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

  • Classic First Look. During this type of first look, one partner will stand turned away. The other person will approach them, and tap them on the shoulder. They will then turn around, and see each other’s faces light up as they witness each other for the first time on their wedding day!
  • Reading Vows or Letters to Each Other. This is a really romantic version of the first look. You and your partner can write special vows or letters to exchange with one another. Then, I can set you two up so that you are standing back to back. The emotions are so powerful as you read words that your partner wrote for you, specifically for your elopement day! After your vows or letters have been read, turn around and show your partner how that made you feel.
  • Blindfold One Partner and Share a Prayer or Quiet Moment. Even when you have done away with tradition and chosen to elope, wedding days can sometimes still feel a bit stressful! With this type of first look, the two of you are able to forget all outside influence and really have some seconds to just exist together. Say a prayer or set an intention for your day, and then go forth – rejuvenated and excited for what is to come!
  • Prank First Look. Okay, this one is a really fun idea! Bonus points if you and your partner love to laugh and joke around together. Let’s get the two of you set up in a scenic area, just as we would for a traditional first look. If you have friends joining you, let’s switch things up! Have your bride’s maid of honor sneak up on the groom. Or maybe your best man holds a bouquet and pretends to be the bride. There are a ton of silly ways to get everyone laughing and ease some tension with a first look: prank style.
  • First Look with Parents. First looks aren’t just for the couple! If you are including loved ones in your Hawaii wedding or elopement, you can also include them in a first look. This is a very special moment to share, and always has me tearing up. Having the support of your parents on such an incredible day can mean the world. And being able to have a first look with your mom or dad really reflects that.
  • First Look with Bridesmaids/Groomsmen. Just like a first look with parents, surrounding yourself with those who love and care about you is so special. Your bridesmaids or groomsmen are usually just as excited as your partner is: seeing you ready for such a magical day.

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.

June 14, 2022

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.

Hawaii Essentials

  • Comfy, lightweight clothing. Even though you may be dressing up for your elopement in Hawaii, you’ll most likely want to be comfortable during the remaining days of your trip!
  • Sweater. Once the sun sets in the Hawaiian Islands, the temperature can dip. Stay cozy!
  • Reusable bags. Plastic bags are banned in Hawaii, so you’ll want to bring reusable bags to tote around your supplies.
  • Water shoes. So many beaches to explore on The Big Island, Maui, Kauai, and more! Water shoes give you the freedom to not have to worry about stepping on shells, wana, or getting your everyday shoes soggy.
  • Swimsuit. With hundreds of miles of coastline on the Hawaiian Islands, no doubt you and your bride/groom will want to take to the waves for a dip!
  • Sunglasses. The sun burns brighter in Hawaii! Protect your eyes with a pair of sunglasses during your elopement excursion.
  • Reef-safe Sunscreen. Protect your skin, too! Because Hawaii is located farther south than most places in the US, sun protection is even more important. Make sure your sunscreen is reef-safe (I include a list of some of my faves here!)

What to Bring for your Plane Ride to Hawaii

  • Headphones, earbuds or AirPods. Listening to your fave tunes while soaring 30,000 feet in the sky is a must.
  • Slip-on shoes. No one wants to stress out about taking their shoes off and on in the TSA line right before you head off to your elopement!
  • Moisturizer. The recirculated air in airplanes can really dry out your skin, but lotion can help.
  • Hand sanitizer. Keep those hands clean during your flight and trip, to avoid illness during your Hawaii elopement adventure!
  • Tablet or book. With your phone in airplane mode, a book will help pass the time until you reach your destination of Hawaii.
  • Your Favorite Pre-Downloaded Netflix Series! While many airlines have a selection of movies and TV shows on your flight to Hawaii, sometimes the internet fails or cuts off for the first half hour and last half hour of the flight. Having some shows already downloaded can be nice if you’re not one to sleep on planes!
  • Warm Layers. Even though you are heading to tropical paradise, the longer flights over the pacific can get cold! Don’t forget to wear longer pants and a sweater or jacket for the plane!

Don’t Forget Your Elopement Supplies!

  • Marriage license. See my post on how to make your marriage legal in Hawaii!
  • Wedding clothing. Whether that’s a wedding dress, suit, etc. I love suggesting couples to bring a Carry-On Wedding Dress Bag: it’s so important that your wedding attire doesn’t get wrinkled or disrupted too much during your journey to Hawaii.
  • Makeup emergency bag. For touchups here and there throughout your elopement day.
  • Vows. One of the most important things!
  • Rings. Can’t forget these when it comes to your elopement ceremony.

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!

Aly Dove | Your Hawaii Elopement Photographer

Still need help planning your elopement in Hawaii? I’m here for you! With a documentary-style approach to my Hawaii elopement photography, your photos will become pieces of art that tell a unique story. I photograph elopements and weddings across Oahu, Big Island, Maui, Kauai, and Lanai. Take the first step in your journey to eloping in Hawaii, and contact me to get started on your Hawaii adventure wedding!

June 1, 2022

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!

There’s a winery near Volcano, which can be so much fun for after-wedding drinks! Volcano’s Thai restaurant is a great dinner choice.

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:

  • Anywhere outside of the bigger cities won’t have big box stores.
  • The earlier you book, the more options you have as reservations can fill up quickly.
  • If you’re not sure which side of the island to say on yet, I recommend booking two different spots on VRBO because their cancellation policy is better than AIRBNB
  • Most of the beaches in Kona are accessible through resorts and hotels.

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.

June 1, 2022
joey picks up raegan for a kiss
joey picks up raegan for a kiss

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:

  • Are including a longer hike during their Hawaii elopement
  • Are traveling farther distances between locations
  • If you are just wanting a more relaxed vibe
  • If you are including family, but also would like some time to yourselves

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.

February 14, 2022

Wondering What to Wear for Your Hawaii Adventure Session?

An adventure session in Hawaii means you and your partner having a blast amongst the sand, waves, and lush greenery of the islands. And for me, it also means wearing clothing that both represents you, and compliments the landscape and climate of the Hawaiian Islands.

Long, flowing dresses are AMAZING here in Hawaii for most shoots because of how well they play with the trade winds! Having movement in your photos makes everything so organic and free.

If variety is what you are after, we can do some poses in jeans/pants/shorts etc that may not be totally possible in a dress, and then change halfway through! You are ALWAYS welcome to bring more than one outfit. I recommend bringing 2-3 outfit changes, and we can feel out what works best based on the weather, what your partner is wearing, and the mood of the session as it unfolds naturally.

When it comes to color, don’t be afraid! It’s just about knowing what tones to pick. Really vibrant reds can take over the colors when I edit your photos, so I would go for burnt orange, mustard yellow, shades of tan or beige, light blue, grey, maroon, and light pink!

How Do I Change Outfits During My Session?

Depending on shoot location, there may be bathrooms. Most of the time, I can bring a sheet or towel to change behind, you can use your car or duck behind some trees…haha! That is actually more common here than you might think: with the beach lifestyle of Hawaii. If you aren’t comfortable with that, that’s completely fine! Stick with one outfit that you love, and feel free to text me before your shoot so that I can help you choose!

Where to Buy Outfits for Your Hawaii Photo Session:




-Citrus and Lemon

-Free People

-Mr. Pretty Skirt

Places Based in Hawaii:

-Pineapple Blush Boutique

-Kepola Design House

-Ginger and Koi

-Pueo Boutique

-Queens Marketplace


-Rent the Runway

-Eleanor’s Bridal

-Ka Lole Hele

What to Avoid Wearing for your Adventure Session in Hawaii

-Bright, clashing colors

-Classic white and khaki (now is your chance to get creative!)

-Being overly matchy with your partner

-Busy patterns

-Clothing that doesn’t feel like YOU

When you don’t feel authentically you, it can show in your photos. The most important thing is to wear what you feel most confident in, and what makes you shine! The key here is to do what feels best for you. If you’re on vacation and want to get a cute, flowy dress…do it! If you want to wear something that feels more like your everyday outfits, do that!

I’ve had couples wear Vans and T-shirts with jeans, dresses and button ups, or barefoot in the sand. Do what is best for you!

February 10, 2022
Sara and Adriana stand together at the beach
Sara and Adriana stand together at the beach

You’ve booked your plane tickets, Airbnb, and have your elopement date set (complete with me as your photographer, haha!). The excitement leading up to your Hawaii trip is palpable, and your trip is GETTING REAL!!!! Woohoo!

Before you arrive to Hawaii it’s important to learn a little more about the environment and how that might affect your packing list! It is our job as humans to recreate responsibly: for both ourselves and the planet! Read on to discover things you may not know about visiting the Aloha State:

What to Pack: Don’t Forget to Back these Often Overlooked Items for your Trip to Hawaii

Reef-safe sunscreen is a must. Sunscreen that is reef-safe helps keep our reefs, oceans, and the animals that live here healthy!

  • Some brands I love are Little Hands, Raw Elements, and Manda! If all else fails, you can locate SunBum at your local Target, but just remember that it must be the “mineral” formula, usually in white packaging.

Reusable shopping bags! Plastic bags are banned in Hawaii so you will notice that when you are shopping for groceries, clothings, and souvenirs, stores will off the purchase of brown paper bags or reusable bags! It can be helpful to be prepared and bring your own 🙂

Sunglasses! The sunshine is radiant here, and with the sun reflecting off of the ocean and sands, you’ll be glad you packed sunglasses for your Hawaii trip.

Sun protection: a floppy hat or baseball cap is a must. For a stylish option, I love Hawaiian Style Pāpale hats!

Reusable water bottles. We want to do our part to cut down on the amount of waste that goes into landfills. Packing a reusable water bottle for your visit to Hawaii can help! I highly recommend an insulated water bottle like a Hydro Flask or Stanley to keep your water bottle cool from the Hawaiian sun.

Don’t forget a portable phone charger! While you are adventuring amongst the Hawaiian Islands, you may be snapping photos and using GPS. You definitely want to avoid a dead phone battery if you can help it!

A Sweater and Rain Jacket. While Hawaii has nice weather year round, in the evenings the temperatures drop enough that it gets much cooler. This is especially true if you are staying at a higher elevation, or walking along the beach at sunset when the winds pick up. We also get lots of rain showers on and off throughout the day depending on what part of the island you are!

ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi: Common Words used in Hawaii

Hawaiian language (ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi) is still a central part of Hawaiian culture and day to day life in Hawaii. You will notice Hawaiian language on street signs, names of places you will visit, bathroom signs, and throughout your trip in day to day activities. Here a few words and tips to help!

  • Mahalo – Thank you!
  • Aloha – Hello and Goodbye
  • kāne– Man (often labeled for men’s restroom)
  • wahine – Woman (often labeled for women’s restroom)
  • Māhū – “Māhūs are third-gender people with additional spiritual and social roles” (learn more about Māhūs in pacific indigenous culture here)
  • Mauka – inland (often used as a directional reference for a location up the mountain, mountainside on Hawai’i Island, people will say, “up mauka” or “mauka side”)
  • Makai – ocean (often used as a directional reference for up the mountain, mountainside on Hawai’i Island, people will say, or “makai side”)
  • Wana – sea urchin (pronounced “vah-na”) – look out for wana, black long spined sea urchins when entering parts of the ocean that are not sandy. You don’t want to step on one of these!
  • Mauna – mountain (Hawai’i Island also known as Big Island has both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa)
  • E Komo Mai – welcome (literally translating more to come on in, e komo mai is commonly substituted for welcome. You may see it or hear it when deplaning in Hawaii for the first time or driving out of the airport.)
  • Kapu – no tresspassing, keep out, prohibited. If you a see a sign when you are hiking or exploring that says “kapu” do not go there! These are often culturally sacred sites or private property.
  • Heiau – pre-christian place of worship or ancient Hawaiian temple. These are sacred sites are often preserved. They typically look like a large rectangular formation of stacked rocks or stone platforms. Do not walk on top of these. Walk around and observe. There will usually be a sign explaining what it is and many of these are now historical sites you can visit.

Things You May Not Know if it’s Your First Time Visiting Hawaii:

Do not touch or disturb wildlife, just observe from a distance!

  • You will likely see sea turtles (honu) either in the water or the sun. 10 feet distance from these guys, minimum! Sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act and you will be fined or prosecuted if you touch/harass them.
  • If you come across a Hawaii monk seal, you must keep at least 50 feet of distance. They are also protected by the Endangered Species Act!
  • Dolphins are also protected, and you must give them ample space when sharing the ocean with them!

If hiking or playing at the beach, please do not stack or balance rocks! There are three main reasons:

  • In Hawaii, there are so many visitors, that one rock stack can quickly turn into over 50 disrupting the beauty of the coastline….here, think of rock stacking as graffiti.
  • Second, stacked rocks in many parts of the world are used as navigational markers on a trails called cairns (ahu). This is the case in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Creating other rock stacks can cause confusion and hikers to go off trail.
  • Third, rock stacking can contribute to erosion and can also cause ecological damage. If you do stack rocks, make sure to disassemble your creation before leaving the shoreline.

There are unfortunately often a lot of microplastics that wash up on our shorelines! If you see anything and are comfortable picking up some trash and disposing of it, it would be much appreciated. The goal is always to leave things better than how you found it!

  • If you are interested in learning more about microplastics and plastic pollution while you are here there are some incredible organizations to get involved with!

Sounds like you’re ready for your visit to Hawaii! Armed with insight and guidance on how to make Hawaii enjoyable for not just you and your partner, but local residents, plants, animals, and the habitat, too!

February 10, 2022
Karen and Phil walk down a path
Karen and Phil walk down a path

Planning an adventure elopement in Hawaii? The Big Island of Hawaii is a place of magical, cultural, and beautiful significance. From sand, to surf, to tropical trees, there are so many options when it comes to your Hawaii elopement.

Where Should You Elope In Hawaii?

Narrowing down where your Hawaii wedding or elopement should take place will depend on the amount of coverage you are looking for! Some locations require shorter hikes or no hiking at all, and those can be paired with other, more accessible locations to create an elopement day full of variety!

Picture this: having your elopement ceremony while the Pacific Ocean serenades you at Black Lava Cliffs, heading out for a picnic on the bright sand at Kukio Beach, before ending your elopement day at one of my secret spots (secluded beaches and private ponds, anyone?!)

Thinking of a longer elopement day? We can even throw some half-day locations into the mix! Your Hawaii elopement can include camping at Green Sands Beach, playing amongst a canopy of trees on rope swings, or even climbing mountains!

Once you have your elopement location in mind, I am able to give the two of you guidance when it comes to planning.

Hiking around Mauna Kea on a 90 degree day is not something I would recommend, but having a Plan B, just in case the summit of Mauna Kea is closed? Absolutely.

When planning your Hawaii elopement on the Big Island, flexibility is important. Weather, road conditions, permitting, and rules can change in an instant, so I strongly encourage that we come up with various plans together to make sure that your elopement day is full of wonder, not stress!

Hawaii Elopement Locations:

  • Eloping on one of The Big Island’s black sand beaches. Hawaii is famous for its coastal access, and the contrast of black sand with white wedding attire is gorgeous. If you are craving a black sand beach for your elopement, I’ve got ideas in mind for seclusion and beauty during your elopement day!
  • Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world from base to peak. On Mauna Kea, you are above the clouds. It’s true magic! This is one of my favorite elopement spots, perfect for sunset and stargazing.
  • Honokāne Nui Overlook. This overlook is more of an intense hike, but the sweeping views are well worth it: exchanging ceremony vows with the vast beauty of Hawaii at your fingertips.

The enchantment of Hawaii can’t be contained to a few examples! I love to show my couples a location guide to give them an even deeper glance of all that Hawaii has to offer.

When considering where you should elope in Hawaii, the deciding factor should be what you two feel in your heart. And I am here to guide you along the way! Have a specific vision in mind for your Hawaii elopement? My job is to provide you with the tools, resources, and location possibilities to help the two of you have the Hawaii elopement of your dreams.

January 13, 2022
Karen and Phil walk down beach
Karen and Phil walk down beach

Hawaii is one of the most picturesque places in the world, so it is no surprise that couples choose to get married on one of the many gorgeous islands of Hawaii! As a Hawaii wedding photographer, I know all of the tips.

Wondering how to make your marriage legal in Hawaii?

Let’s walk through it!

STEP 1: Find An Officiant A.K.A. “Performer”

First off, you will need a performer to officiate your wedding ceremony in Hawaii. Your performer can either be a professional officiant based in Hawaii or a friend or family member.


If you are wanting to include a friend or family member to perform your ceremony, they must be ordained through an organization such as Universal Life Church.

Once your loved one is ordained, next will come registering as a performer. And good news: no matter what island your Hawaii wedding will take place, the registration will not be affected.

First, read the Marriage Performer Guidelines on the Hawaii Department of Health website. This will provide context for what to expect on the application. After that, they will need to register with the Minister Registration Office – Hawaii Department of Health online. Don’t forget, they will need to be registered at least two weeks before the ceremony date!

Once the application is completed and the $10 application fee is paid, they will get a payment confirmation via email right away. The application approval can take up to two weeks, so check that inbox, and be patient!


Many officiants call Hawaii home, and they all have so much to offer couples looking to get married. Recommendations are my jam, so you can count on me to help the two of you find a performer you love. After all, getting married is an intimate event. You want to be 100% certain that everyone involved has your back!


  • Hop on a Phone Call: Your officiant will be one of the most important parts of your day! When you are on your call, are they patient? Notice how you feel…does their voice bring you a sense of calm? If you want someone who is funny and joyful, do they make you laugh or smile? On your wedding day, you will naturally have a few nerves and having a calm and friendly officiant to guide you through your ceremony will make all the difference on your wedding day!
  • Think about values that are important to you in an officiant. Do you want a religious or non-denominational ceremony? Are they LGBTQ+ friendly? Do you want Hawaiian elements infused into your ceremony, and if so, is the officiant actually native Hawaiian and performing these traditions in an honoring and authentic way!
  • Read Reviews: Read through their reviews on google, sample ceremony scripts on their website, and if they have social media you can see some of their ceremonies, too!
  • If you’re still unsure, ask the photographer who recommended them about what this officiant is like 🙂 I have a list of my favorite, and vetted officiants for each island in Hawaii and I love matching you with an officiant who aligns with your values! It’s so important for you to have an officiant that wants to know more about your love story, takes the time to learn about your personalities, is patient in a day where timelines can change, and most importantly, is grounding and adds to the joy of this incredible day!


After finding your officiant/performer, apply online for a marriage license!

How much does it cost to get a marriage license in Hawaii? As of July 1, 2023 the fee amount and duration of all marriage and civil union performer licenses has been updated to $100.00 USD for a 1-year license and $25.00 USD for a 60-day license per Bill SB1370. The DOH website is still being updated to reflect these changes.


After you’ve applied for your marriage license, make an appointment to see an agent on the island you will be eloping on. Appointments for the Oahu office based in Honolulu can be made online. If you are eloping on a neighboring island like Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, or Lanai, you can review this list of license agents, ask your hotel if they have a license agent on staff, or your photographer if they know of any other private agents.

  • How do I choose an agent? Choose an agent who is based in a town closest to where your hotel, airbnb, or accommodation is. The list of license agents is sorted by town so hop on google maps to determine which is closest to you! If you’re not sure ask your planner, officiant, or photographer for help.
  • When should I make my appointment? I usually recommend making your appointment within 1-3 days of your arrival and not leaving it to the day before your ceremony. You want to be able to relax the day before your ceremony so if you can knock out your errands in the first few days before your wedding, you can take this much needed rest day before the wedding.
  • When are the agents available? The license agents typically don’t work on the weekends, so it’s important to factor this into your travel plans, and the date you choose to have your ceremony.
  • Does the marriage license the agent issues us ever expire? Make sure this appointment is set within 30 days of your ceremony because once they issue your license, it expires after 30 days. And choose a license agent in the town closest to where you will be staying!
  • Why do we need to make this appointment? What does the license agent do? The license agent is the person who creates and gives you the physical license after applying online. In order for them to do this, they need to verify your identity with the IDs your provide them, and ensure the information on the application is correct.
  • What is their availability like? On Oahu there are LOTS of appointments and agents! As you move to the outer islands such as Kauai, Maui, and Big Island, the amount of agents gets smaller as does their availability. Particularly, on the Big Island. If you are getting married on an outer island, it’s best to make your appointment ASAP or look into private agents at hotels and resorts.


When you go to your appointment with your license agent, you need to go together. The license agent will either be at the health department or if they are a private agent they may actually work from their personal business office or even hotels (similar to a notary). Both of you must go, and bring your IDs!

If you’re not sure what agent to go with, I’m happy to recommend some agents who are closest to you or who may not be on the government list.


Hurray, it’s finally here! On your wedding day in Hawaii, bring your license to the ceremony and the performer will sign it. Most officiants will have you sign it after the ceremony and then they take it and mail it for you, or you can mail it yourself. And now-a-days, your performer can simply submit the license online! After that, your official wedding license is mailed to you within 4-6 weeks of your ceremony. If your officiant files your certificate online, it usually only takes a week for your to receive your official marriage certificate!

Yay! You’ve gotten your marriage license in Hawaii, everything is signed, mailed, and made legal…congratulations!

Not so daunting, right?!

If you’re ready to begin the process of getting married or eloping in Hawaii, and are seeking a fun, laid-back, creative photographer who will help you plan out an adventurous, stress-free day, fill out my contact form to set up a call together and see if we’re a good fit!

Let’s do this!

January 13, 2022
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