Complete 2024-2025 Hawaii Elopement Guide: Permits, Ideas, & More

March 22, 2024

Table of Contents:

Aloha & welcome to our brand new Hawaii elopement guide, all ready for your 2024-2025 elopement!!

If you’ve found yourself here, it’s pretty safe to assume that you’re thinking of eloping in Hawaii, yeah? Maybe you’re dreaming of a tropical elopement on the black sand beach of Kauai, a waterfall wedding ceremony on Oahu, or a hiking adventure elopement on one of Maui’s iconic trails. No matter what your dream Hawaii elopement looks like, this guide is ready to help you nail down all your details + figure out exactly what you want your experience to look like.

In this guide, you’ll find a section for each island: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, & the Big Island. Within each of those, we’ve compiled all of our favorite places to elope, where to eat, where to stay, when to elope, fun activity ideas, & wedding permit info for that island.

After that, we’ll walk you through the process of getting your Hawaii marriage license, as well as show you an example of a Hawaii elopement itinerary! Finally, we’ll wrap it up with all of our BEST tips for eloping in Hawaii – trust us when we say we included everything we know from our experience as a Hawaii elopement photo + video duo.

**Note: if you see text that’s bolded, it means it’s one of our top/fave reccs!

Happy island-hopping, waterfall-chasing, jungle-exploring, & beach-strolling!!

How to Elope on Oahu

First up we’ve got Oahu, an island filled with iconic beaches, picturesque movie filming locations, world-famous surfing, and plenty of luscious gardens + views of the island’s vibrant green rolling hills.

Where to elope on Oahu:

Where to eat on Oahu:

Where to stay on Oahu:

Airbnbs:

Resorts:

When to elope on Oahu:

Best time of year: Winter (October-April) – to avoid crowds / Summer (May-October) – for the warmest weather & less rain

Best time of the week: Weekdays

Fun Oahu elopement activities:

Oahu elopement permit info:

Oahu has become much more strict with wedding & elopement permits in recent years due to the crazy amount of couples that choose to elope there, as well as the many photographers who unfortunately haven’t followed the rules for commercial photoshoots.

To have a beach wedding on Oahu, you’ll need to get a Wiki Permit through the Department of Land & Natural Resources. You can find a list of permitted beach sites for weddings here, and apply for your Oahu beach wedding permit here! The same Wiki Permit also applies for weddings at any Oahu state park.

It’s important to note that a bill was recently signed in Oahu banning commercial photoshoots at some Oahu beaches & parks to protect the shorelines from unregulated activity, so we’ll be careful to choose beaches for your elopement portraits where photography/videography IS permitted. 

To get married at any Oahu botanical garden, you’ll need a special Botanical Garden wedding permit. This permit will allow you to hold a wedding ceremony at the Foster Botanical Garden, Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden, Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Wahiawa Botanical Garden, & Koko Crater Botanical Garden. Each garden has its own maximum guest count, which you can find here. You can apply for this permit here. And keep in mind that as your photographer & videographer, we’ll need to get our own commercial photo/video permit to document your botanical garden wedding!

How to Elope on Kauai

Next up is Kauai, Hawaii’s fourth-largest island & the island best known for its natural beauty displayed in its dramatic canyons, cliffs, coastlines, & waterfalls!

Where to elope on Kauai:

Where to eat on Kauai:

Where to stay on Kauai:

Airbnbs:

Resorts:

When to elope on Kauai:

Best time of year: Early fall (August-October) and early summer (April-May) to avoid crowds & get the best weather

Best time of the week: Weekdays

Fun Kauai elopement activities:

Kauai elopement permit info:

Kauai follows the same rules as Oahu for beach & state park weddings, requiring you to obtain a Wiki Permit and to choose from this list of designated beach locations if you want to hold a beach elopement!

How to Elope on Maui

We looove Maui, an island jam-packed with SO much potential for stunning elopements, from sacred valleys to world-famous beaches to phenomenal sunrises + sunsets!

Where to elope on Maui:

Where to eat on Maui:

Where to stay on Maui:

Airbnbs:

Resorts:

When to elope on Maui:

Best time of year: Early summer (April-June) for the least crowds + best weather

Best time of the week: Weekdays

Fun Maui elopement activities:

Maui elopement permit info:

To get married at Maui’s phenomenal Haleakalā National Park, you’ll need to get a Special Use Permit. This permit will allow you to hold your small elopement ceremony in a less-populated area of the park, outside of the Wilderness Area. You’ll have to get your specific desired location approved by the park, and the permit application will cost you $150! We recommend applying for this permit as far in advance as possible to ensure the park has time to approve your desired date + location, and so you have time to figure out what you want your ceremony to look like. Keep in mind that if you want to elope in (or even visit) the park at sunrise, you will also need a Haleakalā Sunrise Reservation!

For beach + state park weddings on Maui, you know it by now – you’ll need a Wiki Permit just like on Oahu & Kauai!

How to Elope on the Big Island

Last but definitely not least is the Big Island, the largest of Hawaii’s islands, boasting massive waterfalls, high mountains, epic volcanic landscapes, and a super diverse terrain.

Where to elope on the Big Island:

Where to eat on the Big Island:

Where to stay on the Big Island:

Airbnbs:

Resorts:

When to elope on the Big Island:

Best time of year: Early spring (April-June) to avoid crowds + get the best weather

Best time of the week: Weekdays

Fun Big Island elopement activities:

Big Island elopement permit info:

To elope at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you’ll need a Special Use Permit! The park allows small ceremonies away from high visitor use areas, and has a list of approved locations you’ll receive when you apply for the permit via this application form. It’ll cost ya $150 to apply for the permit, and there’s a specific list of permit conditions that you can read here to get familiar with what is allowed + not allowed. 

Aaaand to get married at a beach or state park on the Big Island, you’ll need – you guessed it – a Wiki Permit!

Hawaii Marriage Laws + Licenses

Now that you know EVERYTHING there is to know about eloping on each of Hawaii’s stunning islands, let’s talk about the legalities of tying the knot in the state of Hawaii! It’s important to get familiar with Hawaii marriage laws if you’re planning to hold your legal wedding ceremony on the islands, so below is a list of the most important Hawaii marriage laws you should know about:

  • Hawaii residency required? No
  • U.S. citizenship required? No
  • Minimum age requirement: 18
  • Length of license validity: 30 days
  • Waiting period: None
  • Blood test required? No
  • Cost: $65

Because there is no waiting period required after getting your Hawaii marriage license, you’ll need to have your ceremony within 30 days of getting your license to avoid the license becoming null/void + having to get a new one.

To get your Hawaii marriage license, follow the steps below:

  1. Apply for your marriage license online & pay the required $65 fee
  2. Meet with an agent within 30 days of your ceremony date to review your application + verify photo IDs and any necessary documents (both of you must be present!)
  3. Have your ceremony within 30 days of getting your license, anywhere within the State of Hawaii!

Hiring a Hawaii marriage officiant

One of the most important parts about making your Hawaii elopement ceremony legal is hiring a certified Hawaii marriage officiant! You want to be sure to hire somebody who is not only legally certified in Hawaii, but will officiate your ceremony in a way that feels right to you – whether that’s through storytelling, jokes, or religious elements. 

And lucky for you, we can make this an even EASIER process for you, because Corey (the second half of Elope With TKM) is actually a certified officiant in the state of Hawaii! So not only can we photograph + film your Hawaii elopement – he can officiate the whale ceremony for ya so you don’t have to find somebody else. One less vendor to check off your hiring list!

Sample Hawaii Elopement Timeline

Want to get an idea of what your Hawaii adventure elopement could actually look like?! We’ve laid out a sample timeline of a 2-day Maui adventure elopement below for you, so you can see examples of everything you could include in your elopement – whether you have a one or multi-day adventure with us!

2-Day Maui Elopement Adventure Timeline

Overall Maui elopement itinerary:

  • First look + couples portraits at Maui beaches
  • Waterfall hike for elopement ceremony
  • Sunset portraits on the west side of the island
  • Explore Haleakala the next day

Day 1:

3:30am – Pick up couple in Lahaina (3-hour drive to Waianapanapa State Park)

6:30am – Change into wedding attire (bring pop-up tent)

7:00am – Park opens, get ready for first look

7:10am – First look at Waianapanapa State Park black sand beach

7:30am – Couples portraits at the black sand beach

8:30am – Drive to Kaihalulu Beach (10-minute drive)

8:45am – Couples portraits at red sand beach

9:45am – Drive to Pipiwai Trail (40-minute drive)

10:30am – Hike Waimoku Falls via Pipiwai Trail, take photos along the way (3.8 miles total round trip – 1.5 hours up, 1 hour down)

12:15pm – Waimoku Falls elopement ceremony, followed by couples portraits + picnic lunch

1:30pm – Hike back down

3:00pm – Drive to Kihei (2.5-hour drive)

5:30pm – Sunset photos at Kamaole Beach Park I

6:30pm – Dinner + shave ice in Kihei or Lahaina

Day 2:

Sunrise couples portraits at Haleakala!

Hawaii Photo + Video Elopement Packages

Sooo by now, you probably have a good idea of which island you want to elope on, a few places you may want to elope, activities you want to do, and – most importantly – where you’re going to eat. But who’s going to document it all for you?! 

(We volunteer as tributes 🙋🏼‍♀️🙋🏻‍♂️)

If you don’t know us already, we’re T + Corey, a Hawaii elopement photo + video duo who are actually in Hawaii as we write this, capturing a STUNNING adventure elopement! When we say you can trust us to help you plan your dream Hawaii elopement experience, we mean it – we’ve photographed & filmed more elopements on the islands than we can count, so you better bet we know allll the good spots to visit + the inside scoop on everything elopement-related.

We’d be freaking stoked to document your Hawaii elopement, whether you want to explore the jungles of Oahu, see the iconic black sand beaches of Kauai, or hike through the colorful canyons of Waimea. You can check out our Hawaii elopement packages here on our website, and get to know us more here if you feel like you’re vibing with what we’ve got to offer. 

And if you’re ready for us to get our flights booked, our bags packed, and our camera gear all charged up & ready to go for your Hawaii elopement, contact us here so we can get started planning your DREAM Hawaii elopement experience together!!

Our Final Hawaii Elopement Tips

Before we leave ya, we wanted to share a list of miscellaneous Hawaii elopement tips that we’ve gathered over the years of documenting MANY couples’ elopements in Hawaii! There are tons of little things you might not think about if you’ve never been to Hawaii, or never planned an adventure elopement. So here are our final, best Hawaii elopement tips as a team of Hawaii elopement pros with lots of hands-on experience!

  1. Stay at an Airbnb instead of a hotel if you want plenty of space for privacy + celebration
  2. Make sure your accommodations have air conditioning – trust us, you do NOT want to be left without AC in the humid Hawaii climate.
  3. Rent a car with Turo to drive outside of the main city/town where you’re staying
  4. Do NOT rent a Jeep – they’re known as tourist vehicles, so they’re commonly broken into by residents.
  5. Never leave anything in your parked vehicle in general, no matter where you go – especially at beaches!
  6. Hit up Walmart or an ABC Store for cheap grocery items
  7. Leave extra time when driving for traffic – people are on Hawaii time, so they’re in no rush to drive quickly!
  8. Google basic Hawaiian phrases like “aloha,” “ohana,” & “mahalo” before arriving – also learn how to “shaka” (AKA the hand gesture for “hang loose”/”good vibes!)
  9. If you want to get a tattoo during your trip, schedule it before arriving – one of our faves is the award-winning 808 Tattoo Shop on Oahu!
  10. Get familiar with which parts of islands are more prone to heavy rain & what time of day rain usually hits – especially in Kauai.
  11. Leave a couple days of your trip without any plans – you want time to go with the flow and do whatever you’re feelin’ like!
  12. Consider bringing two dresses if you want to get some photos in a waterfall or the ocean – one lightweight, less expensive dress & another gown to wear for your ceremony. If you’re planning on hiking to your ceremony location, we’d recommend hiking boots either with the dress (for some fun pics) or just wearing cute hiking attire & changing when you get to your location. We can bring a pop-up tent if you’d like so you can change privately & easily.
  13. Create an elopement day packing list so you don’t forget any important items – including (but not limited to): dresses/outfits, accessories, snacks/lunches, lots of water, bug spray, hiking shoes or YakTrax, deodorant, sunscreen, sunglasses, hair & makeup products for touch-ups, etc.
  14. Download maps & music offline ahead of time – you won’t have much/any signal in many locations, so download any maps you’ll need (including trail maps) & music you’ll want to listen to while you drive ahead of time. For example, if you want to do a first dance on the mountainside, download your first dance music & we’ll  bring a speaker for the occasion!
  15. Don’t be afraid to try something new – plan/book activities that excite you and that may be new to you, this is your chance to do whatever you want!
  16. Bring reef-safe sunscreen – if you don’t bring any, stop by one of the million ABC Stores in the cities
  17. Budget for a 7-10 day trip so you can have plenty of time to explore, celebrate, & relax
  18. Avoid crowds at popular locations by visiting at sunrise, on a weekday, & during the offseason

Elopement Planning Resources

If you found this guide helpful, we’ve got PLENTY more where it came from – check out more of our fave elopement planning resources below for tons more tips, inspiration, & insider knowledge to help you plan your perfect elopement. We’ve gotcha covered!

Our Top 20 Elopement Planning Tips + What Not to Forget

60 Unique Elopement Ideas for Your Dream Elopement Day

How to Plan an Elopement in 2022-2023: The Ultimate Guide

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