. Delicious!
Things to Do on the North Shore of Kauai
The North Shore is a great place to learn how to surf, so why not take a surfing lesson? This is a really popular activity for visitors. Keep in mind that you want to be as respectful of the locals as possible: obey parking signs near the beach, drive slowly and safely. The North Shore draws a lot of visitors, so we need to make sure we treat the area with respect.
Another fun thing to do on the North Shore is visit the gorgeous Hāʻena State Park. You’ll totally want to hike Kalalau trail, but remember that reservations are required and I strongly recommend taking the Go Hāʻena shuttle to get to the park.
Places to Stay on the North Shore of Kauai
There you have it – your ultimate guide to the gorgeous island of Kauai! Can’t wait to help you plan your Hawaiian elopement in this slice of paradise.