Eloping in the Hawaiian Islands is such a magical experience! Whether you are thinking of having an intimate wedding in Kauai or eloping just the two of you in Oahu, you really can’t go wrong. But if you are thinking of where to elope in Hawaii and the island of Maui has caught your eye, you’re not alone. A Maui elopement can be an incredible adventure. If you find yourself wondering how to elope in Maui, or wanting some tips on planning your elopement in Maui, I’ve got you.
Tips on Eloping in Maui
The Best Time of Year to Elope in Maui
Visiting Maui for your elopement can happen during any time of the year. However, the most popular time to visit Maui is September to October. During certain parts of the summer, the island will be busy and bustling with tourists. And as a top tip, if you’re wanting to go whale watching while you’re in Maui for your elopement, you’ll want to visit the island from November to March. Maui is one of the best places to see whales during this time. This is because it has the warmest and safest waters for these sea animals!
Maui is a popular destination for weddings and vacations. There will be people year-round, so visit Maui when it feels best for you!
How to Plan a Maui Elopement
When you’re eloping in Maui, you’ll want to know how to make your marriage legal in Hawaii. After you’ve determined that your paperwork is in order, chat with me, your Maui elopement photographer! We will explore ideas and concepts on how to make your elopement Maui truly special to the two of you. This includes locations for the perfect backdrop to your elopement ceremony, dining experiences to take advantage of the delicious food that Maui has to offer, and I’ll offer my custom tips on how to incorporate things you love doing together (as well as fun adventures and activities that you can only find in the Hawaiian Islands!).
Fun Activities for Your Maui Vacation
Whale watching, exploring waterfalls, surf lessons, and hiking are just some of the adventures that you can include while you’re eloping in Maui.
Consider visiting other small islands while you’re here! Maui is a uniquely oriented island. This tropical paradise is surrounded by other islands, and has a ferry to Lanai. During your Maui elopement or wedding, you can do day trips out to Lanai, or consider honeymooning there! There are two Four Seasons Resorts, cool off-roading beaches, and a cat sanctuary (talk about a unique experience!) on the small island of Lanai.
Dreaming of other places to have some fun during your Maui elopement? Consider hanging out on Molokaʻi to see absolutely epic views. An amazing elopement activity can be to take a helicopter tour on Molokaʻi, because this island is home to the world’s highest sea cliffs. If you want to do a day trip, there is a ferry you can take from Maui to Molokaʻi.
Boat tours and snorkeling tours abound on the island of Molokini, but that’s not all! For your elopement, you can also kayak here, and take in the views on a catamaran or sailboat.
Where to Stay in Maui
When you elope in Maui, staying at an Airbnb can be a cozy option that will really transport you to island life. Here are a few of my fave places to stay in Maui, just to get you started!
Where to Stay in South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)
Where to Stay in West Maui (Lahaina, Kapalua, Napili)
Where to Stay on Maui’s North Shore (Paia, Makawao, Haiku)
Where to Stay in Upcountry Maui (Kula)
Where to Stay in East Maui (Hana and Hamoa)
If this will be your first time visiting Maui or Hawaii, check out my tips for what to bring during your trip to the Hawaiian Islands.
Enjoy The Best Maui Elopement!
Now that you’ve gotten a little peek into planning an elopement in Maui, it’s time to get excited! Learning how to elope in Maui can feel a little daunting at first, but I am here to help you plan an effortless day for you two to enjoy.
Contact me and I can assist you in planning your ultimate elopement in Maui.
Have you thought about booking your stay in Hawaii at a spot that could also be your elopement or wedding venue? I am here to advocate for that!
Some of the benefits of booking a venue or Airbnb to stay in and host your wedding or elopement ceremony are:
Here are some of my favorite spots in Hawaii to stay and host your wedding!
Say hello to oceanfront homes near Kona with a secret beach. This property boasts an incredible lawn where you can host an intimate wedding, with the added bonus of being able to see the ocean. There is a cute room for getting ready with your bridal party, and a patio for cocktail hour. You can rent one of the houses, or, if you have a larger group, also rent the house next door!
This cute spot is located 15 minutes at most from Kona, Hawaii. Since you will be driving up in elevation, the landscape changes beautifully. Go from hot, beachy, dry Kona and start to enter the cool, lush jungle and farms of Holualoa! Holualoa Inn is surrounded by coffee farms, and has gorgeous landscaping. The sunsets are incredible here because you get a perspective looking down on the island! This elopement/wedding venue is usually cooler because you’re higher in elevation. It is also often overcast, which makes for great light for your wedding photos. And just in case it rains, say hello to their huge covered pavilion. As a bonus, their wedding and elopement packages include day-of coordination – perfect for putting your mind at ease as much as possible.
Take advantage of the prime location of Starseed Ranch in the North Kohala region of Hawaii. You can visit Hawaii’s pristine valleys without overwhelming the surrounding communities. Weddings and elopements at Starseed Ranch are hosted by SLH Weddings – an all-inclusive wedding planning partner.
Hale Kukui has incredible view of the temporarily closed Waipio valley. Waipio valley is probably going to be closed on and off for 2-3 years due to road maintenance and construction, so this is an amazing opportunity to still see the sights! There are a couple of different places to stay on the property, and it is well maintained. So much lush landscaping here that makes for good photos. If you want to elope at Hale Kukui in Hawaii, you are able to do that on your own. If you are looking to host a bigger wedding affair, hiring a planner is wise. Bliss in Bloom can help with that!
This elopement venue totally rocks if you are wanting to get married at a Hawaiian waterfall! This venue is super pretty, being nestled along a river with multiple waterfalls and really nice rooms. The Falls at Reeds Island is a popular space, so you should book in advance. There is typically a minimum nightly stay here, as well.
The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls just started offering intimate wedding packages. And if you have other lodging arrangements on the Big Island, you can still book property for your intimate wedding or elopement even if you don’t want to stay. It’s also a real fun location to trash the dress! This gorgeous waterfall rappelling elopement took place at The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls! And if you love adventures, the inn hosts no shortage of activities including farm to table dinners and cooking classes, stand up paddle boarding, and more!
Hale Naia is the last house on a secluded bay in South Kona, and right next to an area popular for kayaking tours. At this wedding/elopement venue, you are steps away from snorkeling with dolphins every morning! Valley views are popular in Hawaii, and while this isn’t necessarily a valley, it is almost the closest you can get because of the dramatically beautiful mountain that drops into ocean. If you are hosting a wedding with 10 or more guests, you will want to hire someone to help with transforming the ceremony space into a reception area. Sunshower Weddings is a wonderful option for this!
Located at an elevation of 1,100 feet in Kona, Hale Wailele is an incredible choice for both a wedding venue and a place to stay while in Hawaii. There is often a nice breeze here due to the elevation, and the pool is absolutely iconic! The vintage beach architecture of the Hawaiian Islands truly shines at Hale Wailele.
Weddings of 10 or more people usually need a coordinator or planner because of their skillset when it comes to different kinds of venues. In order for you to get the best from your venue, wedding planner, and photographer, I strongly recommend hiring a wedding planner to help with these venues that double as lodging!
Some wedding planners and coordinators that specialize in many of the above venues are:
For more ideas on where to stay when you elope in Hawaii, check out The Best Places to Stay in Hawaii. And if you’re ready to make the plunge into wedding photography for your small Hawaii wedding, fill out my contact form and lets get started!
The Hawaiian Islands are home to world-class dining – perfect for after your elopement, during your honeymoon, or any time in between as you visit Hawaii for your elopement or wedding!
I’ve broken down some of my favorite spots I love to recommend to couples. You will find something for everyone here: from restaurants where you can hold a reception for your intimate Hawaii wedding, to little hole-in-the-wall breakfast joints.
Let’s dive in to the best places to grab a bite in Hawaii – island by island!
A smaller wedding group can be accommodated at Brown’s Beach House in Waimea for farm to table food in a beautiful place.
Also in Waimea is Forc, which stands for Farmer, Ocean, Rancher, Cook. Elope in Hawaii and then have a yummy meal at Forc, because this restaurant can also be used as a reception venue.
Merriman’s is the go-to place for sustainability and yummy island flavors. You’ll want to make a reservation in advance, and soak up the beauty of Waimea from this picturesque restaurant.
If you’re eloping near Hilo, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of classic Hawaiian poke from Bite The Eye food truck. Fresh catch Hawaiian style food…what could be better to snack on after your Hawaiian elopement?!
Staying in Kona or Waikoloa? Ulu Ocean Grill is located about halfway between these two towns, inside the Four Seasons Resort. This is a great choice for an intimate dinner for you and your partner after your elopement or wedding.
Waikoloa is also home to Canoe House, another restaurant within a resort. Resort restaurants make planning your Hawaii trip so much easier – have a delicious meal right where you’ll be staying!
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN MAUI
There are so many choices when it comes to amazing food on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Nuka is an elegant izakaya style sushi restaurant in the quaint town of Haiku. Insider tip: you’ll want to head to this Japanese restaurant early on the weekends.
If you’re craving Italian food in Maui, Sale Pepe in Lahaina has you covered. Pastas and pizza…after-elopement pizza party?! Yes please!
Nutcharee’s Thai Food has some of the most authentic Thai food on the south shore of Maui: in Kihei, to be exact.
Maybe you’re thinking: “we are eloping in Hawaii to experience all of what Hawaii has to offer!”, and to that, my friends, I would recommend Paia Fish Market in Paia (and other locations!) for some of the freshest fish in the Hawaiian Islands.
Still seeking seafood? Mama’s Fish House is also in Paia. It’s right by the water and has great ambience – this is a really popular place in Maui!
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN OAHU
Oahu has the biggest food truck culture out of all the Hawaiian Islands. The north shore of Oahu has a ton of food trucks, a lot of which are really good!
Panda’s Thai Food Truck is one of my favorite food trucks on the north shore in Haleiwa. You can order ahead and have your food ready to go once you’re finished exchanging your vows.
Seven Brothers is a laidback burger joint that you can head to after your Hawaiian wedding. This classic American restaurant is located in Kahuku.
Honolulu is Oahu’s biggest city, and boasts the best Asian fusion restaurant in the form of Lucky Belly.
The Pig and The Lady delivers in terms of delectable Vietnamese flavors in Honolulu! You can dine-in, or do takeout or delivery.
Yummy poke can be found on every Hawaiian Island, and Oahu is no exception – thanks to The Hibachi in the town of Kailua. Elope near Kualoa Ranch and then have a poke lunch!
For more formal dining, and a beautiful dinner after your sunset ceremony, I would recommend Merriman’s Honolulu or The Original Roys – Hawaii Kai, a high-end chain serving chef Roy Yamaguchi’s Hawaiian fusion fare in a contemporary setting. Michel’s is also a wonderful option, providing elegant, classic French cuisine with beach or city views.
For dessert, grabbing some malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery is a MUST while you are in Oahu. A malasada is a Portuguese doughnut without a hole and they are to die for! My favorite is the haupia (Hawaiian coconut pudding) filled malasada, but they are all delicious, and my favorite malasadas across all of the islands. They have two locations, their flagship store in town, and a food truck near Hawaii Kai.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN KAUAI
Kauai is such a charming place, but it will require more planning ahead because it’s the sleepiest of the islands – definitely on “island time”!
Bar Acuda has such a cute name, and amazing food to match. Located in Hanalei, they serve tapas and cocktails. Be aware that this spot is closed on both Sundays and Mondays.
Another place in Hanalei is the charming Postcards restaurant. They have a lot of vegan and vegetarian options as well!
For wine connoisseurs, let me introduce you to Palate Wine Bar in Kilauea. Happy hour, flatbread pizza, and charcuterie boards are on the menu for your post-elopement meal!
For something more upscale, Beach House Restaurant in Koloa takes the cake in the best way. Reservations are strongly recommended here!
Plant based food and drink in Koloa can be yours with a stop at Leahi Health.
What about breakfast choices; either pre-elopement or the day after your Hawaii elopement? Kauai has its fair share of delicious restaurants that are some of the best places to eat in the Hawaiian Islands.
There is no shortage of incredible restaurants, bars, and food trucks on the Hawaiian Islands to satisfy your foodie hearts during your Hawaiian elopement, wedding, or honeymoon! Bon Appetit!
If you’re wanting to include a hair and makeup artist in your Hawaii elopement, there are a few things to keep in mind!
Hawaii elopements have their own set of considerations, such as humidity, time of day of your elopement, and the activities you’ll be doing.
I sat down to chat with Tia from Indigo Grace Artistry to learn more about her tips for getting your hair and makeup done in Hawaii.
“If you have a specific skincare routine, do that! We prefer a clean, washed face, and clean dry hair. If you have dirty hair, even if its one day old, and your hair isn’t used to the Hawaii humidity or is oily, it can effect the outcome of your style. We would have to use additional products to combat the oiliness. Clean dry hair will still get texture and grit because of the products we will use! As far as what to wear, a robe or button down shirt is great. I recently had a bride and her bridal party wearing menswear button up shirts, which was very cute for photos and practical for getting makeup and hair done! We want brides to be comfortable but able to take clothing items off easily to avoid messing up hair and makeup.”
“This will really depend on your hair itself. Some hair is easier to manipulate and make it do what we want it to. Blonde color treated hair is easy. The Hollywood waves look is very popular right now and is a top requested hairstyle, but doesn’t do well here. This hairstyle often falls into beachy waves which is still beautiful, but while these structured Hollywood glam waves will look beautiful in hotel room, outside in the humidity it tends to fall flat. Low textured updos can be very beachy, and also do well in windier environments. This hairstyle won’t get stuck in lipgloss! Updos also are not as hot, because your hair isn’t on your neck.
With hair extensions, you have more flexibility within your style because there is extra hair, which is more voluminous. We can keep your elopement hair style longer by putting in hair extensions. If you’re wondering, ‘do I need extensions? ‘, the answer is always yes. For volume, texture, and longevity of your bridal hairstyle, extensions are always helpful.“
“100% natural light is where we want to be, when it’s available. We often bring a makeup light as well, because I can choose warm or cool light depending on what the situation calls for. I will rearrange a room just to get natural lighting! Another tip is to have a table available for your hair and makeup artist to utilize. Side tables can only hold so much! If at all possible, being able to be given a space to work is 100% the most helpful accommodation brides can make for hair and makeup artists.”
Other suggestions would be to keep the doors/windows closed when possible if your room has A/C to keep the room as cool as possible.
“For peeling skin, I recommend drinking as much water as possible and moisturizing. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to do for skin when it is already peeling. When skin is sunburned, you will have more texture on skin. While it’s something you will notice up close, no one else will! We can color correct and ensure skin tone looks as even as possible. Brewing black tea and using tea bags on skin can help soothe and pull redness out of your skin. Don’t forget to hydrate so that your skin received moisture! You can always ask your photographer to do retouching if you are badly peeling. As makeup artists, we will use less powder and more creams and liquids for your Hawaii elopement look so that there isn’t anything sitting on the skin and making the difference in texture look too obvious.”
“A trial eliminates a bride wanting something different on their wedding day. But we don’t always have opportunity to do trials for destination weddings. As long as our elopement bride has an open mind as to their stylists making professional opinions and decisions based on hair texture, skin tone, face shape…we are good! As long as they trust us in a situation where you can’t have a trial, it will be okay! Most of the time, brides have looked at an artist’s work and chosen them for a reason.”
“I absolutely want to give brides something for the rest of their day! Each artist is different though, so you should check if they offer that if that is something that is important to you. Some artists have touch-up kits available for purchase separately, or they may be included in tiers of pricing.”
“If we know a bride will be getting in the water, we will use some sort of waterproof makeup. Foundation, mascara, eyeliner…most of the time for weddings and elopements we do that because we anticipate tears. But if they plan on jumping in the ocean, we recommend dabbing and patting their face with a towel once they get out to avoid smearing. 9 times out of 10, nothing will move, and your makeup will stay looking flawless.”
I am always willing to accommodate early mornings, and I absolutely love doing makeup for sunrise weddings! That also goes for traveling to other parts of the island. Travel fees vary, as well as the early morning fee, but that’s the greatest part of being an onsite artist – I will come to you!
Yes, I’ve worked with many skin tones, ethnicities, and nationalities. To achieve a natural look, it really depends on what the client considers natural. Many times what we think is natural may not be the case for someone else! If lightweight makeup is what you are looking for, I go with a “less is more”, buildable attitude of layering products. Using products that are more glowy can also give the skin a more natural appearance instead of using a lot of matte powders or foundations.
“When it comes to your wedding day, remember that it will all be okay and not to stress the little things! When we stress, we panic – and then, we sweat. With added stress and sweat, it’ll be hard for your hairstyle to set and makeup to settle in.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you need to do any steaming to your dress, do this the night before! If you do that during hair and makeup, it makes the room hot and can make your hairstyle drop, or you can sweat your makeup off.
Photos are really helpful as far as inspiration goes. If you have a hair/makeup style you like, the best thing you can do is look at your hair/MUA’s website for reference. Pinterest is great, but if you haven’t seen it on your stylist’s page, they may not feel comfortable doing that style. Try to look for inspiration by looking for photos of people with the same hair and skintone as you!”
I am so thankful for Tia taking the time to provide us with some wisdom on getting your hair and makeup done for your Hawaii elopement. With these tips in mind, your elopement look will really shine!
Utah is one of the most picturesque states in the USA for an adventure elopement! From Moab to Arches, Bonneville Salt Flats to Park City…there are so many gorgeous places to consider when eloping in Utah.
This Utah elopement shows off the beauty of the Utah outdoors – and serves as perfect inspiration for planning an elopement in Utah. Scroll down for my five tips for eloping in Utah, including things I didn’t realize until I traveled to the “Beehive State”.
FIVE TIPS FOR ELOPING IN UTAH: PLANNING A UTAH ELOPEMENT
There you have it, friends! Some of my best tips for planning your elopement in Utah. Whether you are wanting to elope at Arches National Park, amongst the wildflowers near Park City, or on the vast desert playa of Bonneville Salt Flats – I am here to help. Let’s get to planning, shall we?
Kauai is one of my favorite places to shoot elopements and weddings – eloping in Kauai is a whole other experience! 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 – and get in touch to chat more about your Kauai elopement!
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! Whether you are eloping in Kauai or having an intimate wedding in Kauai, I can’t wait to help you plan your Hawaiian elopement in this slice of paradise. Let’s get started!
First looks are an amazing way of being able to share a moment with your partner before your wedding or elopement day. Maybe you’re torn on whether or not you want to include a first look during your elopement! There is no wrong answer: first looks never make your ceremony less “special”, and serve as a wonderful grounding point before such a significant event.
There are so many ways you can make a “first look” your own – something that really speaks to the two of you. Here are some fun, emotional, intimate, and alternative ideas to having a first look during your elopement in Hawaii!
What Is a First Look?
A “first look” is when you and your partner see each other for the very first time during your wedding or elopement day. When you have a first look before your ceremony, this can help ease your nerves and make your wedding day even more exciting!
If you are choosing to have guests attend your Hawaii wedding, having a first look can be an amazing moment that you and your partner can share – just the two of you.
Where Do Couples Have Their First Look?
Where you have your first look is entirely up to you! If you both are getting ready in the same area, we can find somewhere beautiful to set up your first look. If you have your heart set on having a first look amongst the gorgeous Hawaii scenery, we can head to a specific spot just for your first look! You two can arrive separately, or even get ready away from each other in the car or in the trees.
Types of First Looks for Your Hawaii Elopement
There is no “one size fits all” approach to having a first look for your Hawaii wedding! Whether you write letters to one another, going the silly route of a prank, a romantic grounding moment with a prayer, or maybe you’re feelin’ classic, the right answer is what first look really speaks to what your relationship is all about.
There is nothing like eloping in Hawaii. Hawaii is one of the top destinations for couples eloping and getting married, but before you finish packing up your bags, let’s take a look at some “must haves” for your Hawaii elopement and trip to go as smoothly as possible! The last thing you want to have to worry about is whether or not you forgot something, and you want to be prepared. That’s where I come in! Being a Hawaii elopement photographer for years, I’m able to put that expertise to use for you.
What to Bring for your Plane Ride to Hawaii
Don’t Forget Your Elopement Supplies!
With these checklists in hand for your Hawaii elopement, you will be as prepared as you’ll ever be for one of the best days of your life! Let’s do it!
Even before you set foot on The Big Island of Hawaii for your elopement, you’ll want to be prepared and know where you should stay! Each city and town in Hawaii is unique, and offers various different experiences and vibes. Let’s take a tour to figure out where you’ll be staying during your Hawaii elopement adventure.
The two main cities on The Big Island are Hilo and Kona. You’ll probably book your flight to land in one of these spots!
Hilo is on the east side of the island, and gets more rain than the west side. A sunny day on the east side of Hawaii is magical because of how lush the jungles are! Hilo offers diverse and authentic food, and has those essential island vibes you might be after. If you’re planning to elope at a waterfall, or do a day after session at Mauna Kea like Joey and Raegan, Hilo and the surrounding area is where you’ll want to stay!
Places to Stay near Hilo, Hawaii:
Kona draws people in with promises of sunshine. It’s catered more toward tourists but also has a lot to offer as far as foods, beaches, and activities! It’s a conveniently located city, with many activities using Kona as their jumping-off point. Sunset catamarans, snorkeling, and Manta Ray trips come to mind! Kona also offers nightlife, more than almost anywhere else on The Big Island!
Places to Stay in Kona, Hawaii:
If you want to be in Kona but slightly out of town, you can try Ka’awaloa also known as the Captain Cook. Kealakekua Bay is a beautiful spot to explore, as well as South Kona. Sometimes, it can be nice to be in Kona but feel a little more “Hawaii”. The adorable town of Holualoa is 15 minutes outside of Kona and at a higher elevation. Within minutes, you can go from lava fields to lush jungles. There are a bunch of coffee farms here, and lots of Hawaiian architecture and art galleries. Flower shops, coffee shops..this area has a cute, small town feel.
Seeking a resort experience and nice hotels on the beach? Waikoloa! In this town, you’ll be in a good position to explore northern part of island. Waikoloa is full of boutiques, well known brands, and nice restaurants. Such a relaxing vacation base!
Waimea is pretty centrally located, home to lots of agriculture. A total foodie town, with spots like Forc and Red Water. One of my fave places here is Waimea Coffee Company, which feels cozy and homey when Waimea has a misty day. Check out their Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, where you can pick up fresh flowers for your elopement bouquet!
Dreaming of eloping near the southern part of Hawaii? Nāʻālehu has mix of jungle but is a little drier and warmer than staying in Volcano. However, you are only about 30minutes to the entrance of the national park. A totally cute tiny town! If you’re planning on staying here, stock up on supplies in Kona or Oceanview.
If your Hawaii elopement will take you to Punalu’u black sand beach, you’ll want to stay in Pahala. From there, you’re about 5-10 minutes to the black sand beach. I’ve stayed at Sea Mountain for vacation, and loved it! For breakfast, stop at Punalu’u Bakery, for world famous Hawaiian sweetbread or my favorite coffee shop, Ka Lae.
Of course, I can’t forget about the town of Volcano! Staying here works perfectly if you want to elope at Volcanoes National Park.
Volcano is an intimate town that can get pretty cold by Hawaii standards! You’ll want gloves, a rain jacket and a puffy jacket for sure. Total PNW vibes, like the rainy town of Fern Forest. This area has lots of unique treehouse airbnbs, and cabins with relaxing spas!
You’ll find the town of Pahoa nearby, filled with crystal shops, cafes, worldly clothing, and a really cute bookstore. It’s a cool area to explore if you want to see where the new lava flow happened recently, too!
Things to Remember When Booking Your Stay in Hawaii:
No matter where you decide to stay in Hawaii during your elopement trip, I just know you’ll pick the perfect place based on what is important to you and your partner.
I’ve been an elopement photographer in Hawaii for many years now, and something I’ve noticed is how many couples really benefit from having their elopement split over two or more days!
Splitting up your elopement day works best for couples who:
Every one of my couples who chose to split up their elopement day has said that they really love having the extra downtime! Especially if you are planning a sunrise ceremony, it’s easy to forget you are waking up at 2 or 3 AM! Having your elopement take place over multiple days means a more relaxed atmosphere to take naps as needed and chill.
If you are including family members during your Hawaii elopement, you can use the first day to have them with you for group photos and your ceremony, with your day-after being completely yours to enjoy some intimate moments together!
With the option of splitting up your elopement day, your personalities have so much more opportunity to really shine through! During your elopement, couples are often wearing a dress or a suit: it’s usually not something really comfortable where you feel like yourselves! This can show another aspect of your personality in a genuine way! Every couple is so unique, and this is a great way to show off your personality and story. Maybe splitting up your elopement day means more laidback moments, like hanging out at your Airbnb together. This can often feel so much more relaxed because of what you are wearing and how much you feel like yourselves! I like to take a “fly on the wall” approach for this: think of it as being on a date with your partner! Have fun, bring your favorite snacks…and you don’t have to worry or stress about time!
Another fun route to consider when splitting up your elopement day is “trash the dress”! Having photos taken with family, then feeling compelled to do something epic and adventurous while wearing your wedding attire! If you are feeling like you want adventure, having your second elopement day include some “trash the dress” elements totally could be for you.
Examples of Couples Who Split Up Their Hawaiian Elopements:
Kassidy and Jonas
Kassidy and Jonas had family attend their short ceremony, yet still wanted to have an adventure on their own where the two of them could connect. This is really a “best of both worlds” approach if you are incorporating family but also would like some private, adventurous moments, just the two of you!
Joey and Raegan
Their second elopement day just felt like the two of them were on a date! I met the two of them at their hotel, where they often took walks and wanted to include that. I can come to where you and your partner are staying, or we can all adventure to someplace new: there are no real rules when it comes to how you would like your Hawaii elopement day to play out!
Karen and Phil
What Karen and Phil did for their Hawaii elopement was split it up into two parts, because they wanted to see and explore so much of what Hawaii has to offer! This is a great possibility if there are two distant locations you want to explore and you don’t want to feel rushed or tired. If you can’t decide on where to go: do one the next day!
Beck and Rob
Beck and Rob wanted a really laidback elopement. They wanted to come into town, get breakfast, take their time, and just have an elopement that flowed easily. Having two days helped spread things out where they could enjoy their time together adventuring, but also chilling at their Airbnb!
I hope this post inspires you to know that you have the freedom to make your elopement as long as you’d like! I am always here to help guide you and make an elopement experience that really speaks to what your needs are.